How do I get started? It's easier than you think. Peninsula Helicopters Northwest
can help to get you off of the ground and into the air. We can help with financing, aviation
medical exams, and every aspect of getting you through your helicopter training. All you
have to do is call or email to schedule an appointment, and we'll walk you through the
How often should I fly? We're flexible to work around your schedule. It's not a
problem if you would like to take your time and pursue your training over several
months. Want to get it done as quickly as possible so you can begin your career as a
helicopter pilot? We can work you in. It's up to you and your instructor to decide how to
best accomplish your goals.
Are helicopters safe? According to a study done by the National Transportation
Safety Board (NTSB), a "single engine, turbine-powered helicopter is the safest aircraft
in the air today with the exception of regularly scheduled commercial airlines".
Helicopters are used everyday in the saving of people’s lives!
Can a helicopter continue flying if the engine quits? Yes. Even though an
engine failure is very uncommon, the maneuverability of a helicopter during an engine-
out situation is excellent and unmatched by any other type of aircraft. The Robinson R-
22, like most helicopters, is equipped with a "free-wheeling clutch mechanism". This belt-
driven clutch assembly allows for separation of the transmission and engine. In the event
of an engine problem, the pilot can adjust pitch in the main rotor blades such that they
continue to spin while the helicopter descends to the ground at a safe speed. The landing
area required in these situations is much smaller than that required by an airplane.
Is a helicopter harder or easier to fly than an airplane? Trainer style
helicopters cannot fly themselves or be trimmed-out. Because of this, a helicopter pilot is
always working the controls to keep the machine in a safe flight attitude. Once airborne,
an airplane can pretty much fly on its own. Flying helicopters is a ‘hands-on’ task as soon
as the engine is started. Though stabilized hovering is one of the hardest maneuvers of
helicopter flight training initially, once it is accomplished and combined with other
maneuvers, there is no aircraft that can equal the freedom and maneuverability of a
helicopter … which is capable of flying forwards, sideways, backwards and straight
Why do helicopters have a tail rotor? For every action there is an equal and
opposite reaction. The torque that is imposed on a helicopter’s fuselage from the spinning
main rotor blades causes the fuselage to try to turn in the opposite direction. An anti-
torque system, or tail rotor, is used to counteract this force. Without a tail rotor, the
helicopter would have no directional control in a hover.
Do you need to have an airplane license before learning to fly a
helicopter? No. In fact, no previous flight experience is necessary to obtain a
helicopter pilot’s license. Many airplane pilots choose to cross-train and get an ‘add-on’
rating in helicopters. Much of the book knowledge between the two aircraft is
transferable while several of the specific airplane maneuvers must be ‘unlearned’.
Does wind affect a helicopter? Different wind conditions create different
situations that a helicopter is subjected to. For instance, a helicopter flying at 90 knots in
a zero-wind condition is equivalent to a helicopter hovering in a 90-knot headwind. Since
the rotating main rotor blades are the helicopter’s ‘wings’ in flight, the helicopter is flown
most efficiently if the fuselage is kept in trim with respect to the wind. This is true
whether the helicopter is in a headwind or tailwind condition.
Are the restrictions for helicopters different than airplanes? Yes!
There are different altitude minimums and visibility requirements for helicopters. Due to
the unique way in which helicopters can fly, the requirements are less strict, therefore
allowing helicopters to be flown in more adverse weather conditions.
Why are helicopters so expensive to operate? A helicopter is an
incredibly sophisticated piece of machinery with many expensive parts. Therefore, it
requires regularly-scheduled maintenance to ensure that all of these parts are doing their
job. Many of the parts on a helicopter are ‘life limited’ which means they need to be
replaced at a specified amount of ‘flight hours used’. For example, a set of main rotor
blades for a Robinson R-22 are rated for 2,000 hours of flight time at which time they
must be replaced. The cost for a set of main rotor blades on this particular make and
model is currently around $12,000 a piece.
Is it true that flying a helicopter is a lot of fun? There is no other type of
aircraft available today that offers the freedom of a helicopter. The ability to stop and
hover and/or fly at lower altitudes are all a part of a helicopter pilot’s dream. You too
can be a part of that dream. So come on, let's go fly!!
Peninsula Helicopters Northwest * 8850 S.W. State Hwy 3 * Port Orchard, WA. 98367 *360-674-2001