Commercial flying is a tough and difficult profession, yet it can also be tremendously rewarding. There are several chances to travel, find fulfillment at work, and have the opportunity to make a good living. Remember that becoming a commercial pilot entails extensive training and hands-on experience. You can find out more about this career option in this page, including the steps you can take to become a commercial pilot.
What Is it Like to Be a Commercial Pilot?
Experienced pilots claim that being in the cockpit of an airplane is quite exhilarating. The renowned aviator Amelia Earhart famously said that “the pull of flying is the lure of beauty” and that “the reason pilots fly, whether they know it or not, is the esthetic appeal of flying.” Amelia Earhart was the first woman to fly alone over the Atlantic Ocean.
A Pilot , who has been flying for more than 30 years, describes it as “simply pure bliss.” “It’s just enjoyable, but the truth is that becoming a pilot requires discipline and thoughtfulness because you’ll be trusted or entrusted with hundreds of passengers that want to travel from New York to LA.”
According to a Pilot, a pilot must exhibit the level of “professionalism” that encourages others to trust them with their lives. He asserts that air travel is a crucial mode of transportation.
“More people, more things, and more shipments have to be transported every day,” he claims. “Its endless industry is a wonderful feature. In the US, someone is continually taking to the skies for various reasons.”
What types of commercial pilots are there?
Although the most familiar image of a commercial pilot is one who flies passengers, most people don’t realize that there are other, even strange, vocations in this field. Pilots that fly for companies like UPS and FedEx are considered commercial pilots, for instance. Corporate piloting and flying for nonprofits like Angel Flight are two other commercial pilot vocations. Even the government can hire you to fly, perhaps for the Forest Service. There is a great demand for Certified Flight Instructors (CFIs), who are also regarded as commercial pilots due to the current pilot shortage.
The sky is the limit, whether you want to be a captain for Emirates, a fighter pilot for the U.S. Air Force, or a business jet pilot in India. You’d be surprised at how simple it is.
What is the work of a commercial pilot?
Commercial pilots control and pilot both passenger and cargo aircraft. They may also pilot aircraft used in search and rescue missions, depending on their training, background, and credentials. Some are in charge of flying charter planes, applying crop dusting, and taking aerial photographs.
A commercial pilot may perform the following tasks as part of their usual responsibilities:
- Follow a checklist for examining the engines and other systems of the aircraft before flight.
- Make sure the aircraft is properly weighed.
- Before leaving, check the weather, fuel prices, and flight schedules.
- Get takeoff and landing instructions by speaking with the control tower.
- turn on the engine, operate the controls, and fly the aircraft along a predetermined path.
- Keep an eye on the plane’s other systems’ performance and fuel usage
- Utilize the cockpit’s tools and controls to pilot the airplane.
- Maintain a smooth takeoff and landing
Larger airplanes typically have two pilots who are in charge of operating the craft. As the captain, the more seasoned pilot assumes control of the crew and the aircraft. The first officer, or second pilot, assists the captain in flying the aircraft and assumes control of it as necessary. Additionally, the first officer frequently interacts with the control tower and carries out corrective actions.
Commercial pilots must meticulously prepare every aspect of the flight, so they must be outstanding time managers. Takeoffs and landings are the most important phases of a flight, and both the captain and copilot must coordinate flawlessly during these phases.
Commercial pilots must have great vision and be able to judge distances to objects while keeping an eye on various aircraft systems at once. Pilots must pay great attention and constantly check the dials and gauges to make sure that everything is operating as intended because even a minor adjustment to the controls can have a huge impact on the motion and performance of the aircraft.
Commercial pilots must be able to converse with others clearly and unambiguously in accordance with aircraft etiquette since they are constantly in contact with the people running the control towers.
Commercial pilots are also expected to complete a report after landing outlining the flight’s occurrences and any problems or repairs that might need to be made.
Salary of Commercial Pilots and Job Prospects for Commercial Pilots
Salary ranges for commercial pilots might change depending on the position, level of experience, and organization. Additionally, salaries may change based on a person’s geographic or regional location.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for American airline pilots, copilots, and flight engineers was $147,220 in May 2019.
The BLS defines commercial pilots as those who are “involved in unscheduled flight activities, such as aerial application, charter flights, and aerial tours,” but it’s important to keep in mind that not all professional pilots work for an airline.
As a result, commercial pilot salaries are significantly lower than those of airline pilots. According to BLS data, the median annual salary for commercial pilots as of May 2019 was $86,080.
Aviation industry analysts state that switching from a regional airline to a major one isn’t always practical and that regional airlines often pay much less than major airlines like Delta Airlines Inc., American Airlines, and United Airlines. In addition, a pilot’s pay is significantly influenced by how senior they are within a given airline.
Experts claim that since seniority status is nontransferable from one airline to another, transferring between large airlines is discouraged for pilots.
Read If You Want…
- Civil Service Exam Requirements, Exam Pattern, Rules
- Benefits of Civil Service Employee (Salary, Insurance and Holidays)
How Expensive Is It to Become a Commercial Pilot?
Although the instruction is quick, can you afford it? The typical student spends roughly $70,000 and takes their whole program in about a year. This is the case if you have no prior experience. Time affects price. Your Private Pilot License will serve as your foundation before you pursue a CPL.
Then, you can decide how far you want to take it. Most people gain experience through training as a CFI or flying freight. Amazing offer! As you accrue hours, you get paid to fly! Once you have completed 1,500 hours in the US, you can choose whether you wish to work for a commercial airline that flies passengers.
In some nations, such as Colombia, you simply need to have clocked up to 250 hours. Please examine the hiring requirements.
Depending on how well students perform in their courses, the overall cost of training varies. The majority of students, on average, take 12 months to go from having no experience at all to receiving a CPL with instructor ratings.
Additionally, the price fluctuates based on a variety of variables, namely how long it takes you. However, the average price is about $70,000.
When you consider that the median annual salary for an airline pilot exceeds $140,000, this is a wise investment in your future.
How to Become a Commercial Pilot?
With the right instruction, almost anyone can learn to fly and operate an airplane. But there are particular procedures that must be followed in order to become a commercial pilot. To become a commercial pilot, you should take the following 9 actions:
- Research flight school and Get a private pilot certificate.
- Acquire an instrument rating.
- Obtain a commercial pilot license.
- Get your medical certificate
- Secure a flight instructor certificate (Get your FAA Student Pilot certificate)
- Get experience.
- Pass the “written.”
- Pass the check ride.
- Work as a commercial pilot.
9 Steps to Become a Commercial Pilot
1. Research flight school and Get a private pilot certificate.
Find a flying school that meets your demands and has a good reputation among its graduates. This is a significant step, so you want to choose wisely. There’s more to do when you apply and get accepted.
Obtaining a certificate as a private pilot is the first stage in becoming a commercial pilot. Learning the fundamentals of aviation and laying a strong basis for more complex aircraft operation are part of training and preparation for pilot certification. Most pilots begin their training in single-engine aircraft before moving on to larger, more sophisticated aircraft.
The average amount of training required to become a private pilot is 40 hours. 20 hours of classroom instruction and 20 hours of solo flight constitute the standard training regimen. An average private license costs $9,900, according to the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association.
2. Acquire an instrument rating.
Getting an instrument rating is the next step in the process of becoming a commercial pilot. Before being permitted to operate an aircraft under Instrument Flight Rules, a pilot must first get an instrument rating. Pilots who have earned an instrument rating are also qualified to fly in any weather. Training and instruction in instrument flying and meteorology are required to obtain an instrument rating.
3. Obtain a commercial pilot license.
Getting a license to fly commercially is the next stage. To be granted a license, candidates must fulfill all requirements for commercial airline pilots and fly a high-standard aircraft for at least ten hours. Additionally, they must log 250 flight hours or more, including 100 hours as the pilot in command and 50 hours of cross-country flying. A commercial pilot license typically costs around $20,000. Pilots can lawfully be paid for their services after acquiring a license.
4. Get your medical certificate
All aspiring pilots are required to pass an Aeromedical Examiner third class FAA medical examination (AME). A class 1 medical certificate is required if you want to become a commercial pilot.
5. Secure a flight instructor certificate (Get your FAA Student Pilot certificate)
This seals the deal! This is something you must apply for through IACRA in order to fly with your instructor.
Commercial pilots may occasionally need to earn a flying instructor certificate. As a result, there are more job options for pilots and they are eligible for several roles.
6. Get experience.
For many commercial pilot positions, actual flying experience is necessary. For instance, having a minimum of 1,500 hours of flight time is one of the prerequisites for obtaining an Airline Transport Pilot license, which is a requirement for all commercial pilots.
7. Pass the “written.”
The FAA Private Pilot Knowledge Test measures your understanding of aviation in topics like aerodynamics, weather, flight instruments, weather, etc. It is also referred to as the “written” test by student pilots.
8. Pass the check ride.
Your flying abilities and understanding of practical applications in the cockpit are evaluated by the FAA Private Pilot Practical Exam, generally known as the check ride. The last step is passing this. You have earned your private pilot’s license! About three months are needed to complete this process. You are now prepared to get your CPL!
9. Work as a commercial pilot.
You will be qualified to fly as a commercial pilot for an airline once you have received your licenses and accumulated the necessary number of flight hours. You can also qualify for the majority of regional and international commercial pilot opportunities by having professional experience working for an airline.
How long does Pilot School last, and what are the requirements for admission?
Aviation experts argue that since it is feasible to operate as a commercial pilot or a regional airline pilot without a four-year undergrad degree, the length of an aspirant pilot’s education depends on whether or not he or she pursues a bachelor’s degree. But analysts say that prospective large airline pilots must have a four-year college degree.
A Pilot points out that prospective students at flight schools are not required to have any kind of flying experience in order to enroll. He says that before being accepted into the U.S. Air Force Academy, he had no prior flying experience and had never even been in a plane.
He claims that when he left for college was the first time a pilot ever got on a plane.
A Pilot notes that this type of immersive learning experience typically occurs early in an aviation undergraduate’s college career so students can determine whether they’d like to fly planes or do something else related to planes. The true test for whether someone would make a good pilot comes when he or she takes a test flight, a pilot says.
How to Apply to a Flight School or Pilot School?
A pilot asserts that the application procedure for an aviation undergraduate program is comparable to that for other kinds of colleges. However, he advises potential aviation students to speak with people who are currently employed in the industry in order to determine whether this is a field they would like to work in.
One widespread fallacy, according to a pilot, is the notion that an aspirant pilot must be wholly committed to STEM fields rather than humanities-related academic degrees in order to be eligible for an aviation undergraduate institution.
Although those who “like working with machinery and technology” frequently succeed in the aviation industry, A pilot notes that those who excel in the liberal arts, such as music, can be a strong candidate for an aviation college and those with artistic tendencies can become pilots.
Being committed to succeed in the industry is the main requirement for being a successful pilot, according to a pilot, “since it is a tough career field, for sure.”
How Long Does It Take To Become a Commercial Pilot?
This is one of the queries we receive the most.
- Obtain your private pilot’s license first (PPL). As a result, you are now qualified to operate single-engine aircraft under Visual Flight Rules (VFR), putting you one step closer to becoming a commercial pilot. Takes three months.
- Obtain your Instrument Rating (IFR)—the next step in the process. This takes about two months and enables you to use flight instruments to fly in low visibility conditions.
- The next stage is to start your training as a commercial pilot. Both an 18-year-old and a 2nd Class Medical Certificate are requirements.
- Complete training to earn your Commercial Pilot License (CPL). This entails passing your FAA checkride, passing your written FAA test, and accumulating at least 250 hours of flight time, of which 100 hours must be spent as the Pilot-In-Command (PIC) and 50 hours must be spent flying cross-country. You have a commercial pilot’s license, congrats! It will take roughly 6 weeks for your CSEL (single-engine).
- You should also obtain your Multi-Engine rating. You may now pilot multi-engine airplanes thanks to this. It takes an additional six weeks to obtain your CPL with a multi-engine rating. So you went from having no pilot experience to becoming a Commercial Pilot in a total of 8 months!
What if I Finally Want to Work as an Airline Pilot?
The most frequent query we receive is this one!
By working as a flight instructor after receiving your CPL, you can accrue hours toward your Airline Transport Pilot License (ATPL). You must enroll in the CFI course in order to become an instructor. Before you can be recruited by a commercial airline in the United States, you must have logged 1,500 hours.
Being a CFI is an excellent way to accrue hours toward your goal of becoming a commercial airline pilot. To become an airline pilot, you need fewer hours acquired in other nations. For both domestic and foreign students, You need comprehensive training from nothing to an ATPL.
How Long Does It Take To Become an Airline Pilot
- Get your CFI rating first. You can teach and accrue hours this way. This will require at least two months.
- The following step is to obtain your CFII (Certified Flight Instructor – Instrument) rating. In three weeks, you can finish this.
- Take an additional 3 weeks to earn your MEI (Multi-Engine Instructor) certification.
- Record the hours necessary for an airline to hire you. Country to country variations exist in this. To find out how many hours you must accrue, contact the civil aviation authorities in your nation.