Private Pilot Helicopter: What are the requirements?

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Helicopter Online Ground School:

Helicopter pilot? What is required and what do I need to get started, what do I need to do to get started? I'm Kenny Keller, creator of Helicopter Online Ground School. This is one of our most frequently asked questions people ask all the time. Well, what do I have to do to get the rating, how do I go about it? What I tell them is, the first thing you want to do is schedule an introductory flight. Most people don't realize that all you have to do is call up your local flight school and get an introductory flight schedule. You don't have to go through any specific training, you don't have to do a bunch of study. Schedule an introductory flight and go out and give it a try. Call them up, tell them you've never been up, you're interested in learning to fly helicopters, and that you want to go up for an introductory flight. That's how you get started.
Once you get that introductory flight in, if you decide, "Hey, this is something I really want to do. I want to keep going. I want to chase after this dream." Research the flight schools in your area. Depending on where you live you might have several choices or you might have to travel quite a distance to get to a helicopter flight school where you can take lessons. I'd get the introductory flight in first, go check it out see what you think of it. Make sure it's something that you think is going to be as cool as what you think it is because it is. Once you get there and you do it you'll love it, but that will be the next step.
Then, if you decide that you're going to continue on, I wouldn't spend a bunch of money right after that, I would get the Rotorcraft Flying Handbook to start with. It's a $15 or $20 book, you can order online at many different places. You just search Rotorcraft Flying Handbook. You can also download a free PDF copy from They will give you a free copy so you could start kind of learning there. You could also use our Helicopter Online Ground School. I started this March 1, 2012. We have had huge member success. We have people all over the world using our training and it's been pretty awesome. We have people that have used our training prior to going to the flight training, so that you use the ground training to get the knowledge before you go start flying. That's another option for you is you can use our ground school to help learn the information. Then, once you get a few lessons going you want to get a medical certificate fairly early on, which is basically a flight physical. You have to go do an FAA designated flight examiner to have this physical. The only reason I say do it fairly early is if you find out you have a problem with vision or some other problem then you have some time to correct that prior to soloing and trying to get the license. Also, in the event you did have some kind of medical problem, it's better to find out before you spend a bunch of money and then be frustrated and upset later because a medical condition is holding you back. It's a good idea to get that medical certificate done pretty early in the training. Next, the FAA requires a minimum of 40 hours of flight training. This is the minimum. Most people take more like 60-70 hours. Keep in mind that if you get done in 40 great, but in 15 years of doing this I haven't seen very many people get done in 40. I've seen 41, 42 a couple of times but it doesn't happen very often. Don't feel bad because, again, the average person takes 60-70. Just because of time, commitment, school, family, other activities you have going on, it's hard for a person to always get done in 40 hours.
Next, you have to have a minimum of hours. A minimum of that 40 you have to have 20 hours of dual instruction and then you also have to have 10 hours of solo time. Now, if you're an airplane pilot doing an add on you have to have the 20 hours of dual, the 10 hours of solo. If you're coming off the street, you have to have the minimum of the 20 dual, 10 of solo, and that other 10 or more is going to be with your instructor prepping for the check ride. You can always solo more than 10 hours if you like. If time and money permits you could always go more than 10, but that's the minimum. To get to the , minimum 20 dual, 10 solo, and the other 10 can be determined as you're going along.
Then, next you're going to have to have a pre-solo written test issued by your instructor. You start flying, he's going to get you proficient to take the aircraft out alone and fly those 10 hours. Before he can do that he has to go through the FARA Manual, which is our regulations. He has to go through and cover a certain amount of things with you, ground and flying-wise, before he can let you go. Once you've completed those items in the FAR/AIM Manual and feels that you're competent and he feels good about your abilities, he can let you go solo.

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