Education and Resources

Educational Packets

Contact us for more information about aviation educational packets for kids:

FAA Training Resources & Guides

The Federal Aviation Administration's website has a wide range of handbooks, training materials, testing information, and other guidance for those interested in becoming a pilot in the US. Their website is

Helicopter Jobs Listing

Stay tuned for a listing of helicopter jobs!

Helicopter Training FAQ

Check out our FAQ list below of frequently asked questions about becoming a helicopter pilot, and where to find more information.

Helicopter Association International (HAI)

HAI provides education, support, and services to the helicopter community. They work with other aviation organizations to establish industry safety guidelines. They also host HAI HELI-EXPO, the largest annual helicopter exposition in the world. Check out their website at

Aircraft Owner's and Pilot's Association (AOPA)

The AOPA is a pilot advocacy organization hat has a wealth of materials for aspiring pilots. They prioritize continuing education and safety, and have a range of programs for beginners and experienced pilots. They also provide legal services and medical advice through their subscription service. Students receive a 6-month membership for free. You can learn more at their website:

Flight School Listing

Stay tuned for our list of helicopter flight schools!

Helicopter FAQ -- click on the questions below:

1How do I become a helicopter pilot?
Helicopters perform a range of operations: tours, geographical and environmental survey work, electronic news gathering (ENG), medical evacuations (medevac), construction and utility work, law enforcement, transport, and more.

Getting started requires deciding how to fund the training. For more information about learning to fly in the military, please contact our VP of Membership at with questions.

If you are going to fund the training yourself, the fastest and least expensive way to go is to train full-time at a flight school. While the charges will accumulate quickly, frequency of ground and flight training will allow you to build on previous lessons.

For many, it is not possible to enroll full time or relocate. You will then need to look into local flight schools. You can control your pace, but if your ground and flight sessions are spaced further apart, your progress will be slower and may cost more.

Consider whether you wish to enroll in a degree program that incorporates flight training or a flight school by itself. The degree options usually also incorporate flight certification. Some degree programs provide financial aid.
2What FAA ratings do I have to have?
What certificates and ratings you need depend upon what you want to do as a pilot.

When you go through a civilian flight school, you will complete a number of training phases. All phases involve both flight training and classroom instruction, and they end with an exam, called a "checkride." Approximate flight hours for each stage are listed in the paragraphs below.

Private training allows you to fly by yourself in a helicopter in the U.S. This requires a minimum of 40 flight hours, usually closer to 50 or 60 hours.

Instrument training teaches you to fly by reference to instruments (that is, without needing to look outside). You typically train in instrument-simulated conditions, rather than actually in the clouds, but this rating is critical for certain helicopter operations and is becoming an industry expectation for safety reasons. Please note that smaller training aircraft aren't allowed to fly through clouds, so you will be flying in good weather, focusing on the instruments while your instructor is looking outside the aircraft.

A commercial certificate allows you to fly for hire, so you can finally get paid to fly! You need a minimum of 150 flight hours to take for the commercial practical test. You will typically accumulate these hours throughout your private, instrument, and commercial training.

A Certified Flight Instructor (CFI) certificate allows you to perform flight instruction.

Certified Flight Instrument Instructor (CFII) is needed if you wish to perform instrument flight instruction.

If you want to fly a helicopter for a hobby and aren’t concerned about working as a pilot, private training is sufficient, while instrument training is an added safety benefit.

Many pilots start their aviation careers as flight instructors, in which case you will need a flight instructor certificate. Flight instruction is one of the few jobs you will be qualified for when you complete your training, as you will have roughly 200-250 hours.

It is common, but not a given, for a newly-certificated CFI to get his or her first job as a flight instructor at the flight school where you trained, so remember: your flight training experience at your school is an extended job interview.
3What should I look for in a flight school?
Here are some questions you could ask when you visit or call a flight school:

Do they have the program you are interested in and provide training for all the ratings you need? If they only have helicopters for private, commercial, and CFI training, you will need to go elsewhere for instrument and CFII ratings, and that will add extra cost.

Do they emphasize safety in every aspect of their practices?

Will they be able to accommodate your schedule?

Do they have high quality onsite maintenance? This means any maintenance issues (hopefully) can be addressed quickly, and you won't be waiting for an available aircraft to fly.

Do they have several helicopters in case one is unavailable?

When you talk to students at the school, are they satisfied with their training?

When you talk to the instructors, are they happy in their work and comfortable with the safety culture?

Are there any women in the program or employed by the facility?

Do they hire instructors from their graduates?

If you are not an American citizen, can they accommodate foreign students?

How long does their program take to complete, and how much does it cost?

Do they require you to pay a deposit?

Can you pay as you go? Note: a flight school is not a bank. Be cautious of putting down a huge amount of money at once. More than one school has gone bankrupt abruptly, and students have lost their funds.

Do they help you find financial aid?

Do they provide discounts for buying blocks of hours?

What type of aircraft will you be flying? If you plan to work as an instructor, it’s useful to fly aircraft that are commonly flown in flight schools, for example, Robinsons and Schweizers.

Once you have a chance to talk to the people at the school, do you get a good feeling in the pit of your stomach? If not, can you identify what doesn't feel right to you?

Do your research, and talk to other pilots. And if you still have questions, contact our VP of Membership at
4When can I become a Whirly-Girl?
You can join as an Associate member at any time. We have student memberships in our Associate category, and scholarships available for women who don't have a helicopter rating yet. If you are a student, we can connect you with other Whirly-Girls in your area. .

Once you earn your private certificate, you may then become a Whirly-Girl and be eligible for full membership benefits.
5I want to learn more. Do you have a list of aviation organizations?
6I have more questions! What do I do?
That's great! Email the webmaster at We'd love to hear from you!