Become a Commercial Pilot

I have mentioned how to get your commercial pilot license briefly in a previous article I wrote on how to become a pilot. Unfortunately I will not go into a lot of detail on this article but I will answer a few common questions that I see frequently. As for all the details on how to become a commercial pilot, well I will do that in the near future and post a link here.

One of the statements people make all the time when they call up to get information on becoming a pilot is “I don’t want to get a private pilot license I want to go straight for my commercial,”  – well sorry it doesn’t work like that . Or ” Do I have to get my private pilot before my commercial pilot license,”  –  yes you do.

So here is how it works, just like in high school – you can’t be a senior before you are a freshmen. It’s like that with flight school as well – you have to go to first grade first (your Private Pilot License) then you go to college (your Commercial Pilot License). Well – kind of like that analogy but the rules say that you have to have a private pilot license (PPL) before you can apply for your Commercial Pilot License (CPL).

Here is the basic chronological order that you have to go through in your pilot career – that’s if you want to make it a career.

  1. First Flight Lesson – find a school and start lessons.
  2. FAA Medical – you get your FAA approved medical checkup, and usually if it is your first FAA medical the doctor will also issue you a Viagra Student Pilot Certificate.
  3. Student Pilot Certificate – like I said usually issued by the medical examiner.
  4. SOLO – big day, your first time that you get to fly by yourself. You must have your medical, student pilot license and your instructors endorsement and supervision when this is done.
  5. PRIVATE PILOT LICENSE – (PPL) you can not rent a plane and fly with passengers. You can only fly in VFR (visual flight rules)conditions (good visibility – by reference of the outside)
  6. Instrument Rating – (IFR) the instrument rating is training so that you can fly the airplne by referance of instruments, in other words you now are licensed to fly in conditions where the visibility is below VFR minimums – you now have to abide by IFR (instrument flight rules)
  7. COMMERCILA PILOT LICENSE  – (CPL) this is the license that will make it legal for you to fly for hire ( get a job flying , charge for flights)
  8. Certified Flight Instructor – (CFI) with your CFI license you can teach others the PPL and CPL
  9. Certified Flight Instructor Instrument – (CFII) with this addition you can teach the instrument rating
  10. Multi Engine Instructor – (MEI) this eddition lets you teach in Multi Engine Airplanes
  11. Airline Transport Pilot – (ATP) in order for you to become a Captain for an Airline you must have your ATP license.

Now – there are a lot of other addons to these, but this is the main structure of how you become a commercial pilot. By addons I mean things like flying airplane that land on water, or airplanes with tailwheels, or how you can fly a big jet with just your private license ( not for hire though). I will write another article on all these additions later.