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Adding a category to a rating

Posted by on April 2, 2009 3 Comments Category : Flight Instructor Blog Tags : , , , ,

Scott writes:

I have the following certificates/ratings: ATP MEL, commercial helicopter, instrument helicopter, private SEL, and CFI helicopter. I am wanting to add a commercial or ATP to my SEL certificate, followed by my airplane CFI and MEI. 1st question: When I take my commercial checkride, does it have to be in a complex aircraft? 2nd question: I understand getting my ASEL CFI would be considered an add on. It is not clear to me what the requirements are for an add on. Any insight? Thanks.

Scott, the first place to look is the current ATP Practical Test Standards, FAA-S-8081-5F (pdf). There is no aircraft type requirement listed, and one of the CFIs I work with did her initial ATP checkride in a Skyhawk with fixed prop and gear. If you take a Commercial checkride, it must be done in a complex aircraft. The Commercial PTS, FAA-S-8081-12B (pdf) requires that if you add an ASEL rating to your Rotorcraft – Helicopter, you must do almost the entire checkride.

As far as the Instructor, Airplane addition goes, again we have to go to the CFI PTS, FAA-S-8081-6C (pdf) on page 36 of the pdf:

abbreviated CFI Rotorcraft-Helicopter addon table

Adding an ASEL instructor rating to a RH instructor certificate.

For the addon checkride, most of the tasks have you refer to the notes under each area of operation. I won’t break it down task by task, but hopefully this will help you get started on the right path towards your new ratings.


  1. Remote Controlled Helicopter on Mar 03, 2010

    Why does the helicopter lean to the left on take-off? This is due to the normal gyroscopic effect of the blade rotation. With practice you will soon learn to compensate for this.

  2. Zach on Sep 20, 2011


    To anyone that may be able to help.
    I am looking to add a Airplane Instrument Rating to my Helicopter Instrument Rating.
    I am not sure on the time requirements for this add on rating.
    I have been taken a look in the instrument PTS and can see the areas that I need to cover
    but for actual Airplane time I am not sure. The main reason for this is to build actual IMC time. I can do it in a Heli but I dont want to take 2-3 years building the time and traveling back and forth from overseas for work. 13 years bouncing around in this industry gets a little old. I love flying but I like being home just as much. Thank you for your time and I hope someone can help


  3. Daniel R. Leo Toulouse on Mar 02, 2015

    I hold a FAA ATP MEL and I would like to know how, what is nneded to add on a ATP SEL.



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