How To Become A Pilot
It takes a long time to become a pilot. The average student spends about 400 hours in flight school before they are allowed to take the FAA exam for their private license (known as the "check ride"). This is on top of how many hours you need to log to get an instrument rating, commercial certificate, multi-engine rating, and so on.
If your goal is just to fly recreationally or commercially with one region's airspace (say within the U.S.), then this blog post will show how you can go from zero experience all the way up through getting your first job as a pilot!
Step One: Pass your Written Exam
You can take the written exam without any flight "time" logged, but you need at least 40 hours of solo time before you are eligible to do so. This means that if it's been a year since you got your license and haven't flown yet because of how expensive flying is, then now might be a good time to get some experience under your belt!
Step Two: Get at least 40 hours of flying time
You can log how many hours you want, but that doesn't mean the FAA will let you take the checkride. For example, if it's been two years since getting your license and only having 20 hours logged (not including solo), you are not ready to take the checkride.
However, if you want to become a commercial pilot, you'll need many more hours.
Step Three: Find an Instructor and Take a Checkride
The instructor can be from any flight school that the FAA authorizes to give checkrides. On the other hand, the examiner has to be from the same region in which you will be flying (in this case, the United States).
You will be asked to do a cross-country flight, complete with three landings and one takeoff. The examiner will give you a checkride which usually takes about two hours. After the checkride is complete, assuming that you passed, the examiner will sign your logbook and put a "rating" next to it. You will then be able to fly how you wish in the airspace of that region.
Step Four: Get a Job!
Now you can get paid for flying, but it's not quite as easy as going into an airport and announcing that you're looking for job openings. Instead, your best bet is to create a resume with all of your ratings and experience (including how many hours you have) and start sending it to different companies.
The best way to find a job is through networking. Get in touch with your friends or family who work at airlines, corporate flight departments, or other aviation-related businesses. They might be able to help you out!
What Challenges & Considerations Come with Becoming a Pilot?
There are many challenges and considerations that come with becoming a pilot. But if you're willing to put in the time and effort, it's definitely a rewarding career!
1. It takes a long time to become a pilot.
It takes time to work your way up through the ranks, and how long it will take ultimately depends on how much you fly.
But if all goes well, expect at least a couple of years of training before becoming an official co-pilot or pilot!
The amount of experience can vary depending on what type of flying job is desired (commercial, cargo, private, etc.), but gaining the experience and qualifications required is no mean feat.
2. It takes a lot of money to become a pilot.
Taking into account how long it can take just to get through the training, you may have already spent tens or hundreds of thousands before even being able to fly your first passenger! And if you want full-time employment as an aircrew member, expect another 100k+ over several years for salary and benefits.
On the bright side, scholarships and loans are available for those who qualify - but it's still a hefty investment.
3. It's a challenging career.
Becoming a pilot is not easy - it takes a lot of hard work and dedication, as well as natural talent. Even the best pilots make mistakes from time to time, so be prepared for some bumps in the road (quite literally).
But if you're up for the challenge and can handle the rigors of flying, it can be a rewarding and lucrative career.
4. There are many different paths to becoming a pilot.
There is no one-size-fits-all way to become a pilot - there are many different routes and paths you can take.
Some people may start out by getting their private pilot's license, while others may go for an aviation degree from a university. Many flight schools offer professional pilot training.
Some pilots work their way up through the ranks, while others are recruited into flying jobs straight out of school or college - how you become a pilot ultimately depends on what your long-term goals are!
5. Be prepared to relocate.
If you want a stable flying job, it helps if you are willing to relocate for work. This means moving cities or even countries every few years - how much time is spent in transit will depend on your position and seniority.
However, this also makes for an exciting life filled with many new experiences!
6. It is a very rewarding career.
If you're willing to put in the time and effort, becoming a pilot can be incredibly rewarding and satisfying! You get to see new places every day, fly high above the ground with spectacular views of mountains and coastlines - not bad for an office job!
And even though it takes hard work and dedication, it can also be a lot of fun. There's nothing quite like the feeling of taking off into the sky and soaring through the clouds.
So, if you're thinking about becoming a pilot, make sure you take all these things into account! And who knows, you may end up being the next pilot to fly the beautiful skies!