Becoming a helicopter pilot involves a much different type of training than the more traditional pilot’s license. The ability to safely control a helicopter both in the air and at landing sites is imperative and requires a different skill level than a commercial pilot who typically has a standard landing and takeoff location that is well marked and prepared for their arrival. Helicopters may be used for a wide variety of purposes and consequently a helicopter pilot must be prepared to handle any number of conditions and situations. Just as with traditional pilot jobs, helicopter pilots have a number of different areas that they can focus on for employment. For helicopter pilots that want to work with medical emergencies, hospitals typically enlist a private service to handle their emergent air lifts. The helicopter pilot is typically contracted to the hospital or to an emergency medical unit company.
Aviation employment for helicopter pilots can also be found with organizations that provide search and rescue assistance for local law enforcement agencies or government agencies that support areas such as the national parks. These types of helicopter pilots typically have to be trained for jobs such as mountain rescues, avalanche search and rescues, supporting efforts in dangerous areas including wild fires. Other specialized helicopter skills that can help a pilot when seeking aviation employment is the ability to support water rescues and night flying for spot light or heat sensitive searches.
Being a helicopter pilot isn’t all about the adrenaline rush from emergencies. There are also opportunities to work for news agencies, particularly for assistance with traffic reporting. The travel industry also utilizes helicopter rides for private events, such as private, picturesque views of major city skylines. Some industrial and corporate opportunities exist for helicopter pilots who would provide transportation into or out of difficult areas for people or for supplies such as in the mining industry. When seeking aviation employment, it can be helpful to truly determine what type of pilot you are interested in being, whether it is emergency assistance, private support or the travel industry.