Do you know how to become a pilot?
If you’ve always dreamt of travelling around the world and fantasizing about flying amidst the clouds and paving your way through the beautiful sky, aviation is the right option.
It is important to choose the right aviation college or flight school that can give you proper training and experience. If you are an aspiring pilot, there are different types of pilot licenses, also known as certificates. You need to know:
- Commercial pilot license: Unlike a private jet pilot, a commercial pilot is paid to fly an aircraft that is usually a passenger aircraft or a cargo plane that is used to carry only goods. Commercial pilots are also employed for rescue operations, putting out fires, air photography, being jump pilots,
- Airline pilots: All airline pilots are commercial pilots, but all commercial pilots are not airline pilots. The major difference between a commercial pilot and an airline pilot is the flight hours. You can fly for regional airlines, air tour pilots, and government service pilots with your ATP license.
- Private jet pilot: Being a private pilot requires a lot of responsibility. Being a private jet pilot, one must ensure the safety and comfort of paycheck, check and prepare the aircraft, quality service. The private jet pilot doesn’t have a proper schedule like an airline pilot but is often called upon at the last minute.
What are the prerequisites/exams to qualify for an aviation program
To become a student pilot, you need to be at least 17 years old and must understand and speak the English language. Becoming a pilot in the US would require you to complete your bachelor’s degree, preferably with science subjects like maths and physics.
You also are required to have a valid medical certificate. If you are an Indian student applying for the US, you need two medical tests to qualify for classes 1 and 2.
A panel of doctors in DGCA conducts class 2 medical tests. You may approach any one of them. This requires 1 to 2 days to complete the test. This test usually tests for the overall fitness that covers the proper functioning of the heart, blood pressure, and good functioning lungs and ears.
You need to take the FAA third-class medical certificate with an aeromedical examiner(AME) if you are based in us. Class 1 medical is mainly done by an airforce medical center. The next step is to get an aviation college degree.
How to get your license
Student pilot license:
To get your student pilot certificate, you need to be able to read and write in the English language, according to the Federal aviation administration. (FAA). You will be required to complete an application through the Integrated Airman Certification and rating application website.
If you want to submit your application through paper, you can submit FAA form 8710-1 to the flight standard district office. FAA designates this pilot examiner as an airman certification representative or a certified flight instructor.
The authorized individual will submit your documents to the airmen certification branch. Your FAA student pilot certificate will then be mailed to your address provided by you. This whole process usually takes a total time of 3 weeks.
Private pilot license (PPL)
Some people seek the private pilot certificate just for recreational purposes, and for some people, it is a road toward becoming an airline pilot. Private pilots are trained to navigate a small aircraft.
Private pilot training is more intense than commercial pilot training. A private pilot applicant needs to be at least 17 years old, must receive a logbook endorsement from an authorized instructor, and Must ha a student pilot certificate. To get the privileges of a private pilot and flying solo, you will also need to pass the 3rd class FAA-issued medical certificate.
Find the right flight instructor: Check if your local airport has a fixed flight school attached to it. You can also ask at the terminals or other businessmen on the field. You can also check the fixed base operation. Most of the time, flight instructors are eager to teach.
Qualify for the FAA written exams: The FAA test assesses the basic knowledge of a candidate entering the aviation industry. Some schools require you to take the test before even stepping inside an airplane, and others will let you fly planes according to your wish while you simultaneously prepare for the test at home.
Before your final pilot check ride, you need to take this test beforehand, so it is better to take it early on as the knowledge helps you better while flying.
Start flight training: A student must gain proper flight training experience. Here you will be taught how to land an airplane, takeoff turns, climbs, descent, and all the other basic maneuvers.
You will also need to know how to communicate through the radio while simultaneously handling emergencies. After your first solo, you will learn navigation techniques and work on cross-country flights. After all the learning, you would be required to take a check ride.
Check ride: A private pilot applicant must complete at least 40 hours of flight time, of which 20 flight rides are to be taken with the help of an instructor and 10 would be solo flights.
This includes 3 hours of flying at night,1o takeoff and landings, and 3 hours of basic instrument training; you need to take one cross country flight that is over 100 nautical miles. You need to take 10 hours of solo flight training and 5 hours of cross-country flying lessons.
You also need to take one cross-country flight over 150 nautical miles with landings at 3 different airports. The ground exam usually takes from 30 minutes to a few hours. If the verbal portion of the exam is successful, the examiner conducts the flight portion, which typically lasts for 1 to 2 hours. Ground school lessons usually take up to 4 weeks to complete but can also be done virtually.
Get your FAA certificate: Upon completing the FAA practical test, your examiner will assist you with the paperwork online. You will be given a temporary private pilot certificate while waiting for the official certificate to arrive in the mail.
Getting an instrument rating is necessary if you aspire to become a safe and professional pilot. Some of the things you would get to learn while earning your instrument rating are
- How to read instrument flight rules(IFR) chart and identify the minimum obstruction clearance altitude, minimum reception altitude, and missing crossing altitude.
- How to identify disorientation and landing illusions
It is important to earn a multi-engine rating along with your instrument rating, which teaches you to operate an aircraft in low visibility situations where you cannot navigate using Visual flight rules.
Commercial pilot license
Being a commercial pilot allows you to receive payment for your flights. You have to earn this certificate bypassing commercial pilot ground school and logging for at least 250 flight hours. After you have passed your written ground school test and logged your hours, you will need to pass the check ride, which is more like a driving test.
Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) asks you to plan a flight, accompanies you to the flight, and tests you on your knowledge regarding the aviation industry and other technical matters.
You also need to pass the medical test, and once you become a commercial pilot, you need to take these physical health tests every six months. You have to be healthy throughout your career as a pilot, or you could potentially lose your license to fly.
Multi-crew pilot license
A multi-crew pilot license allows you to fly as a pilot in command or as a co-pilot for commercial air transport and is a less popular choice than the airline pilot training license.
To attain this license, you need to be at least 18 years old, Have a class 1 medical certificate. You must also complete 250 hours of flight training and 750 hours of theoretical knowledge training.
Attend a flight school
Most courses include a combination of ground school and flight training. Ground training equips the student with the knowledge and skills to pass the FAA written exams. When choosing a flight school, one should always go for nationally accredited FAA-approved schools. Here are some of the best flight schools you can attend in the USA
- Embry Riddle Aeronautical university
- University of North Dakota
- Purdue university
- Western Michigan University
Students either take integrated training, which requires them to study full time or modular training, where a student can study at their own pace. Aspiring pilots begin flight training early and usually take 12 to 18 months to complete full-time training.
Flight instructor courses
In the US, you need at least 1500 hours of flight time and an ATPL certificate to become an airline pilot. Some students aspire to teach other student pilots or enjoy the idea of training other pilots.
In that case, taking a certified flight instructor course is right for you. Some aspiring pilots take the flight instructor certification to increase their total number of flight hours.
Obtaining FAA’s integrated airman certification and a flight instructor certification can lead you to get employed by the major airlines. The job has an average salary from around $28,000 to $65,000 per year. There are 3 instructor courses that one can opt for
- certified flight instructor (CFI)
- Certified flight instructor instrument
- Multi-engine instructor
How much does flight training cost?
How do I pay for training? Average students are trained every year for about $70,000. This is when we don’t even understand it. Time influences costs. You can start with a private pilot license and then do an ICLL. Then you can decide what you do. In most cases, the building hours are spent working with CFI or transporting freight.
That’s great! You are given money for your flight based on the time you have worked on your flight plan! After completing your 500-hour training period, you may apply in the United States for commercial airline flight jobs. Depending on which country you live in, you don’t need to log more than 250 hours.
What about international flight students?
Whatever the location, the training is here. Epic trains thousands of pilots around the world. There is a wide range of career options for pilots outside the airline business. Commercial piloting can be done relatively easily.
Suppose a non-US citizen wants to be a commercial pilot in their homeland. In that case, it can become quite straightforward to use FAA certification to follow the standards of the civil aviation authority in the country. Once your eligibility is determined, you meet the requirements of the FAA. Although pilots often start flying training at the age of 14, in the United States, most people do not learn to fly before the age of 12.
Take a Discovery Flight
If you find your flight school, you can go on a discovery flight. This is an initial flight where a flight instructor teaches your flight skills and will introduce your flight to a simple flight.
In most circumstances, when you fly, they give you a brief look inside and then reassure you of flying. If you haven’t ever travelled by airplane, this will be a new experience that will help you determine quickly if you should pursue it.
How can ACS help you become a licensed pilot?
Air Charter Service (ACS) is the leading charter airline for private jets, group charters, and cargo charters and has offices worldwide. The program offers scholarships to aviation students in the United States enrolled in full-time courses. It’s their mission to invest in the aerospace industry’s future.
There are two major career paths for an aspiring pilot with an aviation degree and someone who wants to get hired as an airline pilot.
Civilian: Although you don’t need a college degree to become a pilot, attending a flight school shows that you are trainable and can succeed in a challenging curriculum. These are necessary traits to become a commercial airline pilot. Civilian flight training is very expensive, about $80 an hour, so it is advised to take a two-year course that offers all the licenses, certifications, and ratings you would need to become a commercial airline pilot.
Military: After one year of pilot training, you must commit a few years to the military. The military flight training would provide you with the best training in the equipment that an airline pilot would fly. You will need to meet other requirements such as college coursework and adequate physical capabilities.
You must be prepared for the strict military life, which can induce physical harm and require you to carry lethal weapons. It’s a lifetime commitment not to be taken lightly. There is no guarantee that you will pass the military flight training within the stipulated period but only pursue this if you aspire to.
Becoming a pilot can be an incredibly rewarding and joyful career. It feels overwhelming to have a workplace above the clouds. You need to have good knowledge of the mechanics of the aircraft navigation using flight instruments to the aerodynamics of the place. On the first day, you are assigned your duties on an app called crew roster.
Here, you will know when to report to the airport and how many hours you have to work. You will be picked up from your home by the cabs of your airline company and dropped at the airport.
From there, you take all the necessary documents and overall checks. Then you board your flight which may be delayed or rescheduled due to bad weather.
After reaching your final destination, you get to stay in a star hotel with all the other facilities, which is the ultimate cure to a tiring day. Bein, a pilot is an occupation that holds huge responsibility because it is not just sitting and staring out the window. Being a pilot requires you to be attentive all the time; you have to keep asking questions to clarify any doubt.
Prioritizing tasks and safety management are really important. If your captain is making a mistake, you have to take the lead and correct him. Lastly, your behaviour towards other crew members is also very important. Several psychometric and crew management tests are taken before becoming a professional pilot.
Being a pilot is a fulfilling journey and prepares you professionally and mentally for the same. You have to be always prepared for the worse situations like faulty instruments, engine issues, and emergency landings. Hence, it is very important to make decisions quickly and act according to what the situation demands.