Helicopter pilot in the cockpit flying by snowy Alaskan mountains.

Comprehensive Professional Pilot Program

Careers in commercial aviation are in high-demand, and where you choose to complete your training will set the course of your career. Alyeska Helicopters graduates are well-trained, highly competent pilots with an uncompromising dedication to safety and an advanced knowledge of flying in Alaska’s rugged conditions. 

We offer a complete set of courses designed for individuals pursuing a career as a professional helicopter pilot, starting with a Private Pilot Certificate and finishing with Certified Flight Instructor Instrument (CFII) rating. Students who have already completed portions of their training at another school can apply their previous training toward their certificates/ratings with us. Wherever you are on your path to become a professional pilot, rest assured that Alyeska Helicopters will prepare you to meet the high demands of the industry.

A student must be 18 years of age, hold a second class FAA Medical Certificate, and be able to read, speak, write and understand English.

This program runs approximately 12-18 months for full time students. Lengths of programs are based on a four-day-a-week schedule. For a complete description of each course listed below, see our Individual Certificate Courses.


You will take your first flight with your instructor and be introduced to the basic aerodynamics of flight and the various components of the helicopter. Each lesson will cover basic approach and departure procedures. Aviation weather is an ongoing subject, but this is where the foundation for future lessons begins. After mastering the basic maneuvers, you will learn various advanced maneuvers and off-airport operating procedures, and eventually take your first solo flight. Toward the end of the program, you will learn how to prepare and then undertake a night flight.


To begin, you will gain a working knowledge of the function and use of the flight instrument components and systems. You will become familiar with various other types of instrument navigation and all documentation dealing with IFR flight including IFR and VFR charts. Heavy emphasis will be placed on weather factors and hazards in relation to instrument flying. You will be shown how to utilize and comprehend various weather publications and review previous maneuvers. Towards the end of this rating, you will plan and conduct a cross country IFR flight.


Everything that was touched upon in the Private course will be expanded upon. Various commercial pilot elements will be introduced and you will need to demonstrate response capabilities in simulated emergencies. Running commercial operations and their individual characteristics will be emphasized and you will conduct your solo night flight with VFR requirements.


Now that you have accumulated the necessary flight knowledge, you will switch seats and fly from the instructor’s position. You will demonstrate the capabilities of instructional flight for all maneuvers and the ability to evaluate a student’s flight skills. At this point, you will begin to learn the ins and outs of an instructor’s responsibility and conduct as well as various styles of teaching methods. Finishing with a Flight Instructor Certificate sets you up to build additional flight time instructing others. Teaching is an important first-step in most professional pilot’s careers, as most helicopter operators require additional hours to qualify for entry level employment opportunities.


There will be more in depth instruction of the instrument panel and flying with the various other navigation techniques and maneuvers. You will need to demonstrate a substantial understanding of the airport environment and situational awareness.

This program is designed considering the 200 hour minimum requirement to teach in a Robinson Helicopter. Upon completion of this program, the student qualifies to work as a flight instructor in the Robinson R-22 and R-44 helicopters.