Helicopter Pilot

Helicopter Pilots fly multi-engined helicopters for business or emergency response purposes to transfer workers to an offshore location. Usually working as part of a captain and co-pilot team on a larger helicopter, they are responsibly for the safety transport of personnel to offshore installations. 

About this role

Typical duties

  • Checks weather conditions and airspace restrictions along the route
  • Files flight plans, works out fuel requirements and maximum loads
  • Checks the helicopter's equipment and instruments
  • Carries out safety checks and gains clearance from air traffic control to take off
  • Uses a range of instruments to navigate, control height and speed, and communicate with air traffic controllers
  • Completes post-flight paperwork, including a duty hours log, before preparing for the next flight
  • Takes the lead in the event of an emergency situation occurring during a flight to ensure the safety of passengers and crew onboard
  • Reports any breaches of safety procedures to supervision / management
  • Actively participates in and promotes company health and safety campaigns, policies and procedures, and ensures personal safety and that of colleagues at all times

In the industry

Flying is usually to offshore oil and gas installations, drilling rigs and vessels of various sizes. There are rules concerning maximum flying hours, but the job could include working days, nights or weekends. Some jobs over longer distances could involve overnight stays offshore or away from home. Helicopter Pilots are employed by specialist Helicopter operating companies.


  • Office
  • Outdoors
  • Offshore


  • University
  • College
  • Apprenticeships

What do I need?

Key Skills

  • Managing people
  • Team working
  • Verbal communication
  • Written communication
  • Problem solving
  • Analysing
  • Planning
  • Organising
  • IT
  • Numerical
  • Practical
  • Creativity
  • Working to deadlines
  • Flexibility


Entry requirements:

  • Private Pilot's Licence (PPL(H))
  • Requisite number of hours total flying time in helicopters
  • JAA (Joint Aviation Authorities) Class 1 medical
  • Basic offshore induction and emergency training (BOSIET)
  • Offshore Medical Certificate
  • OPITO Minimum Industry Safety Standards (MIST)

Employers might also look for:

  • Degree in engineering or related subject
  • Type Rating on a particular type of helicopter (will vary depending on the company's fleet)
  • Commercial Pilots Licence (CPL(H))
  • Airline Transport Pilots Licence (ATPL(H)