Starting your PPL(H) - Part 1


Part 1 of 2; a PPL(H) journey from one of our former students.

by Bianca Hansen


How it Started

I have one of those classic stories where I always wanted to be able to fly - I was never quite sure how to go about doing it, if I could afford it, or if I was good enough at physics/maths and so life sort of just got in the way with a more secure career path as a paediatric intensive care nurse.  I often wish when people ask me how I got in to flying that I had some sort of inspiring and unique story, but the truth is; I decided one evening that I didn’t want to think ‘I wish I had tried to become a pilot’ when I was either too old or too demotivated to even try and embark on the path of getting a Private Pilot Licence (PPL) and then progress on to the commercial stage.

Fixed wing or helicopters?

The decision as to whether to do a PPL in fixed wing (planes) or to take helicopter lessons was a relatively easy one for me. I had a trial fixed wing lesson whilst at university, and whilst I thoroughly enjoyed being in the sky, I could not imagine myself in a career as an airline pilot. Whilst fixed wing is undeniably a cheaper option when it comes to the PPL and the distance you’re able to cover in a plane is rather attractive if you’re looking to pop to France for the day, the dynamic qualities of a helicopter fascinated me and I was drawn to the challenge of learning how to manage a ‘real flying machine.’

Finding the right flying school

Helicopter Pilot taking Lessons at Elstree

The following morning I booked a meeting at a local flying school with a very friendly helicopter pilot instructor. He went through the tremendous journey that I would be taking to become a commercial pilot one day, as well as the magnificent amount of studying it would entail. Despite the magnitude of the task, I merely felt I had better start sooner rather than later. Following this, I spent time exploring different flying schools in an attempt to find one that fit me best. I didn’t get it right the first time, but eventually with a wonderful stroke of luck, I ended up taking my helicopter lessons at VVB Aviation.

I instantly felt at home with the staff there as they were not only knowledgeable and professional, but had a great sense of humor. Although it wasn’t the nearest flying school to my home, it was the best one for me. After meeting with Jack (who was the Ops Assistant at the time, but now an instructor there) and discussing their PPL(H) training course, I decided to have a trial lesson with Alex. Alex and I would come to spend many hours out flying in the Cabri G2 as I took on the challenge of obtaining my helicopter PPL with VVB Aviation.

Stay tuned for Part 2..!

Follow Bianca on Instagram: @biancavsgravity