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3 Answers

Military Rotor to Fixed Wing

Asked by: 1097 views Commercial Pilot, Helicopter, Instrument Rating, Private Pilot


I'm sure this question is somewhere on this site, but I can't seem to find it.

If someone was to have: commercial pilot - rotorcraft-helicopter; instrument helicopter, is it necessary to get a PPL SEL first in order to obtain an instrument and commercial fixed wing? I know that the written tests are not required, but I can't find the reference for this.

Any help is much appreciated.

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3 Answers

  1. Russ Roslewski on Mar 30, 2016

    No, you could add it directly on to your Commercial certificate. This is pretty commonplace. For example, a Commercial ASEL pilot adds on a Commercial helicopter rating (as I did). Or a Commercial Glider, etc.

    The reference is 61.63. Pay close attention to the difference between adding on a “category” of aircraft like you want to do, and a “class” of aircraft (like adding a multiengine airplane rating to a Commercial Single certificate).

    While you have to meet the aeronautical experience requirements, notice that many of these requirements do not have to be in an airplane, they can be in ANY aircraft. For example, from 61.129 for a single-engine airplane add-on, you have to have 100 hours in powered aircraft but only 50 of that has to be in an airplane. Same with 100 hours of PIC but only 50 hours in airplanes. And similarly, 50 hours XC but only 10 of that in airplanes. So you likely have a lot of the time requirement knocked out already.

    You could, if you so chose, add the rating on at the Private level, but that is not required.

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  2. Dwilliams on Apr 01, 2016

    OK great. That was what I was looking for. Do you have to get your commercial first or can you get your get an instrument rating first?


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  3. Russ Roslewski on Apr 01, 2016

    In this case, you would pretty much have to get your Commercial first. 61.65a requires for an instrument rating that you have a private pilot cert or better in the category and class first.

    (a) General. A person who applies for an instrument rating must:

    (1) Hold at least a current private pilot certificate, or be concurrently applying for a private pilot certificate, with an airplane, helicopter, or powered-lift rating appropriate to the instrument rating sought;

    Now, notice that you can concurrently get a private certificate AND an instrument rating at the same time. This is a pretty recent change. I don’t see anything about doing the same for a combined Commercial and Instrument rating.

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