While it might have been your childhood dream to fly through the skies and become a pilot, it needs longer than you might have expected. Making a career choice to fly in the skies comes ridden with challenges galore while also being dotted with specific requirements.

Unless you understand the specifics involved in pilot training, pilot classes and learning the technicalities of flying high–your career path might just appear hazy.

Here is a brief look into how the technicalities around the timelines of becoming a professional pilot play around. Take a look.

Beginnings First

To begin with, the kind of pilot you want to become is the first decider in understanding the timing of becoming one. The amount of time involved in learning to fly a specific plane varies among the model type. Moreover, there are license concerns and considerations too to take into account. Additionally, you must take into account the flight school quality too. There are so many different grades and accreditations involved in these schools that one wrong choice can land you in hot water.

Types Of Licenses

There are several types of licenses involved with flying professionally. The most common ones include-
  • Recreational Pilot
  • Commercial Pilot
  • Student Pilot
  • Airline Transport Pilot
  • Sport Pilot
  • Private Pilot
Each specific type has definite requirements and also separate qualifications and flying hours required. You need to begin right, as experts in the domain always suggest. Never plan on taking shortcuts or choosing a school that is below par. A strong foundational education matters more than you anticipate, even for private pilot licenses.

In ideal terms, pilot career paths take about four years to the coming full cycle. However, certified schools matter more than one that isn’t certified right.

Student Certificate

Flying as a student pilot is the first step to becoming a professional one. You must get certified instructor training while also completing the FAA knowledge test for the student pilots to become one. The minimum age for cutoff here is 16 years, and you need to qualify for the third class of the FAA medical certificate. The student pilot certificate is valid for a couple of years.

Sports Pilot Certificate

To be certified as or tagged sports pilot, you need to own a student certificate with a flying log of 20 hours. The certification permits you to fly aircraft that have the following features-
  • Light sport aircraft or LSA
  • Maximum landing configuration of 51 mph
  • Level and straight, flying up to 138 mph
  • Maximum of two seats
  • The propeller of fixed pitch grade or ground adjustable grade
  • Landing gear that is fixed
However, the sports pilot certification prohibits you from flying-
  • After it gets dark
  • In any controlled airspace
  • Anywhere outside the US without permission from the country concerned
  • More than 10,000 feet
  • Having passengers on board
  • The visibility that is lesser than 3 miles
  • In any LSA above 100 mph without any training
  • Property for payment

Recreational Pilot Certificate

Having recreational pilot certificates comes with more restrictions than is the case with a private pilot certification. You have to be at least 17 years old to get the above. Additionally, you must have sports or a student certificate. Besides this, you must log at least 30 hours of flight time. Of these hours, 15 must be training hours.

As a recreational pilot, you cannot-
  • Fly more than 50 nautical miles from an airport wherein there is a training facility.
  • Fly-in airspaces that need communication with traffic control
  • Fly during the night
  • Have a maximum of 4 seats
  • Earn money as a pilot
  • Fly any more than 1 passenger
However, this certification sets you to fly in the air space more quickly than a private pilot certificate.

Summing Up

It depends on your flying goals, what you plan in terms of career-building, and what certification choice you choose to take. Opt for one that best fulfils your ambitions.