Helicopter Flight Training Information

Solo, when is the right time?

Most helicopter students solo as soon after 20 hours of flight experience as possible, and if they weren't flying Robinsons, usually a little sooner. Airplance students commonly solo much sooner than that. What is the rush to solo? Rarely is a student truely ready to solo with so few hours, but flight instructors are usually under a lot of pressure to get students soloed as soon as possible so they can get on to the next one. Is this good for the student? No, it is not; not only is it not good, it is not really safe either, so why risk it? The answer is pressure. It is also common for some students to brag about how early they soloed as if it really means squat, and it doesn't. The only thing it means is that they were at risk earlier than the other guy, and his flight instructor was willing to risk his certificate. It don't mean anything more.

I can't begin to tell you the number of stories I have heard where students scared the crap out of themselves on solo, many never flew again. There are lots of them. What was the point? All it did was damage aviation. So what is the solution?

Since the average student will need 50 hours of flight time prior to successfully passing the practical test, only 10 of which must be solo, what is the need or purpose of a solo when a student can just minimally deal with it? There is so much that a student will gain if they stay with an instructor longer, and the cost of the instructor is very minimal. I believe that a student will solo with much more confidence and success if they wait until they have at least 30 hours of flight experience. After 30 hours, they will be comfortable, and significantly safer. After the 10 hours of solo, then the instructor can spend another 10 hours with the student honing him/her for the practical test. There is just no sense, and nothing to be gained in a student who soloes early and/or flies excessive hours solo. The student will learn much more if they spend more time with an instructor. END.