About the Job Title "Commercial Helicopter Pilot"

Commercial Helicopter Pilot Job Description

A commercial helicopter pilot is a commercial pilot who is responsible for navigating a helicopter. They might drive a helicopter that carries passengers and cargo, or they might drive this helicopter to witness things from a bird’s-eye view.

Commercial Helicopter Pilot Job Profiles: This is a general writeup based on our research into Commercial Helicopter Pilot positions in the Pilot career area. For individual, real-life job profiles of actual people with this type of job, check out our job profiles page.

  • Career Field: Pilot
  • Salary Range: $68,918 - $150,160

What's it like to be a Commercial Helicopter Pilot?

Duties and responsibilities

A commercial helicopter pilot is a commercial pilot who (yes, you guessed it) drives a helicopter. They might drive a helicopter that carries passengers and cargo, or they might drive this helicopter to witness things from a bird’s-eye view. Regardless of who/what is onboard, helicopter pilots can expect to have duties and responsibilities such as:

  • Inspecting the helicopter, its control systems and its instruments before beginning a flight
  • Checking the weather conditions are suitable for flying
  • Creating a flight plan, based on these weather conditions. This flight plan will determine the safest and most efficient route
  • Operating controls and instruments whilst the helicopter if flying
  • Ensuring the helicopter is functioning correctly throughout the flight
  • If passengers are onboard, ensuring their safety
  • Landing the helicopter in the correct location

Qualifications

Helicopter pilots are commercial pilots. Therefore, they must receive flight training at an Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) approved flight school. In order to get accepted onto flight training, helicopter pilots will need a high school diploma.

Skills and relevant work experience

As well as not being afraid of heights or flying, pilots need skills such as:

      • Interpersonal skills, as helicopter pilots need to build trusting relationships with passengers and other crew members
      • Leadership skills, as helicopter pilots are often the most senior person on the air craft and must instruct others
      • Communication skills, as helicopter pilots need to clearly communicate with lots of people, such as air traffic control
      • Observational skills, as helicopter pilots must observe numerous screens, gauges and dials to ensure that the systems are functioning correctly
      • Quick reaction time, as helicopter pilots must be able to respond quickly and with good judgement to unforeseen circumstances
      • Spatial awareness, as helicopter pilots must be able to navigate planes through the sky

Hours

Most helicopter pilots will work full time. However, their hours may vary depending on who they work for. Some helicopter pilots may take short trips, others may take longer ones and have to be away from home.

Salary

According to salary.com the median annual salary for a helicopter pilot in the United States is $97,116. The bottom 10% can expect to earn less than $68,918 and the highest 10% earn over $150,160 per annum.

Progression

Helicopter pilots are only commercial pilots. Therefore, with a college degree and additional experience and training, helicopter pilots can advance to become airline or military pilots.

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