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Instrument Training Ground Preparation

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How's it going VR members? I currently have my PPL(H) and I am getting prepared to start training for my instrument & commercial helicopter license this summer. Before I start my training I would like to get as familiar as possible with instrument flying rules and regulations. Any suggestions on books or ground programs (King Schools etc)? Any advice/tips are appreciated.

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Get yourself a copy of the Helicopter Instrument Practical Test Standards. Somewhere in the introduction is a list of a ton of references from which you can study. A good starting point is the FAR/AIM (IFR specific rules begin in 91.167 and the AIM Ch.5 is great for IFR procedures). The Instrument Flying Handbook that helonorth suggested above is also a good book for a head start. Don't let your VFR knowledge go out the window. It's just as important for instrument flying as VFR.


Study, study, study!! The more you know about IFR flying, the more exciting it is. I love it!

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  • 4 months later...

A few things to keep in mind about instrument training. First of all, if the equipment is in the helicopter, the DPE can have you use it. So know how it works. ADF, VOR, etc. I have seen many helicopter IFR applicants not know how to use a VOR or track/intercept a specific radial. They have just done GPS. If you are flying in the ATC system and say you have the equipment ATC expects you to know how to use it.


Be aware that IFR helicopters have a minimum IFR speed called Vmin. This is a speed that you can not go below while flying by instruments. And yes I have seen students try hovering on instruments. It aint pretty. And yes I am aware that almost all helicopters used for IFR training are not IFR certified. That is not the point. The student is being trained to fly helicopters in IFR conditions which means it someday will be an IFR certified helicopter. Legally, though not very smart, immediately after you pass your Instrument checkride, you can climb into an IFR helicopter, file IFR and conduct real approaches to minimums for real.


Become familiar with the chart symbols and format. That will make your training easier from the start. Also become familiar with proper r/t procedures and phraseology. This is in the AIM. This can be a weak area for helicopter pilots.

Edited by rick1128
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  • 2 weeks later...

Spend some time reading the IFR sections of the AIM. As far as ATC is concerned you are not flying an IFR helicopter you are flying an IFR aircraft. Everyone follows the same rules and procedures, with minor exceptions. You have been told all through your training that helicopters are different. They are, except here. To ATC you are not an airplane of helicopter, you are a blip on the scope and an aircraft. And they really don't care which one you are for the most part.

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