Searching for how to become a pilot in USA? Have you ever thought of gliding in the clouds? This article is for you if you’ve ever wondered how to become a pilot.
Although you may have considered it as a pastime, being a commercial pilot is a fantastic career opportunity. In reality, it can be helpful to first comprehend the precise characteristics of a commercial pilot.
A commercial pilot is, to put it simply, a pilot who has received FAA approval to bill for their services. Therefore, what you may consider a hobby may one day lead to a career.
You may have various potential occupations in mind if you’re an international student who wants to study aviation in the United States. A commercial airline pilot could be one of these employment options.
Many persons who study aviation eventually hope to pursue the intriguing and gratifying vocation of a commercial airline pilot. However, there are a number of procedures you must do before you may fly for a commercial airline.
The Steps on How to Become a Pilot in USA
- Do research on the available flight training options in the USA
- Look up the Basic Requirements
- Select the training phases you will need to complete
- Select a Flying School
- Get your flight license
- Incorporate a multi-engine rating
- Amass sufficient experience in addition to flight hours
- Obtain your qualification as an airline transport pilot
- Interviews to become a pilot for an airline
- Consider your Career Options
1. Do research on the available flight training options in the USA
You need to be aware of the available pilot training programs in the nation and which one is best for you. Here is where you should consider what your aviation aim is.
Would you want to get a Commercial Pilot License (CPL) or a Private Pilot License (PPL)? Are you looking for employment with an airline?
If so, you should get an Airline Transport Pilot License (ATPL). Do you also hope to finish college at the same time? Do you intend to enlist in the military, preferably the Air Force?
Does seem too confusing? Not to worry! We have carefully curated some of the best steps and alternatives to help you make the right choice.
Following are your alternatives:
- Flight School
In the United States of America, there are about 490 flight schools that provide a variety of pilot training options.
You should make a list of your top choice(s) flight school(s) so you can compare them and decide which is best for you.
Each school has its own policies, requirements for admission, and tuition rates that vary depending on whatever pilot training classes you choose to attend.
- An aviation-related college degree program
However, you should take into account college degree programs in aviation if you’re interested in earning a college degree along with flying training.
These programs enable participants to combine aviation training with a college degree. With this kind of school, you will typically graduate with both a college degree and a pilot license, such as the Commercial Pilot License (CPL). You’ll be able to enjoy the best of both worlds thanks to this.
- Airline cadet pilot program
In the meantime, you should look into airline cadet pilot programs if being an airline pilot was your childhood dream.
These programs are frequently sponsored by airlines, and after completing the program, students are assured of work. You will graduate from this pilot program with an Airline Transport Pilot License (ATPL).
- Join the Military
The U.S. Air Force is another option if you’re interested in serving your country.
The government will pay for your flight training, but you won’t be able to apply to commercial airlines until you’ve served in the military for about 12 years after you’ve finished.
2. Look up the Basic Requirements
- What age must one be to become a pilot in the United States?
In the USA, you must be at least 17 years old to begin your pilot training.
- What do I need to begin my pilot training in the United States?
You’ll require a medical certificate in order to begin your pilot training. The simplest method to do this is to contact the flight school you want to enroll in, and they will assist you in making the necessary arrangements.
- What level of schooling is required to become a pilot in the United States?
Candidates for admission must have completed high school.
- How much English do I need to be able to fly to the United States?
Before earning your pilot license, it is advised that you have at least a level 4 English standard because English is the international aviation language.
- What is the American airline pilot age limit?
Pilots of commercial aircraft must be 65 years old to retire.
3. Select the training phases you will need to complete.
According to their objectives, students must pass through six (6) distinct pilot training stages in general. The following are the phases of pilot training:
• Student Pilot’s Permit (SPL)
You will require a student pilot license as your first pilot’s license. With this license, you can begin your flight training.
The first step to becoming a pilot in the USA is this. You must be at least 16 years old, have a valid FAA medical certificate, be able to read, speak, write, and understand English, and meet other requirements before you may apply for a student pilot license.
• Private Pilot’s Permit (PPL)
With a private pilot’s license, you can fly without being paid whether you’re carrying passengers, cargo, or yourself. You must be at least 17 years old, have a valid FAA medical certificate, hold a student pilot certificate, be literate in reading, speaking, and writing, and understand the English language in order to obtain a private pilot license.
A minimum of 40 hours of flight time must be logged for an airplane single-engine rating, of which at least 20 hours must be spent receiving instruction from a qualified instructor and 10 hours must be spent practicing solo flight. The instruction must contain at least the following.
(1) Three hours of cross-country flying practice in a single-engine aircraft;
(2) three hours of night flying practice in a single-engine aircraft, which includes:
Option A cross-country trip of more than 100 nautical miles in length, as well as ten takeoffs and ten landings at airports (each landing entailing a flight in the traffic pattern).
Option B. To obtain an airplane multiengine rating, the pilot must log at least 40 hours of flight time, at least 20 of which must be spent receiving instruction from a qualified instructor and 10 of which must be spent practicing solo flight. The training must contain at least the following:
(a) Three hours of cross-country flight training in a multiengine aircraft;
(b) three hours of night flight training in a multiengine aircraft, which consists of
(i) one cross-country flight of more than one hundred nautical miles in length; and
(ii) ten takeoffs and ten landings to a full stop (each landing entailing a flight in the traffic pattern) at an airport.
(3) 3 hours of flight instruction in a single-engine aircraft on how to fly straight and level, climb and descend at a constant speed, turn to a heading, recover from unusual flight attitudes, use radio communications, and use navigation systems and facilities as well as radar services appropriate for instrument flight
(4) 10 hours of solo flight time in a single-engine aircraft, including at least:
(i) 5 hours of solo cross-country time;
(ii) One solo cross-country flight of 150 nautical miles total distance, with full-stop landings at three points; and
(iii) 3 hours of flight training with an authorized instructor in a single-engine aircraft in preparation for the practical test, which must have been completed within the previous 2 calendar months from the month of the test.
In order to obtain a commercial pilot license:
(A) For an airplane’s single-engine rating, you must have logged 250 hours of flight time as a pilot, of which at least:
(i) 100 hours were spent in powered aircraft, of which 50 hours had to be spent in airplanes.
(ii) 100 hours of pilot-in-command flight time, of which at least I 50 hours must be spent in aircraft; and
(iii) 50 hours must be spent traveling across the nation, with at least 10 hours of that time spent in aircraft.
(3) A minimum of 20 hours of training in the operational areas must include at least the following:
(i) Ten hours of instrument training with a view-limiting device, including instruction in attitude instrument flying, partial panel skills, recovery from unusual flight attitudes, and intercepting and tracking navigational systems.
(ii) One 2-hour cross-country flight in a single-engine aircraft that covers a total straight-line distance of more than 100 nautical miles from the point of departure during the day; One 2-hour cross-country flight in a single-engine aircraft that covers a total straight-line distance of more than 100 nautical miles during the evening; and
(iii) Three hours in a single-engine aircraft with an authorized pilot.
(4) Ten hours of solo flying time in a single-engine aircraft or ten hours of flight time in a single-engine aircraft performing pilot-in-command tasks with an approved instructor aboard (any of which may be included toward the flight time requirement, on the operational
(B) A pilot must have at least 250 hours of flight time, including (i) 100 hours in powered aircraft, of which 50 hours must be in an airplane; (ii) 100 hours of pilot-in-command flight time, of which at least: 50 hours in an airplane; 50 hours of cross-country travel, 10 hours in an airplane.
10 hours of multiengine solo flight time or 10 hours of multiengine flight time with an approved instructor as pilot-in-command (either may be utilized toward the flight time requirement, on operational zones that contain at least:
- One cross-country flight with at least three landings, one at least 250 nautical miles from the departure point and 300 nautical miles total. In Hawaii, the longest segment just needs to be 150 nautical miles long;
- 5 hours in night VFR conditions with 10 takeoffs and 10 landings (each landing involving a traffic pattern) at an airport with a working control tower.
• Equipment Rating (IR)
If you have an instrument rating, you can use the instruments to pilot the aircraft in any weather, such as when there is little or no visibility. Along with their commercial pilot training, flight schools also offer instrument ratings. However, it can also be purchased independently.
• Multi-Engine Certification (MER)
You can pilot multi-engine aircraft if you have a multi-engine rating. Along with private pilot and commercial pilot training, flight schools also provide multi-engine rating training. However, it can also be purchased independently.
The highest level of an aircraft pilot certificate, the airline transport pilot license (ATPL), enables you to assume the role of pilot in charge on scheduled airlines. You must be at least 21 years old, possess a current FAA medical certificate, possess a commercial pilot certificate, be able to read, speak, write, and understand English, and have logged at least 1,500 hours of total flight experience as a pilot, which must include at least one of the following:
(1) 500 hours of interstate flight.
(2) One hundred hours of nighttime flight.
(3) 50 hours of flight time in the desired airplane class. If the training was completed as a part of an approved training course, it is possible to apply up to 25 hours of training in a full flight simulator that represents the class of airplane for the rating sought against the flight time requirement in this clause. A flight training device or aviation training device may not be used to satisfy this requirement.
(4) 75 hours of instrument flight time, in actual or simulated instrument conditions, subject to the following:
(i) An applicant may not receive credit for more than a total of 25 hours of simulated instrument time in a full flight simulator or flight training device.
(ii) A maximum of 50 hours of training in a full flight simulator or flight training device may be credited toward the instrument flight time requirements if the training was accomplished in a course conducted by a certified training center.
(iii) Training in a full flight simulator or flight training device must be accomplished in a full flight simulator or flight training device, representing an airplane.
(5) 250 hours of flight time in an airplane as a pilot in command, or when serving as a required second in command flight crew member performing the duties of pilot in command while under the supervision of a pilot in command, or any combination thereof, which includes at least: (i) 100 hours of cross-country flight time; and (ii) 25 hours of night flight time.
(6) Not more than 100 hours of the total aeronautical experience requirements may be obtained in a full flight simulator or flight training device provided the device represents an airplane and the aeronautical experience was accomplished as part of an approved training course.
4. Select a Flying School
Selecting the flight school that best fits your budget comes after you’ve done your research on the type of license you want to receive.
How Much Does It Cost to Become a Pilot?
It is significant to remember that training to be a pilot has financial requirements. The cost of your flight training is affected by a variety of variables, including the nation in which you complete your training and the flying school you choose.
There are about 490 pilot academies in the USA for you to pick from if you choose to complete your flight training there. However, if you choose to receive your flight training abroad, you must keep in mind that you will need to transfer your license to the FAA following your training.
A different option is to apply for an airline pilot program, as was previously indicated. After completing your pilot training with flying honors, you will be hired by the airlines that created the program.
5. Get your flight instructor’s license
Many pilots decide to become flight teachers in order to increase their experience and flight time.
Pilots are able to accrue pay while logging hours. Before you can even apply to be a first officer, the majority of airlines demand a minimum number of flight hours.
The fastest method to amass the flight hours and experience required to work as an airline pilot is to become a flight teacher.
6. Incorporate a multi-engine rating
Pilots must get an additional rating in addition to their commercial license in order to fly the aircraft used by passenger carriers.
The ability to control large aircraft with many engines must be demonstrated by the pilot.
Learning what to do in the event of a single-engine failure and operating these enormous aircraft in all facets of flight are part of the training for this certification.
7. Amass sufficient experience in addition to flight hours
You need to fly for a lot of hours before you can become an airline pilot. The FAA stipulates that a pilot must have 1,500 total flying hours. Through training sessions, flight instruction, and employment as a commercial pilot, you can achieve this.
8. Obtain your qualification as an airline transport pilot.
The highest license that the FAA awards is an airline transport pilot (ATP) certification. Pilots need more than the bare minimum of 1,500 flying hours to obtain this certification. Additionally, certain flight hours, such as pilot in command (PIC), night flying, and cross-country PIC, must be reported by pilots.
Future airline pilots must also undergo medical exams in order to obtain an ATP certification. To serve as a pilot in command or as second in command, a pilot must pass a first-class medical examination.
9. Interviews to become a pilot for an airline
You can look for work with a significant airline once you have satisfied all FAA standards. Since seniority is the basis for hiring on airlines, you’ll begin as a first officer and advance to captain after at least two years of employment.
Step 10. Consider your Career Options
While some would-be aviators have a clear career route in mind, others don’t.
What you might be able to do with a pilot license is listed below.
- airline pilot for international or domestic carriers
- Pilot for corporate or business aviation
- Pilots for charter flights, air taxis, flight schools, and air ambulances
- Agricultural pilot and plenty of other choices
How much does an airline captain in the United States make is a commonly asked query with our How to Become a Pilot in the USA in 2022 Guide. Approximately US$14,400 per month plus benefits* is the quick answer.
Tips for Picking a Flight School
Having known how to become a pilot in USA, let us look at this list:
Tip 1. Choose your pilot’s objectives.
What are your long-term aviation goals, first and foremost? Do you desire a private pilot license to practice flying in your spare time? Do you prefer general aviation or do you want a commercial pilot’s license?
Do you intend to enroll in a program for aspiring airline pilots? Which airlines are currently hiring, too? In the upcoming years, what kind of aircraft will be used by airlines? Which flight schools typically hire for the airlines?
It is best to inquire about airline relationships with flight schools. In order to answer the question “how will I become a Pilot,” you need to make a list of the following important questions and seek solutions.
Tip 2. Decide how much money you have to spend.
Find out why there are price differences between different flight schools by looking at location, student count, kind of aircraft, and other criteria. Additionally, do these programs offer financial aid or loans? Would a part-time course of study suit you?
Tip 3. Count the amount of free time you have.
Each flying school has its unique training timetable, with some allowing flexibility and others requiring full-time, on-campus instruction. Be aware that postponing flight training typically results in higher training costs.
Tip 4. Learn more about the flight school’s aircraft types and its aircraft maintenance facility.
This is significant from a training perspective, but from a safety perspective, it is even more significant. Additionally, you want to think about what kinds of devices airlines appreciate.
Ask the flying school in-depth questions regarding their aircraft maintenance department and safety features to learn more about how aircraft age does not always correlate to safety.
Tip 5. Visit the flight schools on your shortlist
Finally, when possible, speak to the instructors and flight school management teams to learn about the training, safety policies, history, and graduates of the flight school.
What do airline pilots get paid?
The size of the firm, the type of aircraft, and seniority all affect an airplane pilot’s pay. Pilots for airlines are compensated for the number of hours they fly, up to 1,000 hours annually. The hourly rate has a role in deciding a pilot’s salary.
First officer base pay is, on average, $53,325 a year nationwide. An average annual income for a commercial airline captain starts at $55,362. Click on each pay link to view the most recent Indeed salary data.
In addition to base pay, airline pilots frequently receive benefits like free travel, health insurance, paid time off, and employee discounts. Some businesses offer “buddy passes” for family members to receive free or discounted airplane tickets.
Airline pilots frequently asked questions
Here are some answers to some often-asked questions on how to become a pilot in USA: