Yes!!  This is absolutely possible!  We get this question quite frequently.  "What if I already hold either a private or commercial pilot certificate.  I would like to start training in a helicopter with the goal of adding that rating at the private or commercial level.  How do I do this?"

Contrary to popular belief, you do not need to obtain a student pilot certificate to train in helicopters.  You already hold a pilot certificate.  When you are ready to solo, your instructor will provide you with a logbook endorsement to act as pilot in command in solo operations.  This is endorsement number 70 in AC 61-65F.  You must carry your log book with you when you fly and you may only solo with this endorsement; no passenger carrying is permitted.  If you are a commercial pilot, you may add the rotorcraft helicopter rating at either the private or commercial level.  If you add at the private level, then all the helicopter-specific time listed in FAR 61.109(c) would be needed.  If you add at the commercial level, all the helicopter-specific time in FAR 61.129(c) would be needed.  There is no minimum number of hours to solo except in the R44 helicopter which is regulated by SFAR73 which requires a minimum of 20 hours of dual before you can solo regardless of how good you are or how quickly you learn.    In summary, it is a great experience and well worth adding on the rating to be able to pilot one of the most versatile and agile aircraft invented.  



40 Hours (Minimum) Total Pilot Time in Helicopters Must Include: 

30 hours of "dual" flight instruction and 10 hours of "solo" flight
3 hours of dual cross-country flight training
3 hours dual instruction at night
One (1) 75 nautical-mile cross-country Solo flight with one (1) 25 nautical-mile "leg"
At least 3 hours of Cross-Country Solo flight
3 Solo Take-offs and Landings at an Airport with an Operating Control Tower

NOTE: "Dual" Flight Instruction is Flight Time with You and Your Flight Instructor Training in the Helicopter; "Solo" Flight Time is Flight Time with You Flying the Helicopter alone as the Sole Occupant of the Aircraft after Proper Preparation and Training.

The Private Pilot Helicopter Rating is intended for those who want to fly helicopters for personal or business purposes and is also the first step for those who intend to go on to advanced helicopter ratings or who plan to become professional helicopter pilots. You can begin your flight training in the helicopter TODAY! There are NO prior requirements before you begin dual instruction in the helicopter. You can begin at any age, but you must be 16 years old to solo and 17 to earn your Private Pilot's License. 

Private Pilot - Helicopter FAA Rating Requirements:

  • Minimum 17 Years Old to Take Flight Test (age 16 for Student Pilot & Solo). Can Begin Training at Any Age
  • Must Read, Write, Understand, and Speak English
  • Obtain a FAA Medical Certificate (Prior to first Solo Flight)
  • Pass an FAA Written "Knowledge Test" (Prior to Taking FAA Practical Flight Test)
  • Complete 40 hours Minimum Flight Time Including 10 hrs of Solo Flight (See details below)
  • Pass an FAA Oral and Practical Flight Test** Note: NO Prior Airplane or Aircraft Experience is Required to Earn a Helicopter License. 

Click Here for Estimated Training Costs: Private Pilot - Helicopter Rating (For those with no prior pilot training. Minimum of 40 Flight Hours Required). 

Please call or E-Mail us with your specific questions. 

Required Private Pilot Flight Training Experience. Ref FAR 61.109 (c)