What can I Expect from Commercial Flight Training?

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  • Written By: N. Madison
  • Edited By: Jenn Walker
  • Last Modified Date: 17 August 2019
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The commercial flight training you'll receive may depend on the country in which you are hoping to become a commercial pilot. In many places, however, commercial flight training consists of various stages of learning, which include in-classroom lessons, hands-on flight training, and simulated flight training. For example, you may start out with training to become a private pilot and then move on to instrumental training. After that, you may receive more advanced flight training as you work toward earning a commercial pilot certificate and an airline pilot license. Before commercial flight training is over, you may need to log more than 1500 flight hours and pass both written and in-flight exams in order to complete your training.

The starting point for commercial flight training may depend on the level of experience you have so far. If you already have a private pilot certificate, you may start off with learning to fly using instruments instead the horizon. If you are completely new to flying, however, you may need to start out with earning a private pilot certificate. Your private flight training may begin with a brief introduction to flying, which is often referred to as a discovery flight. You may then take a flight training course; log at least 45 hours of flight time; and take a written test and flying exam in order to move on to the next stage of commercial flight training.


The next step you may take as you obtain commercial flight training is earning your instrument rating. Essentially, this means you will learn how to fly using instruments rather than your view of the horizon. Having an instrument rating is critical for times in which you may have to fly in less than favorable visual conditions. You may need to log about 50 hours of cross-country flight time to earn this rating and 40 hours of instrument time, which may be simulated.

After learning instrument flying, you’ll typically complete a training program that prepares you for earning a commercial pilot certificate. To complete this program, you will usually need to log about 250 hours of flight time. This training will typically prepare you for advanced flying procedures that were not covered in your private pilot training.

If you want to pilot a commercial airline, the next step you may take in commercial flight training may be enrolling in a program that prepares you for earning an airline transport pilot license. This training will usually include about 1500 additional hours of flight time, which may include flying in a range of conditions. For example, you may fly not only on clear days, but also at night and using instruments as a reference. You may also practice flying cross country at night. After completing this training, you will usually take a written and flight exam to earn an airline transport pilot license.



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