With the emergence of the Robinson helicopter range forty years ago, the demand for helicopter flight training surged enormously in the 1980s and 1990s.
Suddenly, learning to fly a helicopter became a viable alternative to those seeking to learn to fly on a fixed wing. And it was considered to be much ‘cooler’ to be a chopper pilot than ‘a plank driver’. The reality however is that helicopter operations are far more expensive than fixed wing aircraft training, however the rewards in terms of skill and accomplishment make it worthwhile.
Many new helicopter pilots go on to achieve rewarding careers in helicopter operations, for example, in wildlife game preservation work, or for search and rescue and maritime operations, or increasingly, for security support, particularly in stolen car and truck recovery.
In addition, there is a growing demand for experienced helicopter pilots to operate air ambulance services and a number of companies have specialised in this regard such as Henley Air Services at Rand Airport.
One of the great attractions of learning to fly helicopters is that there is a broad range of career options available. In addition, for those seeking to build experience, helicopter training instruction can be a far more lucrative field then fixed wing instruction.