Purpose of Flight Training

It is the helicopter instructor’s responsibility to discuss the overall purpose of flight training with the student. Explain that the goal of flight training is the acquisition and honing of basic airmanship skills that provide the student with:

  • An understanding of the principles of flight.
  • The ability to safely operate a helicopter with competence and precision both on the ground and in the air.
  • The knowledge required to exercise sound judgment when making decisions affecting operational safety and efficiency.

Ensure the student understands that a helicopter operates in a three-dimensional environment and requires specific skills to control the aircraft:

  • Coordination—the ability to use the hands and feet together subconsciously and in the proper relationship to produce desired results in the helicopter control.
  • Control touch—to develop the ability to sense and evaluate the varying pressures and resistance of the control surfaces and/or the instructor’s input transmitted through the cockpit flight controls and apply inputs in response to those pressures.
  • Timing—the application of muscular coordination at the proper instant to make maneuvering flight a constant smooth process.
  • Mental comprehension of aerodynamic state, power required versus power available, and hazards present.

Keep in mind that an accomplished pilot demonstrates the ability to assess a situation quickly and accurately and to determine the correct procedure to be followed under the circumstance; to analyze accurately the probable results of a given set of circumstances or of a proposed procedure; to exercise care and due regard for safety; to gauge accurately the performance of the aircraft; and to recognize personal limitations and limitations of the aircraft and avoid approaching the critical points of each. The development of airmanship skills requires effort and dedication on the part of both the student and the flight instructor. It begins with the first training flight when the instructor encourages proper habit formation by introducing and modeling safe operating practices.

While every aircraft has its own particular flight characteristics, the purpose of primary and intermediate flight training is not to learn how to fly a particular make and model of helicopter; it is to develop skills and safe habits that are transferable to any helicopter. [Figure]

Purpose of Flight Training
As part of flight training, a pilot instructs a student on proper techniques for landing at an airport

Basic airmanship skills serve as a firm foundation for this. Acquiring necessary airmanship skills during training and demonstrating these skills by flying with precision and safe flying habits allows the pilot to transition easily to more complex helicopters. Remember, the goal of flight training is to become a safe and competent pilot, and that passing required tests for pilot certification is only the first step toward this goal.