What are the requirements to become a helicopter pilot?
Look at our Flight Training pages for the requirements for each of the different certificates and ratings.

Do I need to learn to fly airplanes before helicopters?
No, you do not need to learn to fly airplanes first. You can start off immediately in helicopters.

Are helicopters harder to fly than airplanes?
Most people think helicopters are harder to fly than airplanes. As with anything new, it is a challenge, and takes a lot of practice to get it right. This is part of the natural process of learning. A helicopter can be flown at a level of precision like no other aircraft.

Why is it more expensive to train in helicopters than airplanes?
Helicopters are more complex aircraft that have many more moving parts than airplanes. They are much more expensive to purchase, operate, maintain and insure.

How long will it take to get my license?
Training can take anywhere from a couple of months on up, depending on how often you are able to fly, and how quickly you are able to safely operate the helicopter.

What happens if the engine quits?
Helicopters are unique in that they are able to glide without power in a maneuver called autorotation. This is where the rotor system is disengaged from the engine via a special clutch, and the airflow moving up through the rotor system keeps the blades spinning. The helicopter can be safely landed while in autorotation. During your training at Spiker Helicopters, you will learn how to autorotate in a helicopter. Real engine failures in helicopters are rare.

After I get my helicopter license, can I rent a helicopter to fly on my own?
After your training at Spiker Helicopters, you will be able to then rent one of our helicopters to fly with your friends or family.

What kind of jobs are available as a helicopter pilot?
Many new pilots start off as a flight instructor. Other jobs for helicopter pilots include flying tours, news stations, emergency medical, offshore transport, logging, fire fighting, utility, patrol, corporate charter, search and rescue, law enforcement, and many others.

Can we train in the winter?
Yes, we train year-round. Normally the weather during the winter in Pennsylvania will restrict some of the flying days available, but as long as the weather permits, you will be able to train.

How do I get a medical certificate?
Any certified Aviation Medical Examiner (AME) can issue a pilot medical certificate. This should be a priority near the beginning of your flight training. You will not be able to solo prior to having your medical certificate. A private pilot will need at least a third class medical. A commercial pilot needs to have at least a second class medical. You can find a local AME by visiting the FAA web site here.

What type of ground instruction is available?
There are several ways to get the ground instruction necessary to learn the material necessary to become a helicopter pilot. Several local community colleges provide pilot ground schools, which is one method we recommend looking into. There are also online and DVD courses available to help in this learning process. See our Resources page for links to several of these. We will also provide as much one-on-one instruction as is necessary to help you learn the material.

How often should I fly?
We recommend that you fly 1-3 times a week, if possible, to help with retaining the information and skills being taught as you work towards earning your helicopter certificate.

Are checkrides conducted there at Spiker Helicopters?
Yes. We have a local Designated Pilot Examiner who will conduct the checkrides for all certificates and ratings being taught at Spiker Helicopters.