Here’s a guest post by Paul Guerrier with a good overview of getting started in aviation.
When you were a child, you probably dreamed of being a pilot. It’s rare that a person grows up uninterested in flying and then suddenly decides that he wants to fly. It’s a lifelong passion. Sadly many kids give up on it when they grow up, but you don’t have to. That dream can be a reality if you’re willing to work at it. While the process is difficult, it’s nowhere near impossible. The most important steps are finding the right school and getting all of your required flight hours in. Then, it’s a matter of practice, practice, practice.
Why Become A Pilot?
The industry news is a mix of good and bad news. Some people believe the aviation industry is in a slump. Others believe that the current economic climate is actually a sign that airlines will hire soon. The truth is somewhere in the middle.
There are a lot of jobs out there, but the low-hanging fruit is largely gone. If you plan on going into this industry, come motivated to succeed. There are many job opportunities out there for the right person, including:
- A job with a major airline
- Jobs with regional airports
- Military jobs
- You can become a corporate pilot, flying executives all over the place
- You can become a tour guide
- You can become an instructor, and teach others to fly
Accredited Flight Schools
An accredited school is one meeting the rigid standards of the U.S. Department of Education. Like any other school, you’ll receive a degree once you graduate. While it’s not necessary to attend an accredited school, this is the option that is probably going to help you the most in landing the job you want.
There are other types of flight schools out there, though you won’t earn a degree – and it’s the degree that some employers might find more appealing than just a certificate. To become a commercial pilot, you must be at least 18, must be able to speak, read, and write English fluently, and you must have all required flight time in.
What You’ll Need To Know To Fly
All commercial pilots need a minimum of between 190 and 250 hours of flight – with experienced pilots obtaining far in excess of this. Essentially, the more flight time you have, the better. For example, some airlines want you to have 800 flight hours before allowing you to work for them.
In flight school, you’ll need your multiengine rating, at least a class 2 medical certificate (preferably class 1), and you must have at least 300 nautical miles of cross country flight, with 150 being in a single leg. You must complete a minimum of 10 takeoffs and landings. These are only some of the details that can be mentioned. More information can be gathered from reputable links such as the Phoenix East Aviation Flight School.
In total, you will most likely need at least 250 flight hours to even graduate and pass your checkride. Oh, yes, your instructor will be monitoring your progress along the way. A portion of your total flight hours (50) must be spent at “pilot-in-command” and you must pass a written practical exam. With accredited schools, you’ll typically be required to take classes – as opposed to self-study. Finally, graduating doesn’t guarantee you a job. In fact, in a sense, that’s when you start learning what it takes to be a professional pilot.