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I'm curious to know if anyone has heard of or has any knowledge of using a kit helicopter for the FAA required minimum solo hours of flight training.

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I assume that this is for a Private Pilot - Helicopter license. I also assume you mean something like larger kit aircraft, not ultra-light helicopters like the Mosquito.

You can do this, but there are other conditions that must be met:

  • The aircraft must have completed it's flight test phase (this is usually the first 25-40 hours of operation)
  • The CFI must be willing to provide instruction in the aircraft. It will be difficult because either the CFI is not familiar with the aircraft or insurance won't cover them, some just won't fly homebuilts.
  • Your aircraft insurance must allow primary flight training in the aircraft (not many do)
  • The aircraft must meet requirements such has having a radio, transponder, etc for being able to operate in required airspaces.

The big ones will be finding a CFI willing to do this, and getting insurance to cover you. The insurance alone may outweigh the cost of renting a certificated aircraft.

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  • $\begingroup$ Great post. I can imagine finding a CFI might be daunting. I know of several fixed-wing CFIs who will instruct in the client’s own plane. Even if that plane is an experimental. The comfort level is the key. Although, I have heard stories from my time-building friends of instructing in student owned airplanes that they eventually had to refuse due to being uncomfortable with the aircraft. And, these were type certificated aircraft with valid and complete EAROWCs. I know very few rotary-wing CFIs to ask about the same issue. $\endgroup$ – Dean F. May 1 '20 at 15:46
  • $\begingroup$ @DeanF. The CFI's I know will only instruct in a homebuilt if they have "time in make/model". Some are easier than others, a lot are comfortable climbing into an RV, but would be reluctant to so something like a Long-EZ. Homebuilts can have their own challenges to fly so many instructors I know won't do primary in them. $\endgroup$ – Ron Beyer May 1 '20 at 15:49
  • $\begingroup$ Insurance is indeed very important but it's also optional. In that sense it's not a hard requirement and if someone wants to fly without it they can, although I assume it would make finding a CFI even more difficult! $\endgroup$ – Pondlife May 1 '20 at 20:40
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In the US, there is no requirement to use a type certificated aircraft to log hours for aeronautical experience. Nor is there a requirement to use a type certificated aircraft for logging instruction. Although, the aircraft can not be rented to nor by you. The aircraft would have to meet all the requirements for an experimental aircraft.

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  • $\begingroup$ "the aircraft can not be rented to nor by you". Did you mean "nor by the instructor"? Most students are renting the aircraft so I'm not sure what you mean here. $\endgroup$ – Pondlife May 1 '20 at 20:42
  • $\begingroup$ @Pondlife - As an experimental, the student can not rent the aircraft to another person. The aircraft can not be rented to the student nor the CFI by another person. The CFI can not own the aircraft. Any one of these would make it a for-hire aircraft. However, the student may own the aircraft and have the CFI instruct them. It may be possible for a non-affiliated third party to let the student borrow the aircraft for no compensation. I don’t think it would work if the CFI were the one borrowing the aircraft. That last area would be rather dark gray. $\endgroup$ – Dean F. May 1 '20 at 20:57

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