Obtaining PPL(H) - Helicopter Licence

The JAR PPL (H) consists of flight and ground instruction designed to give the experience and competence to pass the flight tests and ground exams. The minimum flying experience required to issue a PPL (H) is 45 hours of flight training, of which 10 hours is solo. Typically, however, at least 55-60 hours should be allowed for. In conjunction with the flight training there are nine ground exams to pass, all being multiple-choice papers. A combination of classroom teaching and home study is used to prepare for these.

After you obtain your PPL (H), and then take your friends and family for flights on a Self-Fly Hire basis. At Rotorflight the most cost-effective helicopter on which to obtain your PPL is the Robinson R22, which is a two seat helicopter. If you wish to learn on something larger, then we have the four seat Robinson R44 and have available Hughes 500 and five seat Bell 206 Jetranger helicopters.



You are required by the CAA (Civil Aviation Authority) to fly a minimum of 45 hours to obtain your PPL (H). Of these hours at least 10 must be solo, 25 must be dual. The remaining 10 hours can be on any of the above to consolidate your flying. Most people however invariably take at least 50 possibly 60 hours to obtain their licence. This can be attributed to holidays, sickness, bad weather, business commitments and family commitments. For these reasons students require extra revision if they haven't flown for a while or maybe they have difficulty on a particular lesson that requires additional flight time before progression onto further lessons. Everybody is different.

You can start as early as age 14 but you can't go solo until your 16th birthday. A licence will not be issued unless you are at least 17 years of age.

The frequency at which you fly is dependent on your own commitments and finances. Some students fly regularly i.e. at least once a week or more depending on their own personal goals. Some students may do one per month due to finance constraints. Some may fly as and when business allows them. There are no real constraints as to how often you fly. The more regular you fly, as a general rule, the less hours you will need to obtain the PPL although even this is not hard and fast.
So, simply, you fly when you like and when you can afford it!

Anyone can learn to fly at any age (as long as you are at least 14). A pre-requisite before going solo is a Class II medical. This medical is like a GP's full health check and the average person should pass this medical. A Class II medical can only be conducted by approved CAA examiners and will be valid for a number of years dependent on your age.

There are several available around the Bristol area and a list can be obtained from the CAA website.

Additionally you must pass nine exams (all multiple choice) on flight theory.

These are:

  • Air Law: Regulations and Rules of the Air
  • Operational Procedures: Helicopter Operations with respect to ATC, flying, TOff/Landing, Emergencies etc…
  • Meteorology: Weather and requirements for flight
  • Navigation: How to plan and fly a flight planned route in UK airspace and arrive at your destination safely
  • Human Performance and Limitations
  • Helicopter Weight and Balance and Performance
  • Radio Telephony: How to use the aircraft radio and communicate with Air Traffic Control. This consists of a multiple choice paper and a practical test consisting of a simulated flight in an aircraft simulator
  • Helicopter Principles of Flight: The aerodynamics of how a helicopter works
  • General Aircraft Knowledge: Helicopter engines, instruments, electrical, oil and hydraulic systems

Rotorflight Ltd. Reviewed by A.Mega. Rated: . Amazing Helicopter Training Experience Rotorflight Ltd has impressed me with every aspect of the training. They are the best Helicopter Training company I ever dealt with 5/ 5 (Excellent)