ICE Helicopters   ·   Apr 3   ·   read

Which Helicopter Should I Learn to Fly On? R22, R44 and Cabri G2 Comparison.

When the time comes to decide which helicopter type to train in with ICE Helicopters, you will probably choose between 3 of the main training helicopters used worldwide that our training organisation uses. We use the Robinson R22, Robinson R44 and Guimbal Cabri G2 helicopter types for training lessons at our Elstree base.

There is not a one-helicopter-fits-all rule, the type depends on your circumstances, future aspirations and experience level. We want to help you understand the main differences between each type so that you are well informed before making your choice.  Like any decision it can be tricky, so take your time and consider your options carefully.

Perhaps the biggest consideration is which models of helicopter are available at the training school(s) that are within travelling distance of your home. There’s little point wanting to fly the Robinson R22 if you live 3 hours’ drive from the nearest training school with one.  Let’s briefly look at the helicopters typically available to ab-initio (first time) student pilots; underneath each aircraft is a link to a more detailed description from our Head of Training.

Robinson R22


  • High reliability;
  • Low cost;
  • Commonly available worldwide.


  • Low inertia rotor system;
  • Sensitive controls so takes longer to learn;
  • Only 1 passenger seat and limited on max. weight.


Click here to see our full recommendations and tips about learning to fly helicopters with the Robinson R22.

Robinson R44



  • High reliability;
  • Good range;
  • 3 passenger seats;
  • Hydraulically boosted controls;
  • Commonly available worldwide.


  • Less cost efficient;
  • Unconventional T-Bar cyclic control;
  • Larger aircraft, therefore larger landing sites required.


Click here to see our full recommendations and tips about learning to fly helicopters with the Robinson R44.

Guimbal Cabri G2

Helicopter transitioning to forward flight from hover at Elstree


  • Modern design including digital cockpit screens and Fenestron;
  • Exceptional safety features;
  • Good range;
  • More responsive handling – can be easier to learn on than R22;
  • Wide range of limitations.


  • Fenestron handling characteristics can take some getting used to;


Click here to see our full recommendations and tips about learning to fly helicopters with the Guimbal Cabri G2.

Head of Training Comments: Capt. Neil Day

It is very difficult to pick just one helicopter for training; let’s face it, we are all different and require different things.  I don’t suppose we would all learn to drive in the same type of car so why should we all learn to fly in the same type of helicopter.  I have been instructing for over 15 years and have taught many people on many different types of helicopter – from this I have learnt to try and match the person and their needs to the helicopter.

I am regularly asked of the 3 types discussed in this blog which would I recommend as the best all-rounder.  My answer is always the same, The Robinson R44 does exactly what is says on the tin, yes it might be a little more costly than he others but most license holders end up doing a type rating in the R44 after gaining their PPL(H).  This means the cost difference of achieving your PPL(H) isn’t as great as you might expect at first glance.  So, for the majority of helicopter pilots the Robinson R44 is the machine I would recommend.

I hope this has helped you in deciding what you would like to learn in, however, should you want to talk through anything in detail or for a bespoke quote please contact myself or my team who would be happy to talk you through the process.