Helcopter Flight Training

Learn to fly a helicopter in Yorkshire

Learning to fly a helicopter is one of the most exciting things you’ll ever do. Trust us, we’ve been there and loved it so much we now teach other people how to fly!

Helicopter pilot training in Yorkshire comes no better than our base at Sherburn Airfield, Yorkshire. Not only do you have a friendly team with thousands of hours in flight training, but you have the stunning aerial views that Yorkshire has to offer.

Better still, it’s a quiet area with plenty of space, plus we even have our very own helicopter circuit at the airfield.

Whether helicopter flight training is just for some fun at the weekend or you’re looking to take the leap in to commercial flying, we have the aircraft, facilities and tuition to make your dream happen.

Click here and discover more about our Yorkshire helicopter base at Sherburn Airfield.

PPL (H) flight training

The PPL(H) is simply a private pilot’s licence for helicopters, very much the starting point for anyone looking to fly this type of aircraft.

Just like any of our flight training, we start from the very basics and as time progresses you will learn the skills required to fly a Robinson R44 or a Bell 505 helicopter alone. In fact, to date we’re the only operator in the UK to provide training on the Bell 505!

Once you’ve fulfilled the criteria and awarded your PPL(H) rating, you’re able to fly friends and family to lunch, or even skip the traffic to avoid been late for the important business meeting.

As with all our helicopter flight training, flights are carried out from our base at Sherburn Airfield in Yorkshire.

What it takes to get your PPL(H) licence


45 hours total flying time


Class 2 medical certificate


Radiotelephony licence


10 hours solo flying time (of which 5 have to be navigation)


Successful completion of the theoretical examinations

Buy helicopter flight training as a gift

The ultimate gift for any budding aviator

Commercial helicopter flight training

After some time as a private helicopter pilot, the next step of flying commercially is just a rating away. From our base at Sherburn Airfield in Yorkshire we can certainly help you achieve your dream career.

Once you’ve fulfilled the pre-requisites below you’re more than ready to take on the challenge.

The course itself should take around a month on a full-time basis, subject to weather and other operational factors of course. You’ll complete 20 hours visual flying and 10 hours instrument flying (30 total) with emphasis on more accurate navigation and greater handling skill, with the aim of preparing you to safely carry trusting and fayre paying passengers. There is also a focus on decision making, as well as threat and error management skills.

Most candidates will also require 5 hours of night training in addition to the 30 hour course – unless you already hold the night rating.

On completion of the training and a successful test with a CAA Examiner, you are now in a position to be employed within the industry, usually in a starting role flying single engine helicopters such as the R44 or Bell 206.

If you need to build hours then we can certainly help. We have a great rate on a hours building package so you can get the logged hours needed without breaking the bank.

Prerequisites for commercial helicopter training 


Be 18 or over


Hold a PPL(H)


Hold a Class 1 Medical


Have a total flight time of at least 155 hours, of which 50 must be as Pilot in Command and 10 of which ‘cross country’


Hold a valid type rating on the R44 – this can also be provided. We use the R44 for all of our training


Have gained a pass in all of either the CPL or ATPL Theoretical Examinations

Begin your commercial helicopter training in Yorkshire

Our expert instructors are ready to help you achieve your dream career

Helicopter type ratings

If you’re keen to get another helicopter type added to your licence then we’re able to help!

In addition to the R44 helicopter, we offer type ratings and training on the Bell 505, Bell 206 Jet Ranger, Bell 47 aircraft and most others by request.


  • Minimum 5 hours flight time on type.
  • Type-specific theoretical knowledge examination.
  • Pass a proficiency check with our in house examiner.

Discuss your helicopter type ratings

Talk to the experts at Hields Aviation 

Helicopter flight training FAQs

Are there any age limits?

There’s no upper age limit and as long as you are reasonably fit and well. Flight training can begin at 14 years old but solo flights cannot be undertaken before the age of 16 years. You need to be 17 years old to gain a pilot’s licence. We’ve trained several pilots who’ve learned after retirement, so as long as you’re enthusiastic and want to learn something new, it’s never too late to start!

Are there any height or weight limits?
We use Robinson R44, four seat helicopters for training. The weight limit of the R44 is no heavier than 21 stone (134kg) per seat. As long as you can reach the pedals, height is generally no problem, we have several pilots well over six feet tall.
The R44 Helicopter is capable of training the “larger” pilot with a seat weight limit of 300 pounds.
Do I need to pass a medical?

You only need to be reasonably fit and healthy to be a passenger. For obvious reasons a pilot needs to pass some basic medical checks. A Class 2 medical is required for a private pilots licence and a Class 1 medical is required for an instructor or commercial pilots licence.

Certain conditions like epilepsy or anything causing blackouts would unfortunately bar you from becoming a pilot. However we can put you in contact with CAA approved doctors in your local area who can issue medical certificates. If in doubt then please consult your GP in the first instance for advice.

What if I wear glasses?
Is it safe?

Our instructors and commercial pilots are trained to CAA / EASA standards, and are fully CAA / EASA licenced and approved. They undergo annual safety checks and medicals for fitness to fly as well as having many 100’s, and often 1000’s of hours experience.

Our AOC licence from the CAA commits us to very stringent safe working methods of operation and our aircraft undergo regular compulsory safety checks and maintenance. The maintenance has to be done at an approved maintenance organisation. Should an engine failure happen then pilots are trained to glide the aircraft to a safe landing called an auto-rotation. So you can see we take safety very seriously, ensuring that pilots and aircraft are fit for purpose.

Sherburn Airfield is a CAA licenced airfield.

How many hours does it take to get a pilot’s licence?

The CAA minimum is 45 hours. The UK average is about 65 hours however at Hields Aviation the typical time taken to obtain your licence is about 55 hours.

Exams worry me, are they difficult?

All the written subjects use multi-choice tests where the pass mark is 75%. As long as you have read & understood the course books and completed sample questions then there’s no reason why you shouldn’t pass the tests first time. You can study for as long as you need to and then take a particular test. Our experienced instructors are always willing to assist your studying, and are happy to answer questions.

How long is my licence valid for?

Your pilot’s licence needs to be validated every year for each type of helicopter that you are rated on. You need to fly a minimum of 2 hours on each type per year. You need to keep your medical certificate current – the period between checks being dependent on your age and licence type.

How do I get started for a helicopter pilots licence?

The best way to experience helicopters is to book a trial lesson with us. We’ll brief you about the helicopter and you’ll experience the controls one by one to learn their effects. If you like the thrilling experience, and we are sure you will, then it’s just matter of booking lessons on the formal course and doing them as regularly as you wish.