If you enjoy flying and would like to become a pilot then you might want to consider becoming a helicopter pilot. To do this, you will have to become a student in a school that has the helicopter courses. Once you have completed the training then you can apply for your helicopter pilot’s license.

Helicopters are rotary-wing aircraft capable of taking off and landing in tight, enclosed spaces such as hospital helipads, small fields and airport tarmacs. To learn to fly a helicopter, you must earn a Federal Aviation Administration private pilot helicopter license. Also, you have to complete a minimum of 30 hours of training flights, undergo ground training and take the FAA’s written and practical examinations.

How to get a helicopter license and what you need to know about it? Don’t worry, we have gathered all the info in this article.

Helicopter Pilot License Requirements

Like most aviation-related licenses, you will need to work hard and fulfill specific requirements to earn the privilege of flying your own helicopter.

According to the current Federal Aviation Agency Regulations, you must:

  • Be 17 years old or older
  • Have full proficiency in English
  • Earn endorsement from an official flight instructor before you can take the written-knowledge test
  • Pass the written-knowledge exam
  • Receive approval from a flight instructor certifying that they gave you all the required training you need before you can take the final practical test.
  • Satisfy the required amount of flying time and training conditions to prove that you have enough aeronautical experience.
  • Pass the final check-ride exam
  • Receive medical clearance so that you may hold a valid student-pilot certificate
  • Satisfy all the latest Federal Aviation Regulations for helicopter operations.

Helicopter Pilot License

There are several license levels, and each one has a different set of minimum flight-time requirements. You must satisfy the FAA guidelines of 40 hours of flight time, which includes 20 hours of dual instruction, plus 10 hours of solo-flight time to earn your private license. However, you may need more flight time depending on your skill level.Getting your pilot certificate is the first step to take before you can earn any other certifications.

Types of Helicopter Pilot License And Cost

There are quite a few licenses that a helicopter pilot can acquire. It mostly depends on what your plans are after you go through school. You may want to for a recreational or commercial purpose.

Here is a list of helicopter pilot licenses:

1. Private Pilot License

The Private Pilot Licence – Helicopters(PPL-H) gives you the right to fly helicopters for private use only. You are not allowed to start up any commercial activities, such as the transportation of people or sightseeing tours.

FAA Minimum Requirements:

  • Obtain a Third Class Medical Certificate
  • Pass an FAA Written Examination
  • Obtain a minimum of:

40 hours flight time
30 hours dual instruction,
10 hours solo

  • Pass FAA Practical test

2. Commercial Pilot License

The Commercial Pilot Licence – Helicopter (CPL-H) gives you the right to act as a pilot on a commercial basis. For instance, flying sightseeing tours or carrying out photo / film flights. Basically at this point in your training, you will be able to accept payment for your services. The training, exams, and medical involved are all based on a higher quality standard. The CPL-H program is undertaken after the PPL-H program.

FAA Minimum Requirements:

  • Must first obtain or hold an FAA Private Pilot Certificate
  • Obtain a second class medical certificate
  • Pass an FAA written examination
  • Obtain a Minimum of:

    150 hours flight time
    50 hours dual instruction,
    100 hours Pilot in Command
  • Pass FAA Practical Test

The Private and Commercial licenses (or certificates) are the main two that you will acquire at a helicopter flight school. There are others such as: Instrument Rating, Certified Flight Instructor (CFI) and the Certified Flight Instructor Instrument (CFII); However these are not necessarily certificates in the way we think of them. They are more like a motorcycle license. Your main license is your driver’s license, and the motorcycle is an add-on.

Helicopter Pilot Training Cost

These numbers will fluctuate depending upon where you are, which flight school you attend, your ability, and the helicopter model that you train with.

Private Helicopter License Cost

This training costs $200 per hour for flight time with an instructor, and $150 to $175 per hour for solo-flying time. Training on the ground costs $30 to $40 per hour. The national average price to earn your private helicopter pilot license is $10,000 to $15,000 overall.

Commercial Helicopter License Cost

After you get your private helicopter pilot license, then you need to spend an additional $18,000 to $20,000 to earn the training and hours required for a commercial license. You also need 150 total flight hours at least with a minimum of 100 hours being the “pilot in command,” also known as “PIC” hours.

Certified Flight Instructor Rating

In terms of getting a job with your helicopter license, it is a great idea to get your flight-instructor rating. You only need about 200 hours of solo-flight experience to become a certified flight instructor.

Most other high-paying helicopter-pilot jobs generally require between 500 to 1000 hours of solo-flight experience. Your time spent training others to fly allows you to receive a paycheck while also earning hours toward a better helicopter-pilot job.

It also helps to increase your skill set while also building up your hours by getting your instrument rating. It is an additional expense, but you save time. That is because the hours you spend in your instrument-training courses can also count toward getting either your private or commercial pilot license.

Plus, this extra training makes it easier to get a job later after you become a certified flight-instrument instructor, or “CFII.”


Getting your helicopter pilot license is no little accomplishment. It opens up many new job opportunities. You can start your own business for tourists and aerial photographers with a private rotorcraft license. You can also work in commercially for an emergency-rescue service or other well-established companies in aviation. Overall, the experience of flying a helicopter is exciting and rewarding.

You can begin your helicopter licence today. We offer a special introductory helicopter training flight, so that you can try helicopter flying (hands-on) with no obligation. You must be 16 years old to fly the helicopter solo (by yourself), 17 to get a Helicopter Private Pilot’s Licence (PPL) and 18 years old to get a Commercial Pilot’s Licence (CPL). Visit our website and get started.