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Professional Aviation Pilot Practice (Helicopter) (Helicentre Aviation Academy) BSc Honours

Get your commercial pilot’s licence with our course, delivered through a partnership with the Helicentre Aviation Academy.
3 years
Takes place at Helicentre Aviation Academy in Leicester and via online delivery
£9,250 (UK/EU) *
£13,700 (INT) *
See the Fees and funding tab to view January 2021 start fees
Course leader
Mick Betts

COVID 19: During the current pandemic some aspects of the timing and method of delivery of the programme below may be subject to changes. For example, theoretical face to face teaching may be replaced by online delivery if circumstances such as a second wave of infections require this and practical flying schedules may be suspended or delayed. However, you will be kept fully informed of any such changes that may be necessary by the team at Helicentre. The assessment processes would not be affected, and students would be required to pass the assessments in order to progress.

When you have completed levels 4 and 5 and achieved your CPL(H) your progression to level 6 depends on you being employed as a commercial pilot or Flight Instructor if you take the FI route. The current situation in aviation caused by the pandemic may mean that progression into employment at this stage may be delayed. If this is the case your programme will be interrupted (i.e. frozen) and restarted when you have secured employment.

Why study pilot practice with us

Receive comprehensive helicopter training with our degree. We’ll give you the opportunity to get academic credit and qualifications based on your technical and practical flying training. We’ll also help you get plenty of early career practice, preparing you for the world of work.

Our course is built around the principle of work-based learning. This means our modules have been designed to target the working and training practices of particular industries, sectors, and employers. All your daily learning as part of your regular training and practice will be assessed and recognised in an academic framework, eliminating unnecessary duplication.

Our degree programme is the first of its kind in the UK to make it possible for you to gain a BSc Honours degree at the same time as you complete ‘ab initio’ helicopter pilot training. 'Ab initio' training refers to an airline sponsoring and mentoring a student from the start and throughout, hiring them once the student is type-rated and certified.

Develop your practical skills with us

The programme incorporates Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) regulated training, leading to the award of a commercial pilot’s licence (CPL(H)). The Honours level (Level 6) programme prepares you for employment through two different routes. The first route is the Flight Instruction (Helicopter) option while the second is Aircraft Specifics (Helicopter). Don’t worry - you won’t have to decide on your preferred path until third year and you’ll have plenty of advice.

You’ll also develop plenty of transferable skills that many employers find desirable. These include working flexibly, communication, IT understanding, and many more. Since you can tailor the degree to best suit your interests, the skills you’ll gain will be highly relevant to future career prospects.

This course is endorsed by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA).

*Please note this course is subject to review.

Find out more

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What will you study on the BSc Professional Aviation Pilot Practice (Helicopter) (Helicentre Aviation Academy)?

At the start of the programme you will join HAA and proceed through Initial training, Ground School and Flying Training. You will be examined in accordance with Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) regulations at the appropriate points and awarded academic credit for completion of:

  • The CAA Initial theory, flying to PPL (H) level and CPL (H) Theoretical Knowledge units of study which have been embedded within four Level 4 University modules – Initial Theoretical Aviation Knowledge (Helicopter), Introduction to Helicopter Flying, Flight Operations (Helicopter) and Aircraft and Air Environment (Helicopter)
  • The phases of Flying Training which have been embedded within three Level 5 University modules - Basic Flying 1 (Helicopter), Basic Flying 2 (Helicopter) and Advanced Flying (Helicopter) leading to the issue of your CPL (H) licence

On completion of the CPL (H) course and the issue of your licence you will take the Professional Orientation module, which combines a CRM course with university study. This will complete Level 5 of the programme.

You will then proceed either to the Flight Instructor Course or to employment with an operator, selecting appropriate modules from the Level 6 options to complete your degree programme.

If you elect to progress to the Flight Instructor (FI) course with HAA you will pursue Route A of the degree programme at Level 6. Two university modules encompass the FI course, Flight Instruction (Helicopter) and Flight Instruction Standardisation (Helicopter). Once you are qualified as an instructor you will continue in employment and complete the remaining two University modules, Evaluating and Managing Risks and Threat and Error Management, which relate to your operational practice and employer based training undertaken during the first 6 months of your instructing career.

If, on achievement of your CPL (H), you proceed directly to employment as a helicopter pilot with an operator, you will follow Route B to complete the degree programme. Two modules, Aircraft Specifics (Helicopter) and Airline Orientation and Integration, relate to entry to employment with a specific operator and detailed content of these modules will be determined in consultation with the employing operator. The remaining two University modules, Evaluating and Managing Risks and Threat and Error Management, relate to your operational practice and employer based training undertaken during the first year of your operational flying career.


Level 4

Level 5

Level 6

Initial Theoretical Aviation Knowledge (Helicopter) (20 credits)

Basic Flying 1 (Helicopter) (30 credits)

Route ARoute B

Introduction to Helicopter Flying (20 credits)

Basic Flying 2 (Helicopter) (30 credits)

Flight Instruction (Helicopter) (30 credits)

Aircraft Specifics (Helicopter) (30 credits)

Flight Operations (Helicopter) (40 credits)

Advanced Flying (Helicopter) (30 credits)

Flight Instruction Standardisation (Helicopter) (30 credits)

Airline Orientation and Integration (30 credits)

Aircraft and Air Environment (Helicopter) (40 credits)

Professional Orientation (Helicopter) (30 credits)

Routes A and B

Evaluating and Managing Risks (30 credits)

Total - 120 creditsTotal - 120 credits

Routes A and B

Threat and Error Management (30 credits)


Total - 120 credits

More information about this course

See the course specification for more information about typical course content outside of the coronavirus outbreak:

Optional modules are usually available at levels 5 and 6, although optional modules are not offered on every course. Where optional modules are available, you will be asked to make your choice during the previous academic year. If we have insufficient numbers of students interested in an optional module, or there are staffing changes which affect the teaching, it may not be offered. If an optional module will not run, we will advise you after the module selection period when numbers are confirmed, or at the earliest time that the programme team make the decision not to run the module, and help you choose an alternative module.

  1. Overview
  2. Teaching and learning – changes for students in 2020
  3. Teaching and learning - typical structure
  4. Assessment and feedback
  1. UK & EU
  2. International
  3. How to apply
  1. UK & EU
  2. International
  3. Additional costs

We’ll carefully manage any future changes to courses, or the support and other services available to you, if these are necessary because of things like changes to government health and safety advice, or any changes to the law.

Any decisions will be taken in line with both external advice and the University’s Regulations which include information on this.

Our priority will always be to maintain academic standards and quality so that your learning outcomes are not affected by any adjustments that we may have to make.

At all times we’ll aim to keep you well informed of how we may need to respond to changing circumstances, and about support that we’ll provide to you.

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