Commercial Pilot Training

Commercial Pilot Trainining Info

Being a pilot and flying planes is great fun! Not only does it provide great challenges and opportunities to meet interesting people but you also get to see the world from a “birds eye view” - something that many people don't get to experience very often, if at all. However, taking the next step and commencing commercial pilot training is a big decision – and not one that should be taken lightly. Besides the obvious expense, you need to think about the commitment required to raise and maintain your skills to a commercial pilot level as well as the increased health/fitness need to obtain a commercial pilot medical. The following will highlight some important points and provide you with some guidelines as to how you can go about satisfying your desire to become a professional pilot and begin your training for a commercial pilots licence.

Requirements.

There are surprisingly few basic requirements you will have to meet to commence pilot training. You must be able to:

  • Speak English

  • Pass a basic medical exam prior to flying solo

  • Be at least 16 years of age to fly solo

However, if you want to go beyond holding a private pilot licence and hold a commercial pilots licence then you will need to pass a more stringent medical exam (class 1 in most countries). Don't let this requirement scare you. A lot of people seem to think if they have eyesight or medical issues that they wont be able to hold a class 1 medical. Most professional pilots have some sort of medical issues (eg blood pressure, cholesterol, vision correction, even missing limbs!), but can still hold a commercial pilots medical. It depends on the exact medical issue and the particular country's requirements. You may find that you just need to see a specialist and get an OK from them. Contact your country's aviation governing body (FAA, CAA, CASA, etc) and ask to speak to their medical advisor. They will be able to guide you very quickly.

Costs.

Flying is expensive! Commercial pilot training is even more expensive as the aircraft you are flying are usually higher performance. Always remember that the commercial pilots licence is NOT the end point either. There is always another endorsement or licence you will require whether it be a multi engine rating, instrument rating, instructor rating, jet endorsement or just simply more hours. Every year the governing bodies also seem to come up with a new way to charge for additional things as well (medicals, security checks etc) so don't think that once you have done the initial training it's all over. When you talk to the flying schools – always remember that the quote they give you for commercial pilot training is based on the MINIMUM hours required! You need to factor in an extra 20% on top of the quote for unexpected things – and I'm not just talking about having to do a bit more time doing a sequence because you didn't get it the first time round. Weather, extra landing and airways charges, exam resits, extra charts and books and a million other “extras” that you will require all add up! The last thing you want to do is get to within a few hours of the final commercial pilot exam and run out of funds.

However – there may be creative ways to reduce your flying costs, especially when you are building up the required flight hours. For example, once you have your private licence, friends and family will want to come flying with you and they can help pay for the cost of hiring the aircraft. Quite often you will find people that are flying a plane somewhere for business or pleasure and would love you to come along for the ride and to share the flying. If you are really keen you can also talk to the businesses at your airport. It is not unusual for them to need planes repositioned to other places and are quite willing for you to do it for them at no cost. It saves them paying for one of their employees to do it! Be creative.

Flying Schools

The decision on which flying school and pilot instructor you train with is extremely important. You need to go to a few flying schools and check them out. Talk to some of the flying instructors and students to get a feel for how people are trained and treated during their commercial pilot training. Sit in some of the aircraft they use as trainers to see what sort of condition they are in and how well they are maintained. I'm not saying you need to check how the engine was rebuilt but look inside and see if the cabins are clean and tidy, whether it looks presentable or are there things stuck on with electrical tape and string and wires hanging everywhere!

This is also a great opportunity to get to know if you can relate to the instructor and enjoy the environment of the school. Every school and instructor is different so find one you like and can understand. Some schools specialise in training pilots commercially for airlines while some are more tailored towards hobby flying. Whichever way the school goes they should all uphold a very high standard of training – if you feel even slightly uncomfortable about their level of professionalism – go elsewhere. Remember, you are going to be paying a lot of money to them – you want to get a lot out!!

This is also a really great chance for you to check out your instructor. As with any learning, the teacher can make or break the experience. Find an instructor that you relate to and can understand. Even if it means going to a few schools and having a couple of trial flights. Sure it will cost but trust me – if you get the right instructor from the start – it will save you thousands!!!

If you are just starting out in your flying career – click here – for some good advice on things you should consider – including what to look for during your trial instructional flight.

Now you need to consider – Do I want to get a Commercial Pilots Licence? Do I want to fly planes day in day out in all sorts of weather? Can I handle the challenges of flying at a professional level? Do I want to be paid to fly? Let me tell you from my experience – you will see the world and have experiences that you had never even dreamed possible. Was it worth what it cost me to get to where I am today – ABSOLUTELY!!!



If you want more specific information on commercial pilot training click here.

The Commercial Pilot's View!

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