Frequently Asked Questions

How much does a helicopter cost?

Helicopters come in all shapes and sizes. Some helicopters are produced to carry just one person and others can carry over 20 people. Below you can find an indication of the cost of purchasing a helicopter.

1 person helicopter: € 30.000 (Mosquito XE)

2 person helicopter: € 450.000 (Guimbal Cabri G2)

4 persons helicopter € 500.000 (Robinson R44)

7 persons helicopter € 3.300.000 (Airbus H130)

15 persons helicopter € 12.000.000 (AgustaWestland AW139)

Be aware that this is just the purchasing price. Operating a helicopter is very expensive mainly due to high maintenance costs.

How to fly a helicopter?

Pilots control the speed and movement of the helicopters through three controls which are changing the direction of the main rotor blades, or the tail rotor blades.

The cyclic is changing the pitch on one side of the rotor disk. Meaning that in one revolution one blade is constantly changing its pitch. If the pilot wants to move forward, he/she pushes the cyclic forward, the pitch on the rotor disk at the back increases and to the front decreases. This increases the lift on the backside of the rotor disk and decreases the lift on the front side of the rotor disk.

The collective changes the pitch of each main rotor blade collectively. When the pilot is raising the collective, the helicopter goes up. When lowering the collective the helicopters go down.

With the pedals, the pilot can change the pitch of each tail rotor blade collectively. When pushing one of the pedals the helicopter can rotate around its axis left or right. For more information check out this video.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=by4bT9y09zc

How to become a helicopter pilot?

To become a helicopter pilot, you need to complete a PPL course or a CPL course. It all depends on what kind of helicopter pilot you want to be.

For PPL (Private Pilot License) you need to follow a course that exists of at least 45 flight hours and 7 theoretical exams. With a PPL you can fly around with friends or family. You can ask your passengers to share the cost amongst the occupants of the helicopter (including yourself) but you are not allowed to ask for the full cost of the flight (even excluding profit).

If you want to become a professional helicopter pilot who can charge money for flights, you need to complete a CPL (Commercial Pilot License) course. To start the CPL the pilot first needs to obtain his/her PPL and have a total of 155 flight hours and 14 extra theory exams. Meaning, after the PPL you need to fly some hours alone or with friends/family to obtain the 155 flight hours. When you have enough flight hours and passed all the exams you can start the CPL which exist of 35 more training hours in the helicopter. .

How much does a helicopter weigh?

The best-sold helicopter (Robinson R44) has an empty weight of 683 kg. However, the empty weight of a helicopter varies a lot with size. A small two-seater trainer helicopter weighs about 430 kg and a large 15 seater transport helicopter 3.622 kg.

Am I insured as a co-passenger, or do I need to buy extra cover?

You are insured. You no not need to make any alternative arrangements. For more details, please see our general terms and conditions.

Will I lose my money if a flight is cancelled?

No. With every flight you book with HeliCentre, you receive a voucher, which has a one-year validity. We work hard to find you a new flight date so you can still enjoy your flight.

How high does a helicopter fly?

Compared to airplanes, helicopters fly considerably low above the ground. Depending on the area where one flies, one adjusts the height. Generally speaking, a helicopter flies at a height of 150 – 300 meters.

How old should you be to fly around in a helicopter?

The minimum age is 3 years old. Children up to 10 years old can only fly when accompanied by an adult. For safety purposes, each passenger needs to have their own seat, so it is not allowed to seat children on your lap.

How fast do helicopters fly?

The top speed of most civil helicopters is between 200 km/h and 300 km/h.

How far can a helicopter fly?

In general, helicopters can fly between 500 km and 750 km on one tank of fuel. Most helicopters are designed to fly around 2,5 hours with a full tank of fuel excluding reserves. As the helicopter can fly in one straight line, one can fly, for example, from Lelystad to Hamburg, Frankfurt, Luxemburg, Paris, or Calais in one go.

I have booked a package. What should I bring?

When you have booked and paid for a package, HeliCentre sends you a personalised E-Ticket. Anyone who takes part in this package must have a valid E-Ticket, which needs to be shown upon departure. You also need a valid proof of identification. The number on your proof of ID needs to match the one on your E-Ticket.

Can helicopters fly upside down?

Yes, helicopters can fly briefly upside-down during loops. The helicopter needs to be designed to withstand these forces. In general, this applies only to helicopters designed for military use. HeliCentre’s helicopters are not built for these purposes.

How much does a helicopter flight cost?

We have flights starting from € 100 per person for a 20-minute flight (when all passenger seats are filled). Our pricing consists of the hour price for the helicopter + pilot, when all seats are filled the cheaper the flight is per person.

I have a large garden. Is it possible for the helicopter to pick me up from there?

It depends. HeliCentre has a general exemption to land almost anywhere in The Netherlands. Prior to the flight, we shall always run a location-check regarding the measurements, position, safety and potential disturbance to the surroundings.
In Belgium, it is sufficient for a land owner to give permission.
HeliCentre is happy to inform you about the possibilities.

Is it possible to do a sightseeing flight over the king and queen’s house?

No, this is not an option.
Certain parts of the airspace are off-limits. These areas include the Royal House, the Houses of Parliament (in Dutch this is – literally – called the Second Chamber), some military (practice-) locations and various (preserved) natural areas

How long can a helicopter fly?

Most helicopters are designed to fly around 2,5 hours with a full tank of fuel excluding reserves. In general, helicopters can fly between 500 km and 750 km on one tank of fuel.

Are helicopters safe?

Yes, helicopters are safe when pilots are trained well. In case of an emergency, a good helicopter pilot knows exactly what he/she must do. In case of an engine failure, a helicopter is still able to make an emergency landing know as an “autorotation”. During the autorotation, a helicopter can land on a small grass field or road.

Our HeliCentre pilots are all experienced pilots. On top of that, they receive annual medical checks and they are tested bi-annually to keep a valid pilot license. This helps us to safeguard your safety.

Why is there a helicopter flying over my house?

If a helicopter is flying for a long time over your house, it is probably a police helicopter. When the police unit on the ground needs eyes from above the police helicopter will get called, which can identify a situation or a particular person with its state-of-the-art cameras.

When a helicopter is flying over your house for less than 5 minutes, it is probably for a tour flight, med-evac, utility, or military activities.

Can my 80-year-old grandparents still fly around in a helicopter?

Yes, this is possible.
When HeliCentre carries out sightseeing flights, we always have qualified personnel on the ground. Our ground crew helps you get in and out of the helicopter. You can take all the time you need for boarding and getting off the helicopter.

Can I fly along, despite my fear of heights?

Yes. If you notify the pilot, he or she can take this into account. In our experience, most people who suffer from fear of heights don’t have a hard time flying a helicopter.

Who invented the helicopter?

The first manned helicopter as we know it today was invented by Paul Cornu. Paul Cornu was a French bicycle maker and engineer. He flew the design for the first time in 1907.

Before helicopter flight was possible a lot of cultures fantasized about helicopter flying. We have all seen the drawings of Leonardo da Vinci but there is even evidence that there are small model designs from 400 BC.

When were helicopters invented?

The first manned helicopter was invented in 1907 by a French engineer and bicycle maker Paul Cornu.

What is the fastest helicopter?

The fastest helicopter produced is the Eurocopter X3 which has a top speed of 472 km/h. Eurocopter has only built one helicopter of this type, which stands in a museum to this day. On this day, the fastest helicopter is the Boeing-Sikorsky SB>1 DEFIANT which has a top speed of 463 km/h.

How fast do helicopter blades spin?

Typically helicopter blades spin between 400 and 500 rpm (revolutions per minute).

How long does it take to become a helicopter pilot?

To become a helicopter pilot takes on average about 1 year. It all depends on how much time you want to spend on it, and if you want to fly commercially or just with friends or families.

If you want to become a pilot to fly without commercial gains you need a PPL (Private Pilot License) which consists of at least 45 flight hours and 7 theory exams.

If you want to become a commercial pilot, you need a CPL (Commercial Pilot License) as well. After completing the PPL, you need to obtain at least 155 total flight time and complete 13 additional exams to start the CPL course. The CPL course itself consists of an additional 35 flight hours.

Can I take photos during a flight?

Yes, this is permitted.
During your flight you can talk to the pilot (via headsets). You can also ask the pilot to fly over an area of your choice. If possible, the pilot will almost certainly honour your request. We do ask you to keep your phone in flight mode for the duration of the helicopter flight. This allows you to still take pictures.

Can I choose where I want to sit?

We will keep your preferences into account as best as we can, but the pilot or ground crew has the final say over the seat selection. This is due to making sure the helicopter is properly balanced (weight-wise). Another factor is the height of passengers.
Prior to every flight, we carry out a weight & balance estimate. To do this, we take the pilot’s weight and that of all other passengers into account.
You will be notified of your designated seat moments before the flight.

Why is flying a helicopter so expensive, compared to flying an airplane?

Compared to an airplane, a helicopter has more rotating parts (think, for example, of the complex rotor system).
Helicopters require much preventative maintenance. Besides, this is a more complex process than that of an airplane.
In addition, all parts used (from the smallest screw to the entire chassis) must be certified parts. It is not possible to buy your own parts at the local DIY shop. This means that helicopter parts are expensive too.
Finally, helicopters come in at a much higher purchase price than airplanes.
Flying a helicopter may be more expensive, but in the end, this gives you a much more beautiful flying experience.

Why do I have to notify you of my weight?

This is for safety purposes.
A helicopter can only lift up to a certain weight. Besides, the helicopter needs to be balanced. Finally, some helicopters apply a maximum weight-per-seat rule.
Prior to every flight, we carry out a weight & balance estimate. To do this, we take the pilot’s weight and that of all other passengers into account.
This is why it is vital for us to know your (and your guests’) weights prior to your flight.

Would you like more information, or are you looking for further references?

Please feel free to contact us