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Military Aircraft: Helicopters

Volume 469: debated on Monday 10 December 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many flying hours RAF helicopter pilots (a) are required to have and (b) have on average before being deployed on operational duties flying (i) Puma, (ii) Merlin, (iii) Chinook and (iv) Sea King helicopters. (171011)

The minimum number of flying hours that an RAF helicopter pilot would have before being considered to fly on operational duties are shown, by aircraft type, in the following table. These figures include hours flown on fixed wing and helicopter training aircraft. Figures have been rounded to the nearest five hours.

Helicopter type

Minimum hours flown







Sea King


The average number of flying hours that helicopter pilots have flown prior to operational deployment is not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.