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Helicopter Lessons - Pilot Courses


Federal Aviation Regulations (FAR) Part 61 lists the requirements for the certification of pilots and flight instructors. It details the necessary eligibility requirements, flight experience, aeronautical knowledge and limitations for each of the available certifications and ratings. It also covers more general information, such as logging flight time, testing requirements and flight currency requirements.

FAR Part 141 outlines the regulations that govern FAA-approved training schools. This is where you will find the specific qualifications for personnel, aircraft and other facilities that the flight school uses. Students who train under Part 141 will follow a syllabus that has been tested and approved by the FAA to make sure that all the important aspects of flight training are covered. The selection of the training program will be based on which course will be the most advantageous to the student and his or her goals.

Private Pilot Certificate

The Private Pilot Certificate is for anyone who wants to fly for fun and recreation. You can take your family and friends for rides or just transport yourself from one location to the next. Many people also take this course to gain additional knowledge and experience for future ratings.

You begin the work for this certificate with instruction in the basic operations of the helicopter. Ground training and flight training are combined so you will be in the cockpit on day one. Your ground training will include topics such as airport and heliport operations, radio procedures, weather and navigation, while your hands-on training will focus on your first major goal of flying the helicopter solo.

You will also start to learn maneuvers like hovering and autorotations and how to operate safely from a tower-controlled airport. From there you will move on to more advanced lessons such as night flying and cross-country flying.

The final part of your private training involves sharpening the skills you have learned in preparation for the FAA’s practical examination (checkride). An FAA-designated examiner will conduct this test, and upon successful completion, you will receive your Private Pilot Certificate.

The minimum hour requirement for a Private Pilot Certificate is 35 hours of ground training and 35 hours of flight training. Most people complete their training in 50-60 hours. However, since every student learns at his or her own pace we cannot guarantee a specific timeframe for completion. We will not compromise your safety just to guarantee a minimum number of hours towards your certification.

Instrument Rating

An instrument rating is required for flying into adverse weather conditions. Our training is designed to give you the necessary skills to pilot your helicopter using only the instruments. Without this rating, you are only able to fly in fair weather conditions.

We begin the training with the basics. You will learn about attitude flying and move gradually to more advanced approach and landing procedures. We have a range of instrument training equipment that includes the Frasca TruFlite simulators and Robinson R22 and R44 instrument trainers.

Under Part 141 Instrument Rating, the FAA requires 35 hours of flight training and 30 hours of ground training.

Commercial Pilot Certificate

If you fly for hire, you will need to have a Commercial Pilot Certificate. These courses will take you beyond what you learned in the private pilot training and introduce you to many advanced maneuvers. You will start with ground training which includes advanced helicopter aerodynamics and the rules and regulations for operating a helicopter commercially. The emphasis in this stage of the training is placed on professionalism, helicopter power management, pinnacles, confined areas and using good judgment.

It is not uncommon for some students to include an Instrument Rating during commercial training in order to build up the number of required hours between their Private Pilot Certificate and their Commercial Pilot Certificate.

The FAA minimum required hours for a Part 141 Commercial Pilot Certificate is 30 hours of ground training and 115 of flight training. At least 20 of those hours must be completed with a flight instructor, but the actual amount of time spent on dual training will depend on the additional training modules you choose.

Certified Flight Instructor Rating/Certified Flight Instructor Instrument Rating

Flight instructor is often the first flying job a commercial pilot will have. A Certified Flight Instructor Rating (CFI) is required of anyone who wants to begin instructing other pilots. CFIs are responsible for all aspects of training students. Our CFI program will help you acquire the skills to provide helicopter flight lessons on the ground and in the air. The primary focus of our CFI program is to train you to be an effective educator, evaluator and motivator.

The Certified Flight Instructor Instrument Rating (CFII) is another option and a natural progression for students who have already achieved their Instrument Rating. This also gives you more valuable training and teaching experience.

The minimum FAA requirement for Part 141 CFI Rating is 40 hours of ground training and 25 hours of flight training. Generally, the flight time for the CFI is the difference between your flight time upon earning a Commercial Pilot Certificate and 200 hours of total time which are required for those who wish to instruct in a Robinson R22.

Airline Transport Pilot Certificate

The Airline Transport Pilot Certificate (ATP) is the highest level of aircraft pilot certification. Those certified as Airline Transport Pilots are authorized to pilot an aircraft in air carrier service with a max gross weight over 12,500 pounds or 5,700 kg and/or over nine passenger seats. To achieve an ATP, you must have at least 1,200 hours of flight time.

Specialized Training

There are a number of options for students who wish to expand their education and experience while completing their commercial pilot training. Some of these specialized lessons include:

  • External Load Course – We offer a major advantage over most schools because our charter department is very active in real-world external load operations. Whether we’re fighting fires with a water bucket or lifting an air conditioning unit to the top of a high-rise building, our pilots have the experience to help train our students. This course is offered in the Robinson R44 or the Bell JetRanger.
  • Mountain Flying Course – Flying in mountainous terrain can be a little daunting to new pilots, but this training program can give you the skills you need to navigate through this type of terrain safely. During your training, you will fly in the Cascade Range and the Oregon Coast Range so you can experience a wide variety of flight conditions and learn how to handle these situations.
  • Turbine Transition Course – This is the course for students who want to build experience and improve their skills in turbine helicopters. We do this training in the Bell JetRangers, and all our instructors have completed the Bell Helicopter factory safety course. They have thousands of hours of real-world turbine experience and will instruct you on turbine theory, power management, operational considerations and care of the aircraft.
  • Extended Cross Countries – Our helicopters are often available for extended cross-countries for time-building purposes or just long scenic trips. Students have taken our helicopters to San Francisco, Los Angeles, Reno and Las Vegas.

 Contact us today to learn more about our helicopter flight training program.