Helicopter Pilot

Last Updated:
July 19, 2023

Job Description Overview

A Helicopter Pilot job description entails flying a helicopter to transport passengers and goods safely and efficiently. In this role, a Helicopter Pilot must comply with Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) rules and regulations and adhere to company policies. A Helicopter Pilot should also continuously monitor weather conditions to ensure a safe flight.

The job duties of a Helicopter Pilot include taking care of pre-flight inspections, refueling, and ensuring all equipment is in good working order. Before take-off, a Helicopter Pilot must communicate with their team regarding details of the flight such as the destination, route, and passenger or cargo requirements. During the flight, a Helicopter Pilot should carefully monitor the helicopter's instruments and communicate with air traffic control to ensure a safe journey.

A Helicopter Pilot should have excellent spatial awareness and decision-making skills to handle changing weather conditions and emergencies. They should also possess strong communication skills since they may have to relay critical information to passengers, air traffic control, or their team. At the end of the flight, a Helicopter Pilot must fill out flight logs to document details of the flight.

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Job Duties and Responsibilities

  • Fly a helicopter safely and efficiently from one location to another.
  • Conduct pre-flight inspections and post-flight maintenance checks on the aircraft.
  • Follow aviation regulations and procedures for flight planning and operations.
  • Communicate with air traffic control and other pilots to ensure safe flight paths.
  • Monitor weather conditions and adjust flight plans accordingly.
  • Transport passengers or cargo to designated destinations.
  • Provide emergency response support, including aerial firefighting, search and rescue, and medical evacuations.
  • Maintain accurate flight records and logbook entries.
  • Continuously improve skills and knowledge through ongoing training and education.
  • Manage fuel, weight, and balance calculations to ensure optimal flight performance.

Experience and Education Requirements

Becoming a helicopter pilot in the Transportation industry requires a combination of education and experience. A high school diploma or GED is typically the minimum educational requirement, but many employers prefer candidates with a bachelor's degree in aviation or a related field. Individuals must also obtain a commercial pilot's license with a rotorcraft-helicopter rating from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). To be eligible for this license, aspiring pilots must complete a minimum of 1500 flight hours, including 200 hours of cross-country flight time. Additionally, they must pass a medical exam and written and practical tests administered by the FAA. With the right education and experience, individuals can take to the skies as licensed helicopter pilots in the Transportation industry.

Salary Range

Helicopter Pilot salary range in the transportation industry varies based on experience, company, and location. In the United States, a Helicopter Pilot can expect to make between $60,000 to $120,000 annually. A Helicopter Pilot working for a larger company or in a more populated area will typically earn more. Good data exists for other countries, for example, in Canada, a Helicopter Pilot can expect to earn between CAD 50,000 to 100,000 per year. Similarly, in Australia, the average salary range for a Helicopter Pilot is AUD 80,000 to 115,000 per year. 

Sources:

  1. Payscale - https://www.payscale.com/research/US/Job=Helicopter_Pilot/Salary
  2. SalaryExpert - https://www.salaryexpert.com/salary/job/helicopter-pilot/australia
  3. Neuvoo - https://neuvoo.ca/salary/?job=Helicopter+Pilot

Career Outlook

Being a helicopter pilot is an exciting career choice in the transportation industry. The career outlook for helicopter pilots remains steady, with an expected 4% growth rate over the next five years, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. However, demand for helicopter pilots can vary by industry and region. For example, there is a growing need for helicopter pilots in the emergency medical services and law enforcement fields, as well as the oil and gas industry. It's also important to note that technology advancements in autonomous aircraft may impact the demand for human pilots in the future. But for now, the outlook for helicopter pilots looks promising with a steady growth rate.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Q: What is a helicopter pilot?

A: A helicopter pilot is a professional who is responsible for operating a helicopter, often for transportation purposes.

Q: What are the requirements to become a helicopter pilot?

A: To become a helicopter pilot, one must have a commercial helicopter pilot license, which requires a minimum of 150 hours of flight time and passing a practical exam. Different countries may have variations on this requirement.

Q: What does a typical day look like for a helicopter pilot?

A: A typical day as a helicopter pilot may involve pre-flight inspections, communicating with control towers, transporting passengers or cargo, and performing maintenance on the helicopter.

Q: What skills are necessary to become a successful helicopter pilot?

A: Helicopter pilots need strong communication and decision-making skills, as well as the ability to multi-task in high-pressure situations. They must also have excellent hand-eye coordination and depth perception.

Q: What kind of salary can a helicopter pilot expect to make?

A: The salary of a helicopter pilot can vary depending on experience and location, but the average salary for a commercial helicopter pilot in the United States is around $80,000 per year.


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