Hover Dynamics | Training & Charter

What Qualifications Are Required To Train As A Helicopter Pilot?

No formal qualifications are required to train as a helicopter pilot, and contrary to popular belief, NO previous flying experience is required before learning to fly helicopters. Due to the responsibility involved in flying, there are minimum age requirements, being 17 years for the Private Pilot’s licence, and 18 years for the Commercial Pilots licence. The only other requirement is that you pass an aviation medical exam which requires only a reasonable level of fitness.

What Do The Various Courses Consist Of?

Private Pilot Helicopter (PPL H)
The Private Pilot licence is designed for those who wish to fly for pleasure rather than for a career.

  • The minimum requirements are:
  • 17 years of age
  • Aviation medical
  • 50 Hours minimum flying time (including 15 hours of solo)
  • Restricted radio licence and PPL Ground School
  • PPL exams (These exams are done through the South African Civil Aviation Authority).

Note: the radio licence is done through Hover Dynamics

The PPL (H) course comprises both flying and a series of ground school subjects. These are designed to offer the student the handling skills required, together with a comprehensive understanding of the helicopter, leading to the award of a SACAA PPL (H) licence.

The syllabus for the PPL (H) included herein indicates the exercises that will be covered both in the briefing room and in the air. Each lesson comprises between one and a half to two hours, with an equal amount of time spent on flying and briefing. Please note that the cost quoted per hour is for flying time only – all briefing time prior to and after flying is included at no additional cost.

The designated ground school subjects involve comprehensive briefing by an instructor/lecturer with some self-study on the part of the student. The students are examined using multi-choice papers.

The ground school subjects consist of: - Air Law

- Meteorology
- Navigation
- Human Performance and Limitations
- Helicopter Tech and General
- Principles of flight
- Flight Performance and Planning
- Helicopter Radiotelephony Communications

Although this list may at first seem daunting, once a student has started the course, the ground school forms a logical and common sense part of the PPL (H) course.

We pride ourselves on the standard of instruction available here at Hover Dynamics and have found that the students find the one-to-one instruction more beneficial than a class structure. All our instructors are grade II’s and III’s with many having logged more than 2200 hours of instructional experience.

The Private Pilot’s Licence Air Exercise Syllabus:

1. Familiarization with helicopter. 16. First solo: (maximum of 2 circuits).

2. Prep for flight & action after flight. 17. Consolidating of skills learned to date.

3. Air experience. 18. Advanced hovering and manoeuvring.

4. Effect of controls in forward flight. 19. Precision transitions.

5. Attitude & power changes. 20. Quick stops.

6. Straight & Level; Climbs & descents. 21. Tight circuits

7. Medium turns. 22. Steep turns

8. Basic hover in-ground effect. 23. Advanced auto-rotations

9. Lift-offs & touch-downs. 24. Limited-power operations.

10. Hover & taxi out of wind. 25. Transition in various wind directions

11. Transitions. 26. Slope landings and take-offs.

12. Circuit flying. 27. Confined area & out-of-ground effect ops.

13. Vortex ring state. 28. Low Flying

14. Basic auto-rotations. 29. High altitude familiarization

15. Emergencies; engine-off landings. 30. Navigation

Commercial Pilots Licence (CPL H)

The Commercial Pilots licence is designed for those who wish to make a career of flying helicopters.
The minimum requirements are:

  • 18 years of age
  • Aviation medical (Commercial)
  • 200 hours of flying, (including the 50 hours from your PPL), of which 100 hours must be solo.
  • General radio licence and CPL ground school
  • CPL exams. (These exams are done through the South African Civil Aviation Authority).


Hover Dynamics does most ab-initio instruction in the Robinson R22 and/or R44 Helicopters. These are favoured aircraft world wide for training as they offer a solid foundation for the private pilot through to the commercial pilot. There is a weight restriction on each seat as shown in the price list.


This is a very important question and the answer at Hover Dynamics is a definite yes. If you have trained with us, then our aircraft are available for Hire & Fly at reduced rates.


This is entirely up to you, although you may want to discuss with your assigned flight instructor. Normally finances and work schedules determine the amount of flying that one can do. Flying time to obtain your PPL can be done in as little as 6 weeks. Generally the more frequently you fly the more consistent your progress will be, but you should enjoy your training rather than concentrate only on the end goal of attaining your PPL or CPL.

Please bear in mind that the 50 hours and 200 hours required respectively are minimum requirements and actual hours flown depend on individual abilities and progress.


All flights are charged according to the Hobbs meter which effectively is an hour meter connected to monitor engine running time and is measured in gradients of 0.1 – i.e. 6 minutes. Payment is strictly as you fly or payment in advance. Most of our clients tend to put down deposits of R10 000.00 to R15 000.00 and higher, and then fly the credit off. No flights will be allowed if the account is not in credit. Attached herewith are our price lists which show various options. These prices exclude your medical, all ground school courses that you are required to attend, and all SACAA exam and licence fees.


Flying helicopters takes some co-ordination, but nearly everyone can learn to fly them. The training syllabus is designed to take you through 35 exercises, each of which is designed as a building block. These exercises are taught in a logical sequence making learning to fly fun and as easy as possible.


Perhaps the best way for us to express what flying is about is to arrange a demonstration flight. (The time flown can be logged toward your PPL).

We strongly recommend that you take one of our demonstration flights. You will be encouraged to take the controls under the supervision of one of our experienced instructors. This will give you a valuable insight into helicopter flying and will help you decide whether flying helicopters is something which interests you or not, as well as giving you an opportunity to discuss you licence with an instructor.