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After earning a commercial helicopter pilot certificate, most pilots who want to fly helicopters for a living will then work towards a Certified Flight Instructor (CFI) certificate. This certificate allows you to teach others to fly. This is one of the most common ways to initially build the hours and experience necessary to advance your helicopter career. Instructing others will sharpen your own skills, making you a much better pilot, and you’ll make a long-lasting impact on your students by helping them become helicopter pilots as well.

As a CFI, you will teach student pilots and endorse them to go solo, take the required knowledge test, and then to take the practical test for their certificate or rating. The job of a flight instructor is a very important one, as you will be teaching and developing the skills of the next generation of helicopter pilots. You will learn how to create your own lesson plans, and then be able to teach these lessons to an instructor. You will also learn about the fundamentals of instructing and effective teaching techniques. The flight instructor certificate is not an easy one to earn, but it is very rewarding.

Eligibility Requirements

  • Be at least 18 years of age
  • Be able to read, speak, write, and understand the English language
  • Hold at least a commercial pilot certificate in helicopters
  • Hold at least a second class medical certificate
  • You are NOT required to hold an instrument rating, in airplanes or helicopters, to become a helicopter flight instructor
  • Pass two FAA written (knowledge) tests (unless the applicant already holds a flight or ground instructor certificate, then only one knowledge test is required)
  • 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

 Requirements for a Certified Flight Instructor Certificate

You will need to perform all flight maneuvers, to commercial standards, from instructor’s seat, while explaining what you are doing as you would to a student.

The FAA does not define a minimum number of hours of training a flight instructor applicant must have in order to take the practical test. Once your instructor feels you are ready for the test, you will be signed off for the checkride. The below estimates are the average hours a typical student will need to finish the training necessary for flight instructor rating.

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

Estimated Course Costs – Initial Certificate

The estimated times and costs for the initial certificate are for those applicants who do not already hold an airplane flight instructor certificate.

 

Hours

Rate

Total

Enstrom 280C* Dual Training

15

345**

$5,175

Ground Instruction

25

40

$1,000

FAA Written Tests

   

$300

Books and Training Aids

   

$100

FAA Examiner Fee

   

$430

ESTIMATED TOTAL COST

 

 

$7,005

Estimated Course Costs – Add-On Certificate

The estimated times and costs for the add-on certificate are for those applicants who already hold an airplane flight instructor certificate and are adding on a flight instructor certificate for helicopters.

 

Hours

Rate

Total

Enstrom 280C* Dual Training

10

345**

$3,450

Ground Instruction

5

40

$200

FAA Written Test

   

$200

FAA Examiner Fee

   

$430

ESTIMATED TOTAL COST

 

 

$4,280

NOTE

Our prices are subject to change without prior notice. There are no FAA minimum hour requirements for the flight instructor certificate. It is not guaranteed that you will complete the training in the number of hours shown.

* Our Brantly B-2B helicopter can be used in place of the Enstrom for any or all of the flight training, if requested by the student and weight limitations are met. The dual instruction rate in the Brantly is $295** per hour.

** Fuel surcharge may apply.

Federal Regulations regarding the certification of flight instructors can be found in FAR 61 Subpart H