Commercial Helicopter Pilot (CPL (H))

What do you do as a commercial helicopter pilot with a CPL (H) license?

Commercial helicopter pilots with CPL (H) license navigate helicopters and are predominantly active in commercial air transport, in the German Army, the Police or in rescue services. Besides the transportation of persons and goods, the helicopter pilot's tasks include preparation of the flight and debriefing afterwards. Professional helicopter pilots need to check and assess weather reports, oversee the refueling of the helicopter, check all flight devices and document the completed flight.


Which requirements do commercial helicopter pilots with a CPL (H) license have to fulfill?


Commercial helicopter pilots require a valid CPL (H) license. The following requirements need to be fulfilled to begin training to become a commercial helicopter pilot:

•    At least 17 years old
•    Medical fitness
•    Background check by the Federal Aviation Authority
•    Fluent German and English
•    Police clearance certificate
•    Check of records in the Central Traffic Register
•    Good knowledge in mathematics and physics
•    Training in First Aid

Furthermore, individual flight schools may state other admission requirements.


How can I become a commercial helicopter pilot with a CPL (H) license?


Die CPL (H) license for commercial helicopter pilots can be obtained at flight schools which are either run privately or by affiliated airlines. By the end of the licensing, at least 135 flying hours, partly in simulators, need to be completed. During the theoretical training, trainee pilots learn the general skills concerning aviation aircrafts. Additionally, they study the legal aspects, meteorology, aerodynamics, and the basics of radio communication. The training period amounts to 12 months of fulltime and 24 months of part-time study. Helicopter pilot training is not remunerated. In addition, trainee pilots need to bear the high training costs themselves, however there are often financing models which ease the accessibility.

The final examination consists of a theoretical and a practical part, however successfully completing the theoretical exam is a prerequisite to being admitted to the practical examination. During the practical examination, candidates must prove that they are capable of controlling the height, speed and course of the aircraft.  The exams are taken at the German Federal Aviation Authority.


What can commercial helicopter pilots with CPL (H) license expect in professional life?


Commercial helicopter pilots transport people, for companies for instance, private persons, or in the tourist sector. They also take on special transportations for logistics firms.  Pest control, patient transport and rescue services are further potential tasks of professional helicopter pilots. Government offices such as the Police, the Fire Brigade and Army also employ helicopter pilots.


Commercial helicopter pilots need to be highly flexible as they need to work at night, on Sundays and public holidays. Work routines constantly test your physical and psychological resilience. Dry atmosphere in the cabin, switching between time and climate zones, responsibility for human lives and power of concentration over a long period of time make the occupation of a helicopter pilot very demanding. Commercial helicopter pilots need to constantly stay up-to-date on the latest technical and legal developments.

Proportionate to the strenuous training and high level of job responsibility, earning prospects for helicopter pilots are great. The salary varies from employer to employer, however they are generally comparable with the salaries of commercial- and air transport pilots.