Types of Pilot Licences
An Airplane Pilot’s license or Pilot certificate, in simple terms, allows a person to be able to fly an aircraft just as a driver’s license allows you to drive a vehicle under specific rules and limitations depending on the category. The FAA is the governing institution that establishes and enforces all aviation rules and regulations for all pilots and other aviation careers and industries. The most common licenses are
SPL or Student Pilot License
A student pilot certificate 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 you to pursue flight training; you must meet some basic eligibility requirements. First of all, you must be 16 years of age. (If you intend to pilot a glider or balloon, you only have to be 14 years old.) Also, you must be able to proficiently read, speak, and understand English. This is because English has been designated as the universal language in aviation. Next, you 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). Your application will be processed and submitted with the required documents to the Airmen Certification Branch (ACB). Once it has been reviewed by ACB, you can expect to receive your student pilot certificate by mail in approximately three weeks. Becoming a student pilot also requires you to obtain a medical certificate from an Aviation Medical Examiner (AME). When you have your student pilot certificate and medical certificate, you are ready to begin training.
PPL or Private Pilot License
This is the most common type of pilot license issued by the FAA. In order to obtain your FAA private pilot license you 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 you to be able to fly in most single-engine airplanes and aircraft, although some additional instrument rating tests may be required for more advanced aircraft or if you wish to be rated to fly under Instrument Flight Rules (IFR). With a PPL, you will be authorized to fly alone or with other people, but you may not receive compensation for flying or taking people on flights.
CPL or The commercial Pilot License
It allows you to be paid for your pilot services. In order to receive your CPL, you will need to meet the following FAA CPL certificate requirements. You 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, you will need a 2nd Class Medical Certificate. You will need your Certified Flight Instructor (CFI) to write an endorsement stating you are a sound pilot and have passed your ground school courses. You must also pass your check-ride with an FAA instructor, have a current medical license, and, if you want to fly more advanced aircraft, you will need to pass a multi-engine check ride. Please note that in order to fly in inclement weather you will need to take and pass an instrument rating (IFR) course.
ATPL or The Airline Transport Pilot License
It is what you need to fly for the major airlines. If you are interested in becoming a commercial airline pilot in the United States or becoming a commercial airline pilot outside of the United States, you will need to complete the first two types of pilot licenses (PPL and CPL) before you can earn your Airline Transport Pilot certification (ATP). To earn your commercial airline transport pilot license, you will need to meet the following FAA ATP requirements. You must be at least 23 years old, have a valid drivers 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.
IR or Instrument Rating
An instrument rating is technically not a pilot certificate, but an add-on rating that allows an airplane or helicopter pilot to fly in weather with reduced visibility such as rain, low clouds, or heavy haze. When flying in these conditions, pilots follow instrument flight rules (IFR). The training provides the skills needed to complete flights with less than the required VFR minimums. In the US, all pilots who fly above 18,000 feet above mean sea level (MSL) (a lower limit of Class A airspace) must have an instrument rating, and must be on an IFR flight plan.
This rating requires highly specialized training by a certificated flight instructor (CFI) with a special instrument instruction rating (CFII), and completion of an additional written exam, oral exam, and flight test. Pilots applying for an instrument rating must hold a current private pilot certificate and medical, have logged at least 50 hours of cross-country flight time as pilot-in-command, and have at least 40 hours of actual or simulated instrument time including at least 15 hours of instrument flight training and instrument training on cross-country flight procedures.
ME or Multi-Engine Rating
Your MEI certifies you to teach students who want to become certified to fly multi-engine aircraft. You will also be authorized to endorse multi-engine candidates to take their FAA oral and practical exams. Your MEI training requires you to have already earned your CPL and take 10 hours of ground school and 10 hours of flight training. As with all ratings, you will have to pass a check ride.
CHPL or Commercial Pilot’s Licence (Helicopters)
Regarding getting CHPL in many foreign countries after doing CPL you just need 50 hours of chopper flying with a flight test. But in India if you want to get CHPL conversion done from foreign license you will need minimum 150 hours of chopper flying which is a requirement by DGCA to issue the license. It doesnt matter whether you have CPL or not but you will still have to do 150 hours of chopper flying to get Indian CHPL. There is another way if a pilot has 500PIC hours on aircraft then he/she can get Indian CHPL by doing 30-45 hours of flying.
Yashi Julka [MBA HR]
AirCrews Aviation Pvt Ltd
AirCrews Aviation Pvt Ltd