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All About Helicopters

Light Aircraft Helicopters provide a fascinating introduction to the world of flying.

Find out about the pre-flight briefing, safety and security checks, and getting into the air. Whilst airborne, find out how you get to handle the helicopter and discover what other resources exist for you to explore this fascinating hobby or even career!


TRIAL LESSONS IN A HELICOPTER

Your Safety

Light Aircraft The Civil Aviation Authority lays down very strict controls with ALL aircraft operators in the UK to ensure the highest levels of safety for passengers and students. These include stringent checks on pilots and instructors and strict documentation and service records of all aircraft. It ensures that fully qualified engineers check and maintain the aircraft at regular intervals. All in all, the helicopter you will be flying will have been properly maintained and will have documentation to support this.


Introductions and Briefings

On arriving for your first trial lesson, you will be introduced to your instructor who will then explain to you, in reasonably simple terms, how a helicopter works and what each of the main controls do. He or she will also explain how you will be handed the controls and allowed to try them for yourself during the lesson. It is particularly important that you take notice of the safety aspects, but remember, your instructor has 'done this before', and will have flown with many novices and have a good understanding of both your concerns and your enthusiasm.


Getting Airborne

You will be escorted to the helicopter by your instructor. He or she may carry out some last minute checks on the aircraft, but if they don't, they will have done so earlier. It is important that you are comfortably strapped in. Your instructor will take you through the start up procedure, but you will not be expected to remember all the details. You will be asked to wear a headset that will enable you to speak with your instructor and also to listen to instructions and information given by Air Traffic Control.


Taking Control

Helicopter cockpit Once you have taken off, your instructor will demonstrate some of the things discussed at the earlier briefing, and give you an opportunity to try the controls for yourself. He or she will ensure that it is safe to do so, and will usually start by allowing you to practice with one control at a time until you are more confident.


The length of time your first lesson lasts for will determine the distance you cover, and at some stage you will return to the airfield and land. Your instructor will 'shut down' the helicopter and walk you back to the briefing room.


Spectators

If you have friends or family that have come to watch and would like to take photographs, it is important that you tell your instructor so that he or she can explain the safest time to do so.

Generally you will be given a certificate to remind you of your day. You may also want to obtain information on learning to fly with an explanation of the commitment - both time and money - that are involved. Your instructor will be happy to answer your questions.


Learning to Fly

If you are serious about becoming a pilot, a great place to start is with the CAA's large but comprehensive Licencing, Administration and Standardisation Operating Requirements and Standards (LASOR) document (section C2 for helicopters or C3 for gyroplanes).


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Helicopter specifications Helicopter specifications


See also See also: light aircraft and microlights.

Popular helicopter trial lessons

Culter Helipad, £125.00

Gloucester, £192.50

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Gloucester, £623.75

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Training Courses

 

ONLINE RESOURCES

 

BOOKS

  • Learning to Fly Helicopters

    R Randall Padfield

    Learning to Fly Helicopters
    Discusses the principles of helicopter flight, controls, manoeuvers, hovering, autorotation, emergencies, helicopter systems, safety, and other topics.
  • The Introductory Helicopter Flying Lesson (The Pilot's Guide Series)

    Jeremy M Pratt

    The Introductory Helicopter Flying Lesson (The Pilot's Guide Series)
    Get a wealth of background information concerning flying helicopters in advance of your first trial lesson.
  • Helicopter Pilot's Manual: Principles of Flight, Basic Handling and Advanced Techniques

    Norman Bailey

    Helicopter Pilot's Manual: Principles of Flight, Basic Handling and Advanced Techniques
    The first volume of the HELICOPTER PILOT'S MANUAL, covering flying principles and basic technique. Also features a section on advanced technique, such as forced landing, ditching, winter operations and visual searches. Companion to the AIR PILOT'S MANUAL series.
  • Ground Studies for Pilots: Flight Planning

    Underdown, Stevens

    Ground Studies for Pilots: Flight Planning
    Part of a series of training manuals for students taking commercial pilot and air transport pilot licence examinations, this book covers all aspects relating to plotting and flight planning. It has been completely revised to take account of the Joint Aviation Authorities of Europe syllabus for flight crew licensing.
  • Ground Studies for Pilots: Plotting and Flight Planning (Ground Studies for Pilots)

    S.E.T. Taylor, H.A. Parmar

    Ground Studies for Pilots: Plotting and Flight Planning (Ground Studies for Pilots)
    The second in this series of four books for professional pilot licence examinations, this book has been revised to take account of the new syllabus requirements of the European Civil Aviation Conference (ECAC), and includes a new section on cruise control, extended range operations (EROPs) and computer flight plans.
  • Ground Studies for Pilots: Navigation, General and Instruments (Ground Studies for Pilots)

    S.E.T. Taylor, H.A. Parmar

    Ground Studies for Pilots: Navigation, General and Instruments (Ground Studies for Pilots)
    The third in this series of four books for professional pilot licence examinations, this book has been revised to take account of the new syllabus requirements of the European Civil Aviation Conference (ECAC) and includes information of new equipment. The book has been substantially rewritten for the commercial pilot syllabus required by the common European market from January 1992. It also includes multi-choice test questions. The series is aimed at students taking the basic Commercial Pilot's Licence and Air Transport Pilot's Licence examinations.
  • Ground Studies for Pilots: Navigation (Ground Studies for Pilots)

    S.E.T. Taylor, H.A. Parmar

    Ground Studies for Pilots: Navigation (Ground Studies for Pilots)
    One of the series of essential texts for trainee commercial pilots, this volume covers general navigation. It has been completely rewritten to cover the new European syilabus, the Joint Airworthiness Requirements, and features multi-choice test questions. fully revised to take account of the new European Joint Airworthiness Requirements (JARs); of interest to pilots well outside the traditional JAR syllabus area; part of the highly required commercial pilot training series originally written by Roy Underdown.
  • Stick and Rudder: An Explanation of the Art of Flying

    Wolfgang Langewiesche

    Stick and Rudder: An Explanation of the Art of Flying
    In print for more than 55 years, this classic book has been treasured by generations of pilots for its accurate, intelligent and useful analysis of the art of flying. Its main objective is to help the student become a good pilot quickly, and to help the instructor understand more thoroughly the fundamentals of this profession. Careful reading of the book is the equivalent of several hundred hours of flight practice.

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