Different Types Of Pilot Certifications

One of the things that confuse rookie pilots the most is the range of pilot qualifications and ratings. And you might assume they are all the same unless someone specifically explains the difference between a rating and a certificate. This post will tell you that they’re not. A pilot certificate also called a pilot’s license, is different from a rating. The following is a list of the six main categories of pilot certifications.

Sports Pilot

Sport pilot is the easiest and least difficult certification a student can obtain. It is designed for pilots who only want to fly low-altitude, light aircraft locally. Sport pilot licenses can be gained in a variety of categories, such as powered parachute, glider, rotorcraft, and lighter-than-air. Sport pilots are limited to one passenger per flight, are not allowed to fly at night, are not allowed to soar above 10,000 feet, and are not allowed to operate in Class B, C, or D airspace. The benefit of a sport pilot certificate is that only 20 hours of training are necessary, and most applicants are not required to obtain an FAA medical certificate.

Recreational Pilot

Due to the advent of the sport pilot certificate, the recreational pilot certificate is now considerably less common than the sport pilot or private pilot certificate. Still, it’s a viable option for pilots who are interested in expanding their skillset beyond those gained in sport pilot training but don’t feel they have the time or interest to pursue more advanced certification. To be eligible for the recreational pilot certificate, at least 30 hours of flight time, including 15 hours of dual instruction, must be logged. Recreational pilots must avoid prohibited airports, fly only during the day, and stay within 50 nautical miles of their departure airport (class B, C, and D airspace).

Civil Pilot

The private pilot certificate is the most typical type of pilot’s license. Private pilots can do more, such as flying at night and out of controlled airports, due to the greater training requirements that come with the job. Private pilots are free to operate any type of aircraft in the appropriate class. Similar to leisure and sports pilots, private pilots are not permitted to fly for hire or to be paid for their services. Private pilot training, which also involves a range of techniques, requires at least 40 flight hours, 20 of which must be with an instructor.

Commercial Pilot

To charge customers for flying services, one needs a commercial pilot’s license. Since planned flights are subject to separate laws, commercial pilots must also abide by any additional federal aviation requirements applicable to commercial flying activities. Being able to pilot complex aircraft with features like retractable landing gear, flaps, and a controllable-pitch propeller is essential for a career in commercial aviation. Commercial pilot training also has to focus on improving accuracy and knowledge of commercial flight operations.

Aviation Teacher

The next step for pilots who wish to expand their flying time or pursue a career in the profession is typically to obtain a flight instructor certificate or raaus instructor rating. Although some pilots choose to forgo acquiring their flight instructor certificate, many do so since it enables them to gain experience while making a living through flying. To become a flight instructor, you must complete all the necessary coursework in commercial pilot topics, instructional design, and learning theory. With the flight instructor certification, pilots can teach others how to fly while gaining the knowledge necessary to work for an airline.

Airline Pilot

The most advanced pilot credential, the ATP (airline transport pilot) is required for commercial aircraft. An ATP certificate is required for all commercial airlines. An ATP certificate requires that a pilot has logged at most 1,500 hours and is at least 23 years of age. For military pilots or university graduates, a restricted ATP is available with fewer qualifications. There are many types of pilot certificates or licenses. Not to be confused or endorsements or ratings, which are separate training requirements that allow pilots to perform different types of flying such as instrument flying. A certificate can have additional features. More information about ratings will follow.


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