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How to Become a Pilot: Step-by-Step Guide

If the sound of being a commercial pilot, private pilot, or simply learning how to become a pilot excites you, then a pilot training program is perfect for you. While getting your pilot’s license is thrilling, it does require work. Depending on the type of pilot you want to be, you might need a flight instructor certification to become a private or commercial pilot.

If you’ve thought of becoming a commercial airline pilot yourself, you should know there are several steps you must complete before you fly regional and major airlines.

If you want to get your commercial pilot license in Arizona, choose a certified flight instructor school with that will guide you step-by-step on how to become a pilot.

Decide Which Type of Pilot You Want to Be

The first step many take in getting their pilot licenses is figuring out what type of pilot you want to be. You’ll have to make the distinction between wanting to be a commercial pilot, airline professional pilot, or private pilot.

If you only plan to fly for leisure and fun, then private pilots often fly their own planes on personal trips, while being a commercial airline pilot is a great way to make money while flying.

If you plan to further your flight school journey, then a commercial pilot license is a wise choice. It’s one of the prerequisites for other flight certificates like the certified flight instructor certificate or to get certified to become an airline pilot.

Commercial vs. Private Pilot Certificate

The commercial pilot certificate allows you the legal right to fly planes and get paid for it. Due to the legal implications that go along with becoming a commercial pilot, this type of pilot training takes longer than what a private pilot certificate requires.

Furthermore, if you want to be an airline pilot, you need a separate license called an ATP, or airline transport pilot certificate, which allows you to fly commercial airline planes.

A private pilot certificate allows you to fly a single-engine land plane. As a private pilot, you still take a private pilot practical exam and need an FAA student pilot certificate. The main difference is that recreational pilots should opt for the private pilot knowledge test whereas those interested in creating a career, like airline pilots, should pursue the commercial airline pilot test first.

Pass Your Basic Level Requirements

As with any program, there are specific requirements that you need before you begin any type of knowledge test or flight training. You must be 17 years old and able to communicate and take tests effectively.

Obtain a Medical Certificate

One of the first steps you have to complete is a medical clearance. To ensure every potential pilot is capable and passes the visual flight rules, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) ensures each candidate passes medical checks with an examiner.

Apply to Have a Student Pilot Certificate

After your medical history is in check, you may apply to schools to start pilot training programs. The program you choose depends on whether you want to become an airline pilot or commercial pilot.

Take Your Courses

The first hands-on part of your private pilot license, commercial pilot license, or flight instructors license is studying for and taking your knowledge test. This test is different depending on whether you’re trying to become a pilot for private use or become a commercial pilot.

Both of these exams include written portions testing you on various questions about flying, ground instrument flight rules, engine ratings, reading flight time, and plane-specific knowledge you need to fly safely. These will all be courses you cover during flight school combined with your individual studies.

Airline Transport Pilot (ATP) License

One of the most sought-after pilot jobs is becoming an airline pilot. To become an airline pilot of a multi-engine airplane, you need to have an airline transport pilot license, which allows you to fly commercial airlines. These planes with a multi-engine rating have very specific training requirements.

Airline transport pilots can fly commercial planes and military planes. An ATP requires you be 23 years old, have a CPL, and over 1500 hours of flight time.

Start Flight Training

Once all of the written work is done, you get to begin flight training. This is where student pilots get to log flight hours during their flight training programs with a flight instructor to become a pilot. After all of your logged flight training hours, you will take a practical exam where your instructor will decide if your skills make you able to become a pilot.

Time & Money

Private pilot training is the least time intensive, followed by commercial pilots training, and then an airline pilot certification. You can expect most programs to last a little over a year. The flight training cost ranges from $10,000 to $20,000.

Call on Experts for Pilots License Questions

The most simplified step-by-step route is to apply for school, study and take courses, pass your FAA knowledge test, start flying hours, and then take your practical exam. When in doubt, speak with professional flight schools for advice and questions like, why become a commercial pilot?

Call Leopard Aviation in Scottsdale and Mesa, AZ, today at (480) 605-4539 to learn how to become a pilot!

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