Q. How do I get started?
A. To train at Great Lakes Helicopter, we require the following:

  • Interview with School Administrator, or have attended a Great Lakes Helicopter Information Session
  • An enrollment application form
  • Copy of Category 1 Medical (commercial), Category 3 or better for private
  • Copy of Passport or Drivers Licence
  • Conestoga College students only:  require acceptance into Conestoga College prior to applying to Great Lakes Helicopter.
  • Must have financing available for the training.

Q. Does Great Lakes Helicopter hire their own students?
A. Yes. Every year for our seasonal operations, we hire our own students to help with our charter and spray operations.

Q. What is the refund policy?
A. Refund will be issued for any monies on account, less any flight hours flown, ground school/books and deposit.

Q. Is Financing Available?
A. We are pleased to be partnered with two local banks that have helped many of our students with a Student Line of Credit, OAC.  Co-signer will most likely be required.

Student loans, grants, bursaries and RESP are also accepted.

Q. Is the training tax deductible?
A. Training for Commercial students is 100% tax deductible.

Q. Is the entire tuition payable up front?
A. No.  Payment is taken in increments of $5,000.00

Q. Do I have to be an airplane pilot first?
A. No. Most of our students have not had any prior aviation experience.

Q. How long will it take me to receive my licence?
A. Depending on the program:

  • Conestoga College students will take 18 months, with 4 months off in the summer.
  • Full-time Commercial students will take approximately 6-8 months.
  • Full-time Private students will take approximately 3-4 months.
  • Part-time students will take longer

Q. How experienced are your Instructors?
A. All our Instructors are Class 1 Instructors, highest level of instruction in Canada!

Q. Do you accept International Students?
A. Yes.  Waterloo Region has a diverse ethnic population, making it the ideal location for international students.

Q. What types of Helicopter Licenses are there?
A. Commercial Helicopter Pilot’s Licence (CHPL) – this licence is required it you want to work in the industry.

Private Pilot’s Licence (PHPL) – This allows you to fly with passengers, but you cannot be hired to work.

Q. Do you have accommodations available?
A. Kitchener/Waterloo is home to the University of Waterloo, Wilfred Laurier University and Conestoga College.  This gives the student many housing options in the Region.

Q. When are the start dates?
A. Flexible start dates all year for the Commercial and Private Program.

Conestoga College start date September only.

Q. If I obtain my private licence, do I have to buy a helicopter?
A. No, you do not need to buy your own helicopter.   We have a program available for you upon graduation.  Call for details.

Q. I now have my Commercial Helicopter Licence… now what do I do?
A. There are different options:

  • First of all, having a positive attitude and being flexible is a must!  This is a very rewarding career, but it does take some patience to land that first flying job.
  • Most graduates will start off working for a helicopter operator upon graduation as Ground Crew. Ground Crew is an essential part of the operation, and also a great way to learn the business side of the helicopter industry.
  • Most Helicopter operators hire their low-time pilots from within, typically from their Ground Crew staff.
  • Some newly licensed pilots have purchased or shared a helicopter, and built their flight hours on their own.

Ferry flights are a great way for newly licensed pilots to build flight time.