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Aircraft Type in a FAA Flight Plan

Aircraft Type in a FAA Flight Plan

Filing a FAA flight plan and not sure what to put in the aircraft type box? Lets go through some common examples and how to find out what what to put for your aircraft.

Old FAA Flight Plan (Form 7233-1)

Aircraft type is section 3 in the old (being phased out in 2017) FAA flight plan form:FAA Flight Plan Aircraft Type

New International (and valid for Domestic) ICAO Flight Plan (Form 7233-4)

The new ICAO flight plan form is the ‘preferred’ format, and will be your only option when the FAA phase out the old form in 2017. It says ‘international’ at the top, but this form is good for both international and domestic flight plans, The aircraft type is part of section 9 in the new ICAO form:

ICAO Flight Plan Aircraft Type

Searchable ICAO Aircraft Type Designators

The FAA guidance (FAA ICAO Flight Planning Interface Reference Guide) says the aircraft type must be “an approved type designator consistent with ICAO Doc. 8643”. You can find the full searchable list of ICAO compliant designators at http://www.icao.int/anb/ais/8643/index.cfm:

ICAO Searchable Aircraft Type Designators

And if you are flying something that is not listed (maybe a home built experimental), you can
insert the characters ZZZZ and enter the aircraft type in the remarks section 11 (or other information section 18 on an international ICAO flight plan).

So lets go through some relatively common examples of aircraft and their ICAO type designators:

  • Robinson R22 (all models) = R22
  • Robinson R44 (all models) = R44
  • Schweizer 300 = H269
  • Enstrom F28 = EN28
  • Guimbal Cabri G2 = G2CA
  • AS350  or H125 = AS50
  • EC130  or H130 = EC30
  • Bell 206 (JetRanger & LongRanger) = B06
  • Bell 407 = B407

More Information

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Helicopter Airline Transport Pilot (ATP) Preparation

In late 2016 I went through the process of taking the Airline Transport Pilot (ATP) Helicopter checkride and I wanted to help others who might go that way.

Essentially there are three parts to getting your Helicopter ATP:

  1. Meet the experience requirements
  2. Pass the ATP Knowledge Test (Written)
  3. Pass the ATP Practical Test (Checkride)

Experience Requirements

Aeronautical experience requirements for ATP helicopter are outlined in the FAA regulations (FAA Regulation §61.161 – Aeronautical experience: Rotorcraft category and helicopter class rating). A brief summary:

  • 1,200 hours of total time
  • 500 hours of cross-country flight time (at least 25NM from departure)
  • 100 hours of night flight time, of which 15 hours are in helicopters
  • 200 hours of flight time in helicopters (including 75 hours as PIC)
  • 75 hours of instrument time (actual or simulated) of which 50 hours in flight with at least 25 hours in helicopters as a PIC. Up to 25 hours can credited towards the 75 hours, in simulator or flight training device (50 hours if at part 142 program)
  • Additionally you need to already have your Commercial with Instrument rating and be at least 21 years old (§61.153)

The requirements that many people struggle with are the 100 night and 75 hours instrument time. Once you leave the flight schools your first job will likely be flying tours, which are mostly daytime with no ‘hood time’. So don’t leave the flight school without 100 hours night & 75 hrs instrument time (50 in the aircraft) as you will likely struggle to build those in your next job. My advice is do your instrument training at night to help build night hours.

ATP Knowledge Test (the ‘written’)

Like many current FAA Knowledge Tests for helicopter certificates/ratings, you will be frustrated with what appears to be airplane-centric questions (like asking about clear air turbulence in the upper atmosphere, etc). This was the worst one of all the FAA written tests I’ve taken and I found it very exasperating to study for, but there ways to make it as easier:

  • Use good preparation software (Dauntless or Sheppard Air) to help maximise your studying efficiency (trust me on this!)
  • Set an alarm/reminder/routine to do a set number of questions each day (bite-sized chunks)
  • Create a study guide/reference sheet for the ones you are having problems with or use the one I created (ATP Knowledge Test Prep PDF):

ATP Knowledge Test Prep Document Preview

Get the knowledge test done and then you can forget most of it and start to focus/study what is needed for the practical test…

ATP Practical Test (the ‘checkride’)

The best place to start preparation for any practical test is the FAA Practical Test Standards (PTS) for the certificate/rating you are going for. The PTS is an outline of how the checkride will go and what the examiner will ask you to explain on the ground or demonstrate in flight. You can get an ATP Helicopter PTS (PDF format) direct and free from the FAA here. Like for the knowledge test, I also recommend you create a study guide for the practical test (based on the PTS and aircraft you intend to fly) or use the one I created for my checkride (R44 Raven 2 ATP Practical Test Prep PDF):

ATP R44II Practical Test Prep Document Preview

Just like any previous checkride you have taken, there are two parts, the ground and the flight:

Ground Overview

Mostly a discussion on systems and performance for the aircraft you have selected to fly:

  • Knowledge of systems/components and normal and emergency procedures
  • Performance and limitations and the adverse effects of exceeding any limitation
  • Demonstrate proficient use of performance charts (including calculating W&B)
  • Locating and explaining documents such as airworthiness and registration certificates, manuals & MEL (if appropriate)
  • Maintenance requirements (required inspections, records), pilot maintenance etc

Flight Overview

Essentially an instrument checkride with a few extras:

  • Instrument departure
  • Rejected takeoff
  • Steep turns
  • Recovery from unusual attitudes
  • Simulated engine failure at altitude & on takeoff
  • Settling with power
  • 2 Precision approaches with max 1/4 scale glide slope and localizer deflection at DA
  • 2 Non-precision approaches (one with procedure turn) with max 1/4 scale deflection on final segment and within 50′ of MDA (but not below)
  • Holds
  • 2 Missed approaches, one from precision approach
  • 4 approaches/landings to a hover
  • Rejected landing (go-around)
  • Emergency procedures

Good luck! Please use this link to let us know how it went and if this post helped or what we could add to make it better.

Helicopter ATP Resources

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Zero Speed Autorotation with 360 degree turn – Helicopter Flight Maneuvers

This is a reference video of unedited footage from inside the cockpit during Zero Speed Autorotation with 360 degree turn in an R22 helicopter.

This maneuver itself is not required for Private or Commercial ratings, but maybe considered for ‘Enhanced training in autorotation procedures’ under SFAR 73, especially for a CFI SFAR 73 checkride. Otherwise it is good training to help a student become more confident and accomplished in autorotations generally and serves a real world purpose for possible engine failure in an out of ground effect hover over an confined area.

Thanks to Aaron

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GoPro mount in the R22 and R44 helicopter

I’ve had a few questions about the GoPro mount in the R22 and R44 helicopter and how I capture the radio and intercom audio.  I have tried many different audio and mount options and finally came up with something that works very well. Watch the video below for the details.

 

Here is a link to each of the pieces on Amazon (I found to usually be the best price):

I have to set the GoPro upside down, make sure you set the settings to record upside down or you will have to rotate all your videos afterwards. Also, I record at 720P 30 FPS – 1080 is great but takes forever to copy to my PC, upload, work with in an editor and I didn’t notice enough of a difference to warrant the extra file sizes.

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Scanning for traffic?

When scanning for traffic, did you know, traffic at the same altitude will actually appear slightly above the horizon? Due to the curvature of the earth and the higher you are the greater the effect, learn more here:

http://www.aopa.org/News-and-Video/All-News/2004/October/1/Scanning-for-Traffic

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R22 – Pull cruise trim, NOT mixture!

Always reach left around the cyclic column when pulling cruise trim in an R22 to minimize the chance of pulling the mixture by mistake.

This recent accident is not the first and won’t be the last I’m sure. Happened a couple of months ago, see the NTSB report here.

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Confined Area Off Airport – Helicopter Flight Maneuvers

This is a reference video of unedited footage from inside the cockpit during a confined area off airport in an R22 helicopter.

This video was produced for a presentation to aviation students at COCC. I thought the video may be useful to others, but In time these videos will be replaced by a more comprehensive instructional videos with key points, common errors and the PTS requirements.

Thanks to Keaton

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Low RPM & Recovery in a Hover – Helicopter Flight Maneuvers

This is a reference video of unedited footage from inside the cockpit during low RPM recognition and recovery in a hover in an R22 helicopter.

This video was produced for a presentation to aviation students at COCC. I thought the video may be useful to others, but In time these videos will be replaced by a more comprehensive instructional videos with key points, common errors and the PTS requirements.

Thanks to Cooper

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Low RPM & Recovery in Forward Flight – Helicopter Flight Maneuvers

This is a reference video of unedited footage from inside the cockpit during a low RPM recognition and recovery in an R22 helicopter.

This video was produced for a presentation to aviation students at COCC. I thought the video may be useful to others, but In time these videos will be replaced by a more comprehensive instructional videos with key points, common errors and the PTS requirements.

Thanks to Jeff & Keaton

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Settling with Power – Helicopter Flight Maneuvers

This is a reference video of unedited footage from inside the cockpit during settling-with-power (SWP) or vortex-ring-state (VRS) in an R22 helicopter.

This video was produced for a presentation to aviation students at COCC. I thought the video may be useful to others, but In time these videos will be replaced by a more comprehensive instructional videos with key points, common errors and the PTS requirements.

Thanks to Cooper

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