Cost of Ratings

Private pilot

    R22 @$330 x 40 hours  = $13,200 (minimum requirement)  R44@$550x 40 hours= $22,000 (minimum requirement)

Commercial Pilot

    R22 @$330x 150 hours= $49,500 (minimum requirement)  R44@$550 x 150 hours= $82,500 (minimum requirement)

    R22 @$330 x 100 hours and R44@$550 x 50 hours = $60,500 (minimum requirement)

Instrument Rating

    R44 @$550 x 40 hours= $22,000 (minimum requirement)

Sticker Shock?  Would you like to save a huge amount of money and obtain more ratings? You should consider starting with a gyroplane and transitioning to the helicopter.   You can save upwards of $30,000-$40,000 on our ratings.  Let me explain.

Start with a Gyroplane Commercial Rating

Then the requirement to obtain a Commercial Helicopter Rating is:
  1. Endorsement of your instructor for the practical test
  2. Pass your practical test (checkride)

This is exactly how I obtained my ratings years ago and it saved me thousands of dollars.

What would that cost?

Hours in Magni M-16 Gyroplane: $180/hr x 150 hrs = $27,000
After you obtain your Commercial Gyroplane, fly the helicopter until you are proficient in all maneuvers - Average 35 hours
     R22: $330/hr x 35 hours = $11,550
For $38,500 you have a Commercial rating in BOTH Gyroplane and Helicopter and a total of 185 hours of rotorcraft time
plus thousands of dollars in savings.

If you fly the R44 for 35 hours instead of the R22, then your cost would be $46,250. Compare that to the cost of Obtaining just the Commercial Helicopter in the R44 which is $82,500 and you would show a savings of $36,250. Once again you would have more ratings and flight experience for a lot less money.


Already an Airplane Pilot and want to add Helicopter ratings?

If you are already a Private pilot with a fixed wing rating with 120 hours of time in airplanes (80 hours PIC and 40 hours Dual), guess what, you can save even more money. To obtain a Commercial Gyroplane would require 30 hours of Gyroplane time (20 dual and 10 solo/pic) at a cost of $5,400.  At that point to add on a Commercial Helicopter you have to become proficient enough to pass the Practical test again, say 35 hours (I did it in 19 hours and passed my checkride) in R22 that would cost $11,500 bringing your total cost to $16,900. If it only took 20 hours in the R22, then your total would be $12,000.
You just went from an Airplane private with 120 hours to a Commercial Gyroplane and Commercial Helicopter rating.
If you also have your Instrument Airplane Rating, you could add on your Helicopter Instrument in an additional15 hours in the R44 at a cost of  $8,250- bringing your total to $15,850- $20,050 (depending on how much helicopter time it took to become proficient).
By the way, the 15 hours in the R44 to satisfy the Helicopter Instrument add on could be done during that 35 hours of flight time in the R44 and save you even more money. In other words,you would fly the R44 for about 10 hours, then do 15 hours of instrument training, 10 more hours on maneuvers, and you just saved yourself another $6750!

Start with the Gyroplane

Obtain your Private Gyroplane rating -- lets say 45 hours, 35 dual and 10 solo (cost=$8,100)  Then you have the option of flying the Gyroplane for another 105 hours and obtaining your Commercial Gyroplane rating.  However, the less costly thing to do would be to pursue your private airplane rating, which could be done in 30 hours (20 dual and 10 solo) for a cost of about $5,000.



What if I don't have any ratings, but I want to fly helicopters for a living. How does this work for me?

Then obtain your Airplane Instrument rating (40 hours dual/solo) at a cost of about $8000. At that point you would return to flying the gyroplane for an additional 35 hours and obtain your Gyroplane Commercial rating (cost=$6,300).  Now you fly the R44 Helicopter for 10 hours dual VFR training, and obtain 15 hours Dual Instrument training, then switch back to Dual training on VFR flight maneuvers in the R22 for an additional 20 hours and Obtain your Commercial Helicopter rating and Helicopter
Instrument ratings (cost=$16,850). Then It would take an additional10 Hours in the R44 to obtain your Helicopter CFI and Helicopter CFII. (cost=$4500).  Add on your Gyroplane CFIin 5 more hours (cost $900). 



How much did this all cost? Well if you add all the totals in this example it would come to $47,100. At this point you will have the ratings at right:

Private Gyroplane - Private Airplane
Commercial Gyroplane  - Commercial Helicopter
Instrument Airplane - Instrument Helicopter
Helicopter CFI (Flight Instructor)
Helicopter CFII (Instrument Flight Instructor)

Gyroplane CFI

In addition to the above cost of $47,100, you would spend about $600 on written material, DVD's, etc. and each of your checkrides would be $300-500 each -- about an additional $3500 - $4000.
This brings the total to approximately $50,000 give or take a few dollars. You would have a total of 210 hours of flight time: 70 hours fixed wing,140 hours rotorcraft (85 gyroplane,55 helicopter).  You would also meet the SFAR 73 requirement for flight instructing in an R44 (R22-20 hours, R44-35 hours) as soon as you have 200 hr. total helicopter time. (more about that in a moment). And you would meet the SFAR 73 PIC requirement in the R22. Ironically, you could flight instruct in any other helicopter (that weighs less than 12,500 lbs) at this point, but not the R44 or R22 until you meet the 200 hr. total helicopter requirement.

So how do you obtain the additional flight time to meet the 200 hr helicopter total?

You have several options, some of which you can even get paid to fly!

1. Flying as a Safety Pilot with students that are working on their instrument rating. You log the time that the other pilot is under the hood as PIC time. It's essentially free flight time for you!! This is the best option because it is the cheapest!
2. Power Line patrol (we do powerline patrol frequently)
3. Ferrying/Delivering helicopters  (we are a Helicopter Dealer as well)
4. Post Maintenance flights (we are a service center)
5. Flight instruct in another type of Helicopter such as a Hughes 269,etc.  I taught one student how to fly in her father's Huey, and his Hughes 369, both turbine.
6.Do tours in the R22 and the R44 (we do these also).
7.Crop pollination
8. Bird chasing off of crops (we also do this)
9.Cost sharing with your friends.

So you've got a lot of options on getting your hours at a discount. Of course, you could just rent the R22 and pay for the remaining hours, but you likely wouldn't have to. After you have flown another 40 hours you would also meet the requirements for the Airplane Commercial and Airplane CFI and could obtain those as well.                                                                        The advantage of this route is that you are also obtaining all of your airplane ratings at the same time with not much added cost. It's almost like getting all the airplane ratings for free.  My son is both a Commercial Helicopter pilot and an Airlines Captain and he obtained his ratings doing the things that we discussed. Many employers would prefer to hire dual rated pilots (both fixed wing and rotor wing). So this process Is honestly the best way to go. AND YOU CAN DO ALL OF THIS TRAINING AT CAPE GIRARDEAU!

But I just want to fly helicopters, how would that be organized?

 If you read the first example at the beginning of this article you would see that you could start with the gyroplane and add on a Commercial Helicopter Rating for about $32,300. Add the cost of 3 checkrides and some training material and your total would be about $34,000. At that point you could do 10 additional hours in the R44 and meet the PIC requirement of SFAR 73 for the R44 which would  add another $4500. You could then get your Helicopter CFI and add on your Gyroplane CFI. At that point you have your Commercial Helicopter rating, your Helicopter CFI and you meet the SFAR 73- PIC requirements for both the R22 and the R44. Additionally  you have your Gyroplane Commercial and your Gyroplane CFI. Your total cost would be about $38,500. You would have a total of 195 hours of rotorcraft tlme (150 Gyroplane and 45 Helicopter). You are now employable as a helicopter pilot and flight Instructor  as well as a gyroplane instructor and can be working on building hours cheaply as discussed In the earlier paragraphs, working toward that magical goalof 200 hours helicopter time so that you can instruct in Robinson's as well.  In these examples, I have you start with the gyroplane ratings and then add helicopter ratings. But you can start flying the helicopter from the very start, say for 10-15 hours, then switch to gyroplanes and obtain the gyroplane ratings, switch back to helicopters to obtain those ratings. And you can do it in any combination of hours. The key is to obtain the GYROPLANE RATINGS FIRST, because then  you only have to have the endorsement of your instructor and pass the checkrlde for the helicopter add-on.

What if I already started somewhere else In a helicopter and want to switch over to training at CAPE COPTERS?

No problem. Even If you have your helicopter private or any amount of helicopter time at all, you can still save a lot of money by obtaining your gyroplane rating then adding on the helicopter rating after obtaining your gyroplane commercial.

I'm skeptical, how do I know what your telling me is true/valid information?

You can reference FAR 61.63 , "Additional aircraft ratings."Paragraph (C) addresses "additionalaircraft class rating.''   When you obtain your Commercial Gyroplane rating your license will be at the Commercial level, Category- Rotorcraft, Class-Gyroplane. So obtaining your Commercial Helicopter rating will be a Class addition to an existing Rotorcraft rating, specifically Category- Rotorcraft, Class­ Helicopter to an existing Category-Rotorcraft, Class-Gyroplane.                                      
You'll note that you do not have to take an additional Knowledge Exam (written exam) or meet the specified training time requirements. You must have an endorsement from an authorized instructor (after you're proficient at flying the aircraft)
and must pass the Practical Test (checkride). This is allowed because you have already met the required flight time with the Category (Rotorcraft) and are simply adding a Class addition.


So why would you be telling me about this method?  Wouldn't you make more money off of me if I just did all my training in a helicopter?

Yes, I would make a lot more money if you did all your training in a helicopter! But I'm not doing this to get rich off of you. I do this because I TRULY ENJOY TEACHING PEOPLE HOW TO FLY, both Helicopters and Gyroplanes. I would be happy to do all of your training in Helicopters only, but for most people getting into the helicopter industry, cost is a significant factor. If you walked up to 100 helicopter pilots and asked them "what was the hardest part about becoming a helicopter pilot?" 99 of them would answer "paying for it.''  You may notice that our flight training rates are about the lowest in the country. That's because we try to keep the cost to the student as low as possible. We are a Helicopter Dealership for Robinson Helicopters and a Magni Gyroplane dealer, which means we are also a service center. We make almost nothing off of the flight instruction portion of our business. We make money off of selling new aircraft and servicing existing aircraft in the area, although we are very affordable on those areas as well.  You may have noticed that we don't list a rate for "ground instruction." That's because I've never charged anybody a dime for ground instruction!! You'll pay $35-$50/hr.for "ground instruction" at most flight schools. Here, it is my gift to our students, and I enjoy doing it.


So what kind of quality flight instruction can I expect at CAPE COPTERS?

My name is Paul Salmon, chief flight instructor here. I do about 80% of the flight instruction, and I fly with ALL of the students who obtain there training here. I do about 95% of all the ground instruction. I am a GOLD SEAL flight instructor. I have over 10,000 hours of rotorcraft time, including over 7,500 hours as a flight instructor. I hold 26 US National Aviation Records, and 23 World records in Aviation,15 in gyroplanes, 8 in Helicopters.  I was honored by being named the 2017 St. Louis Flight Instructor of the year. I have the privilege of being an Emergency room Physician which allows me to pursue aviation goals without the burden of needing to make a profit at it. This is truly a passion of mine. We are not a large flight school, nor do I want this to become a large flight school. I hope this information helps you make your best decisions going forward. We are here to help you In your future endeavors in aviation.
Give me a call if you have any questions. My cell phone number Is 573-270-5388.