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Getting a Pilot's License: Giving Real Wings to Dreams

Obtaining a pilot’s license is possible for most. Whether you fly for profit or for pleasure, whether you fly in a motored craft or float on air currents, make your dreams a reality. Get a pilot’s license and let your soul soar!




Guest Post by JC Ryan
When dreams fly above the clouds, getting a pilot’s license can turn wishes into reality. The Federal Aviation Administration requires everyone who flies standard fixed-wing, rotary-bladed aircraft or non-motored aircraft to earn and maintain training and certification on the type and class of craft being flown. Each subset requires individual certification and training.

Types of Licences

The first delineation of licensing rests between recreational, private, commercial and air transport pilots. Regardless of type of craft, the certification escalates as the risk to the pilot and others increases. Recreational pilots are not responsible for hundreds of passengers, but commercial pilots must undergo extensive, intensive and ongoing flight certification training.
Another license level or type division lies in the type of aircraft. Helicopter pilots undergo different training than fixed-wing pilots, and balloonists, glider or airship pilots must meet requirements that are altogether different from rotary or fixed-winged craft.
Step One: Determine which type of license you want and what type of craft you wish to pilot.

Levels of Training

The level of training a student undergoes depends on the type of craft and the intent behind the license or license class level.

First Class Licenses

First class licenses pertain to both airplane and helicopter licensing and are for airline transport pilots and is the highest level of licensing available. FAA requirements include a minimum age of 23 years and have a minimum of 1500 flying hours. Airline pilot captains must have a first class license.
Helicopter qualifications for a first class license have the same basic requirements as for fixed-wing craft but pertain to a different type of aircraft.

Second Class Licenses

Second class licenses are earned by commercial pilots. The student must be at least 18 years old and possess a minimum of 250 flying hours. They must pass a physical exam and have 20/20 vision with or without corrective lenses. Applicants must also pass a written test, have instrument ratings, hear well and have no physical handicaps that could impair safe flying performance.

Third Class Licenses

Students, recreational and private pilots have third class pilot licenses. Student pilots must be at least 16 years old, and recreational and private pilots must be at least 17 years old.
Student pilot certificates are issued by only a pilot examiner authorized and designated by the FAA Flight Standard District Office or an FAA aviation safety inspector (ASI).
Students or private pilot must pass a Class 3 medical exam, attesting that the student or pilot has no uncorrectable vision issues, is not color blind and has no heart problems.
Step Two: Determine the level of licensing needed or available for the type of license and type of aircraft you want to fly.

Obtaining Training

If you already have one license and want to upgrade your certification, you should find it a simple task to continue the training with the right flight school. Simply review the school options available that will grant the additional certification and enroll. Continuing the dedication you have already shown, you stand a very good chance of earning ‘higher wings.’
If you are beginning your flight school journey, you can obtain a list of accredited flight schools and the flight accreditation and standing of individual instructors through the FAA Flight Standard District Office.
Investigate very closely the differences between schools, instructors, course lengths and completeness, and even costs.
While the initial certification received may be identical from school to school, being completely comfortable and confident in the instruction you will or are receiving lends long comfort and trust in your own emerging abilities.
Common training goals and standards for student pilots include three to six weeks of ground instruction and flight simulator training and 25 hours of flight training, including a check-in with an ASI.
Step Three: Commit yourself to the time and effort required for certification and find a flight school that meets your needs.

About the Author

JC Ryan is a freelance writer for MyCollegesandCareers.com. My Colleges and Careers helps people determine if an online education is right for them and helps them understand which online courses and online schools they can choose from to reach their goals.


One Response

03.14.11

I wish I could become a pilot and maybe one day I can learn how to fly.

About Wayne Farley

I am Wayne, a career air traffic controller with over 30 years of industry experience. Engage me while I share my thoughts, experience, and news from around the aviation world. A post titled “13 Characteristics of an Air Traffic Controller” written in 2010 went viral and established me as the unofficial ambassador of ATC.

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