Becoming an airline pilot is a challenging and highly rewarding career. However, not every aspiring pilot ends up becoming one. Becoming certified to fly commercial aircraft is thorough and full of challenges. Moreover, the competition for jobs is intense.
But if you are determined to become an airline pilot, here’s what you need to know.
Set Your Goal
Before you sign up for flying lessons, determine whether or not becoming an airline pilot is really the best career choice for you. You might love to fly, but are you willing to commit to the necessary training and study? Make sure that this appeals to you before taking on the time, expense, and commitment to become an airline pilot.
Find the Right School
With aviation schools, there are always several options available. You can attend a private or commercial pilot training program at an aviation college, university, or vocational school. You can join the military center if you are eligible.
When choosing the right school for you, consider the following:
- What type of aircraft will you be flying?
- Will you need a college degree or a commercial license to fly?
- How much will it cost to complete your education and training at the school you are interested in?
Understand Part 61 and Part 141 Flight Training
The two most common FAA flight training programs available to would-be pilots are Part 61 and Part 141. Both forms of training are acceptable, although there are some nuances to consider before deciding on a training program.
- Part 61 Flight Training: This is typical for most general aviation pilots.
- Part 141 Flight Training: This is typical for most commercial pilots.
Hillsboro Aero Academy provides several airplane and helicopter training for budding professionals.
Test for a Commercial Pilot License
Before you can earn your Airline Transport Pilot (ATP) certificate, you must pass a series of written exams and flight tests. You cannot enter into an airline training program without having the necessary experience and credentials in place.
Earn Your ATP Certificate
To fly large passenger aircraft such as the Boeing 747 or Airbus A380, you must first earn your ATP certificate. To do this, you will need to complete some steps:
- Hold a commercial pilot license and instrument rating.
- Complete an FAA-approved airline transport pilot course (available at some flight schools and universities).
- Pass an airman medical exam (and any other medical requirements specific to the carrier you are applying with).
It is important to acquire all necessary certificates, ratings, and licenses in advance so that airlines can hire you as soon as possible. To do this, you will need to acquire an additional two certificates and one license:
- Carry a second-class medical certificate (held at all times).
- Obtain or hold a Multi-Engine Rating (if you wish to fly multi-engine aircraft such as the Beechcraft King Air 350).
- Obtain or hold a type rating (if your airline requires you to fly specific aircraft types).
Make the Most of Your Time at the Airline
You will not become an airline pilot overnight. It can take several years before you are offered a job as a captain. This is why you need to plan ahead and set yourself up for success.
Here are some tips:
- Start saving as much as possible, as soon as possible.
- Make the most of any opportunities to work with different airlines during training. Any experience will be very beneficial when it comes time for you to find a job with an airline.
- Work with an Aviation Recruiter.
The Bottom Line
The road to becoming an airline pilot is long and challenging, but the results are well worth it.
If you work hard at your studies and commit yourself to the process, you will be on your way to a rewarding and lucrative aviation career.
Now that you know how to become a pilot, go conquer the skies!