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How do I get Pilot Training?

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  • Written By: D. Jeffress
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 18 May 2018
  • Copyright Protected:
    2003-2018
    Conjecture Corporation
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Airplane pilots must typically undergo lengthy formal training procedures to become licensed to fly. Different types of aircraft, such as helicopters, private planes, and commercial airliners, require specific pilot training and licensing procedures. In the United States, pilot training is regulated by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). Other countries have similar governmental organizations which oversee training and licensing of new pilots.

To receive pilot training, a person must usually be at least 16 years of age and in reasonably good physical condition. He or she must have good vision, with or without the aid of eyeglasses, and the ability to hear and speak well. Physical and mental fitness are important to ensure the safety of the pilot as well as passengers and cargo on an aircraft. Certain accommodations are sometimes made, however, for people with disabilities who wish to fly.

Future pilots can get training at flight schools or local airports, under the supervision of one or more qualified flight instructors. The FAA approves hundreds of different instructors and schools across the country. Training courses include extensive classroom instruction, flight simulators, and supervised flights. New pilots receive classroom instruction about safety procedures, equipment, and regulations. A student is required to demonstrate his or her skills in a flight simulator before getting behind the controls of an actual aircraft. After 30 to 40 hours of actual flying experience, a pilot can obtain a certificate to fly solo.

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Pilot training programs are unique for prospective recreational and private pilots. Recreational pilots are restricted in the distance they may fly, the number of passengers they may carry, and the type of aircraft they can operate. Typically, recreational pilots must log at least 30 hours of training. Private pilots have fewer restrictions, as they are generally qualified to fly anywhere in the United States, carrying any number of passengers. Since private pilots assume more responsibilities, they are usually required to log at least 40 hours of training.

Pilots who log at least 250 hours of solo flying can take a series of practical and written tests administered by the FAA to gain licensing. Licensed pilots face fewer flying restrictions than those who hold certificates. With additional training, they can become qualified to seek employment at private and commercial airlines.

Most pilot training programs are approved by the FAA. Some private schools and instructors, however, do not have FAA approval. Non-approved programs can still train new pilots, though trainees are typically required to log more flying hours and take additional tests to ensure that they are fully qualified to fly.

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