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I’m interested in learning to fly helicopters, any tips?


Active member
I started with this book...


New member
The only tip I can offer as a student training to become a dual rated commercial pilot, don’t get discouraged. Helicopters are (IMO) much more challenging to learn. According to my instructors, I’m a very quick learner and it took me almost 6 hours before I could maintain a hover. Flying a heli is a lot of muscle memory and definitely takes a lot more out of you than fixed wing but it’s absolutely worth it! Another thing, preflight preflight preflight! Be very thorough on preflights because there are very few MINOR failures in rotorcraft!


New member
Where are you located (like which country)?

If you want to fly professionally;
In Australia you have to fly a LOT of outback crap to get anywhere, and the "cool" jobs are few and far between and all those ex-military types will have more experience than you.
I know four CHPs who DON'T fly helos because it's a "mugs game".
That said, if you want to pursue it, go right ahead, just be prepared to start low and do a lot of sand digging.

If you wan't to fly them just for fun;
A helo doesn't fly "in trim" it's a constant juggling act.
BUT, there is nothing cooler than hovering and VTOL, or waving at Bridge Climbers (SYD harbour) while sitting with your legs hanging out the door (for us crewies :cool:)


New member
I guess the best tip I had training on an R22 was don't look at the ground whist trying to hover - keep looking at the horizon. Hovering is the hardest part, but you get a great buzz once you master it. Similar to Sharemanpowell it took me 5 hours to crack it and I was told my previous flying would have been a benefit having come from gliders. Unfortunately I have diabetes and was not able to get a license, but thoroughly enjoyed the 20 hours training I did - to the point I set up a heli flight sim with motion platform and VR, with real world flying restricted to paramotors now.

J Hammonds

New member
I suggest looking into the military. You can learn to fly helicopters for "free". The "free" part is a tongue in cheek comment. My personal experience was going to college after high school and went through ROTC. While in ROTC I applied for flight school. In order to go to flight school, I had to sign a contract that I would stay in the Army for 3 1/2 years after the completion of flight school. I got 200 hours of flight time by graduation from flight school. At that time upon completion of the written exam, I was given a civilian commercial helicopter licence. I flew the UH-1 in Vietnam and had a total of 1000 hours when I got off of active duty. I wish that I had continued in aviation, but that's my history. You have the opportunity to make your own history. All military services have helicopters so talk to the recruiters and plan your future.


New member
I guess the best tip I had training on an R22 was don't look at the ground whist trying to hover
I learnt the basics on the Hiller many decades ago - a bit like the R22 but more 'bubble'. The instructors made us practice by squashing mushrooms in the grass with the left skid. I guess I'd got the general hang of hovering before that :cautious:
Low flying ... arrgh! I still remember him pushing the collective down and saying "lower", then a minute later pulling it up for me while saying "telephone line here" o_O

But it was fun. Much less so once I got into the serious 'taxi-driving' (anti-submarine) flying.


New member
I earned my Canadian Commercial Helicopter rating back in 1982 but some things probably haven't changed apart from the cost. Knock on every door you can and be prepared to move where the work is. Also be aware that not everyone can fly a helicopter. We had two student washouts because they just couldn't grasp it. We had great instructors and this was picked up early in their training.
I trained on the "NEW" at the time, Robinson R22 and the Bell 206. Much has been said about the R22 but in my opinion it was a good trainer. RPM,RPM,RPM!!! We had only one accident and that was a rollover on a snowy lake. Conversion to the 206 was a dream. Good luck.