Helicopter Pilot Training


Welcome to the helicopter pilot training school at BAC Helicopters

Whether you are looking to build a career in aviation, or to fly recreationally for the sheer joy of it, learning to fly is probably one of the most rewarding challenges a human being can experience.
BAC Helicopters takes great pride in the quality and high standards of helicopter training it provides to its students. The helicopter training school in South Africa upholds its professional principles and provides a safety conscious environment, where students learn to achieve their goals and strive for success. Flying helicopters is a privilege that only a few get to experience and enjoy.  The staff and instructors at BAC Helicopters strive to ensure that our students are best equipped with the skills, and knowledge, to become great pilots and to get the most out of their time in the helicopter training environment.
The Course is a one-on-one programme, where every student receives individual attention from the instructor throughout the course.

Ab Initio helicopter training begins with the basic concepts of helicopter.  This continues on a step by step basis through the practical and academic syllabus required to achieve a Private Pilot Licence. Advanced Helicopter Training is structured according to the needs of each pilot.   This incorporates :

  • Commercial helicopter licence theoretical syllabus
  • Conversions to different helicopter types
  • Turbine rating
  • Night and instrument training
  • Flight instructor ratings
  • Winch and sling ratings

BAC R22 helicopter training Student helicopter landing for training

Pilot Requirements and What to Expect:

If you are an adventurous soul with a love of being outdoors and ready for a new challenge, then learning to fly is right up your alley. The most common characteristics required by helicopter pilots can be summarised as follows:

Proficiency in the English language, written and spoken – The language of aviation world-wide is English, so a good grasp of the English language is a necessity for both the practical and theoretical sides of flying.
Good health both physical and mental – All pilots undergo regular medicals (6 month to 24 month intervals depending on age and licence held) in order to monitor their fitness for flying. Medical problems or ill health can result in a pilot being grounded until fitness is restored. The required fitness level is not extreme and an active person who exercises a couple of times a week and avoids an excessive diet will have no trouble remaining flying fit.

No drug or alcohol dependency – Certain medical conditions like epilepsy or colour-blindness and any indication of mental instability or drug/alcohol dependency will preclude a person from flying completely.
Good balance and hand-eye co-ordination – Helicopter flying involves a good deal of physical hand-eye co-ordination, balance and a high level of multi-tasking. Most people learn this with practice, but the ability to drive, ride a bicycle, motorbike or horse, skate, surf, paddle, sail or ski will be a definite advantage in this respect.

Perform well under pressure & ability to multi-task – The cockpit of a helicopter is an extremely busy area; the pilot operates the aircraft using both hands and both feet, monitors the engine temperatures and pressures, maintains the desired speed, height and heading, assesses terrain and weather conditions and communicates clearly and accurately on the radio while constantly looking out for conflicting traffic. The ability to stay calm and focused under pressure and to multi-task effectively is an essential skill to be mastered.

Personal discipline – The examinations for both the private and commercial licence are fairly difficult and require a 75% pass mark. The student must have the drive and discipline to put in a large amount of study time above and beyond the lectures he/she may attend.

Aptitude for maths and science – Maths and Physical Science play a large role in the study of Aerodynamics, Navigation, Flight Planning and Engine & Airframes. Whilst it is not a pre-requisite to have a Matric pass in these subjects, it is important to have a keen interest or aptitude. Maths at the Private pilot level is fairly straightforward, but does become a good deal more complicated at Commercial level.

Outgoing personality/ team player – The general rule, Knowledge is Power, applies perfectly to learning to fly. The more you know, the greater your ability to anticipate a situation which lessens your chances of being taken unaware and reduces the likelihood of finding yourself in a dangerous situation.

Because knowledge comes with experience, it is so important to talk to other pilots constantly and to listen and share experiences without being shy or embarrassed to ask questions. Everybody within the helicopter training organisation is there to help to create the very best pilots.


Helicopter Training Route

Intro Flight

Challenge yourself to a 330-minute intro helicopter training flight with one of our professional instructors, see if you’ve got what it takes to become a helicopter pilot. This is your opportunity to be in control of a real helicopter and see what it’s all about!

Private Pilots Licence (PPL) (H)

Becoming a pilot is definitely a privilege and flying helicopters is like nothing else you have ever done or will ever do. Be it for leisure or the first step into your career as an aviator, this unforgettable journey will bring you memories and opportunities you’ll never forget.

Our in house helicopter training facility caters for all the requirements below.


Be at least 16 years of age to go solo

Be at least 17 years of age to obtain a PPL (H)

Be able to read, speak, write and understand English.

Class I or II Aviation Medical: BAC will arrange your Aviation Medical

Theoretical Courses and Examinations:

  • Radio Telephony: Restricted Radio License
  • Air Law
  • Aircraft General – Engines & Airframes
  • Human Performance
  • Helicopter Principal of Flights (Helicopter Aerodynamics)
  • Aviation Meteorology
  • General Navigation
  • Flight Performance and Planning

For a PPL complete a minimum of 50hrs helicopter training instruction. This includes a minimum of 15hrs solo flight time.

Commercial Pilots Licence (CPL) (H)

Flying a helicopter is exciting, challenging, empowering and just plain fun. For some people it’s the perfect job: an office that travels, a view that’s constantly changing and challenges that are exhilarating. The privilege of being a Commercial Pilot is that you get paid for flying.


Be at least 18 years of age to obtain a CPL (H)

Class I Aviation Medical: BAC will arrange your Aviation Medical

Be able to read, speak, write and understand English.

Theoretical Courses and Examinations:

  • Radio Aids
  • Air Law & Operational Procedures
  • Aircraft Technical & General (Helicopter Aerodynamics)
  • Human Performance & Limitations
  • Instruments & Electronics
  • Aviation Meteorology
  • General Navigation & Plotting
  • Flight Performance and Planning


Complete a minimum of 200 hrs helicopter flying time. This includes all the hours obtained from your PPL and a minimum of 100hrs solo flight time. Within the 200hrs you are welcome to Hire and Fly our range of helicopters.  Once qualified as a commercial helicopter pilot you are eligible for numerous helicopter pilot jobs

More Helicopter Training Courses:

  • Class & Type Ratings
  • Night Ratings
  • Instrument Ratings
  • Helicopter Sling Load Ratings
  • Helicopter Flight Instructor Ratings, Grade III, II and I
  • Mountain Flying
  • Turbine Conversions

International Students

Feel at home with BAC Helicopters. We will arrange all your necessary needs to make your helicopter training experience in South Africa and Durban memorable. The currency exchange rates also favour Helicopter Training in South Africa for international students.  Please see our helicopter lessons cost.. How much does it cost to become a pilot in South Africa? Please visit our cost page for more details.

If you have any questions our staff are happy to help, or why not visit our HELICOPTER TRAINING FAQ’s page.