Becoming an Aviation Pilot
In the United States, a person has to have a pilot license through the Federal Aviation Administration in order to operate any aircraft. Pilot.s licenses come in various levels and Private Pilot is the most basic license. This license permits a holder to pilot any type of aircraft in the United States as well as carry passengers. Private Pilots cannot make money flying aircraft nor can they carry cargo or passengers for compensation. Although certain restrictions apply, the pilot can share some expenses with their passengers. In order to obtain this license, an individual must pass a medical examination, meet instruction requirements from a certified instructor, pass a 100 question exam, and pass a flying test provided by an examiner approved by the Federal Aviation Administration.
The first step in becoming a pilot is to decide what type of aircraft you would like to fly. The rules the Federal Aviation Administration has in place for obtaining a certificate or licenses differ according to various types of aircraft. Choices include balloons, helicopters, airships, gyroplanes, gliders, and airplanes. Ultralight vehicles will not require a pilot license. Another consideration is the type of flying you are interested in. Pilot licenses vary from student pilots up to airline transport. The following information will discuss various requirements to becoming a pilot including testing, experience, training, and eligibility for students, private, and recreational pilots.
Certifications for pilots start at the basic, student pilot, privilege level. This gives those learning to fly the privilege to fly on their own but under limited circumstances. A sport pilot license authorizes a pilot to only fly light-sport aircraft. A recreational pilot can fly aircraft up to horsepower of 180 and with four seats, but this is a recreational license and is for daytime only. A private pilot license allows an individual fly for personal business or pleasure without compensation. A commercial pilot can be hired or compensated for flying but restrictions apply. An airline transport pilot can act as a pilot in command for a scheduled airline. Pilots are rated in categories which include airplane, lighter than air, rotorcraft, powered lift, lighter than air, glider, powered parachute, and weight/shift/control. If the categories are broken down further, the pilot has to be rated in that class in order to operate that aircraft.
The testing required for pilots will vary depending on the type of aircraft you will be flying and the type of flying that will be done. For example, commercial airplane pilots will have three hours to take a 100 question test which must be passed with a score of 70 at the least. Any applicant under the age of 18 will have to have permission from parents. Every applicant must have valid and current proof of identification. If a person would like to test for a higher score, they can do so after 30 days.
Before obtaining a pilot license a person must meet certain training requirements depending on the license level. For instance, those applying for private pilot certification must have received ground training from a certified instructor. They have to be knowledgeable in FAA regulations, the procedures of radio communication, and the safe, efficient operation of the chosen aircraft. They must be proficient in takeoffs and landings, preflight procedures, navigation, and emergency operations. They will also need a certain amount flying experience through a flight school. This is just a basic list of training requirements to help you get an idea of what you will need to learn before you can become an aviation pilot.
Other Interesting, Educational Resources for Aviation Enthusiasts
The following links provide a little aviation history including women in aviation such as Amelia Earhart as well as a few other links you may find to be of interest.