19th Ave New York, NY 95822, USA


Here at Hummingbird Helicopters, we are asked questions by lots of people interested in learning to fly or interested in buying a friend or loved one the gift of flight. Please see our FAQ questions and answers below. If you would like further information, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Do I need any previous flying experience?

No, you need no previous experience before starting your helicopter course. If you hold a current fixed wing licence you can count 10% of your Pilot-in-Command hours (up to a maximum of 6 hours) towards the minimum 40-hour LAPL(H) and 45-hour PPL(H) requirement.

Will I automatically get my licence after the minimum hours flight training?

Not necessarily. The minimum hours are a requirement by the Civil Aviation Authority. It can sometimes take people a few more hours to meet the standard required by the examiner. It is unsafe for a flying school to guarantee a student a pass within a certain amount of hours. At Hummingbird, safety is of paramount importance and therefore our students will only be recommended for their test when their flying is up to a suitably high standard.

Do I need a CPL to be a Flight Instructor?

No, a PPL in conjunction with valid Class 2 Medical and commercial Ground School examinations is satisfactory. Once you have attended and passed the Flight Instructor course you can then be remunerated for instruction up to PPL level.

How long does the LAPL or PPL course take ?

There is no set time over which you must do the course as long as you complete it. Therefore we can tailor a course from a full time (3-4 days a week) or spread it over several years if you so desire. However, please bear in mind people tend to suffer from lack of continuity if they try to spread the course over too long a period.

Do I automatically get a licence when I have completed the course?

No, just as when you learn to drive you will take a test at the end of the course. On passing the test you will receive your licence.

What are the medical requirements?

Please have a look at our Medical Fitness Page.

How long is a licence valid for?

A UK CAA licence is NON-expiring and is valid for your lifetime provided the holder maintains a current Medical and flies a minimum of 2 hours as a pilot within the validity period of the rating.

What prior knowledge of the helicopter, navigation, air law etc do I need?

None – as long as you are willing to learn and have a good degree of common sense. We will teach you all you need to know.

When I have my licence how can I fly a helicopter?

You can self-fly hire one of our aircraft for your own use when you have your licence. This is at a lesser rate, as you are not paying for an instructor to fly with you.

Your price list quotes by the hour - what does this mean?

You only pay for the hours you fly. If you hire a helicopter for the day you will only pay for the time it flies, subject to a minimum of one hour. When you are learning you will spend a considerable amount of time on the ground being briefed by your instructor: this time is not chargeable.

Can anybody fly a helicopter?

Helicopter flying is a skill that most people can achieve to a safe standard after sufficient practice.

What type of licences can I gain at Hummingbird?

Light Aircraft Pilot’s Licence – LAPL(H) and Private Pilot’s Licence – PPL(H)

How do I get a Commercial Pilot’s Licence (CPL)?

When you have been issued with your PPL you then need to build your flying experience until you have a total of 155 flying hours and you have to have completed a further course of 13 ground school examinations. You are then eligible to undertake the 30-hour CPL flight training module. At the end of this process you will be examined by a nominated flight examiner and if successful you will be awarded with your CPL(H).

Can I teach the CPL course with a PPL and Instructor Rating?

No, you can only teach and examine up to the level of licence that you hold.

How old do I have to be?

The minimum age requirement for a holder of a PPL(H) is 17, however if someone younger than 17 wishes to start and learn, this is no problem but he/she would not be able to log hours until they are 14 and not fly solo until their 16th birthday.

Where do I go to take my test?

At Hummingbird, we have ‘in-house’ examiners and you can take your test here.

Can I get a job when I have my PPL(H)?

The holder of a Private Pilot’s Licence is entitled to fly a helicopter for their own private use, for family and friends or on business trips. However, if you have completed the commercial ground school and the Instructor Rating you can be employed in the role of PPL Flight Instructor and be paid for those services. In order for you to work as a commercial pilot in public transport or any area other then PPL instructing, you must become a commercial pilot and hold a Class 1 Medical Certificate.

If I learn on the R22 and wish to fly a different sort of helicopter what must I do?

You must do a 5 hour conversion onto each particular type you require to add to your licence having initially passed the flight test.

Where can I take a helicopter and can I land it anywhere?

You can take the helicopter almost anywhere you wish and you can land at any civil airfield subject to its terms and conditions. More importantly, you can land on anybody’s field or private site such as hotel, restaurant, golf course and private property, provided you have the owner’s permission and you do not violate any Air Traffic Rules whilst doing so (you will be taught the rules on the course).

Our experienced staff will be pleased to assist with site selection and the relevant permissions.

Is a helicopter safe?

Yes, air travel generally is statistically far safer than road travel. In the hands of a sensible and well-trained pilot, a helicopter is an excellent form of transport, which can be safely landed in the rare event of an engine failure. It is not true to say that the helicopter will fall from the sky in the event of an engine failure. In reality, the aircraft will be put into an autorotative state. During the course, your instructor will demonstrate and subsequently teach you how to land the helicopter safely without the engine running.

I am going travelling abroad - can I rent a helicopter overseas?

Usually yes. The operator will probably insist on some form of check flight before letting you take his aircraft.