Next question.... How many hours are transferable ? Is there much of a cost savings?
I am not after the precious job market, so please don't view me as potential competition:). Just want to fly around country side.
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If you have the money and time to get your self a few hundred hours in one to attain some level of proficiency, then fly with someone experienced frequently to make sure you're not doing anything too dangerous, then I don't see why not. That said, you may as well do the CPL and get more training. A private heli license is a good way to kill yourself.
That, and there's no sales tax charged on commercial training as it's seen as tuition. Furthermore, you can claim your tuition on your tax return (I'm still getting good tax returns and I trained in '09).That said, you may as well do the CPL and get more training.
When I did my CPL-H, there were a couple PPL guys with their own machines training at my school. One of them switched to the CPL program when he realised that the difference in cost (after tax breaks, etc) was only a hair more for substantially more training. The other guy didn't seem fussed, but he also had the financial wherewithal to fly as many hours as he needed until he felt comfortable with the machine. Heck, he bought his own Long Ranger and he planned on paying for his own mountain training...
I would agree that more training and flight time can only help in a helicopter. With that said, I'd head straight into rotary flying rather than flying fixed wing then making the switch. Speaking for myself, at 45 hours heli time I could fly the machine, but I sure didn't feel that confident. I'm at a little over 200 hours now, and I think I improved the most *after* I finished flight school.
Hope this helps,