Helicopter Pilot
Careers New Zealand
New Zealand
4d ago

Pay for helicopter pilots varies depending on skills, experience and their employer.

  • Entry-level helicopter pilots earn about $41,000 a year (based on a 40-hour week), though many only work part time when first starting so may earn less than this.
  • Helicopter pilots with three to five years' experience can expect to earn between $45,000 and $80,000.
  • Senior helicopter pilots may earn $100,000 to $180,000 or more.
  • Source : Aviation New Zealand and Wellington Helicopters, 2018.

    This information is a guide only. )

    What you will do

    Helicopter pilots may do some or all of the following :

  • prepare or check flight plans
  • do preflight checks, including checking weather conditions, equipment and the helicopter
  • calculate the amount of fuel needed for flights, and refuel and load the helicopter accordingly
  • brief passengers on flight and safety details
  • control the helicopter on the ground and in the air
  • write reports and keep a flight log.
  • Specialised helicopter pilots may do some of the following :

  • provide commentary to tourists during scenic flights
  • apply fertiliser or other agricultural chemicals
  • communicate with other emergency services (such as hospitals or search and rescue services)
  • round up sheep, horses, cattle or other groups of animals
  • navigate the helicopter in dangerous conditions such as smoke
  • carry large buckets or tanks of water to put out fires.
  • Skills and knowledge

    Helicopter pilots need to have :

  • excellent flying skills
  • knowledge of flight theory and flight planning
  • skill in interpreting flight plans, weather and navigation data
  • understanding of civil aviation laws
  • knowledge of helicopter mechanics.
  • Helicopter pilots :

  • may work regular business hours, or weekends, or do on-call work
  • work in conditions that are often noisy, and can be rough or uncomfortable in bad weather
  • may travel nationally or internationally for work.
  • Entry requirements

    To become a helicopter pilot you need to have a Commercial Pilot Licence Helicopter (CPL-H).

    Training to become a helicopter pilot can be done through private flight schools or with the NZ Air Force and Navy.

    Secondary education

    There are no specific secondary education requirements to become a helicopter pilot, but NCEA Level 3 English, maths, physics and computing are useful.

    Personal requirements

    Helicopter pilots must be :

  • calm, confident and alert
  • adaptable
  • able to work well under pressure
  • able to work independently
  • good at following procedures and paying attention to detail.
  • Useful experience

    Useful experience for helicopter pilots includes :

  • experience in the industry you want to fly in for example, if you want to work as a rescue helicopter pilot, experience as a medic is useful
  • flying experience
  • customer service roles
  • engineering or mechanical work.
  • Physical requirements

    Helicopter pilots need to have good hearing and eyesight (with or without corrective lenses), and good reflexes and co-ordination.

    They must also have a good level of fitness and health. They need to pass a medical exam every year.

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