Powerful Geography
Helicopter Pilot

Helicopter Pilot

Helicopter Pilot


Main Topic: Physical Geography
Secondary Topic: Places and Region

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 surveysAerial tours and sightseeing (also known as "heli tours")Agricultural spraying; Charter transport (such as flying to offshore oil rigs)Combat and troop transportCommercial aviationForest firefightingHeavy lifting (such as "heli logging")Hospital patient transportLaw enforcementNews and traffic reportingSearch and rescueThe 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 routeDetermining fuel requirements and maximum loadsChecking the helicopter's equipment and instrumentsPerforming safety checksInstructing passengers on safetyMany 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 

Recommended College Courses: Physical Geography, Regional Geography 

Skills: Flight traininglocation, spatial direction, cardinal directions, great circle route, map projections, longitude and latitude, elevation, altitude 

Occupation Group: Transportation and Material Movers

Learn more about Helicopter Pilots from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and U.S. Department of Labor: https://www.bls.gov/ooh/transportation-and-material-moving/airline-and-commercial-pilots.htm

Written by Christopher Hinojosa