Helicopters may be wonderfully useful machines in terms of their ability to takeoff and land vertically and from enclosed places. However, this utility comes at great cost in terms of complexity, and particularly in terms of the maintenance of all the complex components.

Flying helicopters also requires a significantly different set of skills to that of fixed wing pilots in that the pilot’s legs and arms are always fully needed to control the machine. In addition, a whole new range of skills must be mastered, particularly as regards operating into confined spaces, and the vulnerabilities of some specific helicopter types to challenges such as the loss of tail rotor effectiveness (LTE) and the vortex ring state.

For this reason, it is essential that future helicopter pilots receive the best instruction for helicopter operations.

South Africa is proud of its many excellent helicopter flight training schools. Some in particular have specialised in helicopter operations, such as Starlite in Durban and Mossel Bay. Others have specialised in helicopter charter and operations such as crime fighting. Notable amongst these are the Rand Airport based operators such as Henley and Capital Air.