Why Get A Commercial Pilot Certificate?
So now you have your Private Pilot Certificate and have built up a hundred hours or so, and you begin thinking of the next step: becoming a Commercial Pilot by getting your Commercial Pilot Certificate.
It is generally known that most Private Pilots who are involved in aircraft accidents usually have them after that had attained around 300 hours of flight time. This is probably because their confidence level has now exceeded their experience level.
One way to help reduce the number of aircraft accidents by inexperienced pilots is to encourage them to continue their training, not just acquire more and more flight hours. Those of us who have taught Student Pilots how to fly have a saying: “The Private Pilot Certificate is simply a license to learn”. What we mean by this is that the Private Pilot Certificate is the starting point, not the end of learning to fly.
What Are The Benefits Of The Commercial Pilot License?
When most people think about becoming a commercial pilot, they are thinking about the pilots who fly airliners around the world. The truth is that most pilots who fly airliners hold an Air Transport Pilot Certificate which is the next step after the Commercial Pilot Certificate.
But the Commercial Pilot Certificate is an important pilot license to acquire for a number of reasons:
- You will attain a level of flight proficiency which will keep you safe;
- You will be able to acquire a Certified Flight Instructor (CFI) Certificate to teach others how to fly;
- You can charge for your services as a pilot;
- You open a world of opportunity for yourself if you want to earn a living flying airplanes.
What Are The Basic Requirements For The Commercial Pilot License?
One common misconception is that you need a Private Pilot Certificate before moving on to the Commercial Pilot Certificate; however, that is technically not true.
All Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) licensed pilots are certified under Part 61 –Certification: Pilots, Flight Instructors and Ground Instructors of the Federal Aviation Regulations (FARs). The best place to find these regulations is in an annual publication called FAR/AIM (Federal Aviation Regulations/Airman’s Information Manual).
This publication is updated and republished each year by a number of companies including Jeppesen, Gleim and Aviation Supplies & Academics.
What Are The Basic Part 61 Requirements For A Commercial Pilot Certificate?
- Be at least 18 years old;
- Be proficient in English;
- Pass the required FAA Knowledge Test
- Hold a Private Pilot Certificate or meet the requirements for a Private Pilot Certificate
- Have at least 250 logged hours of flight time as a pilot
- 100 hours in powered aircraft including 50 hours in airplanes
- 100 hours of pilot in command time including:
- 50 hours in airplanes;
- 50 hour of cross country flying
- 10 hours of instrument training
- 10 hours in a retractable gear aircraft with a controllable pitch propeller
- 5 hours of night VFR with 10 takeoffs and landings
- 1 2-hour cross country of more than 100 nautical mils
- 1 300 nautical mile cross country with a minimum of 3 landings and one leg of at least 250 miles
- 3 hours of preparation for the practical flight test with a CFI
What Can You Do With A Commercial Pilot Certificate?
Once you have your Commercial Pilot Certificate you can be paid to fly an airplane, and in addition you can become a Certified Flight Instructor (with some additional training) and teach others how to fly airplanes.
photo credit: jschladen
While most of you think about flying for the airlines as the role of a Commercial Pilot, there are many other jobs Commercial Pilot Certificate holders can and do perform.
Among them are:
- Become a Certified Flight Instructor;
- Become a Corporate Pilot;
- Become a Fractional Aircraft Pilot;
- Become an Ag Pilot;
- Become a Skywriting Pilot;
- Become a Pipeline Patrol Pilot;
- Become an Air Taxi Charter Pilot;
- Become an Aerial Photography Pilot.
Where Do You Go To Get The Training For A Commercial Pilot Certificate?
Unlike the Private Pilot Certificate, most pilots who want to fly for a living find a more professional training facility for getting their Commercial Pilot Certificate. This is not to say that your local flight instructor isn’t capable of preparing you, but rather when you have decided to make flying airplanes for hire a career it is a good idea to start with a professional training facility.
Some major universities like Western Michigan University and the University of North Dakota have excellent aviation programs for all aspects of aviation, including airport management, weather forecasting, flight department management and so on.
Is The Commercial Pilot Certificate Worth It?
The answer here is a definite yes, whether you are just a pilot flying for pleasure, if you want to improve your flying skills or you want to advance to earning a part or full time income flying airplanes.
Once you have your Commercial Pilot Certificate you will most certainly want to add an Instrument Ratings, perhaps a Multi-Engine Rating or even move on to the Airline Transport Pilot Certificate.
Whatever your goals as a pilot are, seeking advanced training, certificates and ratings becomes part of your goal in life, and as with most things learning to fly is a lifelong experience. This is why becoming a commercial pilot is an important goal for every pilot.
To learn more you should get Flying Airplanes: For Fun and Money! (A Practical Guide to Becoming a Professional Pilot) which is a great read!
Until next time keep your wings straight and level Hersch!
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