There are more than 1,000 professional helicopter pilots in the UK alone and employers can range from the emergency services to international helicopter operators. There are over 300,000 passenger-carrying flights a year in the North Sea sector of the UK and this shows the huge requirement for pilots.
Helicopter pilots fly a variety of helicopters ranging from piston to turbine, single to multi-engined and for a wide range of business, leisure and emergency uses. In the UK, helicopters have a number of different uses and some of the following are jobs sought by pilots:
Being suitable to apply for any of these roles requires commitment and dedication and the time and patience to learn the art of flying in a variety of different environments and circumstances. Ideally companies recruiting pilots will be looking for a variety of different skills and qualities such as some of the following:
The life of a helicopter pilot can be very demanding. The Authority limits flying and working hours, and your role could entail additional hours, stuck in uninteresting places, such as an oil rig or possibly in a field, miles from anywhere.
That said the position is very rewarding and with it, a large amount of responsibility, not only for the livelihood of your passengers and/or crew, but also the safe conduct of operations and the people on the ground. Working hours vary considerably and a large percentage of pilot jobs are shift work changing from week to week. Business and emergency flights could be at any time day or night. Leisure services such as pleasure flying and domestic routes may prove more routine. Salaries for helicopter pilots can range from around £25,000 up to £100,000 a year. However in most cases pilots have to fund some or all of their training themselves, which can be costly.
If you are set on becoming a commercial helicopter pilot, then the first step is to come in and talk to those who have been down that road already - we can also show you our helicopters and give you an idea of what it will cost.