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Heli and fixed pilot questions...


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Just looking into getting completely spun up for my rotory license and I keep hearing that I could save a lot of money getting my fixed wing license with all certs. and just transition to rotory. The supposed idea behind it is that all your basics (patterns, general aviation stuff) you don't redo so you save time in the air in the heli which in turn you save money considering a 172 is a lot cheaper to learn in than an R22. Just seeing if anyone has any info. on this and or has done this. Thanks...

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There will probably not be much savings... Especially on a private or commercial add-on. You can save some money on the instrument. I did an instrument add-on as an experienced IFR AMEL pilot with several hundred hours of IFR time in turbine and piston equipment and it took little time...

But consider this if the thought is to become a career helicopter pilot... If you do all the fixed-wing certs, then complete the associated helicopter add-ons, you will probably not be insurable as a helicopter pilot. You will still need 200-300 hours of spinning wing time total and 50-75 hours in type to obtain insurance as a helicopter instructor. As a matter of fact, you're most likely to be insurable in both types if you get all the helicopter ratings then do fixed-wing add-ons. I have found that the helicopter time can help the fixed-wing insurance, but not the other way around...

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nbit...Just wondering what you would suggest as the best/smartest way to go about getting fully certed on rotor wing. I am in Alaska as of now probably until 2008 the earliest and am just biting at the bit to get started...I can get my fixed wing relatively cheap through the Aero Club at the base I am stationed at. My end goal is definately to be a "working" heli pilot. I am originally from Arizona and will be moving back there. There are a lot of different schools down there...just trying to get some insight into my future career...Thanks so much...

 

Happy flying...

 

Anyone else is more than welcomed to chime in with their 2 cents...Thanks in advance...

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Just looking into getting completely spun up for my rotory license and I keep hearing that I could save a lot of money getting my fixed wing license with all certs. and just transition to rotory. The supposed idea behind it is that all your basics (patterns, general aviation stuff) you don't redo so you save time in the air in the heli which in turn you save money considering a 172 is a lot cheaper to learn in than an R22. Just seeing if anyone has any info. on this and or has done this. Thanks...
Many people have done this.

 

Here's the bottom line. If you want to hold a CFII - Helicopter rating, it will cost you roughly the same whether you go the fixed-wing to helicopter add-on route, or go straight helicopter. The difference being that for the same money, you will have the fixed-wing ratings alongside.

 

Here's the downside - assuming you are a good helicopter student, you will have VERY FEW HELICOPTER HOURS. You won't easily find helicopter work, if you find it at all. You may luck out and find a school that offers both airplane and helicopter training, but even then their insurance may preclude you from teaching in the helicopters. There are folks who have gone this route with success, but for every one who succeeded, there are twenty who are flying airplanes and wishing they had spent the helicopter money on a jet transition or something similar.

 

So - if you want to FLY helicopters, TRAIN in helicopters. If you don't know what you want to do, train in airplanes, it's cheaper and easier.

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I was rated in fixed-wing for several years before starting my RH rating. I have mixed feelings about that route.

 

In one way it makes the rating easier because you already know how to navigate, use the radios, fly traffic patterns, and so on. That's the good news.

 

The bad news is that certain habits which are fine and necessary in fixed-wing, can haunt you if you let them carry over into a helicopter. A mild example is that you will have been taught to lead a turn with rudder pedal. That works great in an airplane, but generally will get you going sideways if you try it with anti-torque pedal. Force of habit made me do just that on a turn from crosswind to downwind on my PP-RH checkride. Fortunately, the DE just laughed and said something like "you think you're in an airplane?".

 

A much more serious bad habit is diving or a diving turn to avoid traffic. Again, fine in an airplane, but it may kill you in a helicopter, particularly with a semirigid rotor system like the R22 has.

 

In a nutshell, I agree with the others -- if your intent is to fly rotary-wing, I wouldn't mess with fixed.

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Ditto what fling said. That is the bottom line of what I was implying...

I can't tell you exactly what to do. I don't know how deep and broad your wallet and time constraints are. As I said above, if you do your fixed-wing private or commercial, they won't take away many, if any, hours from the amount of time required to obtain the helicopter add-ons. They could even make it take more helicopter hours due to the habits those ratings may instill in you. The instrument is another story... The skills you learn for instrument flying will be for the most part transferable without much trouble.

If you are "chomping at the bit" to get going, you might just do your private and instrument. ...But add up the time required and see how it fits into your budget and time constraints first. Remember, you will still need 200-300 hours helicopter time to be employed...

Not trying to scare or discourage you either, but consider this... By 2008... It may be likely that you will need 300 hours helicopter time or more, just noticing the insurance underwriter's paradigm as time marches on... It seems as the years go by, it is more of a battle to obtain insurance for new instructors. Everything has to be considered as you come into this career. Stay determined, and plan and adjust as you go.

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I enjoyed flying airplanes for several years before getting the helicopter add-on. But my goal wasn't to turn it into a career. If I was looking to fly helicopters for a living I agree with the others, get as much helicopter time as possible.

 

On a related note, it's incredibly expensive, but don't let the cost make you cringe everytime you head to the airport. Enjoy every minute of flying.

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