How I may help
LinkedIn Profile Email me!
Call me using Skype client on your machine

Reload this page Learning to Fly Helicopters

Here are my notes on becoming a Helicopter Pilot.

There are several levels of certification:

  1. To fly solo,
    get a Recreational or Private Pilot Certificate.
  2. To fly at night or in bad weather,
    get an Instrument Certificate.
  3. To fly a passenger,
    get a Commercial Pilot license.
  4. To train other pilots,
    become a Certified Flight Instructor (CFI).

Topics this page:

  • Why?
  • Steps
  • Hours & Costs
  • Schools
  • Books
  • Supplies
  • Resources
  • Helo Manufacturers
  • Your comments??
  • webpage article How Helicopters Work


    Site Map List all pages on this site 
    About this site About this site 
    Go to first topic Go to Bottom of this page

    play au sound file Sound: Helicopter flyby (Stereo effect)

    Set screen Why?

      Moms say:

    • “You'll get yourself killed!”
    • “It's too expensive!”
    • “It's too difficult - like juggling while riding a unicycle!”
    • “It's too noisy!” (OSHA's maximum exposure of a helicopter's 105 decible sound is 1 hour)

    But I say:

    • “It beats just playing video games.”
    • “I would be one of very few people in the world.”
    • “It impresses women (and men too).”
    • “It impresses college admissions boards because it demonostrates skill and persistance.”
    • “Pilots who are drafted go in as officers.”
    • Propeller and jet aircraft are louder (120 dB and 140 dB - the Threashold for pain).

    Uses for helicopters and its pilots

    • Airline and corporate transportation
    • Fire fighting
    • Medical evac.
    • Law enforcement
    • Traffic reporting
    • Aerial photography
    • Scenic tours
    • Flight instruction
    • Pipeline patrol
    • Crop dusting
    • Combat!

    Go to Top of this page.
    Next topic this page

    Set screen Steps to an Initial Private Pilot License

      Here are the activities and milestones to become a pilot:

    1. Research websites, schools, costs to develop a Checklist of Questions.
    2. Get a picture taken with me in the pilot's seat (at the Aerospace Museum)
    3. Read $15 Intro Helicopter Flying Lesson for what a prospective student experiences on a first flying lesson in a helicopter (64 Pages)
    4. Interview prospective school management, instructors, and students.
    5. Take demo flight with selected instructor

    6. Plan Ground School Schedules
    7. Order Ground School books and supplies such as FAA A-141 syllabus.
    8. Attend Ground School and take dual lessons. Learn maneuvers to safely takeoff and land. Identify airspace requiring communication with air traffic control. Learn the flight characteristics and operational limitations of the make and model aircraft to be flown. Take Robinson R22 Training CD-ROM ($US 72.95)
    9. Study and pass pre-solo written test.
    10. Get third-class medical certificate from an FAA approved physician
    11. Get solo endorsement from instructor
    12. First solo (on someone's 16th birthday?)

    13. First solo cross-country flight!
    14. 10 solo hours flown!
    15. Get instructor to sign FAA Form 8060-7, Airman's Authorization for Written Test.

    16. Study for and pass the Recreational & Private Pilot FAA Helicopter Knowledge Exams
    17. Review the airman computer test report with instructor to get his/her endorsement.
    18. Get a Certificate of Graduation from the school.
    19. Take a practical test with an aircraft and it's papers. (on someone's 17th birthday?)
    20. Fly with a temporary pilot certificate!
    21. Frame the permanent pilot certificate!

    • FAR Part 61.96, 61.97, 61.101 - a Recreational Pilot Certificate holder is restricted to to flying in daylight no more than 50 nautical miles from the airport where instruction was received and cannot operate in airspace requiring communications with air traffic control (ATC).

    • FAR Part 61.105, 61.107 - a Private Pilot Certificate holder

    • FAR Part 91 - VFR

    • FAA Practical Test Standards S-8081-HC

    • Phillip Greenspun's Helicopter Training notes

    Go to Top of this page.
    Next topic this page

    Set screen Instrument Rating


    Avionics/instruments (from King and Garmin) for the R44 IFR Trainer include:
  • Artificial Horizon,
  • Turn Coordinator,
  • Horizontal Situation Indicator (HSI),
  • Combined color GPS/COM/VOR/LOC/GS,
  • Transponder,
  • Marker Beacon,
  • Digital Clock.
  • Optional DME or ADF

  • Go to Top of this page.
    Next topic this page

    Set screen Radio Controlled Helicopters


    Types of flying:

    Mountain, External Load, Rescue, Fire Fighting, Instrument

    Helicopter Movie Classic

    Blue Thunder (1983) This film features a LAPD helicopter -- a 1972 French Gazelle modified with snooping gadgets and trick weapons -- in aerial chases between skyscrapers. Pilot Roy Scheider avenges comical copliot Daniel Sterns by going against army general Malcolm McDowell's evil but absurd plot.

    Go to Top of this page.
    Next topic this page

    Set screen Costs

      Item FAA Min.
      $ Rate
      Per Hour
      USD$ Total
      Dual lessons 25 45 $185 8,325 11,400
      Solo flights 10 10 $150 1,500
      Ground school 35 45 $35 1,575
      IFR Dual 35 40 $222 8,880 10,280
      Ground 30 40 $35 1,400


    Additional costs:
  • $200 - $700 for Headsets for use in helicopters - with U-174/U plugs that are different from fixed wing craft. They have Electronic Noise Cancellation (ENC). The David Clark brand costs nearly $700 from the Aircraft Spruce and Specialty catalog. or
  • $300 - FAA practical exam
  • $80 - FAA written exam
  • $100 - books and supplies
  • $75 Third Class Medical exam Certificate

  • Go to Top of this page.
    Next topic this page

    Set screen FAA Part 141 Approved Schools


    Questions for each School

  • Years in operation
  • Under whose ownership?
  • Background of pilots
  • Aircraft types
  • Additional audiovisual aids or programmed instruction materials to supplement classroom instruction.
  • Home-study materials
  • Supplemental readings on the state of the art

    TV Series

    Blue Thunder with James Farentino and Dana Carvey.

  • Go to Top of this page.
    Next topic this page

    Set screen English Language Books

    Go to Top of this page.
    Next topic this page

    Set screen Supplies

    • Aeronautical Chart of your area
    • E6 B Flight Computer
    • Navigation Plotter

    • Helicopter Student Flight Record
      to record student stage checks passed, lesson content, lesson performance, flight hours, instructor notes and endorsements, solo endorsements, aircraft checkout records, etc. Required for Part 61 and Part 141 program requirements.

    • SP 30 or SP 57 Deluxe Helicopter Log Book
    • Robinson R22 Pilots Information Manual and
    • Rotocraft Check List
      Before Starting Engine, Starting Engine, Shut Down. Operating Limitations

    • $45 Robinson R22 Pilots Guide (Operating Handbook)

    • Learning to Fly Helicopters

    • MA-1 military Flight jacket from Alpha Industries

    Go to Top of this page.
    Next topic this page

    Set screen Resources - Websites

    Go to Top of this page.
    Next topic this page

    Set screen Rotocraft Manufacturers

    • Robinson Helicopters have 131 horsepower. A $170,000+ R-22 seats 2. A $310,000+ R-44 seats 4.
    • Bell Textron makes Jet Rangers.
    • MD Helicopters in Arizona feature the NOTAR®) anti-torque system for operator benefits that include increased quiet, safety, reduced insurance rates and the ability to fly in areas that are off limits to other rotorcraft.
    • Schweizer
    • Sikorsky (HQ in Stratford) makes Black Hawks for the Army and National Guard, Seahawks for the Navy, Pave Hawks for the Air Force. It's working on the U.S. Army RAH-66 Comanche stealth copter.
    • Aerospatiale France
    • Westland Helicopters UK

      webpage article Helicopters is issued quarterly.


    The White House helicopter -- a Sikorsky VH-3D (Sea King) -- is called “Marine One” (under the Marine Commandant) only when the President is on board.

    Go to Top of this page.
    Next topic this page

    Portions ©Copyright 1996-2010 Wilson Mar. All rights reserved. | Privacy Policy |

    How I may help

    Send a message with your email client program

    Your rating of this page:
    Low High

    Your first name:

    Your family name:

    Your location (city, country):

    Your Email address: 

      Top of Page Go to top of page

    Thank you!