What is Turbine Flight Experience?

Dec 8, 2021

Helicopter pilots fly in a variety of exciting situations and settings. Turbine helicopter training takes your career potential to new heights.

If you’re thinking of becoming a commercial helicopter pilot, it’s important to know it requires a substantial commitment of time, hard work and money. But if you have a passion for flying and the experience of viewing the world from a helicopter cockpit, it will be worth it.

Turbine Helicopter Pilot Training

The cost to maintain and fly a helicopter is up to four times that of a fixed-wing aircraft – so training to become a helicopter pilot is more expensive than airplane pilot certification.

Piston helicopters are most often used in flight training. Combustion engine-powered aircraft need lower maintenance and use less fuel, making them more economical to fly and training more affordable.

When it comes to career flying, however, turbine helicopter experience is a must.

Lightweight, powerful turbine helicopters were first used primarily as U.S. military aircraft and are today the copter of choice in commercial aviation. Valued for their speed, flexibility and lift, they can fly at high temperatures and altitudes. Sophisticated turbine engines can be scaled to a helicopter’s size and are half the weight of a piston engine. Some use biodiesel instead of jet fuel. 

Most commercial helicopters are turbo-powered, making turbine-trained helicopter pilots with 1,000+ hours highly sought. Turbine transition certification will put you on the path to a well-paying career as a helicopter pilot in your choice of industries.

Flying a Turbine Helicopter

Flying any helicopter is challenging, requiring skill and concentration. Piston engine helicopters are perfect for learning the basics. However, to become marketable as a helicopter pilot and more quickly advance your career, you will want to acquire turbine helicopter experience.

Prospective employers in the commercial industry require high flight time minimums, generally in the range of 1,000-1,500 hours. Yet, paying to build hours flying a turbine would be prohibitive. Many flight schools offer transition courses that get students into turbine helicopters for a concentrated period of training, providing the experience and turbine time-building you need to kickstart your job search.

Turbine transition training typically includes comprehensive introduction to the aircraft as well as preflight and emergency procedures unique to the turbine helicopter. 

Hint: The Turbine Pilot’s Flight Manual is a great resource for pilots transitioning from piston to turbine.

Flight training provides hands-on turbine experience with normal operating and emergency procedures. Certification is granted upon completion of Practical Test Standards. 

Many commercial pilots build flight hours as certified flight instructors; it’s a great way to improve your skills and pass on knowledge while gaining flight time towards your career goals.

Turbine Pilot Careers

Building flight time as a turbine pilot can be challenging. The costs of flight instruction, certification and building hours can total over $100,000. But the payoff can be both exciting and fulfilling.

Several helicopter pilot careers focus on helping people. Turbine helicopters are used for emergency services like search and rescue, life flight and firefighting, law enforcement, and border patrol. High-paying jobs include offshore oil rigs, corporate flight departments, and private or executive business clients.

Helicopter pilots are in high demand. Aviation studies indicate a worldwide pilot shortage and there are great opportunities for good pilots with turbine experience. You can be paid to fly and do what you love!

Pureflight Turbine Transition Course

At Pureflight, we offer helicopter pilot training that prepares you for a career in the industry. Located in the great Pacific Northwest, our premier flight school provides first-class training with skilled instructors, tailored to meet your goals. Our Turbine Transition course offers a pathway to valuable turbine helicopter experience, giving you the turbo time you need to maximize your earning potential. Contact us today to learn more.