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PROS/CONS Training in your own helicopter


The Guardian
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I was wondering if anyone here has trained from scratch in their own helicopter? Or have any of the CFI's on here trained a pilot from scratch in a helicopter that the individual being trained owned?

 

Perhaps having gone through the experience yourself what were the PROS and CONS that you ran into? Let's assume it's a R44 RII, new, so that answers any type and maintenance questions.

 

It seems to make economic sense to train in your own helicopter especially if you can and intend to own a helicopter after 150 hrs. to 200 hrs. of training. Why train in a schools helicopter where you're obviously paying the hourly operating cost, depreciation, etc. on their helicopter? My biggest question(s) would be more on the insurance side of things. Can you even get insurance for a situation like this? Would you basically almost need to take out a policy akin to a flight schools policy? After all you can't be tied to your instructor indefinitely, you do have to solo after all! Or perhaps train to at least a PPL with a school and then hire an instructor to take you through the Instrument, Commercial, CFI, etc. in your own ship?

 

Anyhow, would love some feedback from anyone who has gone through this or really looked at this option before you started training.

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Having had students students who had their own aircraft, i can talk to you from the CFI point of view. It is not unknown in the RW world and is not uncommon in the FW world. Depending on your situation, you could be insurable. The biggest problem is that there are few aviation insurers that deal with helicopters. On the insurance side, you might be better off doing a leaseback with a local school and get covered on their insurance. However, that could lead to potential scheduling conflicts.

 

My personal policy when dealing with students with their own aircraft is to place additional restrictions on the solo endorsements. I realize that this sounds a little harsh, but I had one such student doing rides on a solo endorsement.

 

I would suggest getting a used helicopter rather than a new one. The depreciation is nowhere as steep and in fact could make all your training a wash money wise.

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I don't see a problem with training in your own helicopter provided you have a good cfi that doesn't allow you to overspeed or do other damage to your ship. You will be insurable but you will pay a bit more in premium since you are a student pilot. My wife as a student pilot adds about 25% to the premium on our r22. If you ever sell your ship you won't be able to state that it was never used as a trainer.

 

IR

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I did it in my own helicopter. This was years ago, but I wasn't able to find a policy without a rating and so I did it without insurance. (hughes 300)

It was difficult to find instructors to work with as I'm in the middle of nowhere and while there are helicopter operators there were no spare instructors lying around and everybody had issues with their current employer.

I was already fixed wing rated so this was an add on and once I soloed I just flew around for a couple weeks til I was ready to do my check ride.

Look out for crazy overprotective instructors like above... they'll put so many restrictions on you you pretty much just ignore them and fly when and where you like... it's your helicopter..

gotta love it

 

rick1128.... what's the point of the additional restrictions? If the guy is giving rides he's already breaking the regs.... if you put some paper restriction on him do you think it is going to make a difference?

 

btw.. I did give a couple rides before I had my checkride... BFD

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I did it in my own helicopter. This was years ago, but I wasn't able to find a policy without a rating and so I did it without insurance. (hughes 300)

It was difficult to find instructors to work with as I'm in the middle of nowhere and while there are helicopter operators there were no spare instructors lying around and everybody had issues with their current employer.

I was already fixed wing rated so this was an add on and once I soloed I just flew around for a couple weeks til I was ready to do my check ride.

Look out for crazy overprotective instructors like above... they'll put so many restrictions on you you pretty much just ignore them and fly when and where you like... it's your helicopter..

gotta love it

 

rick1128.... what's the point of the additional restrictions? If the guy is giving rides he's already breaking the regs.... if you put some paper restriction on him do you think it is going to make a difference?

 

btw.. I did give a couple rides before I had my checkride... BFD

 

Apiguy you are just proving Rick's point. The CFI that signs you off to solo is liable if you crash. In that event the instructor will probably get investigated by the FAA / NTSB, and puts that CFI's lively hood / career in jeopardy. Your CFI probably had a sense that you where not going to follow the rules so he put those restrictions on you to cover his own butt. A smart CFI that knew your intentions wouldn't of signed you off in the first place.

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I have done this and I am in LA Doing this Right now! I have Fellow FW pilots that in the winter I get them there RW. this is a good Idea Usually 2 friends get together and buy a R-44,206, or something. they hire me to come and get them there PPL. Insurance is no problem.

If you want to talk more we r both in LA send me your #

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I didn't have any restrictions.... my point was it seems meaningless to impose a bunch of random stuff because if the guy is going to break the rules no paper is going to stop him.

 

I understand solo restrictions... there is just a point when your being overbearing

 

When you know someone is capable of the solo endorsement or ANY endorsement...you can give it... what they do when you're not around you have no control over.

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I didn't have any restrictions.... my point was it seems meaningless to impose a bunch of random stuff because if the guy is going to break the rules no paper is going to stop him.

 

I understand solo restrictions... there is just a point when your being overbearing

 

When you know someone is capable of the solo endorsement or ANY endorsement...you can give it... what they do when you're not around you have no control over.

 

Apia,

 

Some of it is Cover my A$$. But a lot of it is that a student pilot is by definition not knowledgable. Because I am not working out of a flight school enviroment, I add things like their having to call me before they go flying and we will discuss the weather. Weather and wind limits, etc. As they become more knowledgable I reduce the restrictions. I like to be able to sleep at night and I have seen students even at flight schools do some very dumb things.

 

But you are correct that no paper restriction will stop someone who is going to break the rules. When he gets caught, the FAA will jumb on his A$$. But if I put limitations on his solo endorsements that he exceeds, the FAA has no case against me. These certificates are my living, so I need to protect them. I haven't yet had a student that had issues with the restrictions I place on their endorsements. But I also take time to discuss the restrictions with them and reasons.

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Apiaguy,

 

As other posters have stated the endorsements are two fold. Meaning they not only protect the CFI but also the student. Should anything happen on that flight the CFI is and can be held accountable. Rightly so in many cases.

 

In rick1128's case he puts additional limits so that he can help facilitate the training process which includes teaching and reviewing a students AVIATION DECISION MAKING PROCESS. For that he wants to review flight plans, route and of course weather with the student. Just becuase a student has an endorsement to solo doesn't mean he/she is not training prior or during that flight.

 

Some instructors put tougher limits. It may seem harsh but in reality is a good thing. This can allow a student to solo sooner, then an instructor can always lift a restriction as the student progresses.

 

As an example, you will find many schools don't let brand new CFIs do autorotations or other EPs for a set period of time. That CFI may be 100% able and proficient but it is safer to ease a new solo pilot or CFI into a new environment or situation. This rather than having them jump in with both feet right away.

 

If I was a CFI and I found out in any way shape or form that my student violated any of my endorsements I would quickly revoke them. I then would discuss if training would be continued or not. At that point it clearly shows me complete disreguard for the FARs, safety and very poor ADM. I would not sign a student off for a checkride until those issues we fixed.

 

JD

 

PS: I am sorry to the OP the topic got off track but it's still good reading.

Edited by JDHelicopterPilot
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I've had a few people who were gonna buy their own aircraft and have me train them and I thought great. Well all was gonna be great until I talked more with them and their questions never went any further than how long before I can solo. These guys had no intentions of actually going further with their training. They figured they were gonna be signed off for that solo and that would be good enough for them. I talked on several occassions and still the same. I chose not to train them at all. Also I don't know if it makes much difference but these few guys were fixed-wing rated and were just going for the PPLH add-on.

 

I too would put restrictions on the solo endorsements and as the flying, knowledge, and ADM got better and improved I would lessen the restrictions.

 

Steve

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"btw.. I did give a couple rides before I had my checkride... BFD"

 

My luck, I'd wad up the airframe and hurt my passenger... and, since I didn't actually have a rating for the aircraft, insurance would give me a hearty "F--- you!" regarding coverage for the passenger's injuries. Funny how you think about such realities when you get a little older.

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(chuckle chuckle)......

 

ok, to the OP... point should be made by now that is isn't as easy as you'd think to do primary (private level) flight training.. many instructors have the above mentioned attitudes.

As soon as you have your private it becomes much easier to get instructors to fly with you. This brings up the option of getting at least your private, then buying your own ship... insurance might even make this a more affordable option.

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I owned my own R-22 and it was great. I had an awesome instructor who made sure I could fly my helicopter into my confined landing pad at my house before signing the solo endorsement. I followed his instructions and everything worked out great. If you have your own helicopter, why not fly lots of hours and get you PPL rating in a short time. Then you can do what ever you want. I think owning your own helicopter is the way to go if you use common sense.

Edited by Chopper Tom
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Tom,

 

One of the nice things about owner-students is that tend to fly more.

 

But one of the most senseless accidents I know about happened in 1986 when two owner students flew together from Long Beach to Phoenix and then returned that night. They did not have x-country endorsements and no night training. The FSS advised VFR not recommended for the return flight. Plus one of the students had a blood alcohol level of .160%. Long Beach was 500 overcast on their arrival so they were vectored to Ontario. They crashed about a mile short of the airport. You can't regulate smarts but by keeping a little tighter control on your owner students maybe you can prevent a repeat.

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