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Instrument Helicopter Training

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Looking at FAR 61 for the requirements for a helicopter instrument rating, I found something I thought was very interesting that I don't recall being there when I got my instrument rating. It says you need 50 hours of PIC X-C, 10 hours of which are in a helicopter. It says also that you need 40 hours of instrument (actual or simulated) time. Of that 40 hours, 15 hours must be with an instructor who has an instrument helicopter instructor certificate. Of that 15 hours, you need 3 hours prep in a helicopter for the checkride, and the long IFR X-C in a helicopter. I know this doesn't sound right, but my interpretation would be that of those 15 hours with a CFII-H, only the requirements that specify "in a helicopter" have to be accomplished in a helicopter. The rest of the requirements could be in--say--an airplane perhaps (as long as you have a dual-rated instructor).


Look it up and let me know what you think.



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Yes, quite true.


Doing your Instrument rating in a Fixed wing can save you a few thousand dollars, and you'll have both FW and Rotary ratings - of course after you convert the IR to IR(H) at the end.


That said, if you're looking for employment in the rotary world, the FW hours will mean nothing, apart from the $$$ saving.

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Yes, you could fly 25 of the 40 hours total required in a fixed wing. If you're not at least ppl fixed wing than the time has to be with a CFI or CFII for fixed wing.


You don't have to be CFII to teach hood time. A CFII is only required for actual in a plane, for the 15 hours required to be with a CFII or for instrument sim to count. Also if you file an instrument flight plan to practice then the other pilot will have to be instrument rated.


If you do have at least a ppl in an airplane the technically you could fly the 25 hours in a plane with a friend who is at least ppl in the plane as a safety pilot.


Or, you could also fly 25 hours in a helicopter under the hood with a safety pilot or with a regular CFI.


The problem with most of those scenarios is that while you could get some practice, you won't get much instruction unless it's with a CFII or a very knowledgeable CFI or safety pilot and that's not going to help you hit any minimums.


I would suggest you fly a few hours with an airplane CFII after you've got the basics down. An airplane CFII could take you in some actual and that would be great experience.


The absolute cheapest way to do it would be in a simulator with a helicopter CFII (has to be with CFII in catagory to count in the sim). I think you are allowed 20 hours. Then fly 5 hours in a plane and then 15 with a helicopter CFII in the heli. In reality you're probably not going to get to your minimums and simulator instrument gets real boring after a few hours. Plus all that helicopter time for your instrument should be counting towards your pic for your commercial for it to be the most effective. You're going to have to get 100 hours pic for commercial anyway why not get a rating while doing it?


Also I'd suggest doing your instrument at night if possible. You will build those hard to get unaided night hours real quick and it's more realistic instrument training with the hood (Plus your instructor would probably love the extra night hours also).


The best way to hit your minimums would be to study you're A$$ off. Always be prepared for the lesson. Instrument is 80% book work in my opinion. The flying is pretty easy to master (for the check ride) especially in 40. If you study you will hit your minimums. If you do it all in a helicopter with a CFII you will hit your minimums. If you're smart and your schedule allows it you can make all that time count toward numerous other things which will save you $$$ in the long run (even if you do have to fly your instrument rating in the more expensive ship such as the 44 or 300).



Wow that turned out to be a lot longer than I ment to. I hope it actually helps and good luck.

Edited by rotormandan
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While you can do some of your instrument training in a FW, there are several differences that could lead to negative transfer.


The one reason I would endorse doing some of your instrument training in a FW is because there are NO piston training helicopters out there that are certified for flight under IFR. Actually flying in the clouds is a totally different experience from flying under the hood. Personally I prefer to take my instrument students into the clouds, at least once during their training. Especially if I can shoot a for real approach. Not to hard a$$ minimums, but to the point where they leave the initial approach fix in the clouds.

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