Helicopter pilot training courses

Let's get you flying.

Begin by choosing the course training that applies to you:

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Helicopter Flight Training

Courses from Private Pilot to CFII

Just starting out? We recommend the Integrated Professional Pilot Program.

If you are interested in individual ratings instead, we customize our helicopter flight training to meet your needs.

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Advanced Flight Training

Advanced certifications

Ready to take it to the next level?

These advanced courses help you expand your knowledge and skills into the specific areas necessary for your specific career.

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Helicopter Firefighting

Wildland Aerial Firefighting Training

Learn the basic aspects of aerial firefighting that includes tank fill operations (ground and snorkel), bucket fill operations, aerial firefighting strategies and tactics, and safety.

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FAR Certifications

Part 61 only

CHFTA offers Part 61 training only.

We will help you find a training approach that works best for you.

Helicopter flight training courses

CHFTA offers Part 61 training.

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Integrated Professional Pilot Program

The Integrated Professional Pilot Program includes the entire flight-training program for students that want to become a career helicopter pilot.  Our Chief Flight Instructor customized this program for a more affordable, fast approach.  Part 61 training standards are implemented in this program.

Ratings & Certifications Include:

  • Private Pilot Certification
  • Instrument Rating
  • Commercial Certification
  • Certified Flight Instructor
  • Certified Flight Instrument Instructor

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Private Pilot Certificate

As the foundation of your flight training, this certification allows you to fly helicopters for recreation and is required to begin your Commercial Pilot Certificate training.
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Commercial Pilot Certificate

This certification is a requirement you need to fly people or property for compensation or hire.

Prerequisite: FAA Private Pilot Helicopter License

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Instrument Rating

This rating is added to a Private Pilot Helicopter License or Commercial Helicopter License and refers to qualifications that a pilot must have in order to fly under Instrument Flight Rules or IFR.

Prerequisite: FAA Private Pilot Helicopter License or FAA Commercial Helicopter License

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Certified Flight Instructor (CFI)

This certification is required if you are interested in instructing flight students.

Prerequisite: FAA Private Pilot Helicopter License, FAA Commercial Helicopter License

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Certified Flight Instructor - Instrument (CFII)

This CFII certificate will allow flight instructors to teach flight instruction on instrument conditions as well as ensuring that instrument rated pilots maintain their currency and proficiency.
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Airline Transport Pilot (ATP)

This certification is the highest license a pilot can obtain and is the qualification that allows the holder to act as Pilot in Command. If you want to become a professional pilot, commander of a multi-crew aircraft with a maximum gross weight of 12,500 pounds, this is a requirement.

Prerequisite: FAA Commercial Pilot Helicopter License and an Instrument Rating, 1500 hours (if not military)

Advanced helicopter flight training courses

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Full Down Autorotation Training

When the helicopter engine fails, you need to be prepared.  This course will teach you how to guide the helicopter effectively for a safe landing. Upon completion, you will receive a certificate and full down autorotation endorsement for CFI Practical Test (if applicable).

Prerequisite: FAA Commercial Pilot Helicopter License

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Aircraft Transition

This course is designed to transition pilots into new airframes in order to increase experience and marketability. Ground school covers basic aircraft compositions, systems, limitations and performance.  Flight training teaches flight characteristics and emergency procedures

Prerequisite: FAA Private Pilot Helicopter License

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Aircraft Refresher

Designed for pilots whom currently or have previously flown various types of aircraft and need to review flight characteristics and emergency procedures.  Ground school reviews aircraft systems, limitations and performance.

Prerequisite: FAA Private Pilot Helicopter License

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Inadvertent IMC Course

Recovery from Inadvertent Flight into Instrument Meteorological Conditions consists of classroom and simulator training. This course teaches pilots the conditions where flight in IMC might be encountered. You will review several accidents that occurred when pilots have encountered IMC conditions without having the proper training to transition to flight reference instruments. Simulator training gives pilots the skills to maintain control of the aircraft and return to VFR conditions.

Prerequisite: FAA Private Pilot Helicopter License

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Mountain Flying

This course trains pilots to safely navigate and operate in the mountainous terrain, offering pilots the opportunity to dynamically use the techniques learned in ground training in a practical situation.  Ground training covers the unique weather and wind dynamics that occur in mountainous terrain and gives pilots skills and techniques to make flying safer.

Prerequisite: FAA Private Pilot Helicopter License

About Part 61 training

Think of these as two different training styles.  Which is better for you?
Part 61

Part 61 helicopter flight training provides flight instructors with more flexibility to adjust your training program as necessary for you.  Students that choose this route are still required to pass the same FAA practical test standards.

This approach is generally more realistic for people with jobs, families and other time commitments.

Part 61 benefits:

  • A more flexible, customizable approach
  • More training hours are required
  • Pricing varies – because every student’s needs and costs are unique.
Helicopter pilot training at Corporate Helicopters Flight Training Academy in San Diego, California.

Career FAQ

Please refer to this page on Salary.com.

Please note this information doesn’t take into account that a commercial pilot’s first job is as a flight instructor at a flight school that many times will only offer flight and ground pay, not a salary.

These jobs can be part time and it can often take a few years to build hours to a point where they can apply for a job as a private tour or charter pilot job (which usually require 1,000+ hours).

Helicopters are extremely versatile and are used as a tool in various industries:

  • Firefighting
  • Electronic news gathering (ENG)
  • Aerial land surveys
  • Executive transport
  • Emergency medical services (EMS)
  • Powerline and pipeline patrols
  • Wildlife protection services
  • Aerial crane services
  • Sight seeing tours
  • Aerial filming
  • Aerial photography

Pilots tend to fly for multiple types of work throughout their extensive careers.

Corporate Helicopters is very well connected within the helicopter industry. We have aided in the acquisition of jobs for many helicopter pilots, both students and staff.

We pride ourselves on the level of training provided to all of our students, and encourage them to pursue their passion for aviation.

We offer an introductory helicopter flight lesson.

This is the perfect opportunity to gain actual flight time and see whether or not you would like to pursue a future in aviation.

This package includes 15 minutes of ground instruction and 45 minutes of flight time over the beautiful San Diego coastline!

No.

We are SEVP-approved to issue foreign students an M1 visa for flight training.

We have also expanded our facilities and staff to ensure the highest level of instruction is available for each student.

License FAQ

This depends on how often the student trains per week.

On average, if you are flying part time, 3-5 hours a week, it will take 6-8 months to complete your Private Pilot training.

The duration of your training will depend on how frequently you are able to fly and how much time you dedicate towards your studies.

The FAA minimum requirement is 40 hours of flight training and 40 hours of ground school to qualify for your Private Pilot check ride, however these minimums are rarely met. You will need to keep training until you are proficient enough to pass your check ride.

According to the national average, most students take 60-80 hours of flight time, and our students typically fall in that range as well.

Only the Flight Instructor Certificate must be renewed every 24 calendar months.

The Airman Certificate (Private, Commercial, ATP) and Instrument Rating do not expire but the pilot must maintain currency (keep them current).

The cost for this can vary, but for the Certificate it would consist of a minimum of an hour of ground and an hour of flight in a helicopter.

The instrument rating currency is every 6 months, but this can be done in the simulator to save costs.

Students at Corporate Helicopters Flight Training Academy must be a minimum of 16 years old.

Here are the FAA requirements:

  • Student Pilot License (Solo) [14 CFR 61.83 (a)]:16 years old
  • Private Pilot License: [14 CFR 61.103 (a)]: 17 years old
  • Commercial Pilot License: [14 CFR 61.123 (a)]: 18 years old
  • Airline Transport Pilot License: [14 CFR 61.153 (a)]: 23 years old

No.

You can learn to fly helicopters without any previous aviation experience or knowledge.

We suggest an introductory flight to anyone considering becoming a pilot, it is a great way to experience the thrill of flight and determine if you would like to pursue a career in aviation.

Ground School FAQ

This is the academic aspect of your flight training. We have professional instructors that provide one-on-one training to teach you to be safe and well prepared for the rating you are seeking.

Some of your ground school will take place before and after each flight, this instruction includes:

  • Pre-flight supervision
  • Pre-flight and post-flight briefings
  • Instruction about the helicopter
  • Reviews of previous lessons

For your remaining ground school, we have a fully equipped classroom for your individual instruction and on occasion, group lectures.

The amount of hours will vary depending on the course of study. There are required hours for many of the courses.

There are stage checks (oral or written exams) for each stage in the course.  The number of stages depends on the course of study.  There can be between 2 and 4 stages.

This will depend on how often the student comes in, studies and processes the information.

For a full time student (3 hours a day, 5 days a week) 2 – 3 weeks. This varies per rating.

Currently none of our approved courses are online.  There are online courses out there, but these do not complete the requirements for our approved courses.

Flight Training & Simulator FAQ

The following requirements pertain only to one set of requirements: the Private Pilot License. It does not pertain to the Commercial Pilot License requirements (although the Private is required prior to the Commercial).

40 hours of total flight time.

  • 20 hours of flight training from an authorized instructor
    • 3 hours of cross-country flight training in a helicopter
    • 3 hours of night flight training in a helicopter that includes
      • One cross-country flight of over 50 nautical miles, and
      • 10 takeoffs and 10 landings to a full stop
  • 3 hours of flight training in preparation for the practical test in a helicopter,
  • 10 hours of solo flight time in a helicopter, consisting of at least
    • 3 hours cross-country time;
    • One solo cross-country flight of at least 75 nautical miles total distance, with landings at a minimum of three points, and one segment of the flight being a straight-line distance of at least 25 nautical miles between the takeoff and landing locations; and
  • Three takeoffs and three landings to a full stop (with each landing involving a flight in the traffic pattern) at an airport with an operating control tower.

The simulator allows you to maintain currency on an instrument rating and some of the training can be applied to the total hours needed for the different licenses or ratings.

Our current rate on the simulator is $125/hour.  This is much more affordable than doing it in the helicopter @ $529/hour.

It cannot be counted as actual flight time, but can be counted toward dual instruction received by the student.

It cannot be counted as actual flight time, but can be counted toward dual instruction received by the student.

  • Flight simulator: $125/hour
  • R22: $285/hour
  • R44: $529/hour
  • Jet Ranger: $950/hour (JetRanger).

The number of hours will vary between students due to skill level.

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