Helicopter Private Pilot Add-On

I had originally intended to record all of my experiences in helicopter training on this site, unfortunately my schedule has been too intense to keep up with many of my projects. In late August 2018 I completed my Private Pilot Add-on in the R-22. Here is a photo taken immediately after the successful check ride.


I have had the opportunity to take several family members and friends flying since completing the rating. screen-shot-2018-10-16-at-7.49.35-pm.png





This photo was taken as I was set to leave on my first solo flight. img_7011.jpg img_6821.jpg


Helicopter Intro

As you may know already, I’ve been doing a fair amount of flight training in my spare time. I recently got my CFI, CFII, and my Commercial Multi-Engine Add-on. Now I’m getting my helicopter certificates as well! I haven’t decided if I’ll get my private helo certificate or go straight to the commercial add-on. The commercial add-on will require 35 hours of PIC, which means a lot of solo cross country flights. If I get my private cert first, I can make those XC flights a little more fun by bringing along some passengers, but then I’d have to take an additional check ride. Anyways, right now I at least plan to get my commercial and instrument tickets in the helo, and I may even get my CFI.

My first flight was scheduled for earlier in the week, but high winds meant we only did some ground instruction. We covered some helicopter systems and did a point by point pre-flight of the helicopter. Everyone says helicopters have a thousand moving parts. Sure – but when you peek behind the curtain, they really are not complicated machines.

Here is one of the R-22s I will be flying.




Middle River has one of about 20 new Guimbal Cabri G2 helicopters. From everything I have read and watched about this helicopter it is an exciting addition to training and rental fleets. Its safer and cooler than an R-22! If you want to see some cool helicopter flying in a collection of well made YouTube videos, check out Mischa Gelb’s channel Pilot Yellow. He runs BC Helicopters and they operate not one, but two G2 helos. After I get some time in the R22 (because its cheaper on an hourly basis) I’m definitely going to get some time in the G2!




Commercial Multi-Engine Add-On

The Multi-Engine Add-on was a quick and relatively easy add-on, however its important to note that having a second engine is not a panacea for safety. In fact, the second engine is really just one more thing that can kill you. Insurance rates and stipulations alone should be evidence enough that ME airplanes in the hands of general aviators with marginal proficiency and experience is higher risk than single engine airplanes. The attitude that a second engine makes you safer is only true if you are very proficient with your ME aircraft, and you treat engine failures with the due respect they deserve. Fly coordinated, turn away from your bad engine, and watch the video below!


One additional note: As you learn about Vmc you will frequently encounter the acronym COMBATS. Be aware that most sites and schools are teaching this incorrectly. Many sites list the M, as being MAX GROSS WEIGHT. This is patently false, and should be correctly stated as the MOST UNFAVORABLE WEIGHT, which is typically the minimum take-off weight (30min of fuel), not max gross. When you understand Vmc you’ll understand why the minimum weight results in the worst possible control condition. If you need further proof, you can consult the following references: AFH 12-28, CFR 23.149, AC-8A page 60 Section 48(c)(1), and AC 25-71 change 1. Specifically, AC-8A: Flight Test Guide for Certification of Part 23 Airplanes states “The critical loading for Vmc testing is generally minimum weight and maximum aft c.g…”

Study documents & notes – click here.

The below video is spot on – and should be mandatory viewing for any ME student / applicant.