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Career as Helicopter Pilot

Career as a Helicopter Pilot

About Helicopter Pilot

A Helicopter Pilot is a professional who has trained and holds a license to fly a helicopter in India. Only people who hold a valid license approved by DGCA (Directorate General of Civil Aviation) are eligible to fly helicopters or any other aircraft in India. Becoming a helicopter pilot in India is an interesting choice especially for a person that is passionate about flying. The career is thrilling and presents its own unique challenges. However, it can prove to be a very rewarded career not only in terms of money but also for job satisfaction.

As said above, in order to join a career in aviation as a helicopter pilot, a person first needs to have a valid license. There are two types of licenses issued for the helicopter pilots in India. These are PPL (H) i.e. Private Helicopter Pilot License and CPL (H) i.e. Commercial Helicopter Pilot License. Only a student who has completed the stipulated training, which includes flying hours, theoretical study and examinations is eligible to receive the license to fly a Helicopter in India. The training to become a helicopter pilot can get quite tough. It tests a candidate’s determination, commitment, patience, alertness and sense of responsibility.

Eligibility to become Helicopter Pilot

Since DGCA is the only body that issues Pilot Licenses in India, it is the body specifies the conditions for a person to be eligible to be issued a Helicopter Pilot License in India. The detailed eligibility criteria for a PL (H) in India can be found below.

Commercial Helicopter Pilot License CPL(H) Eligibility Criteria

Educational QualificationPassed Class 12th from a recognized with Physics and Mathematics
Medical FitnessCandidate must have a Class I medical fitness certificate issued by a DGCA approved doctor or medical establishment.
Age LimitCandidate applying for a CPL must be at least 17 years of age at the time of application.

Private Helicopter Pilot License PPL(H) Eligibility Criteria

Educational QualificationPassed Class 10th from a recognized board
Medical FitnessCandidates must have obtained a Class II medical fitness certificate issued by a doctor or medical establishment approved by the DGCA.
Age LimitCandidate must be a minimum of 16 years of age at the time of applying for a PPL.

Types of Job Roles Helicopter Pilot

The job of a helicopter pilot requires him/her to undertake a wide range of responsibilities. These include:

  • Navigating the aircraft.

  • Ensuring the safety of passengers and/or payload.

  • Checking the proper functioning of all of the instruments in an aircraft.

  • Communicate with air-traffic control for various activities. etc.

Employment Sector/Industry for Helicopter Pilot

Helicopter pilots is a career which is seeing a growth in career opportunities as well as salary. A helicopter flight is increasingly being seen as a fast and effective way of commute especially in areas that cannot accommodate large airliners. Helicopter pilots are not only relevant to the transportation industry but they are also hired by various other companies and departments to undertake a variety of roles. Some of the most common areas of recruitment for helicopter pilots include the following.

  • Transportation (mainly on special routes such as for Tourism purposes)

  • Cargo Delivery Services

  • Firefighting Operations

  • Delivery of Aid and Personnel in Disaster Management

  • Search and Rescue Operations

  • Aerial Surveying and Photography

  • Media Industry

  • Film Industry etc.

Planning to choose Helicopter Pilot as your career?

Pay Scale/Salary of Helicopter Pilot

Helicopter Pilot is a high-paying career with good career opportunities in all related fields. However, students opting for this course must also note that the course is quite expensive as well and can cost anywhere from Rs. 10 - 15 lakhs to complete. Given below are the details regarding the salary of a Helicopter Pilot in India.

  • The average starting salary of a helicopter pilot is around Rs. 10 LPA.
  • With 2 - 3 years of experience, students can easily surpass the mark of the average salary for helicopter pilots in India, which is Rs. 20 LPA.

  • More experienced professionals in the industry can demand salaries as high as Rs. 5 lakhs per month.

Books & Study Material to Become Helicopter Pilot

Given below are some of the best books that will help you prepare for a career as a Helicopter Pilot.

Learning to Fly HelicoptersR. PadfieldMcGraw-Hill Education
The Flying Life: Stories For the Aviation SoulLauran Paine Jr.Cascade Publishing
The Next Hour: The Most Important Hour in Your LogbookRichard L. CollinsSporty's Pilot Shop
Night FlightAntoine Saint-ExuperyAlma Classics
You Can Be a Pilot!: Answers to 25 Popular Questions About Learning to FlyChris FindleyCreateSpace


Pros of becoming a Helicopter Pilot

  • It is an exciting field and a dream job for many young students.
  • The career promises good salary and, in addition, there are quite a few allowances and other perks given to pilots.

  • There is ample opportunity to travel and see new places. Great career for a person with a wanderlust.

Cons of becoming a Helicopter Pilot

  • The course fee and total cost of completing a pilot course are quite high and many students are unable to afford it.

  • A pilot has to keep renewing his license as well as stay medically fit throughout their career.

  • Constant travelling might cause health issues and a disturbed work-life balance.

Paths for Being Helicopter Pilot

Confused on what to choose as your career?