Any commercial helicopter pilot will tell you that the view from their office window is the best in the world. They will also tell you that the path to getting that view is a big commitment. It is hard work, both in terms of the flight training and the home study required to gain the Theoretical Knowledge exams. And there is no getting away from it – there is a significant financial commitment as well. But is it all worth it – what are the prospects?
The answer to this will vary and may be different (one way or the other) by the time you qualify. In general terms, there is a demand for skilled and qualified helicopter pilots.

Most commercial helicopter pilots start their careers flying single engine helicopters such as the Robinson R44, Bell 206 Jet Ranger and AS350 Squirrel on charter flights, sightseeing flights, pleasure flights and aerial filming and photography missions. Every day is different with a range of different tasks. One day you may be taking a bride and groom to their wedding or students to their school prom. The next day you may be flying sponsors and guests in to a major event such as Royal Ascot or the British Grand Prix at Silverstone. You will have a wide variety of flights to undertake, all adding to your experience as a helicopter pilot and all adding to your flying hours.

Many pilots choose to stay in this sector of the industry and thoroughly enjoy the challenge of undertaking a different task every time they take to the air. Many more pilots use this experience and the flying hours they accumulate as a stepping stone to other sectors. And, having earned some money to offset the initial investment they can add additional qualifications to their licences such as Type Ratings for additional aircraft types, Flight Instructors Qualification, Instrument Rating or upgrading their CPL(H) to an ATPL(H) to enable them to pilot multi-crew aircraft.

There is currently a wide range of opportunities available to qualified and experienced pilots, both in the UK and across the world. These include:

  • VIP and Corporate Charter, flying twin engine aircraft such as the Agusta 109 and EC135
  • Flight Instruction, teaching the next generation of pilots to fly
  • Air Ambulance – UK Air Ambulances have started operating at night as well as during the day, doubling their requirement for pilots
  • Police – it is a myth that all Police pilots are ex-military. More and more are being recruited from the civilian world
  • Search and Rescue – as the UK SAR service transfers totally to the private sector, more pilots are being recruited from the civilian sector
  • Oil – the North Sea oil industry employs a large number of pilots and, as oil exploration expands in the Irish Sea, there is plenty of demand for pilots – and most of these are civilian trained
  • Utilities – a large number of pilots are employed by companies conducting aerial surveys of, and maintaining, the UK’s gas pipeline and electricity networks, with an increasing number of pilots also being employed looking after the rapidly expanding wind turbine sector

It would be wrong to say that a CPL(H) qualification will guarantee you a job. You may not make your fortune in this industry. The situation may be different in a year or two’s time when you qualify. But it is fair to say that there is currently a good demand for helicopter pilots. Start that next step in your career – give Central Helicopters a ring and take that next step today!

Departing from Nottingham Heliport

Are you looking for a career that’s fun, exciting and challenging? Or perhaps you have an interest in aviation and want to learn a new skill? If you have a strong desire to fly and excellent hand-to-eye coordination then helicopter pilot training could be for you.

Why Learn to Fly a Helicopter?

There are many reasons that you may want to learn to fly a helicopter. Flying a helicopter professionally is incredibly interesting and rewarding. It’s a career that allows for an unusual, varied and exciting lifestyle. If you’re not interested in a change of career, learning to fly a helicopter can still be a rewarding challenge. Getting a helicopter licence is an amazing personal achievement and can provide a logical progression from getting a fixed-wing pilots licence. Whatever your reasons for learning to fly a helicopter, it’s sure to be an exciting and interesting journey.

Getting Started

There are a number of ways to get started with your helicopter training. If you’ve never been up in a helicopter before, a pleasure flight can be a great way to get a taste of what the experience of flying is like. Helicopter pleasure flights also make great gifts for people who are interested in pilot training. Central Helicopters offer pleasure flights in Nottingham, the Peak District, the Lake District, Blackpool and Yorkshire, starting at just £30.
To get a real taste of what it is like to fly a helicopter, why not take a trial lesson? They are a great way to get behind the controls of a helicopter, without committing to training for a licence. Trial lessons from Central Helicopters range from 15 to 60 minutes flying time, along with a pre-flight briefing and presentation of a certificate on completion. If, after your trial lesson, you decide that pilot training isn’t for you, nothing is lost and you’ve still experienced something incredible! If you wish to continue with training, your flying time in the trial lesson can count towards the requirements for the Private Pilot’s Licence (PPL(H)).

Which Licence?

With Central Helicopters, you can choose to train for your Private Pilot’s Licence (PPL(H)) or Commercial Pilot’s Licence (CPL(H)).

The PPL(H) is the logical progression from a helicopter trial lesson. Once you have this licence, you will be able to hire an aircraft and take your family and friends for flights, flying all over Britain and Ireland. In order to obtain a PPL(H), you will have to complete a minimum of 45 hours flight time (including 10 hours solo), then take a test with a CAA approved Flight Examiner.

If you would like a career flying helicopters, you will need to get your CPL(H). This is often the next step for people after they have achieved their PPL(H). In order to get your CPL(H), you must be over 18 and currently hold a PPL(H). You must also have completed at least 155 hours flying time in helicopters and have passed the CPL(H) theoretical knowledge exams. Training will consist of 30 hours dual flight instruction.

For many, the achievement of a Private Pilot’s Licence to be able to fly a helicopter is the achievement of a long held dream. Here at Central Helicopters we are delighted to help make dreams come true!

For some, the achievement of a PPL(H) is the first step on the ladder of a new career – a job with one of the best office window views! We can help with the next steps, all along the way.

Starting with self-fly hire, we can offer Robinson R22s and a Robinson R44 for hire as budding commercial pilots build the necessary hours and experience required before they start a commercial flight training course. As part of this journey we can also offer refresher training or training in more advanced flying techniques as skills are honed before the CPL(H) training starts – learning to fly the London Helilanes is always a great way to develop new skills whilst gaining those essential hours!

We can also offer Type Rating training – add a new helicopter type to your Pilot’s Licence, and it all counts towards the magic hours requirement.

Hour building is normally carried out at the same time as the ground school training required to pass the CAA’s CPL written exams. We don’t provide the training at Central, but we can point you in the direction of the people that do!

Armed with your exam passes and your flying hours, we offer the intensive CPL(H) flight training course required to gain that all important CPL(H) qualification and begin to earn a living as a commercial pilot. With our own dedicated heliport and comfortable, well-equipped briefing rooms (and a café to keep you sustained) we have all the facilities available to make your CPL(H) training as good as it can be.

Our commercial course is run by Capt. David Marsland who has risen through the ranks since completing his own initial PPL(H) with Central Helicopters back in 2004 and CPL(H) in 2006. He continued on and completed his instructor rating and has been running courses and flying commercially for us during the last 7 years amassing in excess of 4,000 hrs in the process.

We are also delighted that one of the most experienced instructors in the UK has now joined the Central team to offer the benefit of his knowledge and experience. Capt. Geoff Day is a welcome addition as he has successfully taught hundreds of students throughout the UK over the years.

With 14,800 hours of instructional flying under his belt, Geoff is one of the most experienced Flight Instructor Trainers in the country. Central Helicopters has gained CAA approval to offer Flight Instructor (Helicopter) training programmes from Nottingham Heliport. The FI(H) programme is a challenging, intensive programme designed to help develop the next generation of helicopter flight instructors. Our new briefing rooms and boardroom are ideal environments for the ground school and theory sessions and our purpose built site is ideal to train the practical skills required to be a successful instructor.

Call in to Nottingham Heliport or call 01664 823846 for a chat about our Type Rating, CPL(H) and FI(H) programmes – we look forward to seeing you soon!

During the height of the Second World War, RAF Bomber Command made it their priority to damage and destroy as much of Nazi Germany’s industry as possible (industry is after all the heart of any war effort). After in depth studies and many attacks on Germany’s industrial areas, the British soon realised that enemy factories were not just being rebuilt very quickly after they had been attacked, they also became dispersed over a far wider area, which made them more difficult to attack again.

Because of this, a plan was devised to cripple Germany’s Ruhr Valley, where dams provided hydro-electric power for the Third Reich’s industrial heartland. This plan came to be known as Operation Chastise and the courageous men of the RAF who were tasked with carrying it out became legends.

They were the Dambusters

The Dambusters Raid
On the night of 16th/17th May 1943, 19 specially modified Lancaster bombers of 617 Squadron took off from RAF Scampton to carry out Operation Chastise. The raid was notorious for using specially developed ‘bouncing bombs’ – invented by aircraft designer Barnes Wallis – which were designed to be dropped from a low altitude and skid along the surface of the water into the dams. These innovative weapons of war proved highly accurate, skimming across the river when dropped and exploding underwater to cause maximum damage to the dams.

Without doubt, the raid was an unmitigated success as it destroyed the output of hydro-electric power and curtailed armaments production in the Ruhr. Two power plants were also destroyed and the consequent flooding killed 1,600 people and destroyed acres of farmland. Wallis himself wrote: “I feel a blow has been struck at Germany from which she cannot recover for several years.”

This year marks the 70th anniversary of this most audacious and supremely well calculated of airborne missions.

Dambusters Helicopter Flights
If you have an interest in military history or are simply fascinated by the Dambusters story then you will surely have one of our Dambusters Helicopter Tours high on your ‘things to do’ list this year. Indeed, this amazing flight – which follows 617 Squadron’s training through the Derwent Valley in Derbyshire – really is a truly amazing experience.

Your mission, should you choose to accept it, will take you back down the famous route and over the twin dams. The 30-minute journey will take you back in time and show you what it was really like to fly over reservoirs and identify targets as a member of the legendary 617 squadron.

The Dambusters Helicopter Tour has got to be one of the most exciting of all our sightseeing experience days. Not only will you get to fly over some of the most beautiful countryside in England, you’ll also get a real insight into how the brave pilots of 617 Squadron trained for the greatest raid in the RAF’s history.

How’s that for a great day out!


OK, so we might not be able to fly you to the moon, but we can offer you the next best thing. Imagine soaring through the sky, getting a bird’s eye view of the town and cities below and watching the specks of cars and people moving around getting on with their daily lives. Now imagine all this but giving it as a present to someone for their birthday or Christmas. You’ll be the favourite friend or relative for sure!

Starting at just £39, helicopter pleasure flights are much more affordable that you may have originally thought. Departing from different locations, you or the recipient will be able to take in spectacular views of Nottingham, Preston, Yorkshire or the Peak District. Rising to a height of 1,000ft, and travelling at speeds of up to 100mph, you’ll be able to see for miles. You could even make it a family occasion as more than one person can enjoy the flight at once. We even offer a discount to bookings of more than one person which makes our helicopter flights a unique and exciting adventure.

Depending on how generous you’re feeling; you can opt for a 6-mile or 15-mile trip. These roughly equate to 5 minutes and 10 minutes respectively of flying time. Or if you fancy going all out, people choosing to fly from Nottingham can upgrade their flight to 30 minutes long for just £99. For this you’ll get the helicopter exclusively for your party and you can even choose places to fly over. Flying over your own home is always a popular choice!

If you’ve already caught the flying bug, and want to take it a step further, then why not try a lesson. Many people dream of learning how to fly, but often it is just a pipe dream with money being the main issue. However, it need not be expensive with trial lessons starting at just £99. For £99 you’ll get a classroom briefing then a chance to put what you’ve learned, into practice with 15 minutes in the air. Don’t panic though, our helicopters are dual-controlled so you’ll be in the safe hands of your instructor at all times. Perfect for those adrenaline junkies and people who love adventure, taster helicopter flying lessons will leave you craving more. Prices range from £99 to £949 depending on how long you actually want to fly for, and how in depth you want the lesson to be.

The R44 Helicopter Discovery Day will give you a full two hours in the air where you’ll learn practical skills of controls, navigation, and if you (and your passengers who can travel in the helicopter with you for free) are brave enough, you can even have a go at some emergency procedures.

Flying in a helicopter for pleasure to see the views, or learning to fly it, will give you a sense of freedom which is second to none. Soaring high above the ground, taking in awesome views and better still, getting to enjoy it with your loved ones, is certainly the perfect and unique gift for everyone.

Thumbs up for a great day out

Are you looking for a present with a difference? At Central Helicopters we offer helicopter pleasure flights. Established over ten years ago we offer quality helicopter flights and pride ourselves on our customer service and facilities. We are family owned and run. Unlike many helicopter companies we own all of our aircraft giving us greater control and flexibility.
Based at Nottingham Airport we offer a wide range of helicopter pleasure flights across a variety of different destinations around the UK. Here at Central Helicopters our pleasure flight destinations include Nottingham, the Peak District, the Lake District, Preston, Blackpool and Yorkshire. We offer a number of different flight packages from each destination. Our flight packages range from a six-mile introductory flight experience to extended flights of forty-five minutes including a tour of the local area. We also offer you the chance to enhance your flight experience by upgrading to a co-pilot seat.

Helicopter flights let you see a destination as never before. It might be your local area or somewhere new. Marvel at the scenery and see how many landmarks you can spot whilst flying. Our helicopter pleasure flights make a truly unique gift and are something the recipient will never forget. All of our flights include a pre-safety briefing where you will have the chance to ask any questions you may have.

At Central Helicopters as well as offering unforgettable pleasure flight packages we also offer helicopter flying lessons. We provide a number of flying lesson packages including introductory flights to suit all levels of interest and budgets. Our trial lesson vouchers make the ideal gift and come in a presentation card. All of our vouchers are valid fro twelve months and the recipient can choose when they want to book their flight. Our trial flying lessons make a special gift for all ages and are a truly unique present. At Central Helicopters our individual lessons start from fifteen minutes flight time and go up to sixty minutes. All of our flying lessons come with pre-flight briefing and a presentation certificate after your flight to remember the day. Our expert pilots are flexible and if there are any particular locations or sights you wish to see on your flight then let them know. With our helicopter flying lessons all flight time counts towards the Private Pilots Licence should you wish to pursue your flying career and qualify as a pilot.

Here at Central Helicopters we have a range of aircraft and use two different types of helicopter for our trial lessons. One is the Robinson R22, which is a two-seater aircraft designed specifically for one to one tuition. Alternatively we also offer lessons in our Robinson R44, which is a larger helicopter and seats up to four people. The two extra seats mean you can take friends or family members along for the ride!

We also provide charter helicopter flights ideal for business flights, corporate flying days and taking aerial photography. We can also charter flights to sporting events, arrive in style at the races.
Posted: 14/02/2013 14:23:44 by Sarah Harvey | with 0 comments

The Lake District has long proved a popular destination for visitors and it’s not hard to see why. This national park has natural beauty in abundance and it also boasts plenty of activities and attractions.

If you want to enjoy the magic of helicopter flights, this could be the place to do it. You’ll get to see this incredible landscape in a completely different way and get a new appreciation for its geography and scale.

Here at Central Helicopters we offer 15 and 30-minute flights featuring Lake Windermere and lots more.

Make the most of your trip

Particularly if you’re travelling from elsewhere around the UK to enjoy a helicopter tour like this, you may want to make the most of your trip and, to help you do this, it’s worth investigating the area by land as well as by air.

After you’ve touched down and had time to digest the wonders of your airborne adventure, you can try out a whole range of activities on terra firma.

What’s so special?

This part of Cumbria is a major tourist destination and in 2007 alone, over eight million people visited the national park to enjoy its rich cultural heritage and awe-inspiring landscapes. There are lots of reasons why individuals are drawn to the Lake District.

Some are tempted by the peace and quiet you can find in the rolling hills, forests and lakes, while others love the various outdoor pursuits on offer, including walking, mountain biking and of course watersports.

Also, the area is steeped in history and culture and visitors can experience attractions like the Wordsworth Museum and Dove Cottage, as well as Beatrix Potter’s house. For some more ancient history, there are stone circles and Roman forts to explore.

Some ideas

If you’re keen to get some ideas for activities while you’re in the area, you might want to take inspiration from Cumbria Tourism. It noted that in 2008, the most popular attractions included Windermere Lake Cruises, the Whinlatter Visitor Centre and Forest Park, the Grizedale Visitor Centre and Forest Park and the Theatre by the Lake Keswick.

Meanwhile, if you’re feeling adventurous, why not check out Go Ape Grizedale Forest?

The best for walks

Recently, the Lake District was voted ‘Best walking destination in Britain’ by members of the Ramblers’ Association. They concluded that walks in the national park were by far their favourite. It’s no wonder really when you consider that the park boasts 885 square miles and contains varied landscapes ranging from rugged mountains to rocky crags, high fells, peaceful valleys, impressive lakes and undulating hills.

Whatever level of fitness and experience you have, you should find walks that suit you perfectly.


The key to making the most of your visit to the Lake District is planning. As well as booking helicopter tours, you can make a list of other activities you’d like to do while you’re there. This way, you won’t have any regrets when you have to leave at the end of your stay.

No longer the exclusive the sole preserve of celebrities or the super-rich, chartered helicopter flights are becoming an increasingly used transport tool, giving those who travel this way confidence that they will arrive wherever they need to be on time, feeling refreshed and with a flying start on the day ahead, having travelled in privacy and comfort.
Just look at the benefits of travelling by helicopter: 
  • There is no wasted time sitting in traffic jams and no need to depend on a rail system which, as we all know, will sometimes let you down – and you can also spend a lot of time hanging around waiting for your connecting service if you’re doing a more complicated journey
  • A helicopter is the ideal mode of transport if you need to get to more than one location in a single day
  • There are no lengthy and potentially stressful check-in procedures at airports, so travel is a lot quicker and easier
  • Fit in more meetings and make the most of your time so that you maximise productivity
  • It helps you to open up new markets and maintain and provide the best possible service for current customers – you’ll be able to have more face to face meetings for example
  • A more cost-effective option than you may have realised
  • Travelling by helicopter allows you or your key personnel to return home the same day rather than staying away, reducing hotel bills but, more importantly, improving quality of life and the work/life balance
  • You can leave from a departure point near your home so won’t spend time travelling to an airport
Helicopter charters are also a really versatile way to fly, and you can use them for many different aspects of business travel – not just visiting different offices or other sites. Reasons you may want to charter a helicopter for business purposes include:
  • Corporate hospitality
  • Attending product launches, conferences and other gatherings
Perhaps unsurprisingly, London has become the focus of helicopter charter flights. But it’s possible to travel in this way in comfort and style across the UK – and beyond.

Flights from Central Helicopters

At Central Helicopters, we provide a wide range of services, including charters, pilot training and trial helicopter flying lessons, along with a wide range of pleasure flights, which start at very attractive prices.
With over a decade’s experience, we started out mainly as a flying school, but expanded from 2007 onwards under new ownership. Now family owned and run, and based in Nottingham, we offer our services across the UK and plan to continue to extend the services and facilities we offer in the years ahead.
And what really sets us apart from the competition is that we own rather than lease all our aircraft, and this gives us a lot of flexibility and control over what we do. At the same time, we have also obtained all our own training and public transport accreditations.
Check our website for the special offers we are adding all the time. Give us a call today – and get flying!
Posted: 12/01/2013 14:25:23 by Sarah Harvey | with 0 comments



It is that time of year again when we turn our minds towards the New Year resolutions that we plan to make for the year ahead.

Alas, the majority of us manage to fail miserably when it comes to keeping our resolutions, but that need not be the case so long as you make the right ones! Rather than trying to stick to unrealistic resolutions such as going for a five-mile run every single day, it makes more sense to create goals which are actually somewhat achievable. One of the resolutions that is becoming increasingly popular is to ensure that you do something new and exciting at least once a month every month.

As human beings it is easy to get stuck in a same old life cycle where you repeat everything on a day to day basis. However, it is important to have a little bit of excitement every now and then to help refresh your soul. There are many different things out there which you could try without having to break the bank. For example, if you head out into the countryside you can find a whole host of fun outdoors activities to try. From simple rambling to hard core gill scrambling, use 2013 to remind yourself of the fact that the world is your oyster.

However, if you want to start off your New Year’s resolution with a bang, why not consider booking places on some top quality helicopter rides. With prices starting from just £30 per person, helicopter pleasure flights may be more affordable than you first thought. We offer a number of different routes and locations for helicopter tours, and can offer you and your family a true glimpse of what it is like to live life as an A List star! One of our most popular pleasure flight routes covers the Preston and Blackpool area where you can explore the skies above some of the most recognisable landmarks and tourist spots in the country.

The booking processes for our flights could not be simpler! All flights are sold as a gift voucher which will stay valid for 12 months so that you can take your trip on a flight date to suit you. Any flights which are purchased online through our website will come with an open ended date and time. This means that you can book a flight time whenever you want after you have received your voucher and know your upcoming diary schedule. It is also useful for when you are buying a trip as a gift for somebody else!

2012 was a great year to be British but there is no reason why 2013 cannot be just as good or even better! Start living life on the wild side again and have as much fun as you can. Booking a flight on one of our helicopter ride tours will give you an experience which you shall never forget. Buy a ticket for a friend and you will talk about it for years to come!



Learn to fly

For such a small country, the UK has plenty of stunning areas for people to explore. For example, you might have a particular penchant for the Peak District. This national park certainly has lots to offer.

So far, you may have only seen the area from ground level on foot, by bike or in your car. By booking helicopter flights you can get a whole new perspective and you’re bound to notice things you’ve never seen before.

A special place

The Peak District was Britain’s first national park and so it is no wonder it holds such a special place in many people’s hearts. As well as attracting people from the local area and further afield in the UK, it also draws people in from around the world.

Its protected landscapes and wildlife help ensure it captivates visitors all year round.

Make a real trip of it

If you decide to book helicopter pleasure flights in this part of England, it’s well worth making a real trip of it. As well as taking to the skies and getting an exhilarating bird’s eye view of the national park, there are plenty of other activities for you indulge in.

For example, you might want to get walking, cycling, abseiling and even yachting. On the other hand, if you fancy something a little more relaxing, why not enjoy scrumptious meals out in the area’s top-class eateries?

There are also plenty of opportunities for sightseeing. From classic country houses and impressive gardens to pretty villages and Hollywood film locations, you won’t be stuck for choice.

The perfect gifts

At this time of year, you might be trying to come up with new and original ideas for gifts. After all, the festive season looms large and it can be tricky to think of exciting and different Christmas presents.

If the recipient you have in mind has an adventurous soul, helicopter trips might be ideal. They certainly beat bog standard offerings like fragrances and clothes. Aerial experiences like this can create memories that last a lifetime and regardless of your budget, you should be able to find something suitable.

Splashing out

If you really want to splash out on someone special, you could combine your Peak District helicopter rides with luxurious hotel breaks in the area. There’s no shortage of accommodation for you to choose from and you’re bound to blow your other half away with your generous gesture.

One option

Here at Central Helicopters we should be able to provide you with the perfect flights. For example, we offer Peak District/ Dambuster Flights. One highly popular tour lasts for around 15 minutes and takes in the spectacular scenery of the Peak District as well as Chatsworth House, which is one of the UK’s finest stately homes.

If you opt for this, you’ll depart from our private site opposite The Moorlands pub before heading south. Climbing up to 1,500 feet, you’ll get superb panoramic views across the park. For more details, just take a look around the relevant section of our website.