Rotor-Wing Professional Pilot Career Pathway – Part 141

Most pilots who get their helicopter certificates are looking for exciting new career opportunities. The basic pathway for helicopter pilots is to start with a private pilot helicopter certificate, then move on to the commercial certificate, follow it up with a flight instructor rating, instrument rating, and an instrument flight instructor rating. And eventually, many helicopter pilots will get their airline transport pilot certificate.

Just a quick note on the below requirements for your certifications. These are only the minimums, and it’s possible and probably likely, that you’re going to need instruction that exceeds the FAA minimums. Don’t feel bad about that at all – your instructor(s) are only preparing you for success!

For an estimate on costs for each step, get in contact with us today.

Private Pilot Certificate – Helicopter

Prerequisites

  • Be at least 17 years of age
  • Read, speak, write and understand English
  • Be a US citizen
  • If not a US citizen, have TSA clearance
  • Hold at least a Third-Class Medical certificate
  • Hold a student pilot certificate

Completion Requirements:

  • 20 hours of flight training from an authorized instructor that includes:
    • 3 hours of cross-country flight training
    • 3 hours of night flight training that includes: One cross-country over 100 NM total distance, 10 takeoffs and full stop landings in the traffic pattern
    • 3 hours of basic attitude instrument training
    • 5 hours solo flight time in the areas of operation listed in FAR 141
    • One solo cross-country of at least 100 NM with stops at a minimum of three points, (one segment must be at least 50 NM) with three takeoffs and landings to a full stop tower.
  • Completion of all course and syllabus requirements
  • Completion of the required airman knowledge exam

Helicopter Instrument Rating

This rating allows you to use your helicopter certificate for flying in instrument meteorological conditions.

Prerequisites

  • Hold at least a Private Pilot Certificate, or enrolled in training
  • Be at least 17 years old
  • Read, write, and speak English
  • Hold at least a Third-Class Medical certificate

Completion Requirements:

  • Log 50 hours of cross country flight as pilot-in-command, 10 of which must be in helicopters
  • Log 40 hours of flight by reference to instruments only, 15 of which must be with an instructor
  • The 40 hours of instrument time can be combined with the cross country requirement
  • You may also substitute up to 20 hours of instrument time by using an approved flight simulator
  • Pass a written test
  • Pass an oral test
  • Pass a practical flight test

Commercial Pilot Certificate – Helicopter

This is the big one that allows you to make money with your helicopter certificate. (Some employers may require extra training.)

Prerequisites

  • Hold at least a Private Pilot Certificate
  • Be at least 18 years old
  • Read, write, and speak English
  • Hold at least a Third-Class Medical certificate

Completion Requirements:

  • Log 150 hours of flight time, including
    • 100 hours of flight in powered aircraft
    • At least 50 hours in helicopters.
  • Flight time must also include:
    • 100 hours of pilot-in-command time (35 in helicopters),
    • 10 hours of cross-country flight
    • 5 hours of night flight.
  • Pass a written test
  • Pass an oral test
  • Pass a practical flight test

Certified Flight Instructor Rating – Helicopter

This rating adds privileges to your license, allowing you to use your commercial helicopter license to teach others to fly helicopters.

Prerequisites

  • Hold a Commercial Helicopter Pilot License or ATP Certificate
  • Be at least 18 years old
  • Read, write, and speak English
  • Hold at least a Second Class Medical certificate

Completion Requirements:

  • Log at least 15 hours pilot-in-command in helicopters
  • Pass two FAA written tests
    • Fundamentals of Instruction
    • Aeronautical Knowledge test
  • Pass an oral test
  • Pass a practical flight test

Certified Flight Instructor Instrument Rating – Helicopter

Teach others to fly helicopters in instrument conditions.

Prerequisites

  • Hold a Commercial Helicopter Pilot License or ATP Certificate with CFI Helicopter Rating
  • Be at least 18 years old
  • Read, write, and speak English
  • Hold at least a Second Class Medical certificate

Completion Requirements:

  • Pass written test
  • Pass an oral test
  • Pass a practical flight test

Airline Transport Pilot Certificate – Helicopter

The flight experience requirements are high for an ATP, and this will generally take years to obtain.

Prerequisites

  • Hold a Commercial Pilot Certificate with Instrument Rating
  • Be at least 23 years old
  • Read, write, and speak English
  • Hold a First Class Medical certificate

Completion Requirements:

  • Log at least 1,200 hours of pilot time, which includes
    • 500 hours of cross-country time
    • 200 hours in helicopters with at least 75 hours as pilot-in-command
    • 100 hours of night flying, with at least 15 hours in helicopters
    • 75 hours of instrument time, with at least 50 completed in-flight and at least 25 hours in helicopters
  • Pass a written test
  • Pass an oral test
  • Pass a practical flight test

In Conclusion:

There are a variety of reasons to get your helicopter certificate that matches the variety of helicopter pilot job descriptions.

Getting your helicopter certificates will be a challenge, but it can also be some of the most fun you’ll have. But when you complete the challenge, you’ll be rewarded with unique jobs all over the world!

Get Started with Your Flight Training Today!

For our Salt Lake City, UT location, call 801-596-7722 or email [email protected]

For our Temecula/Murrieta, CA location, call 951-696-7722 or email [email protected]

And click here to fill out our online application!

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