Types of Helicopter Licenses

Private Pilot Certificate
The Private Pilot Certificate is the first certificate, the foundation of a pilot’s training and all the other certificates that follow will have their own requirements and uses. The student must demonstrate through written, oral and flight examination that they have acquired the aeronautical skills and experiences necessary to meet the requirements of the Private Pilot Certificate. The student will be subject to continual assessment throughout the course of training. Completion time of the private pilot certificate depends on the frequency of training. Students training 5 days per week can complete the private program in 10-12 weeks. Students who train less frequently will expect to take more time to achieve their certificate. This certificate allows you to fly any helicopter up to 12,500 pounds. Upon completion of this course the student is allowed to rent and carry passengers for pleasure and then move onto the next phase of the pilot program if they seek advanced certification.

Instrument Rating
While this rating is not required initially, later in your career if you choose to fly charter, offshore or Medevac you will need it in order to navigate and control the helicopter in clouds or dense fog. Additionally, instrument equipped ships are becoming more and more commonplace and corporations are placing additional emphasis on this particular rating when judging prospective candidates for employment. The hours accumulated can be counted towards the Commercial prerequisites. Forty hours Instrument training is obligatory, we recommend at least 30 hours in an instrument trainer, and the remainder can be in a simulator or an airplane.

Commercial Pilot Rating
As a Commercial Pilot you can fly for hire. This is the license you will need if your goal is to make a career flying helicopters. The FAA requires a minimum of 150 hours (you will already have at least 40 from your Private flight training). Approximately 20 of these hours will be with an Instructor. The rest can be done on your own or with passengers with whom you can share costs. Time built during an Instrument Rating, Turbine and Robinson R44 Transitions can be incorporated in the total required times as well.

Certified Flight Instructor / Certified Flight Instructor, Instruments
These ratings are added to a Commercial License. The FAA does not require a minimum number of hours for the Instructor Rating; however we find most CFI candidates require at least 10 hours of dual instruction after achieving their Commercial License.

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