Overview of Helicopter Pilot Training and Testing

A former officer in the Swiss military and a successful investment manager based in California, Hans Overturf pursues a variety of hobbies in his spare time. Hans Overturf particularly enjoys flying helicopters.

Though helicopter training is available to those with no flying experience, the course work differs as compared to those who already have an airplane certificate. Individuals with no previous flying experience must undergo at least 20 hours of instruction and an additional 20 hours of practice before taking their test flight (also known as a checkride). However, most students need additional time to prepare and spend about 45 hours alongside a certified instructor for a total of 65 hours.

Before their checkride, students must pass a computerized exam with a score of 70 or better. Subsequently, an experienced examiner will administer an oral and flight test that can last up to three hours. The exam covers “Practical Test Standards,” but students should be ready to cover other topics as well.

Those who already possess fixed-wing certificates and wish to fly helicopters will add a category to their certificate. Regulations do not consider them ‘student pilots’ and the FAA imposes far less stringent restrictions on them. Nevertheless, due to the differences between fixed- and rotary-wing flight, most fixed-wing pilots spend about 55 hours to properly augment their flight training.


Nassim Nicholas Taleb – Noted Author and Scholar

Hans Overturf is a successful financial services professional with more than a decade of experience in the industry. In his personal life, he enjoys running and yoga, and is involved with several service organizations. Also an avid reader, Hans Overturf especially enjoys the works of the author and essayist Nassim Nicholas Taleb. 

Most known for his bestseller The Black Swan, Nassim Nicholas Taleb focuses on the problems associated with probability, forecasting future events, and decision making in a world where chaos and randomness govern more than we humans are inclined to think. A “black swan” is an event that is highly unlikely to occur, but which has huge consequences if it does. Taleb argues that though we like to think that the past is a good predictor of the future, it is these rare “black swan” events that push society forward and have the greatest implications. In addition to The Black Swan, Taleb has written several other books and many essays and articles that have appeared in a variety of magazines and scholarly journals. Aside from being a writer, Taleb is a distinguished professor of risk engineering at the Polytechnic Institute of New York University and an external professor at the Centre d’Economie de la Sorbonne in Paris.