How Much Does It Cost to Become a Helicopter Pilot?

How Much Does It Cost to Become a Helicopter Pilot?

As a helicopter pilot, you have the unique opportunity to soar through the skies and see the world from a completely different perspective. The thrill of flying, coupled with the potential to make a great salary, has made becoming a pilot an attractive choice for many. But before you can take to the skies, you’ll need to invest in the right training.

In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the costs associated with becoming a helicopter pilot. We’ll examine the cost of training, licensing fees, and other related expenses. So, let’s dive right in.

The Cost of Training at a Flight School

helicopter flight training cost

Before you can become a helicopter pilot, you’ll need to invest in the right FAA-approved flight training. The cost of training varies depending on the type of license you want to obtain.

Private Helicopter Pilot Training

The first license you will need is a private pilot’s license, which allows you to fly for personal use. To qualify for this license, you’ll need:

  • To be at least 17 years old.
  • Have at least 40 hours of total flight time.
  • At least 20 hours of flight training.
  • At least 10 hours of solo flight time.

The cost of obtaining a private pilot’s license at a flight school is $600 per hour or ranging from $24,000 to $30,000 for a total of 40-50 flight hours. This will cover ground school classes and flight time with an instructor. However, the cost of flight school can be higher if you require additional training.

Commercial Helicopter Pilot Training

If you want to become a helicopter pilot for hire, then you’ll need to obtain a commercial pilot’s license. To be eligible for a commercial license, you’ll need to fulfill the following requirements:

  • Be at least 18 years old.
  • Hold a private helicopter license.
  • Have at least 150 hours of total flight time.
  • At least 100 hours of total flight time in powered aircraft.
  • At least 50 hours in helicopters.
  • At least 100 hours of pilot in command time.
  • At least 35 hours of pilot-in-command time in a helicopter.
  • At least 10 hours of pilot-in-command in cross-country flight in a helicopter.
  • At least 20 hours of flight training.
  • At least 10 hours of solo flight time.

Due to the extensive training required to become a commercial pilot, you can expect the cost of flight training to be higher. Typically it will cost around $95,000 for at least 150 hours of logged flight time or more. So, expect to pay a bit more, as there are additional fees that must be taken into consideration, such as aircraft rental fees, written exams, and medical check-ups. All of these can add up quickly due to the high cost associated with aviation safety standards. Additionally, applicants may need to complete a flight instructor rating before they can apply for their commercial license.

How Long Does It Take to Become a Helicopter Pilot?

how long become helicopter pilot

The length of time it takes to become a helicopter pilot can vary depending on your availability and how often you can train. For a private pilot’s license, the FAA requires a minimum of 40 hours of flight time. Some students can complete their training in as little as two to three months, while others may take up to a year to complete their training.

For a commercial pilot’s license, the FAA requires a minimum of 150 hours of flight time. Depending on your training schedule, it can take anywhere from six months to a year or more to complete your training.

Additional Cost Considerations for Becoming a Helicopter Pilot

In addition to the cost of flight training, there are several other expenses that you’ll need to consider when becoming a helicopter pilot. These include:

FAA Airman Knowledge Test

Before receiving a helicopter pilot’s license, you’ll need to pass the FAA Airman Knowledge Test. This written test covers topics such as aviation regulations, helicopter performance and operability, navigation, and more. The cost to take this test is approximately $175.

FAA Practical Exam

You’ll also need to pass a practical exam in order to receive a helicopter pilot’s license. This is similar to a driving test but with a helicopter. An FAA official will observe while you complete maneuvers that prove your skills as a pilot. There’s a $950 fee for this test.

Aviation Insurance

Once you receive your license, it is important to get aviation insurance. This will help protect you from any legal issues or damage that may occur while piloting a helicopter. The cost of this insurance varies depending on the type and amount of coverage needed. But you can expect the cost to be around $1500 to $2000 per year for a small aircraft.

Additional Training

Depending on your goals as a helicopter pilot, you may need to invest in additional training, such as instrument rating or night flying, which can add to your overall cost.

What Can You Do with a Helicopter Pilot’s License?

What Can You Do with a Helicopter Pilot's License?

Once you’ve completed the necessary training and obtained your helicopter pilot’s license, a variety of options are available to you. While some choose to fly recreationally, others opt to turn their passion into a profession.

With a commercial pilot license, you can become an air tour operator or provide transport services for private companies and government organizations. You may also take on aerial photography and media projects or use your skills to help in emergency response situations.

In terms of salary, the median annual wage for helicopter pilots is $81,241. However, salaries can vary depending on the industry you work in, your level of experience, and other factors.

In Conclusion

As you can see, the cost of becoming a helicopter pilot is significant, but investing in yourself and your training will pay off. With the right knowledge and expertise, you can reap the rewards of an exciting career above the clouds.

Ready to Start Your Pilot Training? At Helicopter Pro Flight Training, we provide the necessary training and guidance to help you become a qualified commercial helicopter pilot. Gain hands-on experience with our Robinson R44, a four-seat, single-engine helicopter perfect for both training and recreational flying. With our experienced instructors, top-notch facility, and unwavering commitment to safety, we make sure that you get the most out of your training experience.

Contact us today to learn more!

Mark Montgomery

Mark Montgomery

Mark is the Owner and Instructor at Helicopter Pro. He is an FAA Certificated Instructor in both Helicopters and Airplanes and has thousands of Pilot-in-Command flying hours. If you want to become a helicopter pro, he can help you accomplish your goals.