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Using fixed wing to get my Instrument?


mrkik
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Hello everybody! I just passed my private pilot check ride (helicopter) about two weeks ago! I'm just about to start my instrument training. However, my supervisor at the company I work at recommended something to me.

 

He recommended that I use my boss's Cessna 172 to get my private and instrument for fixed wing, then just transition that to helicopter. The main reason for this is because of the cost. The R44 that I need to use for instrument training will be approximately $440/hour and that does not include the instructor or the fuel. My boss rents his Cessna 172 out to employees for something like $25/hour. The money I would save if I could pull this off would be tremendous.

 

My question is: how would all this work? I can't seem to find much information about it. What is a good, reliable resource that I could consult? Does an instrument rating for fixed wing cross over to helicopter? Will I have to still do instrument training in a helicopter and pass a second check ride?

 

Another thing I'm worried is about is when it comes time for me to look for that first flight instruction job. Will not having nearly as much instrument training in a helicopter affect this?

 

I really need some advice. Oh and I really want to get my fixed wing. I will... someday, if not starting soon.

 

Thanks guys!

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Check the FAR/AIM. I'm about to jump into getting my ASEL commercial and instrument. I believe you only need 15 hours for the instrument add-on. The possible benefit to doing an instrument FW is that you can get actual IFR time as opposed to simulated instrument.

 

61.65e.

 

It says you only need ten hours of heli for an IFR add-on if you were to do it that way, but 15 hours of instruction from a helicopter-rated CFII. So if you had access to an approved sim, you could do ten hours of flight plus five sim to cut down on costs.

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It can, and is done often.

 

Reference the regs, part 61 and it tells you what you need to do. You will be doing an instrument rating in airplane, and an additional rating in helicopter. The regs will tell you how many hours you will need in each case.

 

Your instructor should also be able to clarify and explain.

 

Finding that job later, for a helicopter job, helicopter PIC is what they will care about. What this means is that 40 or so hours you saved for the rating you will have to make up later. However this might come at a reduced cost in a 22, or better yet you might get it paid for.

 

If you are planning on getting your fixed wing ratings anyway, you can't beat that price. I had a similar deal where I could fly a 172 for the price of fuel and I flew the crap out of it. Although I didnt do any fixed wing until I had all my helicopter ratings, I flew the 172 to build hours for the ATP and to meet the instrument hour requirements for other jobs. Along with several trips to Vegas :-)

 

Hope that helps

 

Edit:

Keep in mind, that helicopter instrument and airplane instrument are apples and oranges, especially doing it in an airplane with autopilot and a helicopter without. The rules and procedures are basically all the same, but the pilot workload is greatly increased in the helicopter. It will be nice to go into the helicopter already being familiar with the instrument world and only really having to worry about aircraft control. Don't be surprised however, if it takes a few hours more than the listed minimums to be proficient in the helicopter.

 

When I went from helicopter to airplane, it felt like I was cheating or something. Being able to set a standard rate turn, altitude, descent rate, etc and trim(gasp) the airplane and have it be able to cruise along with no further inputs blew my mind.

 

I'm not being a negative Nancy, I'm just trying to help you set realistic expectations. If everything goes great, you will hit the minimums and be all set.

Edited by Pohi
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Correct me if I'm wrong but I have not seen any jobs that state specific Helicopter PIC Instrument Actual/Simulated. Is there jobs out there that actual state Helicopter PIC Insturment requirements. Most just state a Helicopter Comm w/ IR xxx hrs actual or simulated.

 

Steve

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yzchopper, there are no requirements for Helicopter PIC Instrument. There are often requirements for a certin number of helicopter instrument hours. For example, the company I work for wants 200 hours of instrument time. I asked a while back and they said they perfer helicopter instrument time but will take into account some fixed wing time as well.

 

In your case, I don't see anything wrong with getting your ASEL instrument and then adding on the Rotor Instrument. Just be sure to get your Rotor CFII and teach as a helicopter CFII. This will give you the helicopter instrument time you need later on.

 

Phoi,

 

You are right about the differenes in fixedwing and rotor instrument procedures. However, those flying IFR helicopter operations in Part 135 will have an autopilot. It's required. So the real differences are more along the lines of regulations and GPS approaches with VFR transitions which are found at hospitals quite often. Such approaches however are not published and are specfic company property. Some companies also have their own enroute structure to be able to fly lower altitudes than those on traditional airways.

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Private and Instrument Airplane, a Helicopter Instrument add-on, plus making up for the loss of Helicopter time (to get to 200hrs), all for less than just a Helicopter Instrument, sounds like an awesome deal!

:)

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JD, I'm only referring to this particular guys question. Fresh private pilot helicopter, looking for the next step.

 

I agree what you are saying about 135, but none of that is applicable to his situation. I guess I was just doing a RTQ/ATQ (since I hear everybody loves letters, hehe). But yes, for other readers who may be trying to get ready for 135, in a helicopter with autopilot, I totally agree.

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In your case, I don't see anything wrong with getting your ASEL instrument and then adding on the Rotor Instrument. Just be sure to get your Rotor CFII and teach as a helicopter CFII. This will give you the helicopter instrument time you need later on.

 

Correct me if I'm wrong, but the CFII is just teaching and not actually wearing the hood or anything, right? So you couldn't log this time as instrument time?

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And then I read SFAR 73 to part 61 and all my plans are destroyed. I emailed a teacher at my community college about this. He said that in order to be a CFI in an R44 I would need 200 hours, 25 of which were in the R44.

 

Basically I would need the time spent on instrument training in the 44 anyway, so I guess I don't see a point in getting the fixed wing certificate yet.

 

Just out of curiosity, how many hours, on average, does it take to get your instrument rating? If it's going to still take me 50 hours in the R44 to get my instrument, then it still might not be such a bad deal to get the fixed wing ratings first.

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Yep that Insurance deal they got going for the R-22/44's will get you every time. I did my instrument helicopter rating many moons ago, in a Bell 47 and it was an add-on deal. I was the first guy at the school I when to that didn't bust the ride. The six before me all high time helicopter pilots busted the ride, I came way with not only my instrument rating but the CFII too. That rate for a 172 is sweet for 2012, because I paid 24 an hour with a CFII for a 172 when I did my Instrument Rating in 1976!! If you got the spare money to do it, you should. But with the kind of rates they charge for instruction these days, I don't know. 440 an hour is a lot of money put to add fuel and then instructor on top of that, I can see your point. I was paying 125 dollars an hour with a CFII for my instrument rating in 1983. I still think I would have been better off with Micro soft stock. Hind sight is always 20/20.

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And then I read SFAR 73 to part 61 and all my plans are destroyed. I emailed a teacher at my community college about this. He said that in order to be a CFI in an R44 I would need 200 hours, 25 of which were in the R44.

 

Basically I would need the time spent on instrument training in the 44 anyway, so I guess I don't see a point in getting the fixed wing certificate yet.

 

Just out of curiosity, how many hours, on average, does it take to get your instrument rating? If it's going to still take me 50 hours in the R44 to get my instrument, then it still might not be such a bad deal to get the fixed wing ratings first.

 

Have you considered the S300 for the IR? There's also combining your training with a simulator to reduce cost. There's also the R22 Glass Cockpit, or even an old R22 IR trainer (but you can't be a fat ass such as myself to train in those (hence the S300!)).

 

If you did your IR in something else and still wanted to teach in the R44, you could always use a "time-builder" to get those 25hrs. I believe Heliquest is still $225/hr?,...or even Boatpix (I think they're $300/hr?).

:mellow:

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Sometimes it just gets so discouraging looking at how much this is costing me. I sure hope I can get a job in the industry. I'm doing this because I want to, but when me, an 18 year old, already owes over $15,000, it gets discouraging.

 

E: As far as I know, there aren't any of those helicopters in my area for rent. Only Robinson's. Heliquest looks like a good deal... But I'm not sure that I would want to travel there, and spend enough time there to build 25hrs.

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And then I read SFAR 73 to part 61 and all my plans are destroyed. I emailed a teacher at my community college about this. He said that in order to be a CFI in an R44 I would need 200 hours, 25 of which were in the R44.

 

I think your plan is still good - you could get that minimum 25 hours in the R44 doing your Instrument add on, and get the rest of your helicopter hours in an R22. That would probably save you some money. You'll get a lot of that 200 hours doing the Commercial.

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... As far as I know, there aren't any of those helicopters in my area for rent. Only Robinson's....

 

I hate to break this to you, but moving around IS the helicopter industry. I didn't do any training where I live!

 

Follow your fixed-wing plan, then try Boatpix for the R44 Instrument add-on. You should be able to get it in 25hrs, and last time I looked, they were $300/hr (including CFII/fuel) plus they offer free housing,...again last time I checked? Don't pay $440/hr for an R44 (especially if that doesn't include the CFII and fuel) that's way too much!

 

However, the best plan you can follow is the one your flight school is giving you,...because they're most likely the only one who will hire you after graduation!

Edited by r22butters
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If you are focused on a career in Heli's then I would stay in the Heli's. This is a VERY expensive career path. If you are worried right now after spending 15K, then maybe your instructor should prepare you for a realistic budget of close to 100K by the time it is all said and done; then you need to ask yourself how you may feel if you never get your first job. If you are financing, try to obtain unsecured loans/lines of credit/heloc's etc. (non-student loans) as they can be discharged in Bankruptcy if needed. Good luck!

Edited by Carpenter
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Sometimes it just gets so discouraging looking at how much this is costing me. I sure hope I can get a job in the industry. I'm doing this because I want to, but when me, an 18 year old, already owes over $15,000, it gets discouraging.

 

E: As far as I know, there aren't any of those helicopters in my area for rent. Only Robinson's. Heliquest looks like a good deal... But I'm not sure that I would want to travel there, and spend enough time there to build 25hrs.

 

It might be discouraging, and you're probably not going to be that 21yr old with a house, a nice car, and the big TV. But if you have a passion for this at the end of the day when you go home to your small apartment in your clapped out late 80s Honda, you will be able to kick back on your futon while watching basic cable on your 28 incher and think about how much better your job is than sitting in the same office, in the same chair, looking at the same walls day after day after day.

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It might be discouraging, and you're probably not going to be that 21yr old with a house, a nice car, and the big TV. But if you have a passion for this at the end of the day when you go home to your small apartment in your clapped out late 80s Honda, you will be able to kick back on your futon while watching basic cable on your 28 incher and think about how much better your job is than sitting in the same office, in the same chair, looking at the same walls day after day after day.

 

This reminds me of a story about a lady who went to the circus. She saw the high wire act, and loved it. She saw a woman about her age move so gracefully so high in the air on the oh so narrow wire. After the show, she got to meet the performer, and complimented her, asked her what it felt like to be up there, entertaining the audience. Exhilarating. But then with a sigh she said she could never do that for a living. The actress asked the lady what she did for a living, and the lady said she worked in a cubicle all day with no windows to look out of. The high wire performer said, oh, I could never do that for the rest of my life. What are you ?

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You'll still need a checkride in the helicopter and additional training which is helicopter-specific.

 

Your air work will happen faster in a fixed wing airplane, and you'll need to be more aware of what's going on with your instrument scan. Your approaches are flown faster and the rate of what's happening is accelerated. This may enhance your initial understanding of instrument procedures a bit, but that's about it, other than savings. You'll still need to re-learn your instrument work from a helicopter perspective.

 

Keep in mind that single pilot instrument work is some of the most demanding flying you can do. Other flying is demanding physically, but instrument work is all headwork. Instrument skills are important even if you don't do much instrument flying; they're particularly applicable to night flight and other conditions without a discernable horizon or other references.

 

Being a CFII won't do much for your instrument skills, but you'll become much more versed in talking about them.

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I think the constant exposure to the IFR world as an acting CFII can't hurt at all. Sometimes the flying is the easy part and if a person is very familiar with procedures, communications, approach plates, and setting up for those approaches, then they don't have such a high workload which makes the flying ifr even easier.

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