Learning to fly a helicopter is challenging, so ten helicopter flying lesson tips are helpful. Whether beginning a career as a pilot, or expanding one’s hobbies, helicopter flying is both exhilarating and difficult. Here are some tips to make helicopter flying lessons the best possible.
- Compare schools: A variety of flight schools offer helicopter lessons. Choose wisely to find a school that fits the desired budget, and learning style. Some flying schools may be large and structured, others are smaller and more informal. Both of these types work well for certain people, but not for everyone. Research information on all flying schools.
- Schedule a helicopter trial lesson: When deciding upon a flight school, it is common practice to schedule a trial lesson with one of the school’s instructing pilots. Taking this lesson will both allow the student to experience flight, and to adjust to the instructor’s style. Take trial lessons with several schools or instructors if possible.
- Look for Affordability: Flying is an expensive hobby to take up, and it is always worth it to look around and find ways to make it affordable. Scholarships are often available at individual schools, as well as nationally. Many are geared towards special populations, such people under the age of 26, but all potential pilots can look into finding an appropriate one. Students can also sometimes cut costs by doing some work around the airfield.
- Consider Beginning with an Airplane: If a student is only interested in learning to fly a helicopter, he should stick with his dream. However, if he is interested in learning to fly across the board, it is often a good idea to start with an airplane. Plane flying lessons are considerably cheaper than helicopter lessons, and they include some pertinent information such as how to understand airspace, talk on the radio, and navigate a flight. Once a person is comfortable flying a plane, he will find flying a helicopter much less intimidating.
- Learn About Helicopters Beforehand: The first lesson a beginning flyer will receive will be on the ground, learning about the safety and mechanics of flying. Just as in learning to drive a car, a student must log hours outside of the helicopter, before he can fly. Pay attention in class and become well-versed in helicopter knowledge. This will increase confidence and competence once actually inside the vehicle.
- Don’t Look Down: When a student begins flying, if the weather is nice, he may remove the doors for the helicopter to keep the temperature cool. In this situation, the student can look down, and frighten himself, losing composure. Instead, look ahead, maintain visual contact with the horizon, and hold the machine level.
- Pay Attention: While flying it is easy for beginners not to notice slight changes in attitude until they are so large that they require huge compensation. It is much easier to correct a small change of two-degrees, rather than large shift of 45-degrees. Students need to pay careful attention and be in tune with the changes of the aircraft.
- Take Breaks: One of the first skills a beginning flyer must learn to master is hovering. This can take hours of patient work. In order to keep up morale and confidence, take breaks often, practicing take-offs, approaches to landings, and more. This will keep any one task from seeming too daunting or frustrating.
- Have Confidence in the Instructor: After careful research, and several trial helicopter lessons, the chosen instructor should be a great fit for the beginning flyer. During lessons, instructors will take over the controls if necessary. Superb instructors will balance between taking over the controls, and allowing the student to self-correct. Have confidence that the instructor will maintain safety.
- Have fun: Flying a helicopter is no small feat. It is an intricate process that takes courage to learn. There will be times that it feels daunting, but in the end, the lessons will have been worth the time, effort, and money put in. Enjoy the time spent learning!
Taking helicopter flying lessons is an expensive and challenging task. However, done right, they can be rewarding, and exciting. Happy flying!