A helicopter pilot is a responsible and skilled professional who controls and flies the helicopter safely. Helicopter pilot responsibilities involve a series of job activities which may vary according to the area of its use. He/she must be specially trained to fly passengers and cargoes, for aerial photography and sight seeing, rescue operations, monitor national security, inform traffic news, private use, etc. Army, air force, new agencies, politicians, government bodies, geological bodies and private organizations, etc., usually hire a helicopter pilot.
Helicopter flying is quite difficult from flying an aircraft. Due to its small size, the landing technique and operational differences, flying a helicopter is considered to be more challenging than an aircraft. Other than flying, helicopter pilots must have the ability to perform flight checking and inspection before flying. He/she should be aware of all the basic requirements like safety concern, fuel, air-pressure, angular measurements, altitude and temperature record, etc. He/she may be assisted by a co-pilot during certain cases.
The above mentioned duties have been given as a brief overview. The details of a helicopter pilot's responsibilities and qualifications have been discussed below.
Duties and Responsibilities of a Helicopter Pilot
Essential Skills and Abilities
Training, Education and License Requirement
Helicopter pilots must hold a high school diploma as the minimum eligibility criteria. He/she must be a trained pilot from an approved flight school (preferably FAA- Federal Aviation Administration). Commercial pilots must have the experience of flying more than 150 hours of flight time with minimum 50 hours of responsible helicopter flying. Certification of flying experience from FAA is mandatory.
Obtaining a license is a must for helicopter pilots. FAA Commercial Pilot Rotorcraft license allows the pilots to fly helicopters and qualify for being a professional in this field. The pilots should also pass various tests including medical (physical and vision) and other written tests.
The salaries of helicopter pilots differ according to the area of their work and the total flying experience. The median salary of these pilots is $82,992. He/she receives an average salary of $46605 to $111,647 per year, according to July 2012 Payscale report. The amount of salary increases with years of experience. Also, pilots employed by government bodies receive greater amount than the commercial pilots.
A helicopter pilot works on the field and in air. This job involves risk and stress at all levels of operation. They are sometimes sent to remote places as well. Some of these pilots work full-time, while others are given contracts/projects. They have irregular works hours with both day and night shifts and have a proper dress code to follow.
Helicopter pilots are employed by both the government and the private industry. With the diversifying roles and area of work, the demand for these pilots are on a high. Such a pilot has the choice of choosing the best role that suits him/her. This is a growing field of work, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. It is estimated that more job openings will be available by army, navy, government bodies and commercial transport in the coming years.
If you aim to make this interesting and lucrative field your career choice, you are bound to reach the sky and succeed. Since this is a challenging and growing profession, the earning potential in this position is also high. If you are confident and fearless to carry out helicopter pilot responsibilities, you will surely have a promising career growth.