(NOTE: This is part of a series of blog entires designed to provide you more information on becoming a professional pilot. To read previous “To Be a Pilot” information, go to www.pea.com. Click on “What New” and “Blog.”)
If you want to work as a professional pilot, for an airline, a charter company, a corporation or one of the many other career opportunities for pilots, you will need to have a Commercial Pilot Certificate, if you will be carrying passengers for hire. Typically you will start out by working to achieve your Private Pilot Certificate, follow by your Instrument Rating, and then train for your Commercial Pilot Certificate. You can earn a Commercial Pilot Certificate for single engine aircraft and also for multi-engine aircraft. You will most likely want both single and multi-engine, as it will provide you with the ability to fly more types of aircraft. Aircraft that carries passengers, even er ones, will most often have more than one engine.
A Commercial Pilot Certificate will allow you to fly for compensation or hire ( assumed is that that the pilot has also met the industry and government requirements in order to be hired). What is meant by that? Each country has its own aviation authority whichsets the requirements for pilot certificates, so U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) requirements will be discussed here. Differing pilot requirements for different countries are no problem for international flight training students studying in the U.S., however, as they can radily convert their FAA flight certificates to that of their home country. This is done when the pilot returns to his country after completion of flight training. Sometimes it’s just a matter of a paperwork and verification process; sometimes it may require a bit extra study and flight time to convert a license, but converting licenses is common and not difficult to do. The U.S. trains more pilots than any other country worldwide.
To achieve your Commercial Pilot Certificate you must have a minimum of 120 hours of flight time. You will study with a flight instructor, of course. You will log dual time (you and your instructor) and also solo time (alone), plus send approximately 50 hours in ground school. You will need to pass a written exam and also a flight exam. When you pass both your written and flight exams, you will be awarded that very important honor: you will be a commercial pilot!