Is a Private pilot lic. required prior to getting a commercial heli rating?

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I have a Commercial pilot license (airplane) and an instrument rating
(airplane). I am starting my helicopter training and am wondering if
there is anyway to skip the private helicopter rating and just go for
the commercial? My reading of the FARs indicates 35 PIC in helis is
required for the Commercial but I have heard of other people skipping
the private. If so how do you get around the PIC requirement? (my
understanding is that without a private you can't log PIC time)

-- Kimball Forrest, April 9, 2007


I believe the other responses are correct. If you want to fly around solo for 35 hours, you can save $500 by doing only one checkride.

-- Philip Greenspun, April 10, 2007

PIC time

I assume that if you're looking to build PIC time in a helicopter without holding a helicopter PPL, you can get it in the form of solo time as a helicopter student pilot.

-- Tal Reichert, April 9, 2007

Per the FAR definitions PIC time requires (among other things) that you are rated for the category and class. So as I read it, solo time (pre rating) is just solo time but not PIC time. Maybe there is an exception?

-- Kimball Forrest, April 10, 2007

With all due respect, I disagree.

FAR 61.51(e) deals with logging of PIC time. The requirement for being rated to that type of aircraft is found in subsection (1)(i), which only applies to sport, recreational, private or commercial pilots. Subsection (4) deals with student pilots, and contains separate requirements. In order to log PIC time as a student pilot, you need to be the sole occupant of the plane (with an exception for an airship requiring more than one pilot), have a current solo endorsement, and to be undergoing training for a pilot certificate or rating.

As I see it, you should qualify.

-- Tal Reichert, April 10, 2007

Thank you! That is just what I needed.

-- Kimball Forrest, April 10, 2007

I'm happy to help, and good luck!

Just so you'll know to take my response with the required grain of salt, I'm merely a private pilot (ASEL). I suggest you either take a look at the FAR and draw your own conclusions, or talk to your CFI.

-- Tal Reichert, April 10, 2007