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How to become a Commercial Helicopter Pilot

Updated: May 23, 2023

Flying a helicopter is an exciting and awarding job. No wonder many young and old dream of becoming a helicopter pilot.

You have the best office in the world, amazing views and there's never a dull moment. You can fly recreation, for your country, state or county or you can save someone's life. The possibilities and job titles are endless,. We included a list of HELICOPTER PILOT JOBS at the end.


Flying a helicopter commercially (for remuneration) you will need a CPL (Commercial Pilot License), Here is a basic overview of what you will need.


Be 18 years old to get a Commercial Pilot License.

Write and Speak fluent English

Pass a FAA class 2 medical (or ICAO approved medical if in other countries)

If you meet the basic criteria then you can start your training.

Start by joining a good Aviation Ground School or enroll in an Aviation degree program.


In Ground School you will learn about the following and more

Helicopter and Aviation systems


History of aviation

Flying procedures

Aerodynamics and the principles of flight

Air law and regulations


Emergency procedures

When you are finished with Ground School or have completed your degree, and passed all the required examinations, you can start accruing those all important flying hours and work your way towards a commercial helicopter pilots’ license


You will need a total of 150 flight hours (50 of which must be in a helicopter)

A minimum of 100 hours must be pilot in command (PIC) time.

20 hours must be training time.

5 hours must be flown using instruments only.

A minimum of 10 hours must be completed solo

Once you have all your required hours, you will need to put your skills to the test. You will do a practical skills test takes place with an examiner.

If you pass your practical test, the examiner will signs you off.

Now you can apply for your Commercial Pilot License.

Your new Commercial Pilot License will allow you to apply for a big variety of helicopter pilot jobs.

These jobs include but are not limited to the following.

Search and Rescue

Fire Fighting

Emergency Services (HAA, HEMS)

Off Shore Oil Support

External Load Operators

Tour Pilot, VIP Transport



Aerial photography and video

Electronic News Gathering (ENG)


Forestry, Surveying, Mapping, Spraying, Game counting

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