Helicopter Pilot Training - Private Pilot Licence
Scotia Helicopters are licensed and approved by the Civil Aviation Authority to provide helicopter pilot training. The course leading to the award of a Private Pilot Licence - PPL(H) - consists of flight and ground instruction designed so that the pilot under tuition is given the experience, the flying competence and the knowledge of aviation technical matters necessary to pass the flight test and ground examinations to the standard required by the CAA in accordance with the European Joint Aviation Authority (JAA) directives.
It is strongly recommended that if you are thinking of taking up helicopter flying that you first of all take a trial flight, which will give hands on experience at flying the helicopter and let you appreciate what is involved. This time counts towards gaining your licence.
The minimum flying experience required to qualify for the issue of a PPL(H) is 45 hours of which 10 hours are solo flight. For the holder of an existing PPL(A) the minimum helicopter flight time is 39 hours. The student must pass a flying test, a practical radio test and written ground examinations in seven subjects:
In addition, a level of fitness is required in order to pass a Class 2 CAA Medical Examination.
- Air Law and Operational Procedures
- Aircraft General Knowledge and Principles of Flight
- Flight Performance and Planning
- Navigation and Radio Aids
- Human Performance and Limitations
- Radio Telephony
Click here for a list of CAA Authorised Medical Examiners in Scotland
Although the minimum flight time required by the CAA is 45 hours, the majority of students will need slightly more to reach the necessary standard. Whilst it is perfectly possible to complete the course in the minimum period, you should expect that it may take you longer.
The flight and ground instruction is integrated throughout the course and although the ground subjects may at first seem daunting, with instruction and guidance, together with self study, the examinations will present no great obstacle. They are set by the CAA but administered and marked here at the school. They consist of multiple choice questions and although quite straightforward, will require an amount of your time and application.
At the start of your course, you are allocated your main instructor, who will be responsible for ensuring that all items within the training syllabus are covered. The instruction is always provided on a 'one-to-one' basis but during the course you may occasionally fly with other instructors.
Our objective is that you should graduate as a safe, knowledgeable and competent pilot, ready to continue learning whilst gaining flight experience. It is true that you really start to learn to fly after you have obtained your Private Pilot Licence. There is a large amount to absorb and learn during the course of your training and we will expect a great deal of effort from you.
The full PPL(H) syllabus is set out in the Scotia Helicopters study guide but, we cannot pour the knowledge into you, so the more work, study and mental preparation that you do, the more you will understand. You will be rewarded though - the feeling of satisfaction and achievement of mastering a helicopter is well worth the effort.
Flying lessons are scheduled into blocks of approximately two hours, of which one hour will be spent in the helicopter. The remainder of the time will be taken up with pre and post flight discussions and the pre-flight check of the aircraft itself. Please note that the quoted cost per hour is for flying time only - the pre and post flight discussions are included at no extra cost.
All flying is subject to the weather conditions. If it is unsuitable for flying we will attempt to contact you - or if you have any doubts, please contact us. Surprising as it may seem, we are not affected by the weather too often and helicopter flying is less affected by poor weather than fixed wing aircraft. In addition, the changeable and sometimes inclement weather for which Scotland is renowned is a bonus for a student pilot allowing him or her to experience controlling the machine in various conditions. However, if it is
not flyable there is always ground study which needs to be done.
For recording purposes, details of your flights are recorded in the aircraft technical log and in your student file. Flight times recorded are those registered on the aircraft Datcon hour meter and are rounded up to hours and tenths of an hour. It is this time that is recorded in your logbook and is used as the basis for charging.
Gaining your Private Pilot Licence is the first step to becoming a helicopter pilot whether for pleasure or as a new career. Further flying training is always recommended in order to improve basic skills and to learn advanced skills especially before your annual licence proficiency check. Helicopter flying is statistically one of the safest forms of transport and we aim to ensure that our pilots remain safe and competent with regular flight training. If you are considering a career as a helicopter pilot visit our Pilot Resource area for information on the Commercial Pilot Licence qualification and a wealth of other useful material.