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Advice on IFR rating with HEMS job in mind...

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Hi Folks,


As my moniker implies, I'm a retired Airborne Law Enforcement type. After a few years of being retired, I'm going after my IFR helo rating and wanted to ask some advice as to the various training programs.


I will train in SoCal, and some programs offer all training while actually flying and others do some simulator training. I have noticed that in some HEMS job ads, that the various companies seem to restrict the amount of hours an applicant can have on a simulator. Is this the case for your specific employer?


My goal is to be hired as a HEMS Pilot somewhere in the Southwestern U.S., if possible. I have about 2,300 hrs turbine time in an EC-120 and 200 hrs. in R-22s and AStars.


Anyway, I don't want to start the training with simulator time, if that sort of training won't count when it comes to the hiring process.


Thank you, in advance for any opinions or advice.

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Do you have any FW instrument time? I did my instrument t add on and just knocked out the 15hrs and did my ride and it was done.


If you have the ability to do the allowed portion in the sim, do it. However if you are doing an add on you can't do any sim time.

Edited by Flying Pig
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Thanks for the reply!

No I don't have any FW time, I wish I did. The only thing I did with Helo IFR training was about 10 hours of hood- precision approaches to an Army Airbase as supplemental training.

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  • 1 month later...

Simulator time won't help much with the hiring but it'll save you money getting more comfortable with the procedures. That's the advantage of the SIM for the most part.

Check the company minimums for the spot you're looking for. That is what you want to shoot for as far as "in flight," time.

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From an Air Methods Corp. open pilot position, representative:


General Requirements:

• Commercial & Instrument license (for category and class of aircraft)

• ATP rating in category meets this requirement.

• First OR Second Class FAA Medical certificate required.

• Pilots must have flown in category within the previous 24 months

Flight Hours (Flight time must be verified through reliable documentation)

Visual Flight Rules (VFR) Program:

• 2000 total flight hours with minimum of 1500 flight hours in category

• 1000 hours PIC in category

• 500 hours of rotor wing turbine time

• 200 hours of cross-country flight time, at least 50 hours of which were at night

• 100 hours unaided night as PIC

• 50 hours total actual or hood instrument time in flight and in category (simulator time does not count)

Instrument Flight rules (IFR) Program:

• 2500 total flight hours with a minimum of 2000 hours in category

• 1000 hours PIC in category

• 500 hours of cross-country flight time, 100 hours of night flight time

• 75 hours of actual or simulated instrument time in category and at least 50 hours which were in flight in an aircraft including 20 hours in actual instrument conditions in category

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There are advantages to sim time (broadest use of "sim") that you might consider:

  • training efficiency- the instructor can set specific scenarios and repeat them to emphasize learning points.
  • cost control- sim time is often less expensive, so you can also get more training for your buck.
  • final thought- you don't have to limit yourself to the gazillion dollar full aircraft substitute sims. You can already fly, a lot of IFR is other technical stuff that can be efficiently taught and learned using 'procedural trainers' that vary from various desktop systems, through variously authentic cockpit simulations up to sophisticated systems with visuals, and sometimes even motion.
  • Remember that you're training for proficiency, not just to log hours. Get the best instruction you can find and afford, and be a good student. IFR is like autorotational skills in that you might go decades, even a whole career with just training events, but when you need it, you need the skill to survive.

To prepare for my ATP, I did video and other courses to study, used Microsoft Flight Sim, everything that I could to refresh training from decades in the past. When I went to Bell I was offered a procedures trainer and instructor (by coincidence, my Southern Airways Primary 1 IP from Fort Wolters) to evaluate and practice skills.

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