Helicopter initiation course


Duration: 1 day
Price: To consult
Request more information


Expand your knowledge of helicopter piloting and fly a Robinson R22 helicopter for 30 minutes.

Course Description

He Flight initiation course It is training to enter the world of helicopter flight. The progressive technical improvement and functional capabilities have been increasing the areas of use of the helicopter, and it is already a present reality in our society, but flying with them is an unknown activity for many.

At Helipistas SL, we have been training pilots for more than 10 years and, taking advantage of our experience, we have created an introductory flight course that combines glamor with adventure and technique.

Course duration

He Flight initiation course It lasts 1 day, where 1 hour will be dedicated to theoretical helicopter piloting instruction, a knowledge test, 30-minute ground flight instruction and 30-minute helicopter piloting.

Course structure

  • Arrival at the Ullastrell heliport
  • Visit to the hangars
  • First contact with the instructor
  • Accommodation in the pilot classroom
  • 60-minute helicopter piloting theory instruction
  • Knowledge test
  • 30 minute ground flight instruction
  • Helicopter piloting lasting 30 minutes
  • Diploma delivery


Knowledge test of theoretical helicopter piloting instruction.

Requirements to take the course

Being over 18 years.



How does a helicopter fly?

The aerodynamics of the helicopter are much more complex than that of the airplane. The difference is that in the first the blades (equivalent to the wings of the airplane) rotate to provide the lift that keeps the helicopter in the air and, depending on the flight conditions, the lift of each blade varies greatly. For example , in a two-blade helicopter (rotor rotating left) that is flying at 50 Kts., the lift of the blade that is 90o to the right of the nose adds up to these 50 Kts. at its rotation speed, so its lift will be maximum. On the contrary, the opposite blade subtracts the 50 Kts. at its speed, its lift being minimum. To avoid this large difference in lift, which would cause the helicopter to overturn, a mechanism is used that automatically reduces the angle of the advancing blade and increases that of the retreating one.

In addition to the above, there are additional problems, such as the reaction torque caused by the rotation of the main rotor (which is why the tail rotor is also called anti-torque). If the main rotor rotates to the left, the helicopter fuselage tends to rotate to the right, the more so the greater the power applied to the rotor. Operating the tail rotor with the pedals counteracts this rotation, but each time the power is changed, the position of the pedals must be changed.

Most modern helicopters have an automatic system to combine pedal control with collective control (power applied to the main rotor).

The helicopter has three different controls: the cyclic one, which controls the inclination (left and right) and the pitch (nose down and up), varying the plane of rotation of the main rotor; the collective, which controls the power (the angle of the main rotor blades) to go up and down and the pedals, which control turning left and right by varying the angle of the tail rotor blades. In addition, there is control of the engine or engines, generally automatic, although some are manual.

To date, an effective system has not been achieved that allows launching from a helicopter as is done from a fighter plane, with an ejection seat. (The Kamov Ka-50 military helicopter has this system incorporated). In reality, the parachute is the helicopter itself, and more specifically the main rotor.

Unfortunately, the helicopter cannot glide, but rather "controlled fall." The maneuver called autorotation allows you to land with the engine stopped or without power applied to the rotors due to the entry into operation of a system similar to that of bicycles (when you stop pedaling, the rear wheel continues rotating) called freewheel. This system allows the main rotor (and the tail rotor associated with it) to rotate in the same way that a windmill does due to the flow of air from bottom to top as the helicopter descends.

To enter autorotation, the collective control must be lowered completely and in a very short time (of the order of two seconds) since if this is not done, the main rotor would be braked due to air resistance until it loses revolutions and would no longer be able to operate. support the helicopter. Hence a saying among helicopter pilots: "when in doubt, autorotation."

Although autorotation allows you to reach the ground safely, it is an extremely difficult maneuver, since the descent rate during it is close to 2000 ft./min. (about 600 m/min. or 10 m/sec.) and the indicated speed remains around 650 KIAS (120 Km./h) (approximate R22 conditions).

If contact with the ground were made under these conditions, the result would be catastrophic. For this reason, at the end of the autorotation and very close to the ground (about 30 m.), a "flare" or aerodynamic braking is carried out by quickly raising the nose of the helicopter to about 20º. This achieves three things: a moderate increase in rotor rpm (and therefore lift), a large decrease in the indicated speed (ideally 0 KIAS) and a large decrease in the descent rate (below 500 ft./min.).

Once braking is completed, the pilot lowers the nose until it is slightly above the horizon and applies the collective control to cushion the entry into the ground, changing rotor lift for descent rate (the higher the collective rises, the slower the descent will be, provided the rotor rpm loss is within limits).

Training in autorotation must be continuous, especially in single-engine helicopters. In the basic helicopter course, these maneuvers are practiced regularly in the R22, entering autorotation from 600 ft. on the ground and trying to enter a square of about 15x15 m. Without breaking the helicopter!

It cannot be said that one is more difficult to pilot than the other, each one has its peculiarities. The helicopter requires great coordination between the hands and feet, and the movements of the controls generally have to be very small, so "fine hands" are needed.

Assuming that the helicopter was invented to fill the gap between the surface vehicle and the airplane, great speed is not needed. The fundamental problem is the helicopter's rotor, which at high speeds suffers a series of aerodynamic phenomena that limit its maximum speed. Even so, modern helicopters have acceptable speeds, which allow them to "rub shoulders" with conventional aircraft, and even with some fighters, when landing at airports.

Theoretically yes, as long as the maneuvers are within the resistance limits of its components (rotor, structure). Even so, the maneuvers would not be as attractive as in conventional airplanes (for example, the curl or looping is much more similar to an ellipse than a circle) due to the aerodynamic problems inherent to the helicopter design.

No. Due to the aerodynamic problems that appear in lateral and backward flight, the speed in these cases is much lower than forward (about a quarter of this in "normal" helicopters and a 50% in combat models ).

Regarding the power plant, there are no major differences with a conventional internal combustion engine or turbine/turboprop aircraft except that helicopter turbines do not have an afterburner. However, the rest of the powertrain components are much more complicated.
In multi-engine helicopters (generally twin engines), the main transmission box must be capable of absorbing, combining and transforming the power supplied by the engines (which do not always rotate at the same rpm and therefore do not provide the same torque). To get an idea, it is enough to say that some turbines operate at about 30,000 rpm and the main rotor at about 300 rpm. All this is achieved through sets of reduction gears.
Regarding the flight controls, the difference with the conventional airplane is much greater since it is the lifting surfaces (blades) themselves that at the same time constitute the control surfaces.
Rotor heads are of great technical complexity, although the use of composite materials tends to simplify their design and maintenance. An articulated rotor (the type generally most used due to its efficiency) allows rotation movements on the longitudinal axis, up/down and forward/reverse. In addition, the blades themselves suffer deformations and bending while they rotate. All this makes the maintenance of the rotors a very important aspect.
The blades must be paired so that their weight is as uniform as possible (they must all weigh the same), with the tolerance for the difference in weight being a few tens of grams since an imbalance of masses in rotation causes vibrations. and, ultimately, structural damage to them and the rest of the helicopter components.

Yes, as long as they are approved for it and the pilot is qualified for IMC flight. However, flying in icing conditions (clouds with ice) is very dangerous due to the aerodynamic problems caused by ice accumulating on the rotor blades and in the air inlets of the engines, which can cause them to stop working due to ice ingestion if the helicopter does not have engine anti-icing systems.

Yes, although it must be done in manual opening in helicopters that do not have a rear ramp since there is a risk that if the launch is done in automatic opening, the parachute extractor belt or even the parachute could get caught in the tail rotor of the helicopter.

KIA stands for Knots Indicated Airspeed. The speed of the aircraft is measured by means of an anemometer, which provides data on the speed with which the air collides with the instrument sensor, that is, the relative speed of the aircraft with respect to the mass of air in the that moves. The system is called Pitot.

Due to the different altitudes, temperatures and air densities at which an aircraft can operate, there are different types of speeds. The most important are: indicated, the one indicated by the instrument; calibrated, the previous one corrected with the error that the installation has; over the ground, the actual speed at which the aircraft moves over the ground once the wind factor is applied.

One knot is equivalent to one nautical mile per hour (approximately 1852 m/h). 100 KIAS would correspond to 185.2 km/h.

The engines can be reciprocating (very similar to those of a car) and turbines, very similar to those of passenger airplanes. Both types of engines provide power to the rotors through a gear system (main and tail rotor transmission). Almost all modern helicopters use turbines.

Reciprocating engines use aviation gasoline (almost equal to 98 octane gasoline in cars). Turbines use different types of fuel, but all of them are basically diesel. The most used type of fuel is JET A-1, military equivalent name JP-8.

Turbines are usually noisier at high frequencies, and the noise emitted depends on the revolutions at which they are operating. However, helicopters usually operate at relatively constant turbine revolutions. In the case of helicopters, the rotors contribute greatly to the noise level emitted. For example, the EC-120 "Colibrí", due to its low noise level due to the advanced nature of its rotors, is one of the few models authorized to fly in the famous Colorado River Park (USA).

The basic difference between heliport and helipad is that the former is designed for regular operations, while the helipad has an occasional nature. Of course, helicopters can also operate from any other location that meets minimum safety conditions and with authorization from the competent authority (General Directorate of Civil Aviation or Military Authority, depending on whether the aircraft is civil or military). The technical requirements that must be met are reflected in the Air Traffic Regulations.