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Looking for a single engine add on.

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Well-known member
Jun 1, 2002
I'm probably in a pretty weird boat. I've got almost 2000 hours total time now, almost 1600 in multi-engine turbo props like King Airs and Be1900's, and most of the rest in helicopters, an ATP and over 900 hours PIC. But believe it or not, I don't have a single engine fixed wing rating and can't even rent a 172 at the local FBO.

Now, I do have over 30 hours in 182's from five years ago when I went through the army's fixed wing transition, but that's been a while. I am trying to figure out what it would take to get just a single engine rating with instrument endorsement on my ticket. I've talked to a lot of folks and heard everything from 10 hours and a sign off to 30 hours. Since the difference there is a significant hunk of change I'm trying to see if there is anyone who can give me some input on what they think I would need to do to get this add on taken care of quickly and safely. Reading the regs seems to bring up a bunch of grey areas as far as cross country time, etc. since it doesn't seem to be written for someone in my situation in mind, more for a beginning pilot working his way up.

Single-engine add-on

Maybe I can help. 14 CFR 61.129(a) sets forth the eligibility requirements for a Commercial pilot certificate with a single-engine rating (I assume you want your Commercial).

Sec. 61.129 - Aeronautical experience.

(a) For an airplane single-engine rating. Except as provided in paragraph (i) of this section, a person who applies for a commercial pilot certificate with an airplane category and single-engine class rating must log at least 250 hours of flight time as a pilot that consists of at least:

(1) 100 hours in powered aircraft, of which 50 hours must be in airplanes.

(2) 100 hours of pilot-in-command flight time, which includes at least --

(i) 50 hours in airplanes; and

(ii) 50 hours in cross-country flight of which at least 10 hours must be in airplanes.

(3) 20 hours of training on the areas of operation listed in §61.127(b)(1) of this part that includes at least --

(i) 10 hours of instrument training of which at least 5 hours must be in a single-engine airplane;

(ii) 10 hours of training in an airplane that has a retractable landing gear, flaps, and a controllable pitch propeller, or is turbine-powered, or for an applicant seeking a single-engine seaplane rating, 10 hours of training in a seaplane that has flaps and a controllable pitch propeller;

(iii) One cross-country flight of at least 2 hours in a single-engine airplane in day VFR conditions, consisting of a total straight-line distance of more than 100 nautical miles from the original point of departure;

(iv) One cross-country flight of at least 2 hours in a single-engine airplane in night VFR conditions, consisting of a total straight-line distance of more than 100 nautical miles from the original point of departure; and

(v) 3 hours in a single-engine airplane in preparation for the practical test within the 60-day period preceding the date of the test.

(4) 10 hours of solo flight in a single-engine airplane on the areas of operation listed in §61.127(b)(1) of this part, which includes at least --

(i) One cross-country flight of not less than 300 nautical miles total distance, with landings at a minimum of three points, one of which is a straight-line distance of at least 250 nautical miles from the original departure point. However, if this requirement is being met in Hawaii, the longest segment need only have a straight-line distance of at least 150 nautical miles; and

(ii) 5 hours in night VFR conditions with 10 takeoffs and 10 landings (with each landing involving a flight in the traffic pattern) at an airport with an operating control tower.

14 CFR 61.65(d) sets forth the aeronautical experience requirements for an instrument rating:

(d) Aeronautical experience. A person who applies for an instrument rating must have logged the following:

(1) At least 50 hours of cross-country flight time as pilot in command, of which at least 10 hours must be in airplanes for an instrument -- airplane rating; and

(2) A total of 40 hours of actual or simulated instrument time on the areas of operation of this section, to include --

(i) At least 15 hours of instrument flight training from an authorized instructor in the aircraft category for which the instrument rating is sought;

(ii) At least 3 hours of instrument training that is appropriate to the instrument rating sought from an authorized instructor in preparation for the practical test within the 60 days preceding the date of the test;

Discussion. Most of these requirements you've fulfilled already during your military flying and via your ATP. You have to have a Private certificate or higher to apply for a Commercial Certficate. 14 CFR 61.123(h). You certainly meet that requirement with your ATP.

It appears you have to meet the ten hours of solo in a single-engine airplane requirement, the three hours of prep requirement, and the five hours of instrument training requirement. Of course, some of the dual items can be doubled up in flights, e.g., you can go out with your instructor to do commercial maneuvers and return to the field under the hood to hold, shoot approaches, etc. I don't think you have to take the Commercial written because of your ATP.

You can knock out the three hours of the 14 CFR 61.65(D)(2)(ii) instrument training as part of the five hours you need under 14 CFR 61.129(c)(i). You would have to take instruction in and demonstrate all the 14 CFR 61.127 items, which would include the maximum performance maneuvers, flight at critically slow airspeeds, maximum performance and soft-field takeoffs and landings, flight by reference to ground objects, etc. You would not have to take the ten hours of solo and practice in the "complex" airplane because you've demonstrated that already as an ATP. I added the cross-country requirements, but I really don't think you have to meet those for the same reason.

Conclusion. The idea is to cover only the operational items needed for a single-engine airplane and not to repeat items you have already from other flying, e.g. cross country. You would need to go FSDO and obtain a student pilot certificate, and have it and your logbook signed off by your instructor for the solo privileges you need until you are rated. You might be able to find an examiner who will give you both practicals in one oral and one flight. Hopefully he/she won't charge twice. :)

Hope this helped a little and wasn't too lengthy or confusing. Good luck with adding your ratings.
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Check your PM.;)
I was in the same predicament. Easiest way to get the SE is to take the SE ATP checkride. Go out to your local FBO and get a few hours then take the ATP SE from your local DE. There's fewer manuevers to do for the ATP check than the Commercial.
This is the easiest rating ever. I got my multi-commercial first too and then did the single add-on. I did 4.5 hrs. in the airplane and then took the checkride. The maneuvers are simple and the landings are the same as the private checkride (with the acception of only 100 feet leeway on the shortfield). Now, if it's been a while since you've flown a single, expect it to take up to 10. I can't see any reason for it to take longer than 10. Get a simple 172 skyhawk b/c you don't need a complex for this checkride. Keep it simple. You could even do it in a 152, but I'd say stay with the 172 for better stability.

Just know the airplane (simple) and be prepared for a weight and balance problem and a performance calculation. This should be a joke for someone with your experience. Have fun with it!
Single-engine add-on - abridged version

I agree with all the above, but I gathered the poster doesn't have any kind of single-engine rating at all. Therefore, I am pretty sure he needs the ten hours of solo in the single, even if he goes the ATP route (great idea; wish I thought of it :) ).

I agree that the oral should be easy, but it wouldn't surprise me if the examiner did a little poking-around of instrument knowledge. Also, I am sure the examiner would still want to see at least one approach or something.

My very first instrument student was a former Army helo pilot who had Commercial-Instrument-Rotorcraft-Helicopter and Private Airplane. He wanted to add instrument airplane privileges. We flew about ten hours (it was my first instrument signoff and second student signoff; I wanted to be sure; he didn't mind; the airplane was cheap). This is from 1988; I recall he shot at least two approaches and maybe had holding as well.

Of course, many schools give students initial Commercial-Instrument certification as multi-engine pilots, so the single is just an add-on. But, along the way, they got their Private single. That obviates the 14 CFR 61.129(a)(3)(i) solo requirement because they got that time as Private single students.
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I have:


I was also doing my SEL add-on so I could fly skydivers.

You can get your SEL add-on to either your helo commercial or your AMEL or helo ATP. It's probably easier to get your SEL ATP as you DON'T have to do your chandelles, lazy 8s, and pylon 8s. Locally, I was going to take my SEL Comm add-on checkride with a local examiner. If I did my ATP add-on, I'd had to have done it with a FSDO examiner in MKE.

You don't need an instrument for SEL (I'm assuming your ATP was for AMEL) as an instrument license is for ALL airplanes. You can do all your instrument currency in MEL, and be current to fly SEL instruments, or vice-versa. If you have your ATP and Comm/Inst all JUST for helos, then you would need to get either the Comm/Inst ASEL, or the ATP ASEL to fly instruments in airplanes.

Good luck!


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