Every year, thousands of people decide to try and become commercial pilots. However, before you can get behind the controls of an airplane, you will have to prove you have what it takes. If you can make it through the training, being a commercial pilot can be a lucrative and stable career.
Types of Commercial Pilots
There are many different types of commercial pilots. The most well known is, of course, the airline pilot. An airline pilot’s main job is the transportation of passengers via aircraft. This can be done for regional, national, or international airlines.
Another option for a commercial pilot is to become an agricultural pilot. To ensure that crops grow quickly and healthily, they must be treated with chemicals such as pesticides, fertilizer, and weed killer. This is where agricultural pilots come in. They fly specialized planes, known as cropdusters, that are capable of spraying these chemicals over a large area in a timely manner.
Next, there are cargo pilots. Cargo pilots are responsible for the transportation of goods to destinations all over the world. This can include goods ordered by businesses, as well as goods destined for private citizens.
Pilots who want a little more excitement might choose to become an emergency and rescue pilot. These pilots use aircraft to transport passengers in critical condition to hospitals or other emergency facilities. They may also use aircraft to locate people who have become lost or incapacitated in the wilderness.
When pursuing a commercial pilot license, you are not immediately going to be learning in the air. FIrst, you must pass what is known as “ground school”. This part of your training is more akin to a traditional classroom environment. In ground school, you will learn about aerodynamics, airport rules, aircraft instruments, and the weather. The knowledge you acquire on the ground will be the foundation your flight training is built on. You must complete 40 hours of ground school to move onto the next step in earning your commercial pilot license.
Flight Training Requirements
After completing ground school, you will move onto flight training. This is when you will finally be allowed up in the air and behind the controls of an aircraft. To obtain your commercial pilot license you will need to have 250 hours of flight time under your belt, with certain restrictions on how these hours are allocated. At least 100 hours must be in powered aircraft, and 50 hours must be in airplanes. Furthermore, you will need 100 hours of flight time where you are pilot-in-command, with at least 50 of those hours being in an airplane. You will also need 50 hours of cross country flight, 20 hours of training, and 10 hours of solo training. After finishing flight training, you will be ready to take the oral and practical exam in order to obtain your commercial pilot license.
Accredited Flight Schools vs. Non-Accredited Flight Schools
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) certifies flight schools that meet its high standards. The benefit of going to an accredited flight school is that you are ensured to receive a high quality education. Accredited flight schools are also more likely to have high quality facilities, staff, curriculum, and equipment. By attending an accredited flight school, you are giving yourself the best chance of having a successful career in aviation.
How Competitive Is Becoming a Commercial Pilot?
Every year, thousands of people attempt to become commercial pilots, drawn in by the thrill of flying and the commercial pilot salary. However, not all of them will get to see their dream come true. Becoming a commercial pilot can be extremely competitive, especially if one wants to work at one of the major airlines. You will have to start at smaller airlines, earning substantially less than a pilot at a major airline does. Nevertheless, if you are willing to put in the hours, and work your way up, it is very possible to become a successful commercial pilot.