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         Other than the military, flight training can fall under two slightly different FAA rules:  Part 141 and Part 61.  Part 141 training is very formal and the instructors follow a structured program.  There is usually formal ground training and the flying is controlled at every stage.  Advantages are the structure and clear progression of the syllabus.  Some disadvantages are the structure and a restricted flight environment.  Part 61 training is more informal and the instructors are able to develop their own syllabus and individual lessons while offering one-on-one training.  Through a contractual relationship, Vertical Edge Helo LLC provides training under Part 61 and offers the advantages of being able to customize training based on your progression, the flexibility to adjust training around your schedule, and allowing you to train where and when you can fly.[1]


            The best way to determine the cost is to simply use the hourly rate for the helicopter and the hourly instructor cost and multiply that by the hours expected to fly.  When looking at a school's program, you need to ask: Is the price being quoted a "national average" or is it FAA minimums? 

            There will be other incidental costs above and beyond the helicopter and instructor. These costs are books, supplies, medical exam, taxes, and testing fees.  If the flight school is away from your current home, add in housing costs, food, and transportation. 

            Currently the charge is $250 an hour to fly an R-22, which can be discounted by 10% if you buy a block of time ahead of using it.  The current cost of the R-44 is $410 an hour, which can also be discounted by 10% if you by a block of time ahead of using it.  Please call to inquire about dry rates.  The instructor charge is currently $45 an hour. 

            Vertical Edge Helo LLC recognizes that learning to fly and becoming a professional pilot can be expensive.  VEH's goal is to make you a safe, competent, proficient, and experienced pilot while respecting your time and staying conscious of your expenses.


1.     Private Pilot:  Whether you are looking to further your career in helicopters or merely trying to find a more time efficient way to commute to work, obtaining your Private Pilot Rotorcraft rating is your first step into the realm of helicopters.

        a.  Privileges: To fly for Personal Business and Pleasure, not engaged in work for Compensation or Hire.
        b.  Eligibility Requirements:
             1)  Be at least 17 years of age

             2)  Be able to read, speak, write, and understand the English language

             3)  Obtain a 3rd Class Medical which is also the Student Pilot Certificate

             4)  Pass the Airman's Knowledge Test

             5)  Pass the Oral and Practical Test

        c.  Minimum Flight Experience:
             1)  40 hours total flight time

             2)  20 hours dual flight training including

                   a)  3 hours cross country (X-C) training in helicopters

                   b)  3 hours of night flight training in helicopters including

                          - One night X-C > 50 nautical miles

                          - 10 take-offs and landings at an airport in the traffic pattern
                   c)  3 hours training in helicopters in preparation for the practical test

             3)  10 hours of solo flight training in helicopters including
                    a)  3 hours X-C

                    b)  3 take-offs and landings in a traffic pattern at a an airport with an operating control tower

2.     Commercial Pilot:  The next step as an aspiring helicopter pilot would be to get your Commercial Pilot Rotorcraft rating.  Having already developed a thorough knowledge of the general rules and theories of helicopters in flight, you then develop a much greater and more detailed understanding of the aerodynamics and principles involved in helicopter flight.  From the equations on lift to enhanced autorotations, at Vertical Edge Helo LLC the focus will be on honing all of your areas of study as well as flight abilities.  Upon successful completion you will have the opportunity to be compensated for your flight time. 

        a.  Privileges:  To hold oneself out for Compensation or Hire.
        b.  Eligibility Requirements:
             1)  Hold at least a Private Certificate

             2)  Be at least 18 years of age

             3)  Hold a 2nd Class Medical

             4)  Pass the Airman's Knowledge Test

             5)  Pass the Oral and Practical Test

       c.  Minimum Flight Experience:
            1)  150 hours total flight time

            2)  100 hours in powered aircraft with 50 hours in helicopters

            3)  100 hours of Pilot in Command (PIC) time

                  a)  35 hours PIC in helicopters

                  b)  10 hours cross country (X-C) in helicopters

           4)  20 hours dual flight training including:

                 a)  5 hours instrument training in an aircraft

                 b)  2 hours Day X-C in helicopters with a >50 nautical mile straight-line distance from the point of departure

                 c)  2 hours Night X-C in helicopters with a >50 nautical mile straight-line distance from the point of departure

                 d)  3 hours training in helicopters in preparation for the test

          5)  10 hours of solo flight training in helicopters or while acting as the PIC with an instructor on board including:
                 a)  1 X-C flight, with 3 points of landing, one segment at least 50 nautical miles from the point of departure

                 b)  5 hours at night with 10 take-offs and landings in a traffic pattern

 3.     Instrument Rating[2]:  At this point you already have your private rotorcraft and might have your commercial rating. Regardless from which background you arrive, this step will take what instrument abilities you have and develop them even further. As a result you will have a much better grasp on what to do when you inadvertently run into IMC or Instrument Meteorological Conditions (bad weather). The schooling provided for this certificate will teach you to confidently fly with little outside visibility.  This rating is also an integral part in obtaining higher paying jobs.  Many Insurance Companies and Employers, such as EMS (Emergency Medical Services) and Offshore Oil Transport Operators require an Instrument Rating.

        a.  Eligibility Requirements:
             1)  Hold at least a Private Helicopter Certificate
             2)  Pass the Airman’s Knowledge Test
             3)  Pass the Oral and Practical Test

       b.  Minimum Flight Experience:
            1)  50 hours of X-C PIC
            2)  40 hours of simulated or actual instrument flight
            3)  15 hours of instrument flight training from an authorized instructor in the aircraft category and class
            4)  100 nautical mile instrument X-C in helicopter
            5)  3 hours instrument training in helicopters in preparation for the test

4.     Airline Transport Pilot[3]:

        a.  Privileges: To work for hire in jobs that requires an ATP (i.e. Scheduled Carriers, etc.), instruct in aircraft for which ATP is held.
        b.  Eligibility Requirements:
             1)  Hold Commercial Certificate in Category and Class
             2)  Hold Instrument Rating in Category and Class
             3)  Pass the Airman's Knowledge Test
             4)  Pass the Oral and Practical Test

        c.  Minimum Flight Experience:
            1)  1200 hours total time
            2)  500 hours X-C
            3)  100 hours night

                  - 15 hours in helicopters

            4)   200 hours in helicopters

                  - 75 hours PIC

            5)  75 hours instrument flight actual or simulated
                 a)  50 hours in flight

                 b) 25 hours in helicopters

5.     Certificated Flight Instructor:  You have already received your Commercial rating and are now looking to build even more time to increase your opportunities for jobs.  At this point the ideal next step would be to obtain your Instructor’s rating.  By getting your CFI you not only ensure that you will get paid to fly but you will build time teaching others in the process.

         a.  Privileges: To provide training for compensation or hire, conduct flight reviews, and give endorsements for pilot training, aircraft ratings and exams
         b.  Eligibility Requirements:
              1)  Hold a commercial certificate in category and class
              2)  Pass the airman’s knowledge test
              3)     Pass the oral and practical test

         c.  Minimum Flight Experience:
              1)  3 hours test prep
              2)  *Most of the work towards this rating is ground instruction.
              3)  **The flight portion is just proficiency and varies with each candidate – most require about 10 hours of flight training.

 6.     Add-on Certificates:  For people who hold a pilot certificate, the first thing you should know is that you are not a student pilot (student restrictions do not apply).  You are just adding a category and class to your existing certificate.  If you are going for the same grade of certificate (i.e. private, commercial, etc.) there is no requirement to take a written test.  You will however, still have to take the oral and practical test.

To figure what it takes, look at the particular requirements for the rating sought.  If the experience requirement does not say "in helicopters" then your flight experience will count towards the rating.  Once soloed for the helicopter, you can exercise all of your privileges, except the carriage of passengers.  However, your instructor may place some restrictions in the solo endorsement.

[1] VEH pilots operate as contract pilots for Lakeshore Helicopter LLC in Kenosha, Wisconsin for flight instruction and commercial pilot operations. 

[2] VEH has an established relationship with the most experienced CFII in Southeast Wisconsin/Northern Illinois/Chicago Metro Area to provide you the most professional instrument training in the area.

[3] VEH has an established relationship with Lakeshore Helicopter LLC to provide you the most professional training in the area.