Welcome to our Student Pilot Service. What are some of the things you should know before you start flight training? This information has been compiled to allow you to get a sense of what you will need to do or know when beginning your flying career. We will also provide some additional facts and tips that will guide you in your future endeavors as an aviator.
This advice should supply some basic knowledge and will not cover any topics in extensive detail. Some of the most relevant information is presented, but this is not meant to be a comprehensive document.
Flying requires good health. Before beginning any flight training, make sure you are healthy. Ensure that you do not have any health problems that may give you trouble in the future. If your health declines, your flying can come to a sudden stop. This is especially critical for airline and military pilots who must meet very strict health requirements.
Get the necessary medical for what you wish to pursue. There are three classes of medical available and the class depends on what you plan on doing with your pilot's license. For specifics about the three categories, please see the Medical page.
A Student Visa is necessary for international students that wish to attain their pilot's license in the United States. General requirements include:
If you plan on flying in the States to get individual flight hours, but not additional training, then you will need either a tourist visa or a visa waiver.
The training and certification you will need depends on your ultimate career goal. Are you planning to fly for fun and recreation? Do you plan to make flying your career? Is it your goal to be a flight instructor? What are the main certificates and what are the advantages of each? Read on to find out.
The Student Pilot Certificate is really square one for any pilot. It is your license to fly solo, and allows you to receive the required flight training to become a certified pilot.
Sport and Recreational Pilot
The Sport and Recreational Pilot Certificates allow you to reach the cockpit relatively easily. Many great websites exist that can give you all the details you need for these two categories. Some resources to begin your search are SportPilot.com and EAA.org.
The Private Pilot Certificate has fewer limitations than does either the Sport or Recreational license. With this, you can fly for fun and recreation and you can carry passengers; however you cannot fly for hire.
The Commercial Pilot Certificate allows you to earn money while flying. In other words, now you can be hired and paid to fly. Depending on the job you wish to take, you must fulfill a certain number of flight hours and meet experience requirements before you are qualified for specific commercial operations. Please see FAR part 135 for full details.
The Commercial Pilot Certificate is also the prerequisite for becoming a Flight Instructor.
Flight Instructor experience is important if you wish to go further and work for other aviation operators. This can be seen as the license to learn; as the saying goes: teach once, learn twice! This is the phase of your flying career in which you build up flight time and experience to qualify for commercial jobs and to become an ATP. The experience you gain as a flight instructor will boost your qualifications for the helicopter or airplane operators you wish to work for.
Airline Transport Pilot (ATP)
The Airline Transport Pilot is the highest pilot certification you can reach and should be your ultimate goal if you plan to excel in your pilot career. Please see the ATP page for requirements and other information.
If you are an international student and plan to fly in your home country for fun or commercially, be sure that your license from the U.S. is valid. Contact your local aviation authority to get familiar with the requirements to convert your license upon completion. Be prepared for any additional aspects you may have to complete before you can fly in your country.
The Student Pilot Certificate is the first step in your flying career and you have numerous options to expand after that. Focus on getting higher certifications and building up your flight hours to work your way up the ladder in the field of aviation. Every successful pilot starts as a student; if you are dedicated to your passion to fly and if you make sure that you always put your best foot forward you can be sure to have success in your flying future.
All the best for any new students!
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