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A Flight Student’s Guide to Aircraft Type Rating

Looking to start your career as a commercial pilot? You’ll need to achieve the appropriate type rating for the aircraft types you want to operate. Most airlines require an aircraft type rating for any pilot they employ.

Leopard Aviation’s flight school in Arizona helps each student pilot earn the certification needed. We’ll guide you through the basics of type rating courses, delving deep into their requirements, the many differences between type ratings, why you require a type rating, and more.

What Are Type Ratings?

Large commercial aircraft types have varying mechanisms and operating methods the pilot in command must know. When a pilot earns a type rating for a specific aircraft, they have the certification and knowledge to operate the commercial jet. Although the commercial airline industry emphasizes the importance of a type-rated pilot, other sectors within the piloting profession may also require this training.

When you complete type rating training, you essentially demonstrate your ability to proficiently handle one of many different aircraft types. You can earn multiple ratings to increase your piloting opportunities. Alternatively, begin with one rating license and specialize in one type of aircraft.

Type Rating Examples

One aircraft type rating covers multiple aircraft types. Three of the most prominent ones include:

  • Turbojet-powered aircraft: An airplane with a jet engine qualifies as a turbojet-powered aircraft.
  • Large aircraft: Aircraft systems in this type of rating weigh over 12,500 pounds.
  • Other aircraft: This term covers all complex aircraft types with unusual handling performance and other features.

The Airbus A320 type rating is among the most popular. You’ll have circa 80 hours of ground school courses, training regarding specific procedures, and experiences with a flight simulator.

The Boeing 373 type rating prepares you to operate one of the most commonly used aircraft types by commercial airlines. You’ll earn the certifications the FAA requires to pilot this commercial model.

One Rating May Cover Multiple Aircraft

Before you attend a flight training course to secure your type rating, learn whether that rating covers a broad range of aircraft. For example, the Airbus A320 type rating specifically covers medium jets requiring a takeoff weight of 77 kilograms. However, you can also operate similar aircraft type ratings, such as Airbus aircraft A318, A319, and A321.

Additionally, type rating requirements lessen for aircraft within the same class ratings. If you earn a certification for Airbus, you’ll spend less time completing the type rating course for A330 and A350.

Why Type Ratings Are Important

Various types of aircraft use commercial airline runways. A pilot cannot simply step into any old airplane and fully understand operating systems, performance procedures, and other skills required to control the model safely. When you complete type rating courses, you must pass the required competency check to pilot complex aircraft type ratings.

Plus, someone looking to hire you as a commercial pilot might have insurance coverage requiring a type rating for specific aircraft. A pilot’s rating and full licensing reduce the likelihood of accidents. Therefore, the airline pays fewer insurance fees.

What Is Type Rating Training?

Pilots will pursue a type rating course in aviation school while obtaining their pilot certificates. The FAA requires pilots to pass theoretical and practical training before they take a final test. Learn more about what to expect from your aviation experience below.

Acquiring Your Rating

Aviation courses typically consist of the following learning areas:

  1. Ground school: All pilots need this type of schooling to pursue a pilot certificate. It consists of courses taken in a classroom setting. You’ll learn various procedures regarding specific systems, how to operate a single-type rating, and what to do in airplane emergencies.
  2. Simulator training: Next, put your procedural knowledge to work with flight simulators. The simulator experience puts you in the pilot seat without piloting a real craft. Whether you’re earning a commercial pilot license for a Boeing Narrowbody aircraft or an Airbus, you’ll learn all about the controls, gauges, and operations here.
  3. Final competency check: Finally, you take a practical test via a check ride with a realistic simulator that mimics the airplane’s noises, movements, and emergency scenarios.

How Long It Takes To Achieve a Type Rating

Meeting all your type rating requirements takes about two to six weeks. Ground school alone often takes four weeks.

Then, the progress of flight training through simulations largely depends on the student. This stage can last up to two weeks.

Once you finish training, you’ll work with a designated pilot trained to assess your command of craft operations, procedures, and controls. This assessment typically occurs within the days following your last simulator course.

Updating Your Rating

You must eventually reapply for your type rating. Reinstatement occurs annually for most ratings. Fortunately, your only to-do involves using a flight simulator to assess your competence. The simulation experience ensures you can still handle your rated aircraft despite system updates within the past year.

Start Type Rating Training at Leopard Aviation

Earn your first aircraft type rating or an additional rating at Leopard Aviation. Check out our tips on preparing for flight school. Then, ask about the ratings we offer at (480) 372-9815.

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