Overview: Helicopter pilots are responsible for transporting passengers and freight by helicopter. Helicopter pilots may work alone, or in a captain and co-pilot team on a larger helicopter. During the flight, they use a range of instruments to control the height and speed of the helicopter, navigate, and communicate with air traffic controllers. After landing, they are responsible for completing all post-flight paperwork, which typically includes a duty hours log. Helicopter pilots may fly single and multi-engine helicopters for a wide variety of commercial, leisure, military, or emergency response purposes, such as: Aerial surveys; Aerial tours and sightseeing (also known as "heli tours"); Agricultural spraying; Charter transport (such as flying to offshore oil rigs); Combat and troop transport; Commercial aviation; Forest firefighting; Heavy lifting (such as "heli logging"); Hospital patient transport; Law enforcement; News and traffic reporting; Search and rescue. The job duties of a helicopter pilot can vary greatly from one job to another, depending on a variety of factors. In general, however, they are responsible for performing the following duties: Checking weather conditions and airspace restrictions along the planned route. Determining fuel requirements and maximum loads. Checking the helicopter's equipment and instruments. Performing safety checks. Instructing passengers on safety. Many employers prefer to hire helicopter pilots with a certain amount of flight experience that is above and beyond what is required to become licensed. Depending on the job and the employer, this may range from 200 to 2,500 hours of flight experience. Getting a job as a helicopter pilot is extremely competitive, especially for highly sought-after jobs like search and rescue, and hospital transport. Because of the high level of competition for these jobs, the more experienced you are, the better your job prospects will be.
Geographers at work: Physical Geographers, Human Geographers, Environmental Geographers
Skills: Flight training
Written by Christopher Hinojosa