Rotorcraft

Utah State Helicopters offers training that will take you from the start of your flying experience to an FAA-certified flight instructor, ready to begin your professional pilot career! We have a family atmosphere; all of our students and instructors know each other by name. We train in the Robinson R22 and R44, two of the most popular light helicopters in use. Flying the Robinson R22 and R44, our graduates meet FAA requirements to instruct at flight schools around the country flying any type of training helicopter. Our location offers a variety of challenges and opportunities, from managing power at high altitudes to picking the perfect spot for an off-airport landing. Northern Utah also offers outstanding outdoor recreational opportunities and a small college town environment. Come see why Utah State Helicopters is the right place for you!

Jacob Shirk Rotorcraft students

Jacob Shirk

Rotorcraft Student

"The instructors and the students are more like friends. It helps you learn better because you are surrounded by people, who not only want to teach you, but care about you."

Frequently Asked Questions

Why helicopters vs. airplanes (otherwise known as fixed-wing)?

Ultimately, this is a matter of personal preference, and some people do both! Flying a helicopter is much more “hands-on” than an airplane, and you’ll spend more time close to the ground with wonderful views.

How much money can a helicopter pilot expect to make?

This figure varies depending on the source. According to salary.com; “ The average helicopter pilot salary in the United States is $96,960 as of September 25, 2020, but the range typically falls between $82,225 and $124,680.”

How long does it take to become a helicopter pilot?

Our professional pilot program takes you from no flight experience to a certified instrument flight instructor with a professional pilot bachelor’s degree in four years. In those four years, you will earn your bachelor’s degree as well as your helicopter ratings. This includes your private, instrument, commercial, flight instructor, and instrument instructor certificates and ratings.

Are there any medical requirements?

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) requires that you get at least a third-class medical certificate from an Aviation Medical Examiner to begin flight training. You will need a first- or second-class certificate to fly commercially as a professional pilot.

How can I try it out?

Utah State Helicopters offers introductory flights. This will include a ground lesson that introduces the specific helicopter that you will be flying as well as basic aerodynamic principles and safe operating practices. After a short ground lesson one of our instructors will take you on a flight where YOU get to take the controls of the helicopter. Contact our chief rotorcraft instructor, Taylor.Schenk@usu.edu for more information.

Helicopter Pilot Careers

pilot flying
  • Flight instruction
  • Pipeline/powerline patrol
  • Oil and gas support
  • Customs and Border Protection
  • Air ambulance/medical evacuation
  • VIP charter operations
  • Aerial tours
  • Firefighting
  • Utility
  • Heli skiing
  • Electronic news gathering
  • Search and rescue
  • State/municipal law enforcement

Why is Utah State the right place for you?

Breathtaking. That’s the view from Cache Valley, Utah, nestled between the Wellsville mountains and the Bear River range, at the western edge of the Rockies. A view that is even more spectacular when seen from the cockpit of a Robinson R22 helicopter, as you…

…read the winds and pick your path up Logan Canyon

…watch the expanse of the Great Salt Lake unfold before you, on your way to fly into Salt Lake City International Airport

…pick out a grassy pinnacle for an off-airport landing, after checking that the elk are grazing on another hillside today

These are just a few of the experiences that Utah State Helicopters offers you on your path to become a professional helicopter pilot.

What brings people like you to Utah State Helicopters? We offer training in a challenging environment that will prepare you to fly in a broad spectrum of conditions. Coaxing a fully loaded R22 into the thin air on a hot summer day teaches power management, a skill that future employers know will keep expensive turbine engines safely within their limits. A variety of off-airport landing zones are a short flight from the airport. Winter in northern Utah brings clouds, snow, and limited visibility, developing strong flight planning skills. Busy airports with control towers are within easy reach, providing experience communicating with air traffic control.

Flying the Robinson R22 and R44, our graduates meet FAA requirements to instruct at flight schools around the country flying any type of training helicopter. Our pilots have gone on to fly tours in the Grand Canyon, Customs and Border Protection missions in the desert southwest, and medevac operations in Michigan. Earning a bachelor’s degree in aviation, our graduates have more opportunities open to them. And the size of our program means that each student is more than just a number; you are a member of the family.

Of course, there are reasons to choose Utah State Helicopters beyond the outstanding professional pilot program. Northeastern Utah offers some of the best outdoor recreational opportunities in the country, with trails for hiking, mountain biking, and dirt bike riding, plus rock climbing, skiing, and snowboarding. Two resorts serve Cache Valley, and Park City offers world-class destination resorts only a few hours away. Closer to home, Utah State University and Logan offer a cosmopolitan atmosphere in an affordable, small-town community. Logan offers something for everyone.

Come discover for yourself why Utah State Helicopters is the right choice for you!

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