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Instrument suggestions

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I am a bit torn as to what i should do.. Obviously we all want to get as much experience for as little money as possible during initial training and getting our ratings.. I do at least! My question lies in which route i should go to obtain my instrument rating..

My current CFII says do all heli time, (robinsons) because i need the Robbie time anyway to instruct in them. Plus its enroute to commercial anyway!

I've heard elsewhere to do instrument a lot cheaper in a cheaper, maybe older, fixed wing..

Comparing costs, Hell yea, the FW looks cheaper! But does it count if i only plan on flying heli's rest of my life? and are the skills transferable? I'd still possibly need to time build in the Robbie's later to meet requirements to instruct in them anyhow.. any thoughts?

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If I could go back I would get my PPL in FW, maybe some initial instrument. The only reason is that it is a less stressful environment. If you are in a 172 with autopilot, you can relax a little more and focus on the instruments/radio calls, etc. The logbook time may be wasted, but consider it a step between ground and helicopter time.


I have wasted quite a few hours of helicopter time just getting my bearing and being overwhelmed. The time counts in my logbook, but I feel like it was more expensive than it could have been. Learning PIC/ communication/ navigation skills in FW sounds good to me. Everybody has their own comfort levels, and it is a personal choice.


Also, FW get out of stalls with low G pushovers, you can't do that in a robbie!!

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The simple fact is, you're gonna need helicopter time in order to work as a helicopter pilot. :o Even when the job ad says 2000TT, it generally says also 1500 helicopter. If you have no intention of flying airplanes, then don't bother. Getting a commercial at 150hrs cheaper with FW, won't help if you still need 200hrs helicopter to teach.


As for the instrument rating, if you must, and unfortunatly you probably do, try doing it in a 300, then do your CFii in an R44. That should lower the cost, a bit. :rolleyes:

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if you are going to end up with less than 200hrs RW by the time you finish your CFI then no, flying FW is not going to make things cheaper. You'll be doing the fixed wing time on top of the helo time that you have to pay for anyways.


I still always suggested to my students to do maybe 3 or 5hrs in a IFR certified cessna 172 or something. Do maybe an hour or so when you are starting the IFR training to pick up the basics in a less stressful environment like Sparker said (other option would be a Sim, if available).

Then, when you are almost done with the IFR hours, go out in IFR weather in a fixed wing with an experienced instructor, and punch through some clouds. Fly an ILS and break out at the minimums. Learn what spatial disorientation REALLY means.


It will be worth it just for the experience, and really I think if you are going to be an instrument instructor, you should be able to say that you have been in IMC before.

Edited by lelebebbel
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Nice! Thanks for the replies! I guess looking at it, It does make total sense to just buck up for helicopter Instrument time now, en route to commercial.. read a post on the site somewhere, that one guys actual cost for instrument was only about an extra $4k because he did it right after private, so all counted towards commercial anyway.. Appreciate the help and suggestions! Man I love this site and community!

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