Have you always liked the idea of becoming a pilot? Slipping on the aviator shades, firing up the engines, and flying to whichever location takes your fancy? Well, here are five reasons why we think flying a helicopter is the best job in the world.
<h3>1. Because helicopters are very cool… do you remember the 80s?</h3>
OK, so perhaps it’s not quite Top Gun and a speeding F16 fighter jet, but helicopters and flying one has always had qudos, especially, for kids growing up in the 80s. They were the stars of TV shows such as AirWolf and Blue Thunder, and this glamour and exclusivity has continued with the increase of celebrity pilots such as film star Brad Pitt, whose ex Angelina Jolie bought him one to fly around.
<h3>2. Because you’ll be flying machines that cost more than palaces</h3>
There are all sorts of different helicopters manufactured these days. From light training aircraft, to attack helicopters, to high-end luxury, one thing is for sure, they are expensive… very expensive. From the AgustaWestland AW609 with a price tag of $14 million that cruises at a speed of 300 mph – that is around double the speed of a normal helicopter – to the giant Airbus H225 Super Puma that will set you back a cool $27 million. For that, you could well find yourself flying an 11-tonne beast, that can transport up to 20 passengers at any one time.
<h3>3. Because pilots fly in the most beautiful places on Earth</h3>
Do you ever catch yourself gazing out of the office window at the beautiful view? No, me neither, probably because there isn’t one. The same can’t be said for helicopter pilots whose view is pretty good, to say the least. Whether it is flying above the New York skyline, over active volcanoes in Hawaii, or taking in the Grand Canyon in Arizona, helicopter pilots work on a daily basis in the most spectacular location on Earth.
<h3>4. Because it’s not a plane.. it takes real skill</h3>
Flying an aeroplane is a bit like playing elaborate video games – you push a few buttons and it flies itself – whereas helicopters are much more delicate and potentially volatile. This requires a pilot to have precise mental and physical co-ordination. Only the best pilots fly helicopters.
Whether you are flying a group of excited tourists on a day-trip, navigating a storm while trying to land on an off-shore oil rig, or working as a test pilot, the job is unlikely to ever become boring. And, you never know, you might just land a job flying in one of those glamorous locations.
<h3>5. The pay is not bad either</h3>
While the starting salary (around £24-000-30,000) won’t exactly change your life, and you’ll have to hold off ordering your own AgustaWestland AW609, once a pilot is established, payback can come quickly. Starting salaries in the North Sea, where recruits are in demand to service oil and gas rigs, are around £45,000, and can rise to £100,000 at senior level.
Learn more about helicopter training with Central Helicopters. Talk to our friendly team on 01664 823 846.
We’ve all been there. After finishing off the year with a large slice of over-indulgence, we feel it’s time to get back on the scales, swap something sparkling for a smoothie, dust off your gym membership card, and start making some
real life-changing resolutions.
Fastforward to six weeks later, and our best-laid plans are in tatters. Those good intentions get overtaken by day-to-day events, lose their appeal, or are just simply too soul destroyingly boring to tolerate any longer.
Now, how about making a resolution that you’ll actually stick to? One that really grabs you, fills you with excitement, plays to your sense of adventure, represents a challenge, tests all your skill, and ultimately changes your life forever. We think we’ve got just the thing… make 2017 the year you learn to fly a helicopter.
If that sounds appealing, then there’s no better place to learn than at our Nottingham-based HQ, where we teach CAA-authorised PPL, LAPL, CPL and FI courses, at our modern, purpose-built flight training centre in Widmerpool.
Whether you like the idea of building a career in aviation, or are simply flying recreationally for the sheer joy of it, learning to fly is probably one of the most rewarding challenges you’ll ever undertake. Central Helicopters can take you as far as you want to go – we have got all levels of helicopter training covered.
The lowdown on licences…
If you’ve never flown before, then our trial lessons are the perfect place to start. You’ll have a safety briefing with one of our expert pilots, before climbing aboard one of our dual-controlled training helicopters to fly yourself. Get ready for an unforgettable experience, and prepare to catch the flying bug!
If you have already experienced a trial lesson and the thrill of piloting a helicopter by yourself, then why not take the next step and obtain your own licence by training for the Private Pilot’s Licence PPL(H)? This will allow you to fly throughout Britain, and even Europe. You will be able to hire aircraft from us and other operators, and even take your family and friends along for the ride.
Another popular pilot licence is the Light Aircraft Pilot’s Licence LAPL(H), the requirements of which are not as demanding as the PPL(H). With a less stringent medical requirement (a “Part-Med”), this licence is valid within the EU for helicopters of less than 2,000 kg maximum take-off weight and carrying no more than three passengers.
For those of you who have dreamed of making a living from flying a helicopter, then this is the licence you’ll need.
The CPL(H) is required if you want to become a fully-fledged commercial pilot. The opportunities to fly commercially are varied, and include flying off-shore into oil rigs, to working for a helicopter tours company, to working as a flight instructor.
Becoming a flight instructor is one of the most rewarding challenges as a helicopter pilot. The training course leading to achieving the coveted Flight Instructor’s Certificate (FIC) is an intensive programme designed to develop the pilot’s flying skills, give a thorough understanding of all aspects of helicopter flight theory, as well as build presentation and teaching skills.
Why Central Helicopters?
Our family-owned helicopter tour and flight training company has been successfully training the next generation of pilots for a number of years, with one of their lead pilots, David Marsland, one such success story.
David, who has progressed through the various stages of flight training with Central Helicopters, including the FI licence, will be overseeing the 2017 training programme.
He said: “We are proud of our high success rates for newly-qualified pilots, which is based on giving more personalised training to smaller numbers of students.
“Students fly in our Robinson R22 and R44 helicopters from our our recently developed heliport, which includes our state-of-the-art training centre.”
However far you wish to pursue helicopter training, make learning to fly your 2017 resolution.
To learn more in the coming months about what’s involved in our helicopter training, and for expert advice from our instructor David Marsland, keep your eyes peeled to our blog.
Find out more, or call 01664 823 846.
There is an alternative available to the Private Pilot’s Licence if all you want to do is fly smaller helicopters and do not have any thoughts about progressing to larger machines or earning a living as a pilot. The Light Aircraft Pilot’s Licence for helicopters (LAPL(H)) is designed for those who do not want to undertake a full PPL programme, and is also suitable for those who would like to fly who do not quite meet the medical requirements of a PPL.
The medical examination for an LAPL candidate is not quite as rigorous as the Class 2 medical needed for a full Private Pilot’s Licence. If you think that you might not be awarded a Class 2 Medical Certificate, don’t despair – you may still be able to fly! Have a chat with the Operations team at Central Helicopters for guidance – and don’t forget that we have an Aviation Medical Examiner visiting regularly, so advice is available.
The training programme for an LAPL(H) is slightly shorter than the PPL programme. You will need a minimum of 40 hours flight training, of which at least 35 must be on the helicopter type you take your Skills Test on. You can, therefore, do the bulk of your training on the Robinson R22 and give the R44 a try during the programme, which will stand you in good stead if you decide to do a type rating later on. At least 30 hours of the training must be dual (i.e. with an instructor) and at least 10 hours must be solo, including 5 hours of solo navigation training including an 80 Nautical Mile navigation exercise. You will still need to pass nine ground school exams. With the lower flight hours requirement, and the reduced medical requirements, there are limitations to the privileges on the licence. You can only fly EASA helicopters registered in the EU of less than 2,000 Kg Maximum Take Off Weight. You can only fly with a maximum of three passengers (plus pilot), so you would be limited to the R22 and R44 – or an aircraft like a Jet Ranger if there were never more than three passengers on board. You cannot be paid for any flying on an LAPL, so if you ever wanted to become a flight instructor or commercial pilot you would need to upgrade your medical certificate and undertake additional training to qualify for your PPL, CPL or FI licences. Central Helicopters are authorised to offer LAPL, PPL, CPL and Flight Instructor training. For advice on which is the best licence for your needs and aspirations please call 01664 823846 or pop in to see us for a chat. We will be more than happy to talk things through with you, without any obligation.