Frequently Asked Questions (Training)


Is learning to fly a helicopter safe?

Absolutely. The technology involved in the manufacture of helicopters is extremely advanced and there are strict quality controls throughout the process. Most helicopter miss-haps are caused by either pilot error or neglecting very strict maintenance requirements.

Rotorvation Helicopters’ fleet maintenance is carried out by licensed engineers following the very strict guidelines issued by the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA).

Our instructors undergo regular training and check flights to ensure safe flying. All company flight crew undergo regular check and training flights including full emergency procedures and our in-house safety standards exceed the requirements of CASA.

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Is it difficult to fly a helicopter?

It is a challenge to learn to fly a helicopter but, like learning any new skill, it becomes easier with practice and experience. It is more involved than flying an aero plane due to the aerodynamics and control inputs required. However, once the basics are mastered, it is not hard to fly.

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Can a helicopter land if the engine stops?

Most certainly. Helicopters are designed to “autorotate” meaning the blades will keep turning without engine power allowing the helicopter to be flown to the ground safely. It is highly unlikely that any aircraft engine will just stop without warning.  They are extremely reliable and all of Rotorvation’s helicopters are exceptionally well maintained by experienced engineers.

Student pilots will be thoroughly trained to handle all emergency situations including practice engine failures that are executed all the way to the ground. All Rotorvation’s flight crew undergo regular checks covering full emergency procedures.

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What qualifications or pre-requisites are required to begin training?

To become a commercial helicopter pilot you require basic mathematical skills and good English. There are no tertiary education needs nor is there a requirement to produce evidence of any previous education. You are, however, required to have the will to learn.

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How do I enrol?

Put simply, you don’t. There are no applications to enrol as this is not a course, rather a series of lessons booked at your request. Once you have started training with us we will help you plan your training regime to suit you!

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How much does it cost to get a helicopter licence?

The most frequently asked question, and rightfully so. Unfortunately there is no simple answer to this. Each and every student is different, in fact so different that it is near impossible to give any kind of figure or average cost. The factors involved include aspects like; type of licence being pursued, regularity of training, time between training flights, ability to learn new motor skills, type of aircraft flown, medical factors, method of theory training.

All flight training undertaken at Rotorvation is “pay as you go” , therefore, the bottom line is that unless you have saved up a budget for the entire training syllabus, the overall cost should be the last deciding factor. If you want to learn to fly helicopters you can and will learn at a pace which corresponds to your own rolling training budget. Once you have completed your no commitment initial trial introductory flight, we will sit down with you and give you an estimate based on your situation!

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What is the difference between the CPL(H) and PPL(H) training syllabus?

Learning to fly for the purpose of being able to fly a helicopter anywhere in Australia requires the Australian Private Helicopter Licence “PPL(H)”. The training undertaken to achieve this requires the student to reach a level where they become a safe pilot. When training for the commercial helicopter licence “CPL(H)”,  students are being taught a more intensive set of skills relating to not only safety but also operational matters and efficiency. For this reason the CPL(H) flight training syllabus requires more training hours than the PPL(H).

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Which syllabus should I choose?

If you simply want to get behind the controls as soon as possible and enjoy the thrill of flying a helicopter with your friends and family, you may consider taking the PPL(H) training syllabus. If you then find yourself immersed and addicted to flying helicopters, you can always switch to the CPL syllabus and then fly for a career. If you know you would like to earn a living flying helicopters, you are best off heading straight for a commercial license without the dog-leg of the private license on the way! You may decide along the way you would like to simply do the private flight test, which you are able to do. However, the skills required to pass a PPL test might not be shown by a CPL student at the same flying hours as a PPL student. In summary, have your go behind the controls in a Trial Introductory Flight and then choose the right path for you from the very beginning.

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How long will the training take to complete?

Again, a bit of a “How long is a piece of string” type question. Depending on the regularity of your training and the syllabus you choose, you should be able to complete the training within reasonably close hours to those prescribed in the Minimum Flying Hours as set out by CASA. Some students get their Private Licence in 3 months, some have fun training for over 3 years!

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Do I have to have a fixed wing licence before commencing helicopter training?

No, although you do receive a reduction in the minimum hours required if you have a fixed wing licence.

However, if your overall goal is to become a helicopter pilot, you will end up with almost 50% more helicopter hours than if you started with a fixed wing licence. This will increase your career prospects on completion of your training.

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 At what age can I start training?

Training can commence at any age but you cannot obtain a student licence until the age of 16 years. The student licence, with the appropriate medical, will allow you to fly solo which is a required part of the syllabus. You need to be 17 years old to obtain a Private Pilot Licence and 18 to hold a Commercial Licence.

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What type of helicopter can I train in?

Most students commence their training in the Robinson R22 and this can be used for all the training for either licence.  However training can be conducted in any of the helicopters in our fleet. If more than one helicopter type is used during training, then a minimum of 20 hours must be flown in all aircraft.

However, training can be conducted in any of the helicopters in our fleet. If more than one helicopter type is used during training, then a minimum of 20 hours must be flown in all aircraft.

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Can I use my own helicopter for training?

Yes, as long as it has more than one seat, dual controls and it is insured for flight training.

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What are the employment prospects like?

As with most industries, simply having the necessary qualification does not ensure you a job. Although many jobs in the helicopter industry require experienced pilots, there are operators who employ low time pilots.

As all newly qualified pilots have similar hours and experience the ability to get that first job is sometimes a case of attitude, personality and being prepared to go to where the work is. So while initial job opportunities are limited, perseverance pays off.

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Can I hire a helicopter from Rotorvation Helicopter Services?

Yes. All licensed pilots can hire Rotorvation’s helicopters subject to certain conditions including the requirement for a current medical certificate. Non-Rotorvation pilots will have to undergo a check flight with a Rotorvation Instructor, be current with local procedures and, where applicable, have the minimum hours required for a particular helicopter type.  Former Rotorvation students receive a reduced rate for aircraft hire.

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Is the Australian Licence recognised in other countries?

Yes. If you are visiting another country temporarily and wish to fly there, your Australian licence will be recognised but you will need to show your licence, medical and conduct a check flight. It’s also a good idea to take your log book with you.

You are also able to convert your Australian licence if your visit is more permanent. This is usually a straightforward process, especially for a PPL, but can be more complicated if you wish to work in another country and convert your CPL.

You will need to check with the appropriate aviation authority in the country to which you are travelling to in order to confirm the exact requirements. Rotorvation can assist with an overseas conversion.

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Can I convert my overseas licence to an Australian licence?

Yes. You will have to pass a Flight Rules and Procedures theory exam and a flight test to convert a licence. Most licence converters fly a few hours prior to their flight test to become familiar with the procedures and locality and to ensure that flight standards are at a suitable level for the issue of an Australian licence. You will also require a current Australian medical appropriate to the licence type.

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