If you’ve ever dreamt about being a helicopter pilot, training at an FAA-approved flight school can make your dream come true. Conveniently, Washington has several great helicopter pilot training schools.
Helicopter Pilot: A Dream Job
The role of a helicopter pilot comes in many shapes and sizes. From the intensity of a search and rescue or firefighter helicopter pilot to the more leisurely pace of a sightseeing tour or aerial photography helicopter pilot, a career as a commercial pilot is becoming a reality for many, thanks to increasingly abundant training schools. The surge in helicopter flight training in Washington and other northwestern states is a two-part answer to growing demand. Part one is the demand for all types of commercial pilots, which is projected to increase by 10% in Washington State through 2022 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, ONetOnline.org. Part two is the fact that more people are actually chasing the dream of becoming a helicopter pilot.
Do You Have What It Takes?
To become a full-fledged helicopter pilot, certain prerequisites must be met in order to enroll in helicopter pilot training programs in Washington and elsewhere. The basics include being at least 16 years of age (although many helicopter pilot training schools have a minimum age requirement of 18);having a high school diploma or equivalent; obtaining an FAA Class I medical certificate; passing a background check; and being able to read, write, speak and understand English.
Beyond the basics, there are some skill sets that commercial pilots should simply have by nature. They include strong communication skills, observational skills, problem solving skills and a quick reaction time. Sound familiar? Then you may be closer to living the dream than you imagined.
Flight Schools That Soar
So what should you look for in a helicopter pilot training school? There are a few key factors. First, find out if the school is FAA Part 141 approved. Next, find out the average experience of the flight instructors. And lastly, be sure to ask what the pass/fail ratio is for any helicopter flight school you consider. These three factors will give you a good idea of the caliber of flight training you’ll receive.
The Realities of Helicopter Flight Schools
One thing that aspiring helicopter pilots might not know is that there’s more to helicopter flight training school than just learning to physically operate a helicopter. Many flight training programs include a number of related subjects including meteorology, safety, law, physiology and aerodynamics.
Another little-known fact is that while helicopter pilot training may be expensive, there are resources available to get on the flight path to your dream job. Financial aid packages and scholarships are available to those who qualify. Those with VA education benefits may be able to cover a portion of tuition costs, as well. Accredited aviation programs, like Charter College Aviation, can offer qualified student pilots Title IV Financial Aid in the forms of Federal Student Loans and Pell Grants. These resources, along with the surge in helicopter flight schools in Washington and other northwestern states are helping make careers as a commercial pilot a reality.