Rotor to Fixed Wing

Hello there,

I have my commercial pilots licence in the rotorcraft S-70. What is the transition like to fixed wing?

Ironically I just learned this today while working on my CFI! According to this sheet I have, and per the FARs, the minimum amount of total time required is 70 hours minimum if everything goes to plan

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Are you looking for some feedback from someone who’s done it? Or just some general feedback? I’ve never flown a helicopter. So, I can’t help you there. Hopefully someone who has will chime in. To my understanding flying a helicopter is harder than flying an airplane for a few reasons.

Helicopters are unstable. They require constant pilot input. As a result, a pilot flying a helicopter will become mentally and physically exhausted quicker.

Airplanes are overall more stable, especially trainers. They want to return to a stable condition. With the right pitch, power, and trim setting the plane requires much less pilot input, depending on the maneuver. For the most part, two fingers and a thumb is all that’s needed unless on takeoff or landing. In fact, takeoffs and landings are what I think a helicopter pilot transitioning to fixed wing will struggle most with. The rest will be easy for someone who’s already at your level.

If you don’t have any fixed wing experience, an intro flight at any local school should give you a good idea of what it’s like.

If the airlines is your goal, just about, if not all, of the regional airlines offer a Rotor Transition Program. Although, none may be offering the program while they each try to survive coronaverse.

If you’re just trying to earn your fixed wing add-on, it’s just a matter of meeting the experience requirements listed in the FARs receiving proper endorsement and passing a checkride.


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Now is this 70 hours minimum on fixed wing or 70 hours minimum rotor?

Ah, thank you.

Airlines is my ultimate goal. Will look into Rotor Transition Programs.

I have already looked into the fixed wing add-on though, that could be an alternate route since we are in a pandemic currently.

Alexandria Poole

So your total time is everything in any type of aircraft essentially so that 70 hours would be everything you Need, at a minimum to satisfy the requirements of 14 CFR 61.133. I said if everything goes to plan because there may be set backs or needing more practice in certain areas etc.


I’ve got to ask, as a Commercial pilot how are you not aware of the FARs?


As for those answering I think some are confused with my original question. Let me rephrase it.

For those that have transferred over how was your experience? What was training like? Was it more difficult or less when it comes to dealing with control inputs? Is it all ground school first and then flying, or is it both taught at the same time? What programs did you use to transfer over/any recommendations on schools?


Hi Alexandria! I’m a 67J flying out of Salem, OR and started the program from 0 hours in April 2020. (Currently in instruments add on). You should be able to feel very comfortable with the control inputs and the C172 about 20-30 hours in. Landings will be the hardest part to learn. Let me know if you have any other questions.



Oh awesome thank you! I am over at Hood (also 67J). And from what I’ve heard, landings would be hard to learn. Let me know how schooling was for you on the civilian side.

Thank you for answering!


I’ve only got 14hrs rotary but hovering is much harder than landing! :wink:



I’m actually looking into getting my Commercial Rotor. Done a lot of studying and in terms of controls it will be a fairly easy transition. There will have to be some rewiring if the brain of course.

For instance if you fly American RW you use left anti-torque pedal when increasing collective vs. you use right rudder to counter the left turning tendencies of the prop as you increase power for FW. Engine instruments are fairly similar. Especially if your flying turbine. Don’t have to worry about matching engine RPM with Rotor RPMs in a FW though. No VTOL takeoffs or landings for FW of course (unless you’ll be flying the AV8B Harrier or F35 Lightning II :wink: ). The landings will come easy once you master the art of the flare and the decent profile is a bit shallower (3 degrees). Best of all, when your engine quits on a bad day, no autorotation :smiley: !

Basic systems and fundamentals like airspeed/drag, etc. are fairly the same. As the others have said helicopters do require more mental energy to monitor. Especially with the wind (VRS, LTE as you already know). I find FW really enjoyable, but I want to venture out and seek the fun of flying rotors too. I’m sure you’ll enjoy your fixed wing training as well. Hope this info helps and if you have any other questions feel free to collaborate! :slightly_smiling_face: