Costs Involved in Learning to Fly Helicopters


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Helicopter flying is not cheap! Image by Helen Krasner

Many potential students who want to undertake a helicopter private pilot’s licence course are put off by the cost. The price of rotary flying courses varies in different parts of the world, but it is certainly expensive. In most countries it is about twice the price of the fixed-wing equivalent. However, this is not the whole story….

You May Get More for Your Money with Helicopters

With airplanes, time is often wasted taxiing and waiting on the ground for other aircraft. This can often be as much as five or ten minutes before each lesson, if you are learning to fly at a busy airport But this does not happen with helicopters, since as soon as a rotary aircraft lifts into the hover it is flying – and you are learning something.

Moreover, helicopters can often depart from the airfield far more quickly than airplanes, since they do not need to use a runway, so there is very little wasted training time during helicopter training.

Helicopter Scholarships and Grants or Bursaries

To be honest, there are not many rotary scholarships and grants/bursaries available – rather less than the fixed wing equivalents. But there are a few, and there are often very few applicants for them. So it is worth applying, as the odds of getting one are good! You will need to do a web search in the country in which you live to find out what is available; then research carefully to find out what is likely to be required. Then fill in your application carefully, taking time; it’s worth the effort as it may save your thousands of dollars!

Will I Save Money if I do Fixed-Wing Training First?

Sometimes prospective students are told that they will save money on helicopter training if they learn to fly airplanes first. It is true that for those who already know how to fly fixed-wing aircraft, helicopter training will be somewhat easier, and the number of hours required will probably be reduced. However, the difference in terms of flying hours, and therefore costs, is not that significant. So if you are learning from scratch, and only plan to fly a helicopte, it is best to just start with helicopters.

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