Darren Smith, Flight Instructor
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Question:  I want to minimize the amount of time I spend training for the Helicopter Instrument Rating in an actual helicopter.  Can I do part of the Helicopter Instrument Rating in an airplane?

Answer:  FAR Part 61.65 requires that 15 of the 40 hours of training to be in the aircraft category that the instrument rating is sought.  So under that requirement, 25 hours can be in an airplane as long as 15 hours is in helicopter and 3 of those must be within 60 days of the checkride. 

Now it remains to be seen that a helicopter pilot can be successful in an instrument helicopter checkride with only 15 hours of training in a helicopter and the rest in airplanes.  I've sent both kinds of pilots to their respective checkrides and found that the physical skills of operating the respective aircraft need to be reinforced to ensure the right physical responses on the checkride.  As a recent example, I just sent an airline captain to a checkride for a helicopter instrument rating.  He took all of the 40 hours in the helicopter to build the skills required to pass a checkride even though since he had an instrument rating (airplane) he only needed 15 hours.

So my philosophy... not recommended to split the training between 2 aircraft categories.  Build the habits and body/kinestetic skills in the aircraft category you are seeking the instrument rating for.

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