Nov 28, 2016

We are looking to gather your stories and experiences regarding upgrading to an ATPL-H.

It seems that there are pilots working for certain helicopter operators and operating two-crew who are unable to have their PPC count towards the skill requirement on their ATPL-H application for license due to the fact that their aircraft are certified single pilot.

Firstly, consider that CARs 703.86 requires at least 2 pilots in commercial helicopter operation, minus some exceptions, regardless of aircraft minimum crew.

421.35 (5) which lays out the skill requirement for the application of an ATPL-H states that the applicant shall have demonstrated in the last 12 months [] as pilot-in-command of a helicopter required to be operated with a co-pilot, both normal and emergency procedures and manoeuvres appropriate to the privileges of an Airline Transport Pilot Licence - Helicopter.

TC refuses to issue the ATPL-H on the basis that the minimum crew on the helicopter is 1, interpreting this subpart as requiring an aircraft type certificated with a minimum crew of 2, as opposed to operating two-crew.

The bottom line is that at certain operators, there will be pilots that will be restricted to flying as co-pilots for the rest of their careers there since they have no hope of upgrading to ATPL-H. Upgrading privately by renting a 2-crew certificated helicopter is simply unrealistically and cost-prohibitive.

This problem is being seen at operators with AW109SP – A109 – BH430 – BH429; though other helicopter models can also set up this roadblock.

If you have more information, or if you happen to be in this predicament, write to us at armel.cloarec@collegeofpilots.ca AND mark.chapman@collegeofpilots.ca

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