pilot and copilot graphic

How to Get a Commercial Pilot License

Holding a commercial pilot license  (CPL) qualifies you to be an airline pilot, tour pilot, cargo pilot, or flight instructor. With licensure, you are permitted by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to charge money for your services. A CPL alone doesn’t qualify you to be an airline pilot; for this, you need an Airline Transport Certificate (ATP) and to meet other requirements.

step 1 obtaining a commercial pilot licenseCPL Eligibility requires a unique combination of experience and skills. To be eligible for a CPL, you must:

  • Already hold a private pilot license
  • Have 250 hours of private pilot experience
  • Be at least 18 years of age
  • Be able to read, write, and speak English

New Pilots under 18 should start by obtaining their private pilot license

All commercial pilots must pass an additional medical exam from an Aviation Medical Examiner (AME) and receive a second-class medical certificate. commercial pilot 2nd class medical certificate

  • Involves a physical examination and review of personal health history
  • Similar to third-class medical certificates, only with an extra focus on visual acuity
  • Valid for two years for most commercial pilots

commercial pilot FAA written examPassing the FAA written exame arly helps prove your proficiency and allows you to focus solely on flying. 

To be eligible for the exam, you must:

  • Be at least 16 years of age
  • Obtain authorization in the form of a written statement, certificate of graduation, or logbook endorsement

The exam is three hours, consists of 100 multiple0choice questions, and has a minimum passing score of 70%. 

airplane graphicWith your written exam completed, it’s time to plan your training and get off the ground! Just like private pilot training, you’ll need to find an aircraft and certified flight instructor (CFI) for training. An accredited flight school is often the best option, with costs usually including:
  • CFI
  • Aircraft rentals
  • Testing fees
  • Headsets, study materials, and other supplies
Be sure to consider the time and money involved in training. Commercial licenses are only necessary if you want to make flying your career.

Ground school teaches aviation, navigation, communications, night flying, and other skills tailored to commercial flight. 

Like with private pilot training, you can choose between Part 141 and Part 61 schools. 

  • Part 141 schools require around 30 hours of instruction but adhere to a rigid schedule. 
  • Part 61 schools require around 40 hours of instruction but offer more flexibility. 

Many students prefer Part 61 schools for their more flexible schedules and instruction methods. Commercial pilot license ground school requirement

Commercial flight training requires more consistency and precision than private flight training. Most commercial training programs consist of:
  • 100 hours of pilot-in-command training
  • 50 hours of cross-country flying (at least 300 nautical miles)
  • 10 hours in a complex aircraft
  • 10 hours of instrument training
You’ll need to complete a certain minimum number of flight hours depending on your flight school.

With your flight training complete, it’s time to put your skills to the test! 

A Designated Pilot Examiner will lead you through the checkride, which includes a verbal portion and test of your flight skills and professionalism. 

After passing your checkride, you’ll receive a temporary pilot certificate.

pilot in uniform graphicWith your training and checkride completed, the FAA will review your qualifications and give you your CPL! Note that a CPL doesn’t guarantee a job, but it’s a great first step. Some commercial pilot jobs require additional certification, such as an Airline Transport Certificate (ATP) for airline pilots.

Launch Your Commercial Pilot Career!

Tips On How To Get A Commercial Pilot License

To obtain a pilot license, the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) requires applicants to read, speak, write, and understand English. You must be a private pilot and have been properly trained and tested.

As a pilot, you need at least a high school diploma. While there are great perks and payoffs, the job involves extended time away from home. Commercial pilots work nights, weekends, and holidays. There are many other requirements for licensure, as we’ll begin with in this step-by-step look at how to obtain a CPL.

You must be at least 18 years old to apply and have a private pilot certificate. A lack of experience can get in the way of your goals. You must have at least 250 hours of training to earn your license.

Decide how you are going to approach your flight training. An accredited flight school is often best. Costs include those of a certified flight instructor, aircraft rentals, testing fees, supplies (including study materials, headsets, etc.), and possibly other training assets.

pilot hat and id holder with epaulets and sun glasses laying on log book and flight plan.

According to Indeed.com, it can cost from $71,000 to $130,000 to earn your commercial pilot license. The expenses can rival the tuition of a four-year college or university.

While Part 61 schools aren’t required to have a specified number of hours, Part 141 schools must have an FAA-approved course with 35 hours of training. Ground school teaches you about aviation as well as navigation, communications, and meteorology. It also covers:

  • National Airspace System operations
  • High-altitude flight
  • Night flying

Under CFR Part 61, you’ll need a minimum of 250 flight hours to obtain your CPL in a Part 61 program (190 hours in a Part 141 school). You will need more consistency and precision than with private pilot training, and you must learn additional flight maneuvers. Training time includes:

  • 100 hours of pilot-in-command training
  • 50 hours of cross-country flying (totaling at least 300 nautical miles)
  • 10 hours in a complex aircraft
  • 10 hours of instrument training

A Designated Pilot Examiner will complete a verbal portion of the exam. Following this groundwork is a quick flight where you have the chance to show what you’ve learned and how you can be professional. The examiner is looking to see your potential as a commercial pilot.

If you pass your checkride, you will receive a temporary pilot certificate from the examiner. The FAA will then review your qualifications and provide you with a permanent certificate upon approval.

Unless you are employed by an airline or an aviation company, earning your CPL doesn’t guarantee you a job, but you’ll be qualified for various types of paid jobs in addition to commercial flight, such as student instruction, ferrying or training flights, banner towing, crop dusting, and aerial photography.

Sign Up for Flight Training with Kingsky Flight Academy

Kingsky Flight Academy offers various types of training to meet clients’ goals, whether they wish to obtain a student pilot certificate or train to be a private, recreational, or commercial airline pilot. All our programs follow FAA training guidelines. We also offer bachelor degree programs through Liberty University and Southeastern University. To learn more about these programs and how to get a pilot license, call us today at 863-248-2543.

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