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The Private Pilot Certificate is for the person who wants to learn to fly a helicopter for fun or work, but not to be paid as a pilot. This certificate is also the first step you would take in becoming a Commercial Helicopter Pilot.

As a private helicopter pilot, you will be able to rent or own a helicopter for personal use. You can fly with friends, family or associates and share expenses with them.

Eligibility Requirements

  • Be at least 17 years of age
  • Be able to read, speak, write, and understand the English language
  • Hold at least a third class medical certificate
  • Pass an FAA written (knowledge) test
  • Fulfill at least the minimum flight and ground training requirements in preparation for the checkride
  • Pass an oral and flight (practical) test (also known as the checkride), by the FAA or an approved Designated Pilot Examiner

Minimum requirements for a Private Pilot Certificate

A person who applies for a helicopter private pilot certificate must log at least 40 hours of total flight time.

The dual flight training consists of at least 20 hours from an authorized instructor, which includes:

  • 3 hours of cross-country flight training in a helicopter
  • 3 hours of night flight training in a helicopter that includes:
    • 1 cross-country flight of over 50 nautical miles total distance
    • 10 takeoffs and 10 landing to a full stop (with each landing involving a flight in the traffic pattern) at an airport
  • 3 hours of flight training with an authorized instructor in a helicopter in preparation for the practical test, within 2 months preceding the month of the test

The solo training consists of at least 10 hours solo flight in a helicopter, which includes:

  • 3 hours cross-country time
  • 1 solo cross-country flight of at least 100 nautical miles total distance, with landings at 3 points, and 1 segment of the flight being a straight-line distance of more than 25 nautical miles between the takeoff and landing locations
  • 3 takeoffs and 3 landings to a full stop (with each landing involving a flight in the traffic pattern) at an airport with an operating control tower

The specific areas you must be proficient at are outlined in the Private Pilot Practical Test Standards for Helicopter.

Financing for flight training is available through Pilot Finance, Inc.

Estimated Course Costs - Initial Certificate

The below costs are for an Initial private helicopter certificate, where the student does not already have a private airplane certificate.

  HOURS RATE TOTAL

Enstrom 280C Dual Training

45 345** $15,525
Ground Instruction 10 40 $400
FAA Written Test     $100
Books and Training Aids     $300
FAA Medical Exam     $100
FAA Examiner Fee     $400
ESTIMATED TOTAL COST     $16,825

 Estimated Course Costs - Add-On Certificate

The below costs are for an Add-On private helicopter certificate, where the pilot already holds a private airplane certificate. No additional FAA written test is required for an add-on.

  HOURS RATE TOTAL

Enstrom 280C Dual Training

35 345** $12,075
Ground Instruction 5 40 $200
Books and Training Aids     $100
FAA Examiner Fee     $400
ESTIMATED TOTAL COST     $12,775

NOTE
Hourly rates are subject to change without prior notice. Hours are based on the FAA minimum requirements. It is not guaranteed that you will complete the training in the minimum number of hours.

** Fuel surcharge may apply.

Federal Regulations regarding the certification of private pilots can be found in FAR 61 Subpart E