TRIAL LESSONS IN A HELICOPTER
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.
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.
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
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.
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).
Search for helicopter trial lessons
See also: light aircraft and