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Looking to earn your wings? Inspired by Tatler Lister and certified helicopter pilot, Gigi Chao, here's how you can become one too

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Get medically certified

You may feel you're ready to start training right away so you can take to the sky, but unlike your driver's licence, there are medical standards you must meet before obtaining a helicopter pilot licence. 

Private pilots are required to undergo electrocardiogram, audiogram and ophthalmic reviews examined by Approved Medical Examiners (AME) recognised by the Hong Kong Civil Aviation Department (CAD). 

In Hong Kong, a Class 2 medical certificate is sufficient for student pilots to fly under the supervision of a flying instructor.

See also: Heli-hiking in New Zealand With Gigi Chao

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Book a Private Pilot License (H) training course

Now, on to the most exciting part—the flight training. Hong Kong Aviation Club (HKAC), Aero Institute (AI-HK) and JetOne are accredited aviation schools in Hong Kong that offer both practical and theory training. 

Flight paths, instructors and programme design are important factors to consider when choosing a training programme, but the syllabus should be standardised across all aviation schools with a minimum of 40 hours of flight instruction in helicopters, including at least 10 hours of supervised solo flight time.

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Take the PPL (H) exams

You can choose from a course of self-study or ground instruction with a CAD authorised flying instructor to prepare for the theoretical knowledge examinations. 

The seven topics set by the CAD include aviation law, flight rules and procedures (helicopters), navigation, meteorology, radiotelephony, human performance, aircraft (general) and aircraft (type), assessed with multiple-choice questions and a pass mark of 75 percent.

Though it may not be the most fun part of helicopter pilot training, it's a vital component to make you a better and safer pilot. 

See also: The Most Over-the-top Luxury Hotel Arrivals in Asia

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Take the PPL (H) flight test

After passing your ground examinations and getting in those practice hours, it's time to take your flight test.

The PPL(H) flight test includes one flight that lasts for approximately an hour, during which you'll demonstrate the ability to perform as a pilot-in-command of a helicopter type to be endorsed in the licence.

Once you've passed the test, you will be granted your PPL (H) licence, which is valid for 13 months. 

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Start flying

Becoming a private pilot is only the beginning of your flight journey—life after PPL training is all about what you want to get out of your flying.

With a PPL you can build further hours and progress on to a Commercial Pilot's Licence (CPL), or simply use your licence to fly for your own pleasure, with fly outs to helicopter friendly destinations so you can take friends and family on a truly special trip—the sky's the limit.

See also: How To Charter A Private Jet In Hong Kong

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