The Paths to Becoming a Commercial Pilot

By: York Galland

Commercial pilots have various paths to licensure. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) requires that commercial pilots hold at least a private pilot certificate, pass a knowledge exam, demonstrate skills in a practical flying test, and accrue a set amount of flying experience, depending on the type of aircraft and commercial class rating desired. Those interested in becoming a commercial pilot must therefore first obtain their private pilot license by attending a flight school or seeking an equivalent form of training. These schools may also offer training for operating a smaller commercial aircraft. To learn how to fly jets and passenger airliners, potential pilots must generally attend one of the few schools that specialize in advanced pilot education. Most of these schools are found in the southern states, where pilots in training may fly in good conditions all year. Those who wish to fly passenger airliners for a major company often must complete that airline’s proprietary flight school.

Cost hinders a number of people from obtaining their pilot’s license at any level, since school tuition has become very high. For those unable to make such a large investment, the Air Force offers a free way of learning how to fly many different types of aircraft. Since the service will have paid for the newly minted pilot’s education, he or she must fly with the Air Force for a set number of years. Afterward, the pilot possesses the education and experience necessary for flying several commercial aircraft and would need to take only a few short courses to learn how to operate other commercial planes.

For more insight into becoming a commercial pilot, check out the following video: