Before you can earn your helicopter certified flight instructor (CFI) rating, you must already hold a helicopter commercial pilot rating. Unlike in airplanes, you are not required to hold an Instrument Rating in either helicopters or airplanes to become a Helicopter CFI. There are no additional flight experience requirements in the helicopter beyond preparing with a qualified Instructor Pilot (CFI) for the oral and practical flight test (Check Ride) with the FAA examiner.
• Minimum 18 years old to take either the commercial (or Certified Flight Instructor) practical flight test
• Hold a commercial pilot helicopter certificate with a minimum of 150 hours of flight time
• Must read, write, understand, and speak english
• Hold a current FAA medical certificate
• Pass FAA written fundamentals of instruction and helicopter flight instructor written knowledge tests
• Pass an FAA oral and practical flight test
You will be expected to meet the standards in the FAA Practical Test Standard (PTS) for the helicopter Flight Instructor rating. You will be expected to demonstrate all the Commercial PTS flight maneuvers from the (Instructor’s) seat in the aircraft as you explain those maneuvers as you would to a student pilot. You are also required to demonstrate a touchdown autorotation to the ground (touchdowns are not required for the private or commercial rating).
You will also be required to pass a rigorous oral examination with an FAA Inspector on the subject matters covered in the FAA’s Certified Flight Instructor practical test standard (PTS) publication.
You are also required to pass two written FAA knowledge tests. One covers the fundamentals of instruction and covers how people learn and how they should be taught. The other is a test on general aviation information that any Certified Flight Instructor should know.
If you already hold a fixed wing CFI rating (or higher), you do not need to take the fundamentals of instruction written test again, but you will need to take a very short helicopter CFI written knowledge test, which consists of 20 general helicopter questions.