Helicopter Add On Rating

For most people adding a helicopter rating, it will be the addition of a new category as they are likely fixed-wing or airplane pilots. The requirements for adding a helicopter rating for a pilot that already as airplane rating are detailed below. The regulation that addresses add on rating, with the exception of ATP is 14 CFR 61.63. Click here if you are adding a Helicopter ATP to an existing ATP.

Requirements for Adding anHelicopter Rating to a Fixed Wing Certificate (other than ATP)

  • Complete the training and have the applicable aeronautical experience. The aeronautical experience is included under each applicable course on our site, with Private Helicopter and Commercial Helicopter being the most common.
  • Must have a logbook or training record endorsement from an authorized instructor attesting that the person was found competent in the appropriate aeronautical knowledge areas and proficient in the appropriate areas of operation.
  • Must pass the practical test.
  • DOES NOT NEED to not take an additional knowledge test, provided the applicant holds an airplane, rotorcraft, powered-lift, weight-shift-control aircraft, powered parachute, or airship rating at that pilot certificate level.

Adding an Helicopter Instrument Rating to an existing Pilot Certificate

Most people performing a helicopter instrument add on, are adding to a fixed wing rating.   The majority of the requirements have already been met, with the exception of 15 hours with helicopter instructor.   Although there is no minimum hours for training, most will need 15 hours at least to meet this requirement.  During this time, the required proficiency should be able to be met.  

Adding an Additional Helicopter Class Rating to Existing Pilot Certificate

If you already have a Rotorcraft:Gyrocopter Rating, and would like to add Helicopter privileges, things are a little easier.

  • You need to complete training, and receive an endorsement. There is not specific training time required.
  • Must pass a practical test (i.e. checkride)
  • YOU DO NOT need meet the specified training time requirements prescribed in 14 CFR 61 that apply to the pilot certificate for the aircraft class rating sought
  • DOES NOT NEED not take an additional knowledge test, provided the applicant holds an airplane, rotorcraft, powered-lift, weight-shift-control aircraft, powered parachute, or airship rating at that pilot certificate level.

Helicopter Add-On Rating Questions

Yes.  You can add a helicopter commercial rating without getting a private helicopter rating first.  As 14 CFR 61.123 points out, you must have at least a private rating (any category) to obtain a commercial rating, it dies not state the category or class.  However, there is some benefit to obtaining a private helicopter rating prior to a commercial rating.  One of the requirements to obtain a commercial rating in the helicopter is to have 35 hours of pilot in command time.  Without a rating in the category, the pilot cannot log all 35 hours of PIC time unless they are the sole occupant of the aircraft.  If the pilot has a rotorcraft – helicopter rating, they can receiving training and count that time as PIC.  As such, the pilot can perform more advanced maneuvers during these 35 hours and often become better pilot than pilots that just fly solo.  The pilots that fly solo for 35 hours often tend to get bad habits, or they don’t do much other than cross country flight or those with little or no challenges.

No if you add on a rating, an additional written test is not required at stated in 14 CFR 61.63.  However, an exception is the flight instructor rating.  To add on a flight instructor rating, the pilot must take a written test on the differences, or the entire helicopter flight instructor knowledge test.