Q. What does PPL(H) mean?
A. PPL(H) stands for Private Pilot’s Licence (Helicopter), and is a qualification that allows you to fly a helicopter for your own personal use. You may fly in most areas of the country in reasonable weather, during the day. Places you can fly to include Airports, Heli-pads and other sites with the land owner’s permission, maybe even your own back garden. The licence allows you to take your loved ones, friends, colleagues or others with you when you fly.
Q. Who can train for a PPL(H)?
A. Almost anyone who is reasonably fit, aged 14 or over, and is practically minded can achieve a licence. Hours flown can be logged from the age of 14, solo flight can occur at 16 years old, but a licence cannot be granted until the age of 17. There is no maximum age limit – as long as you can pass the medical examination, you can fly!
Q. How do I obtain a PPL(H)?
A. You are required to fly a minimum of 45 Hours of which 10 Hours must be solo. Nine written exams must also be passed, but don’t let this put you off – they're really not too hard to pass. Most students opt for home study - but one to one ground instruction can be provided if necessary. By the end of your course, your instructor will ensure that you are fully trained and prepared to pass the flying skills test, which can be flown from Tiger.
Q. Do I have to sit in a classroom full of other students when I learn?
A. No, not at all. During your PPL(H) training you will only ever be in a room with your instructor, and no-one else. At Tiger we believe that a student will learn a lot more comfortably when they are alone with an instructor, so there is no pressure to ‘perform’ or to ‘get every question right without making a fool of myself’. There is no such thing as a stupid question!
This can be a worry for a lot of people who want to learn something new, but are afraid about feeling silly in front of others. Please don’t let this be a worry – we will not put you through that! If you were to decide to go on to be a Commercial pilot and make a career of flying there will be times when you are in a classroom situation, for example as you study for your commercial theory exams.
Q. What can I use it for?
A. You may hire or buy a helicopter and use it to fly for pleasure. You can take friends or family sightseeing and visit different areas of the country as well as fly abroad. Your licence will be a EASA (European Aviation Safety Agency) licence, so it will allow you to fly in any EASA member state. The majority of countries in Europe are EASA members. A PPL(H) is also ideal for business travel.
You can beat the traffic jams and travel large distances quickly and economically. Maybe you could land in the grounds of a hotel for your next meeting? There are over 1000 places to land Helicopters including hotels, clubs and racecourses, not forgetting all the Airports.
Q. Which helicopter will I fly?
A. Helicopter tuition is often carried out in the Robinson R22, a two seat, piston engine helicopter. With over 3000 machines produced and over 20 years in the training market the R22 is one of the most popular training machines and certainly one of the most reliable. You can also learn to fly in the four seat Robinson R44 or the 5 seat Bell 206 Jet Ranger While both these larger machines are more expensive to fly, they tend to be more stable than the R22 and are sometimes considered 'easier to fly' which may mean you gain your license in less total hours. Ask us for further advice.
Q. What is included in the course?
A. We include all pre and post flight briefings for the flying part of your training. The landing fees at Shobdon, fuel costs, as well as third party insurance are also included. Many flight schools charge extra for landing fees that are amassed during your course and may only mention it while you are signing up with them, but here at Tiger we absolutely do not charge you any extra for landing fees at Shobdon. This is an often overlooked factor when deciding on your flight school.
Q. How long will it take?
A. We work around you, not the other way around. We totally understand that you have other commitments, so we are completely flexible regarding your time schedules. You may choose to book lessons on a daily, weekly or monthly basis. You can also block book days or weeks at a time. We can schedule the training to suit your own requirements.
Some of our students learn at weekends or evenings to fit around their jobs, others take time out to train intensively in a short time period. If you choose to attend every day, five days a week, you should allow between four and six weeks to complete your course.
Q. Where can I stay?
A. We will shortly have our own fully furnished mobile homes, available exclusively for students who require accommodation during training. Alternatively we can arrange accommodation at one of several local B&B’s, hotels or Guest Houses at preferential rates.
Q. What else do I need?
A. You will need to obtain a Class 2 Medical certificate (Class 1 if you want to fly as a career), which we can happily arrange for you. You will also need to purchase the necessary study books and reference guides, charts and navigation equipment. We have a fully stocked shop with everything you will require at very competitive prices.
Q. How do I get started?
A. To begin flying, our Trial Lesson includes a pre-flight briefing on basic helicopter procedures and aircraft controls, a pre-flight inspection as well as the start up and shut down of the helicopter. In the air you will be able to fly the helicopter yourself. Your instructor will teach you to fly straight and level as well as how to turn, climb and descend. He/she will also introduce you to the art of hovering. This will give you a more detailed and in depth view of the PPL (H) Course.
On the ground, we recommend you start with this Private Helicopter Pilot’s Study Pack. This will provide you with all the books and tools to get you from scratch right up to PPL(H).
Q. Once I have passed, can I hire an aircraft from you?
A. Absolutely! And the best part is that if you take the aircraft away for a few days, you only pay for the FLYING you do on it and NOT for the time it is away. So, if you take it away for 3 days and only do 1.3 hours of flying then you only pay 1.3 hours of flying for it.
In fact, anyone who has a licence can hire a helicopter from us provided they have flown in the previous 28 days. If you haven’t flown in the previous 28 days then we would ask you to go for a quick check ride with one of our instructors to make sure you still remember what you are doing.
Q. What about flying a different ‘type’ of helicopter from the one I learnt to fly?
A. To convert your licence to a different ‘type’ of helicopter generally takes 3 hours in that type. However, for your FIRST conversion we would suggest 5 hours. Also, if you are converting from a piston engine helicopter (R22, R44, Schweitzer 300, etc.) to a turbine engine helicopter (Jet Ranger, AS350, MD500 etc.) you would need to do 5 hours on type.
The same would apply if you learnt in a turbine and converted to a piston. To get a ‘twin engine’ rating you need 8 hours for your first conversion. Also, you can only begin flying a twin once you have 70 hours total helicopter flying time logged & passed the ATPL(H) TK exams in AGK & Flight Performance & Planning.
Q. How many hours per year to I have to do to keep my licence current?
A. Theoretically, you only have to do 2 hours per year including what we call a PC (Proficiency Check) which is just a check ride lasting around half an hour with an examiner. It is NOT a test, just an evaluation on how you are coping as a pilot. In reality, most companies have a policy whereby if you have not flown in the previous 30 days you will have to do a check ride with one of their instructors before they will let you Self Fly Hire an aircraft of theirs.
Q. I already have a licence, but my aircraft rating has expired. How do I make it current again?
A. After evaluation, you may not need any further refresher training, but as a guide, if it expired LESS THAN 1 year ago, you only need to do two training sessions followed by your PC. If it expired MORE than 1 year ago, you will do three training sessions before your PC.
Q. I learnt to fly in the USA and now need to convert it to an EASA licence. How do I do it?
A. You will find when you convert your licence from an FAA to a CAA licence that the CAA will ask you to pass the PPL(H) skills test. You will also have to have completed at least 100 hours of flight time as a pilot, hold a class 2 Medical certificate and pass the Air Law exam and the Human Performance & Limitations exam.
You will also see advertised “cheap” turbine time being offered in the USA. You will sit with traffic monitoring pilots while you ‘fly’ the aircraft. Be very careful while doing this ‘time’, as the UK CAA DOES NOT approve of this type of hour building, and you will find that the majority of your hours WILL NOT be counted, and it certainly will not be counted as Pilot in Command time on turbine aircraft.
We have met a few pilots who have tried this route to getting turbine hours as cheaply as possible and have ended up bitterly disappointed when they return home. The best option is to contact the CAA and speak with ‘Flight Crew licensing’ BEFORE you go ahead and do it.
Q. I have an FAA Instrument Rating and need to convert it to an EASA Instrument Rating. How do I do it?
A. In the UK (unlike the USA) you have to do 5 hours of flight in a twin turbine aircraft converting your instrument rating. Therefore, when you return from the USA you will still have to do this twin time. You will also need to do a further 10 hours of flight in the simulator plus pass all Theoretical Knowledge exams at IR level & the IR(H) skills test.
Q. How do I find answers to my other questions?
Better still, why not call in and see us. We are a friendly organisation and there are always Instructors and Pilots on hand who would be happy to talk to you. You are most welcome to come and visit our facilities without obligation, and we’ll show you around and let you sit in any aircraft we have in the hangar at the time of your visit. Who knows, you may get to sit in the Agusta 109 or the police AS355 Squirrel when you pop in!!!