Helicopter and fixed wing training, which first?

Discussion in 'Pilot Training' started by Luke Arthur, Jul 24, 2020.

  1. Luke Arthur

    Luke Arthur Filing Flight Plan

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    I am a young aviation enthusiast, and am teasing the idea of getting both my fixed wing and helicopter licenses. My question is: if I go through with this, will it be easier for me to learn fixed wing first, of helicopter first?

    Thanks in advance.
     
  2. Doc Holliday

    Doc Holliday Cleared for Takeoff

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    Easier or more cost efficient?

    For efficiency, get the airplane first. The helicopter will be an add on rating, and require less flight time.
     
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  3. EdFred

    EdFred Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Easier?

    Fixed wing is like riding a skate board, rotorcraft is like wearing roller blades, while balancing on a sheet of plywood, that's on top of an exercise ball.
     
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  4. Luke Arthur

    Luke Arthur Filing Flight Plan

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    Thanks, I think I am more interested in doing this in a cost effective manner. Even though ease is nice and all, and don’t have a tone of money laying around. I need to do this as cost effectively as possible.

    @EdFred I like your analogy for the helicopter.
     
  5. Velocity173

    Velocity173 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Never really thought either one was particularly difficult to learn to fly. I always use the analogy of flying a plane is like driving an automatic car, flying a helicopter is like driving a motorcycle. Both can be learned in about the same amount of time, just one is a little more fun to drive.
     
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  6. X3 Skier

    X3 Skier En-Route

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    Flew a CH-3C once for about 5 minutes. Sufficient for my lifetime.

    Cheers
     
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  7. Salty

    Salty Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    The terms "easy" and "cost efficient" are not compatible with flight training in general. ;)

    I do believe that if you want both, doing fixed wing first will be cheaper. You learn the basics with a lower rental rate, then just learn the specifics of hell's at the higher rate.
     
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  8. Velocity173

    Velocity173 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    I can tell ya this, having experience in both can pay off when the time comes. I know several guys who have been laid off / quit the airlines recently and have come back to helos. Always have a plan B.
     
  9. skier

    skier Line Up and Wait

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    Helicopters are more expensive, but they’re a blast to fly.
     
  10. Tarheelpilot

    Tarheelpilot En-Route

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    There is not an easier way. Airplane first is cheaper. Both are fun unless you are trying to go somewhere then helicopters suck.
     
  11. SoCal 182 Driver

    SoCal 182 Driver Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I took my helicopter training first...because I was passionate about helicopters. 20+ years later, when I decided I wanted to get my fixed-wing rating, I found that a lot of the things I learned for the PPL written were no longer in my memory bank. For example, my helicopter didn't even have a CDI in it, so I had no clue how to use one when I began my fixed-wing training. Also, I had to "unremember" the muscle memory of beginning a flare at 50' in a helicopter. I'll never forget the time that muscle memory kicked in during fixed-wing training, and for some reason I began to flare the plane at way too high of an altitude. My instructor pushed forward on the yoke and said, loudly, "you're not flying a helicopter. WTF are you doing?" Purely from an ease of transition perspective, I think it would be easier to go from fixed-wing to rotorcraft. Also, given the high cost of helicopter training, it would be less expensive to get a helicopter add-on down the road.
     
  12. frfly172

    frfly172 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Go fixed wing first and if you have any money left get the helicopter add on.
     
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  13. Geosync

    Geosync Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Cost efficient? Easier? Fixed wing through commercial first. Then if you got an extra $50k laying around, you can decide to build fixed wing time to get a job, or get your rotor commercial, and have minimal time in both and be unemployable. Unless you have connections that will get you a gig at 300 hours, i advise building time in one or the other so you can get a job, then look at getting the dual rating. Fixed wing is cheaper to get, and a much larger industry. Rotor is pretty bad @zz, you’ll do some down and dirty stuff, but earning potential is greater in fixed wing.

    Flying both professionally is rare, you’ll likely have to choose to focus on one. I do know of crop dusters who are dual rated and fly both equally. Others have a main gig and CFI or moonlight flying the other type. Of course, the best way is to join the military and have Uncle Sam pay your way. You can be dual rated in all the branches but it seems like I know more Coast Guard and Marine pilots who flew/fly both than AF/Army and Navy. The military will put you in turbine equipment from day one and after flying a Chinook, you can get any civvi helo job out there.
     
  14. Velocity173

    Velocity173 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    No more dual in the Army. Probably 5 years ago they got rid of the fixed wing boards. You get rotor or fixed wing out of flight school now and you stay in that airframe.
     
  15. Shawn

    Shawn En-Route

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    Whirly birds were and still are a dream bucket list item but I opted for fixed wing cuz it is just so much more practical and finically feasible post certificate to do anything with.

    I talked with a few helicopter CFIs and consensus seems to be that PPL holders at most only shave 10 hours at most off their helicopter training time...so it really not all that advantageous to get a PPL if Helo is were you ultimately want to be unless you really what both.