Chief helicopter pilots oversee helicopter pilots and other staff (such as administrative and maintenance staff) to ensure that flight operations are conducted in a safe and efficient manner. These professionals work for either private companies or government agencies, and they must make sure that helicopter operations comply with regulatory authorities and company rules and regulations. Other tasks performed by chief helicopter pilots include preparing pilots’ work schedules, monitoring flying and operating standards, and working closely with the training director or manager to make sure that required procedures related to helicopter operations are up to date.
Additionally, these pilots advise training department if new procedures, training requirements or actions need to be adopted to ensure flight safety. Chief helicopter pilots conduct staff performance evaluations and provide timely feedback to their staff. They must continuously review flight crew standard operating procedures and develop them as necessary, and they are involved in flight safety investigation as required. Chief helicopter pilots attend and lead staff meetings, as well as attend required training classes, workshops and conferences.
Employers generally require that candidates for chief helicopter pilot positions have a bachelor's degree in a relevant field. In addition, candidates must have the Airline Transport Pilot License (ATPL) and certification. Previous professional experience as a helicopter pilot is typically required or preferred as well. Chief helicopter pilots must have strong leadership, interpersonal and communication skills.
Chief Helicopter Pilot Tasks
Create and enforce protocols for take-off, maintenance and landings.
Create flight plans and ensure efficiency of flight paths and fuel.
Maintain, test, and calibrate equipment and helicopters.
Fly helicopters to designated locations with designated cargo.
Communicate with ground crew and flight staff to ensure safety.