How to Become a Professional FAA Pilot
Informed Decision Making
Are your ready for your first lesson to become a commercial pilot? After years of investigating aviation accidents, researchers have found a better way to reduce the chances of mishaps. It is now used in many industries and professional levels. In aviation it is called Crew Resource Management (CRM). CRM is managing and using all the information you have available to make the most informed decisions for a given situation. I am writing this to share the information that I have about becoming a professional pilot, so others can use CRM to make more informed decisions. Fist a little about my background. I have twenty years of experience in the aviation industry. My knowledge comes from a diverse background as a military aviation mechanic, providing commercial baggage and fueling service, giving FAA and EASA instruction and of course, being a commercial pilot. In 2002 I started training part-time for my commercial pilot license. Not content with the progress, I eventually quit my job as a Fuel Quality Control Supervisor and started flight training full-time. After obtaining my commercial pilot license I then obtained my flight instructor license. I have over seven years of experience as a professional flight instructor. As a commercial pilot, an instructor and a student I have gained the knowledge that I am sharing with anyone who desires to learn.
FAA Medical Certificate
As a commercial pilot it is important to be in good medical condition. Therefore, the first step should be obtaining an FAA medical certificate. This is especially true if you have an existing medical condition. Federal regulations have identified certain medical conditions as disqualifying. These conditions include CAD, hypertension and insulin dependent diabetes. The regulations also have a policy about the use of anti-depressants. For more information or to contact the Aerospace Medical Certification Division (AMCD) about these conditions visit the FAA website at . Medical certificates are issued only by an FAA authorized aviation medical examiner (AME). There are three classes of medical certificates. For ease of explanation, class I is needed for airline transport pilots (ATP), class II is needed for commercial pilots and class III is needed for private pilots. I will explain the license in more detail later. A class I medical costs more because it has the highest medical standards but also has the shortest duration. However, class I and II will downgrade to the next lower class after the duration has elapsed. I recommend obtaining a Class I medical certificate and therefore knowing your health meets the highest medical standards for a commercial pilot. To find an AME use the link below.
FAA Student Pilot Certificate
A student pilot certificate is not required to begin flight training however, it is required before flying solo. The student pilot certificate can be issued by the AME combined with the medical certificate usually included in the cost of the medical exam. An FAA inspector or FAA-designated pilot examiner (DPE) can also issue a student pilot certificate. FAA inspectors do not charge a fee to issue a student pilot certificate. FAA inspectors are located at regional flight standard district offices (FSDO). See the table for a link to find a FSDO near you. The DPE’s however, are allowed to charge a fee to issue a student pilot certificate but not all DPE's charge a fee. See the table for a link to find a DPE near you.
Now You Know
Here is a table of FAA websites to get more specific information. I hope you find this information helpful and look for continued information from me.
Disqualifying Medical Conditions
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