A Gold Seal on a Certified Flight Instructor’s (CFI) certificate indicates that they have a high level of personal qualifications and good records as an active CFI. There are also plenty of great instructors without a Gold Seal, either because they never applied for one or simply don’t have enough students taking check rides within the specified time period. No special privileges come with this added seal, but it does renew your CFI certificate for an additional two years when obtained.
This is the first in a series of articles on different helicopter career fields.
Growing up I remember driving by a Bell 206 sitting on the ramp with the local news station’s logo covering half the helicopter on the way to the terminal to pickup my dad from a business trip. I thought it was pretty cool and asked myself “How do I become a helicopter news pilot?” At that time, I had no idea I would actually become a pilot, much less a news helicopter pilot at some point in my career. I ended up flying that gig for a few years before moving on, earning a pretty good salary.
“How do I best setup my pilot logbook?” Unfortunately, I hear this question rarely. Every new student pilot should ask it. Federal Aviation Regulations specify the required events to log in a pilot logbook, and the endorsements required for various pilot certificates and operations. However, there is little guidance for helicopter pilots discussing what other categories of flight time should be logged in order to meet actual employer requirements for helicopter pilot jobs.
You’re sitting around after having finished some ground instruction with your student. Your flight school also contracts out to local news agencies for photo flights. One station’s photographer shows up to the office, needing to launch for photos of an active search scene. You do a logged, pre-flight briefing via the CSRA Direct User Access Terminal Service (DUATS), with no Temporary Flight Restrictions (TFRs) established in the area published in the Notices to Airmen (NOTAM) section. You met the requirements of 14 CFR 91.103. You push start. Your estimated time enroute is 30 minutes.