How to Become a Pilot in Florida-10 Best Steps

In this article, we will show you how to become a pilot in Florida. The state of Florida has flight schools more than other states in the US. This is because of their favorable weather when it comes to flying. 

The Federal Aviation Administration has set rules for every flight school in the US to follow, which Florida is part of. These rules are referred to as the Part 141 and Part 61 flight schools. 

Part 141 refers to the rules set for flight schools in Florida which includes the curriculum for pilot training. Here, training and curriculum are fixed and based on a set time. 

Part 61 refers to the rules set for the instructors, be it the ground instructors or the flight instructors. Here, there is no specific curriculum, making it possible for students to go through their flight training at their own pace.

Although Part 61 has no fixed curriculum, it requires more flight hours for aspiring pilots to be eligible to get their pilot licenses. This is why it is cheaper for Part 141 schools than Part 61 schools. 

Is Being a Pilot Worth It?

Yes it is. Being a pilot is rewarding. Careers in aviation have different financial benefits and interesting work environment. According to the Bureau of Labour Statistics the work schedules and the growing need of finding replacements for retiring pilots have watered the need of new pilots in this line of occupation. 

People in the airline industry earn above the average salaries in Texas, making this occupation worth it. As tasking as this job is, which needs concentration and patience, people who work in the aviation industry find it an interesting and exciting one. Even as an aspiring pilot on training, you enjoy the fulfilment and satisfaction of being in the skies, as you strife to log the required flight hours so you can earn the appropriate certification to become a pilot. 

Another advantage of being a pilot, depending on the airline, is the discounts a pilot gets on flights which can be extended to his family and friends as well. 

Pilot Salary in Florida

The Average base salary of a pilot in Florida is $54,538 per year including other benefits which are:

1. 401(k) (This is retirement savings and investing plan which employers offer their employees) 

2. Dental Insurance

3. Housing stipend

4. Disability insurance

5. Paid housing

6. Health insurance

7. Vision insurance

8. Paid time off

9. Retirement plan

10. Life insurance

Below Are the Top companies for Pilots in Florida.

1. Strategic Technology Institute, Inc. (STi): Salary of $329,265 per year.

2. American Queen Voyages: Salary of $204,647 per year. 

3. Northrop Grumman: Salary of $170,878 per year. 

4. Tradewind Aviation: Salary of $163,718 per year.

5. CAE: Salary of $150,313 per year

Who Is A Pilot and What Does A Pilot Do?

A pilot or an aviator is someone who is trained to fly an aircraft and transports passengers and cargo from one destination to the other.

There are also other crew members like the engineers and navigators, who are involved in the flight of an aircraft. There are more crew members like flight attendants, drone operators, and ground crew members.

During a flight, the captain, who is the pilot in command, and the second in command who is called the first officer, stay in the cockpit and work together to make sure there is a safe flight; takeoff and landing. 

How To Become a Pilot in Florida – The Best Steps

Below are the 10 best steps on how to become a pilot in Florida:

Step 1. You Should Be Of Age and Able To Understand English

In order to apply to get a license to become an aviator in Florida, a prospective pilot must be 17 or above 17 years of age.

He must be able to understand, read, write and speak the English language well since English is internationally an aviation language. 

Step 2. Pick From The Training Options Available in Florida

To start, you need to check out the training options available in Florida and pick the one you are fine with in order to get your desired pilot license. Below are training options for you in Florida.

  1. A flight school

In a flight school, you have different training programs to make a choice from and Florida has over 85 flight schools.

Each of these schools has its own requirements, procedures, and tuition. It is pertinent to know that tuition would depend on what training program you are going for. 

2. An Aviation-related college degree program

If you desire to have a college degree and also have flight training, a good option is an aviation-related university degree program which would allow students to acquire a college degree with flight training as well.

At the end of this program, you’ll earn a college degree and a pilot license. 

3. A Pilot Pathway Program  

In a pilot pathway program, an aspiring pilot who has little or no aviation experience gets flying experience.

The aspiring pilot is sent to an airline to get trained together with its partner school if they meet all the requirements.

When he/she completes the program and reaches the required flight hours, and has passed the important exams, he/she would be given employment with the airline.

The aspiring pilot may also be granted an interview for the post of the first officer with the airline, he’ll work for some years, before he can be allowed to seek employment elsewhere at will. 

Step 3. Get a Medical Certificate

Before an aspiring pilot starts his/her pilot training, he/she would need to get a medical certificate.

This can be made possible by the flight school of choice at the student’s request. It is pertinent to know that this medical certificate should be gotten from a qualified medical examiner, with authority from the regulator.

This is why it is important to request a medical certificate from the school.

If they can make it work they would, and if not, they would refer or alternatively connect the student to a qualified medical examiner. 

Step 4. Go Through The Pilot Training Stages

In order to obtain an Airline Transport Pilot Certificate, you have to go through certain pilot training stages to achieve this.

These stages would depend on what pilot license you want to get.

Below are the Pilot Training Stages an aspiring pilot will have to go through to obtain an Airline Pilot Certificate:

1. Get the Student Pilot License

The SPL is the first pilot license an aspiring pilot would have to obtain. This is the license that gives the aspiring pilot access to begin his/her pilot training.

In the US, the Student Pilot License is the first stage an aspiring pilot needs to obtain to become a pilot.

To obtain a Student Pilot License, an aspiring pilot should be over 16 years of age, has an FFA medical certificate, and be able to understand, speak, read and write the English language.

2. The Private Pilot License

For a prospective pilot to get a pilot’s license, he/she would need to have basic knowledge about flight methods, learn how to navigate, and maneuver aircraft, get trained for emergencies, and flight planning, and also get to learn how to fly small aircraft themselves without help. 

This license makes you eligible to fly on your own, fly passengers and cargo, but you won’t get paid for doing so.

To earn a Private Pilot License, you should be up to 17 years of age, have a current FFA medical certificate, a Student Pilot Certificate and can understand, speak, read and write the English language.

Step 4. Learn to Make Use Of Sophisticated Equipment

A pilot knows how to use certain instruments for flying an aircraft. After getting a basic certificate that qualifies a person to become an aircraft pilot, learning how to use these instruments is essential because aircraft pilots need to use these instruments to guide an aircraft through different altitudes and weather to achieve a safe trip.

Step 5. Get a Commercial Pilot License

In order to have access to transport people and goods as an aircraft pilot, one needs a commercial pilot license to do so.

As long as a pilot has this license, he/she can take up various flying jobs like transporting people from one destination to the order, delivering cargo, and going on search and rescue trips.

An aspiring pilot would need to get ratings for the different kinds of planes he/she would love to fly. This is because, different airplanes have different engines, and a pilot should know how to use these different engines if he wants to fly a specific airplane.

A Commercial Pilot License is a license that qualifies a pilot to become a paid professional pilot. This license is one that an aspiring pilot would need in order to start earning money from flying passengers and cargo. 

To obtain a Commercial Pilot License, an aspiring pilot has to be up to 18 years of age, should have a current FFA medical certificate, have a Private Pilot License, and can understand, speak, read and write the English language. 

An aspiring pilot should log at least 250 hours of flight time for a single-engine rating for an airplane. This 250 hours of flight time would consist of: 

i. 100 hours in powered aircraft and 50 hours of this 100 hours should be in airplanes. 

ii. 100 hours of pilot-in-command flight time and 50 hrs of this 100 hours of pilot-in-command flight time should be in airplanes and 50 hours in cross-country flights.

Also, out of these 50 hours in cross-country flight, 10 hours should be in airplanes. 

iii. 20 hours of training on areas of operation. 

iv. 10 hours of flying solo in a multi-engine airplane or 10 hours of flight time flying as a commander, with an instructor to guide, in a multi-engine airplane. 

Step 6. Obtain a Flight Instructor Certificate

For a pilot to become a first officer, he/she would need to gain a certain amount of flight hours.

Most pilots take up the initiative to become flight instructors so they would gain more flight hours to be able to qualify to become the first officers to be able to become airline pilots.

Step 7. Get Ratings

The pilot training an aspiring pilot would undergo, has different stages. These stages are for an airplane single-engine rating and an airplane multi-engine rating. These stages are:

1. For a single-engine rating, an aspiring pilot should log at least 250 hours of flight time which:

i. 100 hours would be in powered aircraft, of which 50 hours are allocated to airplanes. 

ii. 100 hours of pilot-in-command flight, of which 50 hours would be in airplanes and the other 50 hours would be in cross-country flight, of which 10 hours should be in airplanes. 

iii. 20 hours of training in areas such as instrument training, training in a complex airplane, cross-country flight in a single-engine airplane during the day, cross-country flight in a single-engine plane at night, and Flying in a single-engine airplane with an authorized instructor.

iv. 10 hours of flying alone in a single-engine airplane or this amount of time acting out the duties of a pilot-in-command in a single-engine airplane with an instructor on board.

2. For an airplane multi-engine rating:

To get an airplane multi-engine rating, an aspiring pilot should log at least 250 hours of flight time.

Step 8. Get Experience and Flight Hours

An airline pilot needs to log a reasonable amount of flight hours in the air to be able to fly passengers and cargo and carry out other flight duties.

You can achieve this required number of flight hours through working as a commercial pilot, a flight instructor, and also through training classes.

The standard minimum flight hours by the Federal Aviation Administration is 1.500. 

Step 9. Get an Airline Transport Pilot Certification

The highest license the Federal Aviation Administration gives is the Airline Transport Pilot Certificate.

A pilot would need more than the minimum required flight hours of 1,500 hours of flight experience.

A pilot would also need to pass some medical examinations to be qualified to earn an Airline Transport Pilot (ATP) Certificate.

A first-class medical exam is needed for a pilot and a second-class medical exam in order to become second in command. 

10. Interview 

An aspiring airline pilot would need to go through an interview to become an airline pilot. As long as he/she has met all of the Federal Aviation Administration requirements, the pilot can apply to work in top airlines.

An aspiring airline pilot would have to work as a first officer at least for a period of two years, before becoming a captain in an airline.

What are career options with a pilot license?

A lot of aspiring pilots are clear about what path they wish to take as pilots, but some of these aspiring pilots don’t have a clear path to take. Below are different career paths an aspiring pilot can take with a pilot license.

1. Air/charter taxi pilot

2. Cargo pilot

3. Flight Instructor

4. Agricultural pilot

5. Corporate or business aviation pilot

6. Airline pilot for large or small regional airlines

7. Medical/ambulance pilot and more.

What is a Discovery Flight?

A discovery flight is a flight that a prospective pilot would take, with the aim of getting familiar with the airplane.

This flight would be a flight of about 40 minutes, with the Instructor sitting with the aspiring pilot in the airplane while the aspiring pilot sits in the left seat and fly the airplane for the majority of the whole duration of the flight. 

What is The Cost Of Flight Schools in Florida?

Prospective students who wish to start flight schools are always concerned about the cost of flight schools.

The cost of any flight school would depend on what program the prospective student wants to go for.

Professional Pilot Program costs $83,995

Airline Pilot Track costs $83,995

Commercial Pilot Track  costs $66,995

Airline Transport Pilot Certification Training Program costs $3,995

Check this also: How Much Does it Cost to Become a Pilot?

What Are The Main Career Paths in The Aviation Industry?

There are different career paths to take with a Pilot Degree. A Pilot Degree doesn’t just keep you locked up in the cockpit, professionals in aviation can play several roles, and below are paths in the aviation industry a pilot can take.

1. An Airline Pilot: 

An airline pilot can fly private or commercial airplanes. Airline pilots usually travel long distances, regionally, nationally and globally, having to stop between flights in different countries, and they have an irregular schedule. 

2. A Commercial Pilot:

Just as an airline pilot, a commercial pilot doesn’t need too many certifications to fly. A commercial pilot is specialized in transporting mail, charter flights, passengers, rescue operations et cetera.

3. A Flight Engineer:

A Flight Engineer is an important member of the airplane crew. He makes sure the airplane is working properly and everything is in order. He aids the pilot during emergencies in the aircraft, ensuring the safety of lives and everything else during a flight. 

4. A First Officer:

The first officer is an assistant who sits in the cockpit with the captain on a flight. He handles the radio communications, and navigations during a flight.

The first officer is the second in command, while the captain is the first in command.

5. A Flight Instructor:

A flight instructor is a trainer, who puts training students through a series of training on how to fly airplanes and the basics of airplane operations. 

Which cities are the Highest Paying Cities In Florida?

  • 1. Tampa, FL: Salary of $56,303 per year

  • 2. Miami, FL: Salary of $56,213 per year

  • 3. Fort Lauderdale, FL: Salary of $56,041 per year

  • 4. Orlando, FL: Salary of $55,204 per year

  • 5. Jacksonville, FL: Salary of $54,453 per year

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