✨ Fill and validate PDF forms with InstaFill AI. Save an average of 34 minutes on each form, reducing mistakes by 90% and ensuring accuracy. Learn more

Achieving Your Dreams of Flying: How to Become a Commercial Pilot

February 17, 2023 · 5 min read

Becoming a commercial pilot is a dream for many aspiring aviators. The thrill of flying, the excitement of travel, and the prestige that comes with being a pilot are just some of the reasons why people choose this career path. If you're interested in pursuing a career as a commercial pilot, this article will guide you through the steps you need to take to make your dream a reality.

Step 1: Obtain a Private Pilot License (PPL)

The first step to becoming a commercial pilot is to obtain a private pilot license (PPL). This license is required before you can progress to more advanced flight training. To obtain a PPL, you'll need to complete ground school training. This program typically involves both ground school training and flight training. During ground school, you'll learn about aerodynamics, weather patterns, navigation, and aviation regulations. Flight training involves hands-on experience flying a small aircraft.

You'll also need to log at least 40 hours of flight time, including at least 20 hours of solo flight time.  This time will help you develop your flying skills and increase your confidence as a pilot.

After completing these requirements, you'll need to pass a written exam and a practical flight test with an FAA-designated examiner. This exam covers a range of topics, including aerodynamics, navigation, weather, and aviation regulations. The FAA written exam is a comprehensive test, and it's important to study thoroughly to ensure you pass.

Once you've completed the flight training and passed the written exam, you'll need to take a practical test known as a checkride. During the checkride, a certified FAA pilot will evaluate your flying skills and make sure you meet the standards set by the FAA.

Even after earning your private pilot's license, it's important to continue your education and training. This can include taking additional flight courses, attending aviation conferences and workshops, and staying up-to-date with the latest aviation regulations and technologies. Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA)  is a nonprofit organization that provides a range of services and resources for pilots, including flight training, safety seminars, and advocacy. They also offer a variety of online courses and webinars on topics such as weather, aerodynamics, and instrument flying. 

Step 2: Acquire Flight Experience

Gaining additional flight experience is highly recommended and will help you build your flight skills and become a better pilot. You can do this by serving as a flight instructor, volunteering to fly with local organizations, or flying as a private pilot. The more flight experience you have, the better equipped you'll be to progress to the next step in your aviation career.

Step 3: Obtain a Commercial Pilot License (CPL)

Once you have completed your PPL and gained additional flight experience, you can begin working towards your commercial pilot license (CPL). To obtain a CPL, you'll need to complete advanced ground school training that covers advanced flight techniques, navigation, and aviation regulations. You'll also need to log a minimum of 250 hours of flight time, including 100 hours of cross-country flight time and 50 hours of solo flight time. After meeting these requirements, you'll need to pass a written exam and a practical flight test with an FAA-designated examiner. Aviation Seminars  is a provider of FAA-approved test preparation courses for pilots, including courses for the private pilot's license, instrument rating, and commercial pilot's license. They also offer online courses and webinars on a variety of aviation topics.

Step 4: Meet Medical Requirements

The FAA requires that commercial pilots meet specific medical requirements, including good eyesight and hearing. You'll need to complete a medical exam with an FAA-approved doctor and provide a detailed medical history. Once you have met these requirements, you'll be issued a Class 1 medical certificate, which is required to fly as a commercial pilot.

Step 5: Complete Specialized Training

To fly for a commercial airline, you'll need to complete an Airline Transport Pilot (ATP) certificate program, which requires a minimum of 1,500 flight hours. This program is designed to teach you advanced flight techniques and prepare you for a career as a commercial airline pilot.  You'll also learn advanced navigation skills, including air traffic control procedures, route planning, and communication techniques.

In addition to advanced flight techniques, you'll also learn about the latest aviation regulations and standards. This includes understanding and complying with FAA rules and regulations, as well as regulations set by other aviation authorities

This training can be completed at a flight school or through a regional airline's pilot training program and covers advanced flight techniques, navigation, and aviation regulations. Both options have their advantages and disadvantages, so it's important to choose the one that best suits your needs and goals. National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) - is a membership organization that represents the business aviation industry. They offer a range of resources for pilots, including training and education programs, conferences and events, and industry news and updates. 

Step 6: Acquire a Job with an Airline

After obtaining the necessary licenses and training, you can start looking for job opportunities with airlines. To be hired, you'll typically need to pass a written and flight examination, as well as an interview with the airline. Keep in mind that competition for these positions can be high, and it may take time to find a job.

Step 7: Maintain Your License

Commercial pilots must meet ongoing requirements to maintain their license, including passing regular flight checks, completing ongoing training programs, and renewing their medical certificate regularly. Additionally, pilots must meet any requirements set by the aviation authority in their jurisdiction, including passing regular flight tests and participating in regular training programs.

Note: The specific requirements for obtaining a commercial pilot license may vary depending on your country of residence and the aviation authority you are working with. It is important to research the requirements in your jurisdiction and consult with a professional flight training provider to ensure you meet all necessary qualifications.

by Yevheniia Osmakova

Was this helpful?