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The Average Cost of Learning to Fly a Helicopter

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Helicopters are rotary-wing aircraft capable of taking off and landing in tight, enclosed spaces such as hospital helipads, small fields and airport tarmacs. To learn to fly a helicopter, you must earn a Federal Aviation Administration private pilot helicopter license. To do this, you have to complete a minimum of 30 hours of training flights, undergo ground training and take the FAA's written and practical examinations.

Helicopter Flight Cost

To complete the FAA's required flight training for a private pilot license, you must rent a helicopter from a flight school. Although any aircraft rental is expensive, renting a helicopter costs far more than renting an airplane. In fact, the average cost of one hour of helicopter rental time ranges from $150 to $175, states a 2008 article from the Professional Helicopter Pilots Association.

Instructor Cost

As part of the aforementioned 30-hour requirement, FAA regulations require you to undergo at least 20 hours of dual flying time with a helicopter-certified flight instructor, although most students require more time to gain enough proficiency to pass the private pilot license test. An hour of helicopter flight with an instructor costs significantly more than an hour of solo flying time. As of 2008, you could expect to pay an average of $200 per hour for a training flight with an instructor, according to the Professional Helicopter Pilots Association.

Ground School Cost

In addition to flying costs, you also need to factor in the cost of completing FAA-required classroom instruction, known to pilots as "ground school," to earn your helicopter private pilot license. As of 2008, average ground-school costs range from $30 to $40 per hour, according to the Professional Helicopter Pilots Association.

Total Cost

The total cost of earning a private pilot helicopter certificate takes into account solo flight, dual flight and ground training. The average total cost of learning to fly a helicopter was $10,000 to $15,000, according to 2008 information from the Professional Helicopter Pilots Association. In addition to these costs, you will need to pay fees to take the FAA private pilot written and practical tests. As of 2010, these tests cost $90 and $400, respectively, according to What It Costs, a pricing information website.


Elias Westnedge began writing in 2009. His work appears on various websites, covering aviation, sales, grants, business and consumer finance. Westnedge holds a Bachelor of Science in aviation.

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