Helicopter Private Pilot Syllabus and Lesson Plans
by Philip Greenspun in March 2006
Site Home : Flying : Helicopter Syllabus
This is a syllabus for a helicopter private pilot rating. It may be
used by people who already hold a fixed wing certificate or those who
are starting from scratch.
Summary of Requirements
The FAA spells it out in FAR 61.109c:
If you have a pilot certificate already, you need not take a knowledge
- 40 hours of flight time of which 20 must be dual instruction, 10
must be solo, and 10 may be either (or may be in an airplane; i.e., the
minimum required time to log in a helicopter is 30 hours if you already
hold a pilot certificate)
- 3 hours cross-country training (a landing more than 25 n.m. from the
- 3 hours night training, including 10 takeoffs, patterns, and
landings at an airport and one cross-country flight (at least 25
n.m. away and then back)
- a three-leg solo of at least 75 n.m., with one segment being at
least 25 n.m.
As a practical matter, you will probably need 40-50 hours for an add-on
rating and 50-60 hours for an ab initio rating. If you have a
Commercial pilot certificate, you will still want to get the Private
helicopter rating first so that you can log the remainder of your
training flights as pilot-in-command time. Otherwise, you will need to
fly an additional 25 hours of solo to get to the 35 hours of required
PIC time to take the Commercial practical test.
- Bad Weather Ground: SFAR 73 Awareness Training, Aerodynamics, and
- Good Weather Intro: SFAR 73 Awareness Training, Quick Preflight,
Cycle among the following until student is hovering reliably
- Minuteman and Back
- Norwood and Back
- Nashua and Back
Student can hover now...
- Patterns and Hovering at Bedford (repeat until proficient)
- Steep Approaches
- Different Approach Angles
- Plum Island and Back
- Introduction to Autorotations (and quick stops)
- Autorotations and
Introduction to Slope Operations
- .... more to come as my students progress ...
If you would like to adapt these plans for your own use, please feel
free as long as it is within the terms of
my online copyright statement.
Text and photos Copyright 2005 Philip