Henley Air is a fully licensed and equipped Air Training Organisation (ATO) situated at Hangar 6, Rand Airport, Johannesburg. We offer training from your very first flight hour to advanced training and testing which we provide to pilots and organisations across Southern Africa.

Helicopter flight training represents a huge investment in time and capital for individuals and organisations and, as such, great care is taken in every aspect. We invest in the development of our experienced instructors who are all exposed to the diversity of operations under the Henley Air roof: this ensures that instruction is pragmatic, professional and relevant. All of our training syllabi are developed in-house, drawing from our decades of experience in the industry as well as monitoring the latest techniques and developments from the worldwide aviation industry. Our diverse training fleet include Leonardo, Bell and Robinson aircraft which are expertly maintained by our principal Air Maintenance Organisation (AMO) provider, situated in the adjacent hanger. We have invested in the only Bell 222 helicopter flight simulator in the world to further expand our training offerings.


Training solutions are available for private individuals as well as group training for domestic and international organisations. The various licenses and ratings we offer are detailed below:

A helicopter Private Pilots License (PPL(H)) gives the holder the privileges necessary to fly a helicopter recreationally or build time towards a Commercial Pilots License (CPL). It represents an enjoyable, yet challenging learning curve that will culminate in the ability to fly your family and friends in a helicopter safely. The course involves a significant amount of classroom work, 50 hours of flight time and 7 theoretical examinations. To obtain a PPL(H) license you must be at least 17 years of age and be medically able to pass a Class 1 medical.

A Night Rating (NR) allows the holder of a PPL(H), CPL(H) or Airline Transport Pilots License (ATPL(H)) to exercise his/her privileges during legal night time. Night flying opportunities in South Africa are mostly limited to areas with city lights, however many pilots enjoy the flexibility to be able to extend their day trips to land just after night fall. The training represents a fascinating introduction to instrument flying techniques and a re-cap of the dangers of flying in low visibility. A NR is a highly recommended upgrade to a PPL(H) and essential for a CPL(H) or ATPL(H) license.

A Commercial Pilots License (CPL(H)) allows the holder to work for a charter company as a helicopter pilot, while being remunerated for their flying services. The license involves an additional 150 Hours comprising of dual instruction and solo flight, as well as up to 10 theoretical examinations depending on whether an Instrument Rating is sought. A CPL(H) involves a mind shift from recreational flying to the transport of passengers and cargo, with a corresponding professional and grounded attitude. This license represents a significant investment in time and money, but is the first step involved when commencing an exciting and rewarding career in aviation.

An Instrument Rating (IR) is a rating that allows the holder of a PPL(H), CPL(H) or ATPL(H) to fly in Instrument Meteorological Conditions (IMC). In other words, it allows the holder to fly in, or above, clouds en route to their destination airfield. In the helicopter sector only specialised helicopters are equipped to fly in actual IMC; nevertheless the rating is essential for those who endeavour to fly in the oil and gas industry, or who plan on flying overseas where the rating is highly sought after. Henley Air is uniquely positioned to provide the highest quality IR, with several IF equipped trainers, an in-house simulator and instructors specially trained in the legal/theoretical aspects of an IF rating.

A Sling/External Load Rating allows a CPL(H) or ATPL(H) pilot to lift cargo that is attached underneath the helicopter rather than held internally. This ability is unique to helicopters and is essential when the intended loads to be carried are bulky or the destination is remote and not easily accessed by roads. Relay masts or antennas are also often built by helicopters acting in an ‘aerial crane’ role. External load flight is some of the most fascinating and challenging helicopter flying available, drawing on all of the pilots experience and skill. Practical external load experience is highly sought after both domestically and internationally. Henley Air’s External Load Rating exposes students to 30, 60 and 90 foot lines with heavy, light and irregular shaped loads.

An Instructors Rating (Grade 3) allows the holder of a CPL(H) or ATPL(H) to give instruction to a student wishing to obtain a PPL(H). The rating is extremely involved, yet rewarding, representing 80 hours of theoretical instruction and 20 hours of flight instruction from the opposite seat. It is an excellent opportunity to refresh one’s knowledge and experience a steep learning curve, even if many hours of commercial flying have already been obtained. Henley Air prefers to select their instructors from experienced crew within the organisation, where the instructor is then supervised and developed from their first hour onwards. An Instructors Rating represents a huge responsibility to provide quality instruction, as well as protect the standard of the entire South African aviation industry.

Night Vision Imaging Systems (NVIS), involve the use of Night Vision Goggles (NVG), special lighting systems and trained crew to operate and land helicopters in areas that would be too dark for operators without the equipment to use. NVIS technology evolved from military operations and are now used in several “para-civilian” roles such as Helicopter Emergency Medical Services (HEMS), anti-poaching, Search and Rescue (SAR) and law enforcement. Henley Air is uses the technology every night to increase the safety and efficiency of our HEMS operations. Turn-key solutions are available to companies wanting to use the technology; the process will be tailored to the operation in question and will involve theoretical and practical flight training, supply of equipment, development of procedures and ultimately the approval from the South Africa Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). NVG flight time is highly sought after overseas.

Multi-crew Co-operation (MCC) training assists pilots to work together in a cockpit to achieve goals in a safe and effective manner. It also provides guidance on how to develop a set of multi-crew procedures applicable to the operation in question. Henley Air’s course material is developed and presented in conjunction with a Professor of Behavioural Psychology and is customised to multi-crew operations in a helicopter-specific environment. The course includes theoretical instruction and simulated flight time in our MCC-approved flight simulator, and can be adjusted to suit any operation.

Henley Air is an accredited provider of Initial, Refresher and Single-Pilot Crew Resource Management (CRM) courses. Dangerous Goods, Human Factors, Integrated Safety, Quality Assurance Auditor and Safety Management Systems courses are also available.

With two permanently employed Designated Flight Examiners (DFE I) available at Henley Air we can complete initial IR, CPL, ATPL and Flight Instructor ratings as well as their revalidations. We can also facilitate conversions and validations from foreign licenses to South African licenses.

To enquire about our air flight training, simply call  +2711 827 5503 or complete the form below: