Pilot license and certification
Pilot’s licenses and certificates refer to permits for the operation of aircraft. These can be provided by the Civil Aviation Authorities in both countries to confirm a particular set of knowledge and experience requirements. Despite efforts to harmonize the requirements between nations, the diverse certification practices and standards from place to place serve to limit the full international validity of the national qualifications. In addition, United States Pilots have not licensed pilots but Certified Pilots though sometimes the word license is also used informally. Legally pilot certificates may be revoked by administrative action while driving licenses require interference in court. The word license.
When you first got the vision to become a pilot, how did you see yourself? For some of us, it is at the controls of a jumbo jet operated by one of the big airline companies flying from one exotic location to another and having the power and responsibility for that billion-dollar airplane and hundreds of lives.
For others, it’s being a private pilot for a small airline flying rich people around or just flying for your own pleasure. You are free, literally “like a bird” to glide over the world gazing down and deciding where you might land before taking to the air again. These are fun images and even as you work your way through flight school and then start “paying your dues” in the airline industry to work toward your goal, it’s good to keep the dream so you always have the next rung of the latter ahead and you never give up.
It’s good to have a firm idea of who you want to be as a pilot because it actually affects the kind of pilot certification you will go for after flight school. So understanding the different kinds of certification and what is required to meet the requirements for that level of responsibility can be important. Of course, your goals may change the longer you stay in your career as a pilot. But if you know going in what is required, you can tailor and customize your training and preparations around your goals.
There are actually six levels of pilot certification, one of which you may already have. If you are already in flight school and you have gotten to the point that you are taking training flights and handling the craft yourself, you had to already get a student pilot certificate. All pilots’ certifications have requirements and restrictions so obviously as a student pilot, you can only operate an airline in the instructional setting and not on your own except for your final solo flights as authorized by the school.
Just above the student level but a pilot’s certification that you can use for your own purposes are the sports and the recreational pilot’s license. These certifications are less restrictive than the student’s license but you will be limited to fly only in good weather conditions and strong daylight, that your distances will be limited as will the type of aircraft. You can also only have one passenger with a student license. What the FAA has created in the sports and recreational licenses are certifications that allow for some enjoyment level flying but are not certified at a high enough level to make being a pilot your career.
The top three levels of pilot’s licenses are the private pilot license, the commercial pilot, and the airline transport license. The names are fairly self-explanatory. Often new pilots try to reach the private pilot level before going on for the more demanding higher-level licenses. With a private pilot license, you can operate a much greater variety of aircraft including helicopters and balloons and you can use your pilot’s license as part of your job although you cannot be paid for flying. So your job may be crop dusting and you are paid for that and your ability to fly a small aircraft is in connection with your job.
Obviously, the commercial pilot’s certification and the airline transport pilot’s license are the ones you would go for to be able to fly the big jets. But you may never need to get that far. To evaluate your goals and target your certification accordingly. In that way, you are using your training time well and when you have reached the level you aspire to, you will get that sense of satisfaction that you are a pilot who is realizing the dream.
PRIVATE PILOT LICENSE | Start to Finish | Full Process Explained
In 2001, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) issued new rules about pilot certification. The new rules were an effort to increase safety; for instance, they required more hours of flying before a pilot could fly solo. But the new rules added a lot of complexity. The FAA tried to make them as simple as possible, but the details were hard to settle.
One sticking point was whether a pilot could fly a single-engine plane. The new rules allowed that, but the FAA had never before certified a single-engine plane.
Boeing, which was making the new plane, thought the FAA should require its pilots to be certified for single-engine planes. But the FAA thought that pilots needed to be certified for multi-engine planes, and since Boeing wasn’t making multi-engine planes, the FAA couldn’t require its pilots to be certified for them. The rules weren’t clear; neither side could agree on what the rules should be.
Finally, after two years of argument, the FAA gave Boeing an exemption. It did not require Boeing’s pilots to be certified for single-engine planes. But the FAA had decided that pilots could fly single-engine planes, and even if they didn’t, the exemption didn’t change that.
Boeing’s pilots would be certified for single-engine planes, but the FAA did not have the authority to require certification. So Boeing’s pilots would not be certified for multi-engine planes, and the FAA did not have the authority to require certification for them.
One of the most valuable skills you can have in this economy is flying. As our cities get bigger and more people to move in, and as air travel becomes ever cheaper, more people will be flying.
Pilot certification in the United States
One of the things that have bothered me about flying is that the pilot certification system in the United States is a mess.
There are 20 different flight schools that teach pilot training, and 20 different exams that are the licenses to fly. So when you run into a bad weather situation, you don’t have enough pilots to fly the plane.
The FAA is trying to fix things by standardizing the exam, but the problem is that the exam is not standardized. It’s highly subjective, and the examiners do what they want.
My motivation for writing this book is that there’s a certain percentage of people who rise to the level of being really good pilots. They work hard at learning the skills, and they do really well on the exams. But for some reason, they don’t get hired.
It’s like that because the FAA uses subjective exams, not objective ones. You get one opportunity to pass the exam, and then that’s it. You can’t improve.
In Switzerland, it’s difficult enough to get a license to fly and to get hired to fly. The FAA has an easier time because there’s a higher success rate on the exams. So the FAA is left with a pool of people who can’t pass the exams, but who are really good at flying.
In Switzerland, you have to pass 10 exams, and 80% of them have to be passed to get a license. And you have to pass a recurrent exam every year. So if you fail one exam, you can retake it. And you can fail as many times as you want. So they do keep improving, and they do get hired.
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