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1/25/2018 7:38:29 AM
Posted: 4/3/2006 2:51:40 PM EST
I am thinking of getting my helicopter private pilots license. There are several places around me that do instruction. My plan is once, and if i decide to do it, is get my private and then follow it up with my commercial license. I have always been intrigued by helicopters and would love to fly one. I know they are crazy expensive to buy, which is not an option, but my thinking is once I get my commercial I would be able to fly part time for someone to build up my flight hours and have my fuel paid for. I already work full time in law enforcement and would eventually like to combine the two professions. Any thoughts on how much it costs to get your private and then commercial license? Thoughts on the flying in general? Any comments are appreciated.

Link Posted: 4/3/2006 2:59:44 PM EST
Thousands and thousands of dollars going civilian.
It can be done--but only if you are willing to whore yourself for instruction and whatever else comes your way for time building.

the military is still the way to go for rotor wing training.

Link Posted: 4/3/2006 3:01:58 PM EST
[Last Edit: 4/3/2006 3:03:03 PM EST by Master_Blaster]
This was asked about a few months ago. If I recall, it basically boiled down to a tight employment market for heli pilots. I know of a one person who managed to get a good gig as Wayne Newton's personal flyer, but it seems like this is an exception to the rule. Someone told me once that all the "old guard" are retiring out now & they need new blood, but considering the tight job market, I'd guess that the Army & Marines turn out sufficient #'s to fill the majority of those private-sector slots. I've always heard that operations normally associated w/ heli-operations - EMS, Rescue, SO/PD - operate on rather limited funding & tight budgets.

Of course, YMMV.
Link Posted: 4/3/2006 3:06:22 PM EST
Be prepared to spend buttloads of money. Light airplanes are expensive to rent, light helicopters are worse. You'll be competing with military pilots who are more skilled, have more hours, and are given the preference to hiring. Not saying it can't be done, but good luck. I understand your desire though, I flew a helo a few times, it's a blast. I'd like my civilian rating.
Link Posted: 4/3/2006 3:11:07 PM EST
I looked into this a while back, and while it's not unrealistic to get your helicopter pilot cert, it probably is unrealistic to consider flying one on your own time or flying for someone as a commercial pilot due to insurance.

The best idea would be to call the flight school and explain your asperations to them - ask an instructor. See what they think.
Link Posted: 4/3/2006 3:12:43 PM EST

Originally Posted By Fly-Navy:
Be prepared to spend buttloads of money.

Thats kinda what I was thinking.
Link Posted: 4/3/2006 3:15:54 PM EST

Originally Posted By ChiefPilot:
I looked into this a while back, and while it's not unrealistic to get your helicopter pilot cert, it probably is unrealistic to consider flying one on your own time or flying for someone as a commercial pilot due to insurance.

The best idea would be to call the flight school and explain your asperations to them - ask an instructor. See what they think.

I put in a call this afternoon to a local instructor, waiting for a call back. I'm semi-prepared for the crazy $$$ that it requires but am hestitant due to the job market. Like was mentioned above, I'm sure someone coming out of the military would have way more qualifications than someone like me putting myself through.
Link Posted: 4/3/2006 3:17:36 PM EST
The last time I checked the price was around $12,000.00 for instructor & helo, so I went the private pilot route.
Link Posted: 4/3/2006 3:38:33 PM EST
Not helo, but I know a thing or two about the aviating bidness. Seen the bad side, good side, bad side again, then the good side again.

Two of my best friends were high time, very experienced Army pilots. They now fly fixed wing jet aircraft and and they had to bust their ass to get there.

For any good helo job, you need a couple hundred hours PIC in complex, turbine type equipment.
For that, you pretty much have to be military trained or very rich or well connected. Your competition will be those guys currently flying the Blackhawks, Chinooks, Cobras, Apache and Sea kings, in all weather, and under fire.

One alternative would be to get your fixed wing tickets, then get hired somewhere which will pay to get you dual rated. Border patrol, State police etc. Just read the part where you are a full time LEO. Does your unit have an Aviation Dept? Those are the guys you need to talk to. Talk to every LE aviation dept that you can, and find one you can transfer into. Be prepared to relocate.

As far as costs, the flightschool can tell you, but be advised that nobody gets rated in the minimum hours. Figure on twice the minimum hours if you are training part time.

If you have a ton of money to spend, and don't need to make a living at it, you could probably get a job as a flight instructor.

Best thing you can do is go to every local helo operator you can find (not the flightschool) and talk to the pilots about their backrounds, income, lifestyle, and career expectations.

Rotory or fixed wing, all Pilots love to talk about their aircraft and themselves.

Link Posted: 4/3/2006 4:40:08 PM EST
Have you considered a career change? Assuming you don't have aviation in your Dept.

I have a friend who flys for (USDA) Div. Of Forestry and is pretty happy with his job. I'm not sure what he had to go through to get that position but it might be worth looking into.

Otherwise I would say the military may be your best bet.
Link Posted: 4/3/2006 4:42:53 PM EST
[Last Edit: 4/3/2006 4:46:38 PM EST by Magpul]
Link Posted: 4/3/2006 4:54:27 PM EST
My uncle was a Deputy and joined the National Gaurd they sent him to Fort Rucker Al and taught him to fly Helo's Your job at home is waiting for you then you can fly with the big boys for fun get your HRS then write your own ticket.
Link Posted: 4/3/2006 5:01:41 PM EST
Good luck. Going civilian the only options you really have for commercial work is flight instruction along with 20,000 others who are fighting for those positions. Insurance requirements will determine what you can and cannot do. Don't assume that because you have the FAA minimum requirements you are now good to go for commercial work. For some reason that has escaped me many of the flight requirements time wise are less for helicopter than fixed wing. Never have figured that out. Keep in mind that after our little war winds down the market will be swamped with about 10,000 twin turbine helicopter pilots with oodles of flight time dieing to work in a cold enviroment. Planerench out.
Link Posted: 4/3/2006 5:38:06 PM EST
Look for a police department that has an aviation unit! From what I heard alot of them will put you through helo school if you have your fixed wing and 250 hrs or so. One of my old army buddies was going that route in Olympia Washington! That would be the way to go!
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