Sunday 5 April 2020


-        Debasmita Das

In the world of undergoing cliché of certain people saying airplanes fly themselves, it becomes necessary to put dire importance on the fact that it requires a great deal of investment of time and money for mastering the technical expertise and nitty gritty. It should be understood that flying an airplane isn’t the toughest, rather preparing for it requires dedication and hard work.
The technical aspects of piloting an aircraft—even large, commercial jets—can be mastered by most anyone committed to doing so, but being put in charge of an airplane, its crew, and passengers, and its cargo is about more than just those technical aspects. Gaining the necessary experience requires a significant investment of time and money. So, in addition to flight experience, a well-rounded education is important for prospective airline pilots. Airlines also value pilots who have experience flying for the military and the leadership skills that often come with that.
 Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Requirements
There is a requirement to hold an Airline Transport Pilot (ATP) certificate for getting hired by an airline as a first officer—or, co-pilot.
The other requirements aside passing the applicable knowledge and practical tests are as follows:
·      Be at least 23-years old
·      Hold a commercial pilot certificate with an instrument rating
·      Have recorded at least 1,500-hours total time as a pilot
·      Have recorded at least 50 hours in a multi-engine airplane
Prospective candidates should keep in mind that the above requirements can’t be fulfilled just by studying in a university or institute. A common path toward earning the necessary hours and gaining valuable experience is working as a flight instructor.

The same option won’t be suitable for everyone. It requires customisation according to the suitability. A few ways to go about it would be as follows:
1. Part 61 or Part 141 Flight School: Flight schools are categorized as Part 61 flight schools or Part 141 flight schools. These refer to FAA regulations, and Part 61 details the requirements for the certification of pilots, while Part 141 describes the regulations surrounding pilot schools. Part 61 flight instruction is the least regulated, making it the most informal and often the least expensive option. Instructors at Part 61 schools can conduct training in the manner they choose, without much oversight from the FAA. Part 141 flight schools, on the other hand, must adhere to a strict training outline that has been approved by the FAA. Both training methods might offer a casual, at-your-own-pace environment, but Part 141 training is known to be a bit more fast-paced. Most flight schools offer training on nights and weekends.
2. Aviation College or University: The obvious benefit of attending a college or university with an aviation program is to earn a four-year degree while learning to fly. Coursework consists of aviation-related classes geared toward career pilots, and the quality of training is high. Universities might provide students with professional experience and the most up-to-date technology and equipment in the country. The disadvantage of collegiate programs is the cost, but scholarships and other types of financial aid are available to help offset tuition and flight costs. Consider joining a professional aviation organization in your community, such as the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) or the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA). They often offer scholarships and free training seminars.
3. Aviation Academy: Aviation academies offer a way for students to gain the required pilot certificates and knowledge in a short amount of time. These programs often train people to be airline pilots in a year or two with condensed coursework and intense airline-oriented training under a Part 141 program. Many times, these companies partner with airlines to offer guaranteed job interviews to graduates. The biggest drawback is the cost, as aviation academies are the most expensive option.
4. Military Aviation Career: A military aviation career can ease the financial burden of flight training, with the trade-off being about a 10-year commitment to the military. Since the cost of training is covered, this a desirable option for some. In addition to the financial benefits, military pilots can enjoy traveling the world while gaining experience flying large aircraft. Becoming a military pilot means facing stringent acceptance requirements, both physically and mentally. The drawbacks of becoming a military pilot include the long commitment, a lot of time away from home, and the likelihood of deployments. When the commitment is complete, the job outlook generally is very good since military experience is highly desired by airline recruiters. 

Pilot licensing or certification refers to permits for operating aircraft. They are issued by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) in each country, establishing that the holder has met a specific set of knowledge and experience requirements. This includes taking a flying test. The certified pilot can then exercise a specific set of privileges in that nation's airspace. Despite attempts to harmonize the requirements between nations, the differences in certification practices and standards from place to place serve to limit full international validity of the national qualifications. In addition, U.S. pilots are certified, not licensed, although the word license is still commonly used informally. Legally, pilot certificates can be revoked by administrative action, whereas licensing (e.g., a driver's license) requires intervention by the judiciary system.
There are several main classifications for FAA pilot licenses, certificates, and ratings. The most common are Private Pilot (PPL), Instrument Rating (IR), Commercial Pilot (CPL), Airline Transport Pilot (ATP), Multi-Crew Pilot (MCP), Certified Flight Instructor (CFI). The Multi-Engine Rating (ME) is also common, and there are popular certificates such as Sport and Recreational.
Though the Private Pilot License is the most sought after, but there are others that can also be given a thought.
1. Student Pilot License:
A student pilot certificate/license authorizes you to take flight instruction from a licensed instructor. This is the first step toward earning an actual PPL. To obtain a Student Pilot Certificate, which allows to pursue flight training, there is need to meet some basic eligibility requirements. First of all, one must be 16 years of age. Also, one must be able to proficiently read, speak, and understand English. This is because English has been designated as the universal language in aviation.
Next, have to complete an application through Integrated Airman Certification and Rating Application (IACRA). Submit this to any Flight Standards District Office (FSDO), an FAA pilot examiner, an airman certification representative at a part 141 flight school (such as Epic Flight Academy), or a Certified Flight Instructor (CFI). The application will be processed and submitted with the required documents to the Airmen Certification Branch (ACB). Once it has been reviewed by ACB, one can expect to receive the student pilot certificate by mail in approximately three weeks.
Becoming a student pilot also requires a medical certificate from an Aviation Medical Examiner (AME). Find an examiner near to schedule your medical exam.
When student pilot certificate and medical certificate are obtained, begin training.

2. Private Pilot License:
This is the most common type of pilot license issued by the FAA. In order to obtain the FAA private pilot license one must log a minimum of 35 hours of varied flight time, pass the written tests, pass the FAA check-ride, and hold a valid driver’s license.
An FAA PPL certificate allows to fly in most single-engine airplanes and aircraft, although some additional instrument rating tests may be required for more advanced aircraft or if one wishes to be rated to fly under Instrument Flight Rules (IFR). With a PPL, one will be authorized to fly alone or with other people, but there might not be compensation for flying or taking people on flights.

3. Commercial Pilot License:
The commercial pilot license (CPL) allows to be paid for pilot services. In order to receive the CPL, there is a need to meet the following FAA CPL certificate requirements.
One must be at least 18 years old, speak and understand English proficiently, pass all exams, and log a minimum of 250 hours of varied flight time. To work as a CPL, there is a need of 2nd Class Medical Certificate. Also, a Certified Flight Instructor (CFI) should write an endorsement stating one is a sound pilot and have passed the ground school courses. One must also pass the check-ride with an FAA instructor, have a current medical license, and, if one wants to fly more advanced aircraft, there is a need to pass a multi-engine check ride. Please note that in order to fly in inclement weather, they will need to take and pass an instrument rating (IFR) course.

4. Airline Transport Pilot License:
The Airline Transport Pilot License is what is needed to fly for the major airlines. If one is interested in becoming a commercial airline pilot in the United States or becoming a commercial airline pilot outside of the United States, one will need to complete the first two types of pilot licenses (PPL and CPL) before one can earn the Airline Transport Pilot certification (ATP). To earn the commercial airline transport pilot license, one will need to meet the following FAA ATP requirements. They must be at least 23 years old, have a valid driver’s license, pass all exams and tests, pass the flight exams, log more than 1500 hours of flight time (in the U.S.) in various weather conditions and in numerous types of aircraft, pass the IR courses and ground school courses, pass all medical and eye exams, and be of sound body and mind.

5. Commercial Multi-Engine Land Certification:
One can add the multi-engine rating to PPL or CPL. With the CMEL certification, one will be authorized to fly twin-engine aircraft. To earn this rating, they are required to fly specific manoeuvres in a twin-engine aircraft.  A training in a multi-engine Piper Seminole training aircraft is conducted, which is defined as “complex” because it has a constant speed propeller and retractable landing gear. The course covers topics such as slow flight, stalls, and VMC demos, focusing on proper procedures for complex emergency situations.
6. Multi-Engine Instructor:
MEI certifies to teach students who want to become certified to fly multi-engine aircraft. They will also be authorized to endorse multi-engine candidates to take their FAA oral and practical exams. The MEI training requires to have already earned CPL and taken 10 hours of ground school and 10 hours of flight training. As with all ratings, one will have to pass a check ride.
7. Instrument Rating:
Instrument rating refers to the qualifications that a pilot must have in order to fly under instrument flight rules (IFR). It requires specific training and instruction beyond what is required for a private pilot certificate or commercial pilot certificate, including rules and procedures specific to instrument flying, additional instruction in meteorology, and more intensive training in flight solely by reference to instruments.
Testing consists of a written exam and a practical test (also known as a check ride). The check ride is divided into an oral component to verify that the applicant understands the theory of instrument flying and an actual flight to ensure the pilot possesses the practical skills required for safe IFR flight.
For most private pilots, the most significant value of flying under IFR is the ability to fly in instrument meteorological conditions (such as inside clouds). Additionally, all flights operating in Class A airspace, defined in the US as the airspace from 18,000 MSL up to FL 600 (roughly 60,000 feet), must be conducted under IFR. In the United States, an instrument rating is required when operating under special visual flight rules (SVFR) at night.

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