Transport & Logistics

Helicopter Pilot

Helicopter pilots fly single- and multi-engined helicopters for business, leisure or emergency response purposes.

  • Entry-level education

    Private training course

  • Job outlook

    1 2 3 4 5

What does a Helicopter Pilot do?

Helicopter pilots fly single- and multi-engined helicopters for business, leisure or emergency response purposes.

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Work activities

Helicopter pilots work in a wide range of areas. For example, you might transfer oil rig workers to an offshore platform, ferry business clients between cities as part of a charter service, fly tourists in and out of remote locations, or be employed with a helicopter rescue service.

Your pre-flight responsibilities would include:

  • checking weather conditions and airspace restrictions along your planned route
  • filing flight plans with authorities
  • working out fuel requirements and maximum loads
  • checking the helicopter's equipment and instruments
  • carrying out safety checks
  • gaining clearance from air traffic control to take off.

During the flight, you would:

  • use a range of instruments to navigate, control height and speed
  • communicate with air traffic controllers.

After landing, you would complete all post-flight paperwork before preparing for the next flight.

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Key skills and interests

To become a helicopter pilot, you would need:

  • excellent hand-to-eye co-ordination and spatial awareness
  • the ability to take responsibility for the helicopter, crew and passengers
  • good concentration skills
  • the ability to remain calm in a crisis and act decisively
  • clear written and spoken communication skills.
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Working hours and conditions

Working Hours

Your working hours would be linked to flight destinations, and could include nights, weekends and public holidays. Working hours are strictly regulated for safety reasons.

Helicopter pilots often fly in remote locations which may entail nights away from home.

Conditions

You may work alone or as a captain and co-pilot team on a larger helicopter.

Most of your time would be spent in the helicopter's cockpit, where conditions can be cramped and noisy. If you work as an offshore helicopter pilot, you may also need to wear a survival suit.

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How to become an Helicopter Pilot?

Entry Level Education

To become a helicopter pilot you have to complete a number of licences involving practical and theoretical training. The practical component is undertaken with a qualified pilot or instructor, with flight training available from private flight training schools.

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Job outlook

  • 1 2 3 4 5

Employment of commercial pilots is projected to grow about as fast as the average for all occupations.

Commercial pilots are projected to add jobs in various industries, including ambulance services and support activities for air transportation.

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