What does a helicopter flight instructor do?

A flight instructor occasionally allows his students to take limited control of the helicopter during training flights.

A helicopter flight instructor is responsible for teaching students how to fly a helicopter. Both the ground school and the flight instruction itself are under the responsibility of a helicopter flight instructor. Often an established and licensed helicopter pilot will decide to become an instructor. Additional training to become an instructor is provided by a certified helicopter flight instructor. Many flight instructors split time between helicopter and airplane flight instruction, which requires instructors to be certified in both types of aircraft.

A helicopter flight instructor tries to satisfy a passenger’s interest in becoming a licensed pilot.

Often, the first step in a student’s interest in becoming a pilot comes as a result of a first flight. In many cases, this first flight in a helicopter is done through a certified helicopter flight instructor. The instructor will take the passenger on a flight and will occasionally allow the passenger to take control of the aircraft. This is, however, limited control, as the instructor rarely relinquishes full control of the vessel to an untrained operator. The helicopter flight instructor tries to satisfy the passenger’s interest in becoming a licensed pilot, often turning a passenger into a potential student.

Most flight schools require students to complete ground school training. In this training component, the helicopter flight instructor educates students about weather conditions and the helicopter’s flight controls and properties. Other areas of great importance that are covered in the ground school portion of pilot training include learning to read topographic maps and how to identify tall structures such as antennas, trees and water towers. All taller objects in a given area are clearly listed on the pilot’s map. The student must be educated about the dangers of coming into contact with power lines and antennas, as well as any emergency action that must be taken if accidental contact is made with one of these objects.

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Once the ground school portion is complete, the instructor will guide students through the actual part of the flight training. During this period, the instructor will have students travel on a helicopter flight and learn the various features of the aircraft. As students progress through training, the helicopter flight instructor will allow students to take control of the craft and attempt flight. During this period, the instructor generally maintains control over the controls to overcome any emergency conditions that may occur during the student’s flight. After the student has completed the entire training session and has demonstrated the appropriate level of knowledge to safely operate a helicopter, the flight instructor will allow the student to perform a solo flight.

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