A career in the aviation industry could be rewarding and as in other industries, a rewarding level is achieved through hard work and experience.
When you decide to become a helicopter pilot, you will need to undergo formal training and in order to do so, you will need to select a flight school wisely. Before you can begin training, you will need to decide if you are looking to fly for fun or if you want to make a career out of your newfound skill and training. This decision will determine the amount of money that you spend on training and, of course, how many hours of training and experience you will need.
While helicopter pilot jobs in South Africa are frequently advertised, you will need to ensure that you have attended a reputable aviation training school and that you have the required expertise before applying for any available positions. Pilots of every kind have a great deal of responsibility and must be serious about working safely within the industry, if they wish to prosper and excel.
You can expect to be considered a licensed pilot both locally and internationally, if you have undergone training at a SACAA (South African Civil Aviation Authority) approved training school. SACAA schools are all expected to adhere to a code of strict regulations and rules, and are regularly checked up on. Helicopters and aircraft used for training also have to be regularly serviced and maintained, to ensure airworthiness and safety at all times during training. Each and every school must adhere to these regulations, or must face some rather serious consequences.
Aviation schools located close to airports or at actual airports can certainly provide a more realistic and practical experience to students, where smaller schools located at outlying airfields will not have the same radio and air traffic control experience – just something to think about.
It is important to consider the training fees offered by each aviation training school. When comparing hourly rates, check to see that the fuel and the instructor’s fees are included in the quoted rate. Also make sure that it is possible to complete your training in the quoted hours. If flight schools overrun their hours, you could end up exhausting your budget too soon and being unable to obtain your license.
Once you have your helicopter license, you can start looking for freelance, contract or even permanent employment. Of course, you might already have your license and many hours of flying experience under your belt. Some aviation schools will offer you the opportunity to start building up your hours by working as a freelance instructor for new students or by providing freelance flying services. This is something to consider, but keep in mind that most students are offered this as an option when first entering the industry.