The surge in interest in helicopter career fields has compelled California Aeronautical University (CAU) to expand its program offerings at the Oxnard Flight Training center in California in addition to their Arizona Campus. A helicopter pilot career is a job that combines a sense of adventure with the technical know-how needed for flying large aircraft that use rotors instead of wings. As an alternative to CAU’s current fixed-wing emphasis in the Associate of Science in Aviation Studies program, the new rotorcraft emphasis will prepare students for a rewarding career in the aviation industry as professional pilots.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, overall employment of airline and commercial pilots is projected to grow 13 percent from 2020 to 2030, faster than the average for all occupations. This includes a percentage of helicopter pilots which sometimes gets overlooked by the general population. The helicopter is one the most versatile aircraft in aviation and many helicopter pilots say there is nothing more exciting than flying them. Professional helicopter pilots can do a variety of jobs that require a more agile a flexible approach, including firefighting, agriculture, tourism, media, law enforcement, emergency medical services, aerial observation, and harvesting cranberries or Christmas trees, to name a few.
The size and maneuverability of helicopters makes them essential for many jobs that fixed wing aircraft are not suited for. Helicopters can fly forwards, backwards and sideways with the ability to get closer to objects and terrain and lifting things out of small places. They can fly at a low altitude where fixed wing aircraft may find it more challenging to operate safely.
“We’re thrilled to expand our offerings to future aviators. With such a strong foundation in fixed-wing flight training, we’re excited to now get into the rotorcraft world and help students pursue successful careers as professional helicopter pilots,” said Matthew Johnston, President of CAU.
The expansion of CAU’s helicopter program to their Oxnard Flight Training Center allows more qualified pilots to enter the workforce and be gainfully employed. Students in the program will earn four certificates and ratings within their degree program, including private pilot, instrument rating, commercial and CFI. This provides an opportunity for graduates to gain sufficient privileges to become marketable and well rounded. The ability to instruct after gaining their CFI helps students sharpen skills and log flight hours that may help them accomplish their professional goals quicker.
Applications are now being accepted for the next class. Visit calaero.edu to learn more about the new emphasis and how to apply to the aviation degree program.