By DebbieH 21 May 2021 6 min read

How to get a helicopter licence


To become a helicopter pilot in the UK, you must be over the age of 18 and licensed by the Joint Aviation Authorities (JAA). JAA licences are issued and enforced by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA).


There are 2 types of licences which you could train for:


Private Pilot’s Licence, PPL(H)

You can not use this licence to charge for services but you can use it as the first step to flying commercially.
If you already have a Private Pilot’s Licence, you could apply for commercial training to gain the CPL(H).

The flight school would assess your skills, and could ask you to take some pre-course training to prove you have the level of ability and skills required.


Commercial Pilot Licence, CPL(H)

This is the standard licence which is required for pilots to fly for a living.

To gain a Commercial Pilot Licence (CPL) in the UK, the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) states that you must be at least 18 years old, and you must hold a Part MED Class 1 Medical Certificate.

As part of the application for your CPL, you will need to demonstrate that you have an appropriate level of theoretical knowledge by passing exams in a number of subject areas, including radio navigation, principles of flight, and air law.

Training for a Commercial Pilot Licence is very expensive (usually between £70K – £120K) and pilots normally have to fund it themselves. Before a student makes a financial commitment to any training route, they should obtain their medical certificate first. In the UK, the medical should be carried out by a CAA-approved Aeromedical Centre.

Aspiring aviators should also take trial flying lessons to make sure this is the right career for them, before committing financially to a full course.


CPLs and PPLs in the UK are issued through the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA).