Global passenger air traffic is expected to double in the next 15 years. This growth, coupled with the looming retirement of the Baby Boomer generation, translates into an overwhelming demand for trained and experienced helicopter personnel.
Civilian vertical aviation represents a diverse industry. Fighting fires, maintaining the power grid, ferrying skiers up the slopes and helping lost hikers find their way down a mountain — these all typically involve vertical lift aircraft.
Most civilian helicopter or UAS operations specialize in just a few missions — they often require specialized knowledge or skill. Some of the more common missions are below, but be aware: the actual list is endless.
- Aerial photography
- Aerial spraying
- Air tourism
- Cattle and sheep herding
- Construction and heavy-lift
- Electronic news gathering
- Executive and short-distance transport
- Helicopter air ambulance
- Law enforcement
- Offshore and remote-area transport
- Search and rescue
- Surveillance and inspection
- Utility line inspection and repair
The list of civilian aviation-related careers is just as varied as the list of missions. Pilot and maintenance technicians are the most obvious — each aircraft needs someone to fly and maintain it — but the full list may surprise you with the variety of jobs.
Small aviation operators can be quite small, with one helicopter, two pilots, and a maintenance tech. Others employ dozens of aircraft, multiple bases, a communications and dispatch center, and their own maintenance, overhaul, and repair facilities, along with the hundreds of pilots, dispatchers, maintenance and avionics technicians, and operations management staff.
Learn more about the careers in civilian vertical lift aviation.