We are all familiar with the phrase “I believe I can fly?” Although it does seem cliche, that’s a dream most of us had as children. Literally, we believed we could take to the skies one day on an airplane. Today, you have the opportunity to fulfill your lifelong dream of flying by learning what it takes to become a commercial pilot here in the USA.
However, becoming a commercial airline pilot is not like becoming a taxi driver; it is extremely competitive with lots of difficulties and flight training you would have to undergo to be certified to actually sit behind the controls of an aircraft. The road to becoming a pilot is not an impossible one; you can achieve it if you are determined and prepared to follow the training. So lets get started on how to become a commercial pilot in USA.
So What Does It Really Take To Become A Commercial Airline Pilot?
If you want to become a commercial airline pilot in United States, there are a few basic guidelines and requirements by FAA which you must have in order to be allowed to pilot a commercial jet. The tips here provide a step by step guide on how you can become a commercial airline pilot.
Though this is not a requirement by FAA, but it is a requirement to succeed. Your success or failure will base on how determined you are. If you are the type that normally gives up too easily, then find another career path before it is too late. The journey to becoming a commercial pilot in US has many hurdles which will test your resolve to achieve your dream. There are also setbacks you will encounter throughout your training period.
- Save and Set Some Money Aside
Training as a pilot can be very expensive, even with assistance from the military or school, the price is still on the high side. You need to save some money for your training. You also need to maintain a good financial record if you ever want to work for major corporations as they always conduct background checks which includes a look at your finances before they can employ you.
- Physically and Mentally Sound
FAA guidelines require that you must hold first or second-class medical certificate before you can obtain more than the most basic of their licenses. Piloting an airplane requires clear vision and agility. As such, you need a vision that can be corrected to 20/20 in order to become a certified pilot.
FAA also has age-limitation on the type of license you can have. As a 16 year old teenager, you can only hold a student license, then when you attain 18, you can have a commercial license and you get to hold an Airline Transport Pilot (ATP) license when you reach the age of 23 and above.
- Get College Education
Most Major Corporations will not hire a pilot without a college degree. Becoming a pilot is becoming increasingly competitive. In the past some companies did hire licensed pilots with just high school degree. The requirements have gotten harder in recent years, for most companies, at least 2 years of college education is required before they can employ you.
- Get Trained as a Pilot
Here comes the interesting part. You must get trained as a pilot and get a certificate before you can be allowed to fly. There are 2 ways you can do this. Either as a military person or as a civilian, whichever way you choose, you still need a recognizable certificate.
You can obtain your certificate by going to a flight school that is recognized and certified by the FAA. Before getting your CPL, you will need at least 190 hours of time logged; you can also get your Instrument Rating (IR) while you are at it.
Another way to get trained as a pilot is learning through a personal instructor that has been certified by the FAA. This can be a little pricey. You need about 250 hours of time logged.
- Take the FAA Written Exam and Get Your Certificate
Once you have completed your training as a pilot from a flight school, with many hours of flight time under your belt. The next step is to take FAA exam in order to obtain your license.
The requirements by FAA for getting a license include:
- You must be 18 years and above
- Second-class Medical certificate
- 250 hours of flight time
- Endorsement from your flight instructor that shows you’ve completed your ground trainings
- Score above seventy percent in FAA exam
- Pass Vision test which shows you have 20/20 corrected vision
- Pass multiple-engine check
Once you have met the FAA requirements, you will now get your Commercial Pilot License.
- Take Instrument Rating (IR) Training
As you wait to get your CPL (Commercial Pilot License) you can take a course on instrument rating, this is very important as you will not be allowed to fly on poor weather condition even with your CPL when you don’t have IR training.
With your certificate as FAA certified commercial pilot, you can seek for work in any corporation. Commercial airline pilots are well paid. Remember even with your CPL, you still need to look for ATP (Airline Transport Pilot) license in order to earn real money as a commercial pilot. To be eligible to obtain the ATP license, you are required to have at least 1500 flying hours, reached the age of 23 and have undergone the Instrument Training course and pass the tests. With your ATP license, you can live the life you have always dreamt of as a highly-paid commercial airline pilot in United States.