While you technically only need to fly two hours a year and pass a licence proficiency check (per type) to maintain your PPL(H), the reality is that you’re going to want to do a lot more than that in order to keep within standard 28-day currency requirements for self-fly hire and to continue building your skills.
Aug 30 · read·
Maintaining your PPL(H): Tips for Staying Current
Staying current can sometimes seem a bit of a challenge, whether that’s because life or work are getting in the way or because budget is a struggle, but with these tips, you’ll have plenty of reasons to get down to the airfield and back at the controls.
Go on an adventure
It’s what your helicopter licence is for, after all! Subscribe to Helipaddy and you’ll find an almost limitless choice of places to fly to, each site putting your PPL(H) to good use. You don’t have to fly far to exercise your skills; a short hop to a nearby hotel for a cup of tea will keep you just as current as a jaunt down to the Isle of Wight. Keep an eye on our Trip of the Week section for lots of inspiration on fun heli destinations.
Buddy up with another pilot
If cost is an issue, a great way to make helicopter self-fly hire more affordable is to share flights with a fellow PPL(H) holder. You could fly to your destination and they could fly back, and you each pay for what you log as P1. Not only does this make lots of sense from the perspective of your bank balance, but there are other benefits to having another qualified pilot on board. If you and your flying buddy have a similar level of experience you can work through problems together, while taking a more experienced pilot can be a great way to learn and to stretch your flying skills with more challenging sites.
Fly with an instructor
We’d always advise a refresher flight before taking your proficiency check, but there’s no harm in flying with an instructor once in a while anyway. Not only are we all guilty of getting into bad habits once PPL(H) training is complete, but it can be surprising how quickly you can get rusty when you’re not continually using certain skills. Hopping in with an instructor for half an hour and practising some autorotations or going into a tricky landing site will keep those crucial skills fresh, as well as helping you maintain self-fly hire currency requirements.
Learn something new
As a PPL(H) holder, the learning never stops – but if you’re in search of a new challenge, why not add a new type rating to your licence? If you’ve never flown anything bigger than an R22, you could train for an R44 type rating and see what more you can do with this faster, more powerful machine. Never flown a turbine? Then an R66 type rating is a great introduction to the world of jet engines. If you want to fly something totally different, have a go in our MD520 Notar! You could also learn how to fly the London heli lanes, or get some training on more advanced avionics such as the G500H TXi and HeliSAS.