For the aspiring helicopter pilot, there are a number of factors to consider when selecting a school for aviation training. Students should make a list of the qualities most important to them and then evaluate each prospective school based on that list. Some factors students might want to consider include:
- Aircraft Used for Training
- Instructor Qualifications
- Safety Regulations
- Student-teacher Ratio
- Tuition Cost and Financial Aid Availability
A good pilot training program will cover the four basics of climbing, descending, turning, and level flying. A good program should also provide thorough instruction in take-offs and landings, hovering, quick stops, autorotations, hovering, confined landings, and cross-country flying. Students should decide if they want to enroll in a program that is Federal Aviation Administration-approved (Part 141) or an unapproved program, also called Part 61. Part 141 programs meet FAA guidelines (similar to a form of accreditation) and differ from Part 61 programs in required hours. Part 141 programs require only 35 hours of training, while Part 61 programs have a minimum of 40 hours training. Part 141 programs are also eligible for federal financial aid programs.
Students wishing to complete a program part-time or at a slower pace might consider a Part 61 program, while students needing financial assistance might be better off looking at Part 141 programs.
Finally, it is always a good idea to consider attending an accredited school. The Council on Aviation Accreditation is an accrediting body for pilot training programs. The Federal Aviation Administration also approves training programs.