So, you’ve passed your main skills test, passed all of the exams and the CAA have sent you a shiny new licence. Think of this as a stepping stone, a waypoint in your helicopter flying life. You now have privileges that few have, the legally certified skills of being a qualified helicopter pilot. So, now what?
Here are several avenues that pilots travel down when they are newly qualified.
Learn more skills. Due to our ability to land vertically and with no need for runways, there are a huge amount of options waiting you as a helicopter pilot. Landing at non-airport locations is all part of your training and indeed, you’ll be tested on this in your main skills test. It’s what helicopter pilots do. However, there’s an awful lot more to learn about flying into locations like this and learning more of those skills is one of the first things to do.
Learn to Fly at Night. Your licence allows you to fly in daytime, however what about winter time and the short daylight hours? A night rating expands your skills and gives you another way to see the earth – at night.
Buy a Helicopter. If you are adequately funded, helicopter ownership could well be your ultimate goal. Owning your own helicopter and flying from your own home or workplace is perfectly possible, many of the people we teach go on to helicopter ownership.
Helicopter Road Trips. What could be better than holidaying by helicopter? Flying down through France at less than 2,000 feet, enjoying the views of Chateaus, vineyards, sunflower fields is a great way to travel.
Cost sharing. If you’re planning a trip somewhere and there are others who wish to join you, it’s possible to lower the cost by splitting it between you. CAA / EASA clarification on what used to be a grey area means that it is perfectly legal for a pilot to share the cost of hiring a helicopter with friends.
Fly for a living. Becoming a professional helicopter pilot or helicopter flight instructor isn’t only the remit of military pilots. Many of the professional pilots who fly HEMS, Police, Corporate and Utility work have learned and worked their way up through the civil helicopter industry.
We hope that this series of articles has answered many of those nagging questions or concerns you may have had about helicopter flying. In fact, we hope that this has inspired you more than ever to think that you can certainly achieve it.
The article is part of a series that aim to answer all of the questions you’ve ever had if you’re thinking of learning to fly helicopters. You can read the first post here, or click the links below for the rest of the series