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Does a FW rating help?


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So I'm starting my helo training next week. (And psyched!) Following the advice of forum members, I'm abstaining from taking out a huge loan, instead keeping my 9-5, paying as I go, and trying to cut costs in other areas of my life while I attend school part-time. My dad, a retired Navy pilot and current airline captain, keeps pushing the idea of pursuing a dual rating (FW & RW). My question to you experienced folks is: is there any advantage, either from a training or hiring perspective, to having a FW rating if I want to fly helicopters for a living?

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It all depends on what you wanna do with your certs. I had a fixed wing before i had a rotor wing rating. Just cause when I started fixed wing i had no clue that I would be flying helicopters for a living now. However. I was working on my AMEL at the same time I was doing my commercial helicopter add on. Working full time as a helicopter pilot, I have used my fixed wing rating for the company to transport parts and crews, however it is few and far between. Any rating you have looks good on paper, experience is the key. Good luck.

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It is possible to get FW and RW ratings and save money in the process, because FW hours are cheaper. As with most things, there is a downside in that you'll have less total helicopter hours.

 

The pattern goes something like this:

 

FW Private

RW Add On

FW Instrument

RW Instrument Add On

FW CFI

RW CFI

 

Logic being that you learn fundamentals in the FW, getting cheaper hours, and then you learn them in the helicopter. You'll still have to fly RW until you gain proficency, but hopefully you'll know everything about weather/airspace/radios/GPS etc.

 

If I were just going for pure ratings, that is how I would do it. Same money, twice as many ratings, but less specific hours.

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So I'm starting my helo training next week. (And psyched!) Following the advice of forum members, I'm abstaining from taking out a huge loan, instead keeping my 9-5, paying as I go, and trying to cut costs in other areas of my life while I attend school part-time. My dad, a retired Navy pilot and current airline captain, keeps pushing the idea of pursuing a dual rating (FW & RW). My question to you experienced folks is: is there any advantage, either from a training or hiring perspective, to having a FW rating if I want to fly helicopters for a living?

 

Why not ask your dad that if he had a RW rating today, would that be of any help along his career path. Going from FW to RW is easy because you just learn to fly the helicopter, the rest of it you already know it. However, no matter which way you twist it, you still have to learn aviation rather it be FW or RW.

 

If you want to fly RW for a living, train RW then pick your FW ratings along the way when you can. No sense in spending the money on FW if you have no intention of using FW training.

 

FWIW....Rotorrodent

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It can't hurt, but the cost may not justify the benefits unless you're after some very specific jobs in which the operators have RW and FW aircraft and are looking for someone to pilot both.

 

However, there is something to be said for being able to fly just about anything... But that's not so much an employer issue as it is bragging rights.

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Going from FW to RW is easy because you just learn to fly the helicopter, the rest of it you already know it.

 

I think its easier the other way around. Learn to fly a heli first. It will take you much less time to transition to a plane. It will cost extra if you don't, as it will take more time to master the maneuvers in the helicopter. If you choose to do both I would do a private RW first.

 

As said above, depends on what you want to do. You will have les heli hours at the end of your training wich may not be the best thing for trying to get a helicopter CFI job. You will be up against guys with more hours, etc.

 

I personally don't like or have any interest in flying planes commercially and dont see where it would have been advantageous to have a FW cert. But I suppose it opens up more doors for you.

 

Best of luck with the training, have fun.

Edited by Trans Lift
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I have seen a few ads for dual rated pilots, but the question is, how much time would you need FW in order to meet their minimums? Keep in mind, also, that it may be cheaper to get dual rated, but it will ultimately cost you more, since you need at least 200hrs in helicopters to teach, in helicopters. <_<

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I came out of school with with full dual ratings, everything except ATP. It has helped, but not the way I thought it would.

 

I have worked for two schools, and in both situations the dual rating is what got me hired. In one case, the owner conducted training in both categories. The other time, the owner had an airplane that he used for business and pleasure, and wanted help flying it.

 

Beyond the training world, I haven't found that it helps. With my primary focus on choppers, it has been my personal experience that:

1. Companies won't let you fly in both categories. They want you focused in one or the other.

2. Your airplane time doesn't count. However, the current postings for EMS are 2000TT and 1500 helo. So, my airplane time helps me meet mins, but I haven't received a call back, so....

3. Building time in both is tricky. The airplane world right now is all about twin time. My friend has 2500TT, and almost 2000 turbine airplane, but less than 50 hours twin. She can't get hired to save her life. If a company is operating an airplane, it is most likely a twin turbine or a jet. If you can have significant time in that AND helicopters, you're my hero. :)

 

Just my own personal experience.

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I have airplane ratings up to ATP and a college degree from a major airplane school.

 

It has been completely useless thus far. If money is tight, all the more reason not to waste it on something that may or may not help.

 

If I took all the money I spent on airplane stuff I could buy a couple hundred hours of turbine time or almost 700 hours of time-building in an R22.

 

If two pilots went into an interview, one with some airplane ratings or another with 700 more helicopter hours, it's pretty obvious who is getting hired.

 

Also it's just not worth the brain space for something you won't use.

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Thank you everyone for your advice. These responses are really helpful, and are along the lines of what I was thinking. If I was a lottery winner I'd be thrilled to do both, but I'd rather direct my limited cash toward RWs since that's what I'm intending to pursue career-wise. I feel like anything that takes away from me getting to 200 hours is a costly distraction.

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