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3 Answers

Fixed Wing and Helicopter Dual Rating

Asked by: 8568 views General Aviation, Helicopter, Student Pilot

I would like to get dual rated for fixed wing and helicopter. I'm starting at zero hours right now. My plan is to get my private and instrument in fixed wing then my commercial, CFI and CFII in a helicopter. The cost will be less than helicopter only and have the benefit of being dual rated. My goal is to instruct in helicopters and fly them commercially. I read about someone that did this. Has anyone heard of this before. Thanks

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3 Answers

  1. Wes Beard on Jun 03, 2012

    It is quite possible to get your commercial ASEL certificate and then transition and train for your commercial helicopter certificate.  The regulations require you obtian the aeronautical experience when you which require a minimum of 50 hours of PIC time in a helicopter.
    Most pilots will first get their private helicopter rating to obtain the needed 50 hours of PIC time.
    You are looking around 350-380 hours total time and around 100 hours of helicopter time to obtain your commercial helicopter license.  The point is, I don’t know how much you would save by going this route though if the price were the same I would go ahead and get dual rated.  Food for thought.  

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  2. Mike Cannon on Jul 01, 2012

    A couple things to consider here.  I was commercial and instrument rated fixed wing (ASEL/AMEL) for years before deciding to fly helicopters as a career.  I was very suprised at little value the helicopter industry places on fixed wing time and or ratings.  This is predominately because most helicopter insurance agencies don’t give credit for fixed wing time towards the minimum requirements for most commercial policies.  Even the commercial operators that run both rotor and fixed wing operators rarely like thier pilots to fly for both sides of the house.  Secondly, the helicopter training market is dominated by Robinson.  SFAR-73 (part 61) requires a helicopter flight instructor teaching in Robinson to have 200 hrs in helicopters and 50 in the R22/R44 respectively.  My advice is if your goal is to instruct and fly helicopters commercially, go straight to your helicopter training.  Going fixed wing first won’t save you any money in the long run if you plan to teach in Robinson helicopters (80% or more of the market).  You can go through Private, Commercial, Instrument, CFI and CFII helicopter in 200 total hrs for between $65-$75k.  Having said that, I love being dual rated and having the ability to enjoy both!

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  3. Don on Oct 03, 2014

    Getting a REAL job flying a helo (especially a very capable turbine helo) with less then 1200 to 1500 hours is TOUGH especially if you will PRIMARILY be a helo pilot…….though occasionally being dual rated will get you in the door somewhere that has both F/W and R/W with lower time than that. But, in that case, you will have to have a decent amount of turbine or jet time and very possibly the right type ratings since you would PRIMARILY be utilized as a F/W pilot, but have the ability to fly the boss’/company’s helo, too. One thing to watch out for is being hired to be a dual rated pilot that flies a helo to wherever to fetch the boss and bring him to the airport where you have to jump into the F/W and fly him cross country and back, then get into the helo again and take him home. That often requires a VERY long day at work and very often doesn’t really pay much more. IT SHOULD pay a decent amount more and sometimes does…but watch out for that! Often you may the PIC in the helo and fly those trips, but when you get in the F/W you will be the co-pilot. I speak from a reasonable amount of experience…..12,000+hr Dual ATP, CFI and CFII in both categories, two helo and three jet type ratings, etc., etc.

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