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There are worldwide opportunities for commercial helicopter pilots in roles including charter, utility patrols, aerial filming, the police, air ambulance, search & rescue, as well as oil and gas rig flights. Elite Helicopters are a sponsored Career Savvy partner and top helicopter training provider.


Training to achieve a Commercial Helicopter Pilot’s Licence can take less than two years on a full-time basis, although many students train on a part-time basis as funds, work or other commitments permit. At Elite Helicopters we will tailor your training programme to meet your own particular requirements and commitments so that you can achieve your licence at a pace to suit you.

We recommend taking a trial lesson (see here) before starting training in earnest. This will give the opportunity to take to the air and get a feel for what flying a helicopter is about before making any major commitments.  You will also be able to talk with an instructor and other members of staff and take a look round the facilities and aircraft. The time spent on your trial lesson will count towards the flying hours required for your licence.

This is when the work starts! The first stage is to train for a Private Pilot’s Licence (, taking a minimum of 45 flying hours to reach the required standard. Whether the PPL is achieved in this time depends on your aptitude and how frequently you fly.  It is possible to achieve a PPL(H) in less than two months, training on a full-time basis.  There are also seven written exams to be taken on subjects such as navigation, meteorology, air law, principles of flight, etc. These will be taken on our premises as your flight training progresses.


Elite Helicopters is a well-established training school based at the historic Goodwood Aerodrome, Chichester – the company has been operating for almost twenty years.  All the flight instructors have several thousand flying hours each, and are highly experienced commercial pilots and instructors.  The training they give is based on many years of real-world commercial flying, and they pass the benefit of their experience on to their students.

Not only is Elite an established training school, but it is also a busy helicopter charter operator, providing charter services in aircraft including the Robinson R44, Bell 206 Jet Ranger and Long Ranger, AS350 Squirrel and Agusta 109 twin-engine VIP aircraft.  For budding commercial pilots this exposure to a busy helicopter operation is invaluable as it gives a great insight into the world they are training to work in.

There is a choice of training aircraft. Elite Helicopters operates the tried and tested Robinson R22 and R44 aircraft, and also has a brand new Guimbal Cabri G2, the latest entrant to the helicopter training market.  Students who have flown this aircraft have been very impressed with its speed, responsiveness and stability.  PPL students will find they will make great progress on this aircraft, and are very likely to achieve their licence in close to the minimum hours required.

Once the Private Pilot’s Licence has been achieved, there are two more steps to complete. Firstly, there is a process of ‘hour building’ to gain additional flying hours and experience. This is attained by a combination of self-fly hire, type ratings to add additional aircraft to the licence, and positioning flights. Additional training can also be undertaken to keep the student’s skills up to standard and to add new skills such as flying through the London air traffic control zone, mountain flying and night flying.  Our instructors will also mentor the student through their self-fly hire, giving them exercises to enhance their flying skills so that, by the time they start their Commercial Training programme they are already close to the required standard.

While this hour building process is taking place, students will study for their CPL exams. The studying is normally done on a distance learning basis, with the exams taken on the CAA’s premises.

On the successful completion of hour building and the passing of the required exams, an intensive 35 hour Commercial Flight Training programme can begin (  The course would normally be taken on a full time basis to gain maximum benefit, and would last 2-3 weeks.  The skills test will be conducted by a CAA examiner at the end of which you will be a qualified commercial helicopter pilot.

Newly qualified pilots usually start their careers on pleasure flights and short charters, often with the company they trained with. Over time they build up experience, and may take additional training to add an instrument rating or flight instructor’s qualification to their licence. Former students of Elite Helicopters have taken on a wide range of roles including charter and pleasure flying with Elite; flying helicopters to oil rigs from Scotland, Norway, Nigeria and Qatar; flying corporate helicopters between Macau and Hong Kong; flying charters in St Lucia and piloting the Surrey Air Ambulance. Each of these pilots will tell you that the view out of their office window is the best in the world.

To find our more call Elite Helicopters on 01243 530165 or email



We’re finalists in three top industry awards

Bristol Post Business Awards 2014 finalist MARA 2014 REC Awards 2014