Types of Pilot Licenses and Pilot License Requirements

Types of FAA Pilot License Certificates

pilot license school

When making the decision to go for a pilot license to become a pilot, there are a great number of factors that you should take into consideration before starting the journey to becoming a pilot. The entire process involves a considerable amount of money, effort, and time being invested by the student pilot and should not be taken lightly.

If you decide to go for a more advanced pilot license like the CPL or ATP, the the amount of time, money, and effort increases substantially. Hence, it is important that you take this decision of which type of pilot license you would like to obtain with great care. Every candidate wants to be sure that they are making the best decision while receiving  their money’s worth in professional pilot training. Therefore, looking for the deal that is the cheapest is usually not the ideal option when it comes to selecting the best flight school or certified flight instructor for your pilot training.

All that you want to make sure is that you are able to learn quality skills while completing the pilot training in the shortest amount of time and for the cheapest amount of money as possible. Getting a pilot license requires mandatory flight hours of varied flying experience, with each type of pilot license having different prerequisites that need to be met before going for the pilot license exam and check ride.

Please read on to find out more about the FAA requirements for each type of FAA pilot certificate .

student pilots Student Pilot License-

This is the very first type of pilot license you will receive in order to be able to start flight training.

The requirements to get a a student pilot license are as follows-

– At least 16 years old, 14 for balloon pilots, and glider pilots.

– Be able to speak and understand the English language fluently.

– You have to also go to an FAA approved medical examiner to receive a FAA medical certificate stating that you are fit to fly.


fly-a-plane-private pilot licensePrivate Pilot License-

The very first pilot license that you will be working towards is the FAA private pilot license certificate.

There are several different types of pilot licenses under the GA pilot license classification. Recreational pilot license, sport pilot license, glider pilot license, and the full blown private pilot license certificate.Each type of GA pilot license has different criteria that have to be met before receiving any variation of the private pilot license a.k.a. GA pilot license.

Private Pilot License Requirements-

– 16 for gliders and 17 years old for engine powered airplanes

– At least 35-40 hours of varied flight training. Most student pilots train for upwards of 60+ hours.

– Pass the FAA medical and eye exams-

– Pass the FAA written knowledge exams

– Pass the FAA check ride.

– CFI endorsed log book and letter of certification.

Click Here to Read More About Our FAA Private Pilot License Training Course

CPL flight school- 250-flight-hours

commercial pilot schoolCommercial Pilot License Requirements-

In order for you to become a full-fledged commercial pilot you must satisfy the following FAA Requirements

1. To be eligible as a commercial pilot you must be at least eighteen years old.

2. You must be literate and speak fluent English in order to pass a written, oral examination, and communicate with airport towers.

3. You must have attained at least a license in private piloting or full-filled the requirements in FAR 61.73 list of requirements.

4. Another requirement is that you must pass both the FAA knowledge / practical test and Check ride. The flight instructor must also have certified the applicant as being prepared to take the knowledge test based on class rating and air craft category they are seeking, according to FAR 61.125.

5. One must have completed a minimum of either 190 or 250 flight hours of varied flight experience depending on the set of FAA regulations he/she has applied under, Part 61 or Part 141.

6. Holding at least a second class FAA medical certificate.

7. You must have a pilot log book endorsed by an FAA certified flight instructor.

Single Engine and Multi Engine commercial pilot license requirements

There are several different types of commercial pilot licenses that you can obtain from the FAA. There is the single engine commercial pilot license and a multi-engine/landing commercial pilot license. Most CPL training courses usually include Instrument rating courses so the CPL can fly above clouds, at night, and/or during inclement weather. Most CPL holders also go for their CFI, CFII, and MEI instructor pilot ratings along with their CPL as they can immediately start a pilot career by being  able to train student pilots while gaining more flight time towards their ATP pilot license.  These are the different variations of CPL certificates that a pilot can obtain according to their specific piloting goals from a FAA commercial flight school.

You must achieve the following FAA CPL requirements:

Commercial Single Engine Pilot License

1. One must log 250 hours of flight time

2. An applicant must also spend about 100 flight hours in a powered aircraft whereby 50 hours must be done in a single engine airplane.

3. At least 100 hours of flight time piloting in command which contains 50 hours in a single engine aircraft and 50 hours over a cross country flight about the same engine aircraft.

4. Another necessity is that you simply do at least 20 hours within the various aspects of IR, VFR, and varied flight operations, including:

At the very least 10 hours of airplane instruments training, of which,  five hours needs to be completed in a single engine airplane

At the very least 10 hours of learning in an airplane that has retractable landing gears, flaps, along with a controlled frequency propeller or an airplane that is wind turbine powered.

At the least 2 hours of flight in the cross-country flight under VFR conditions which might be:

At the very least 100 nautical miles in the straight range distance by point associated with departure.

At least 2 hours of flight in the cross-country flight under VFR nights conditions that contain a long distance of 100 nautical miles covered in the straight range from stage of departure.

5. You should also do more than 10 hours of solo flights in a single engine airplane consisting of not less than 300 nautical miles covered in a cross-country flight and 5 hours in VFR night conditions, and 10 successful take-offs and landings in flight pattern at an airport that has an FAA controlled tower.

CMEL- multi engine commercial pilot licenseCommercial Multi Engine Pilot License-

A Commercial pilot multi-engine rating applies to a FAA commercial pilot license certificate that requires a private pilot airplane rating, commercial single engine  airplane rating, instrument rating, and a multi-engine class rating in order to receive the CMEL (Commercial Multi-Engine Landing). The multi engine commercial pilot license requires that each candidate log at least 250 hours of varied flight time, including the following types of varied flight time-

– 100 flight hours in powered aircraft. 50 of the flight hours need to be in an engine powered airplane.

– 100  flight hours hours as pilot-in-command (PIC), including— 50 hours in airplanes, 50 hours in cross-country flight hours with at least 10 hours being flown in an engine powered airplane.

– 20 hours of flight training on the areas of operation listed in FARs §61.127(b)(2) — 10 hours of instrument rating(IR) pilot training with use of view obstruction device while executing pilot training for- altitude instrument flying, partial flight deck panel skills, recovery from unusual flight altitudes and conditions, and tracking navigational systems. At least 5 out of the 10 flight training hours must  be completed in a multi-engine airplane;

-10 hours of flight training in a multi-engine airplane. The dual engine aircraft should  either have a retractable landing gear,  flaps,  remote pitch propellers, or is run by jet turbines.

– Must complete a 2hr. cross country flight in a multi-engine aircraft in the day time. This CMEL requirement makes the student pilot fly 100 plus miles from their departure location.

– Must complete a  2hr. cross country flight in a multi-engine aircraft  at night. This CMEL requirement makes the student pilot fly 100 miles from their point of departure while doing so at night.

– The student pilot must complete 3+ hours of flight training time with their CFI in preparation for the CPL FAA tests and CPL check ride. These 3 hours have to be done within 60 days before taking the CPL/CMEL exams and check ride.

– The CPL candidate must also complete 10 hours of solo flight  training time in a multi-engine aircraft or 10 hours of PIC flight training time in a multi-engine aircraft with a certified flight instructor and in compliance with FAA  §61.127, including-

-A 300 nautical mile cross-country flight. This flight training requirement requires that the student pilot executes 3 landings; and

–  CMEL student pilots also need to conduct 5 hours of flight training at night in VFR conditions. This flight training mission requires that the student pilot  executes 10 takeoffs and 10 landings in flight traffic patterns at an airport with a FAA tower.

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The last type of pilot license or pilot certificate is the  coveted “Airline Transport Pilot License”-

airline transport pilot licenseAirline Transport Pilot License-

ATP Pilot License Eligibility Requirements-

In order to qualify to become an airline transport pilot, a person must:

– Be at least 21-23 years of age.

– For ATP candidates that are 23 years old- Please refer to FARs §§61.159, 61.161, or 61.163,

– For ATP candidates that are 21 years old- Please refer to FARs §61.160

– The ATP candidate must be able to read, write, and speak the English language fluently.

– The airline transport certificate candidate must be presentable, professional, and display strong moral character.

The ATP certificate candidate must meet the following criteria-

– Candidate must have a Commercial pilot certificate with an instrument rating.

– If the ATP candidate was in the military, refer to FARs§61.73 for Military pilots, their experience, and requirements needed to obtain an airline transport pilot license.

– Foreign ATP certificate holders; the ATP certificate must have been issued through a country that has pilot training programs and governing bodies that are approved by the International Civil Aviation, of which, the ATP can have no geographical limits.

– All ATP candidates must complete all of their flight training;  ground school, mandatory flight training hours, aircraft type ratings courses, IR/ME ratings, and receive their ATP graduation certificates from an FAA approved flight school as specified in §61.156 before they can schedule the FAA knowledge test.

– Pass all FAA knowledge tests according to FARs §61.155(c)

– Pass all of the related FAA practical tests on the flight operation listed in §61.157(e).

– The ATP candidate must also pass the FAA medical/EYE exams to receive a 1st Class FAA medical certificate clearing them to fly as an airline transport pilot.

Dual ATP and EASA Pilot Training Course-

Epic Flight Academy offers a unique program for student pilots who want to to become FAA/EASA dual certified. This program is approved by the EASA and allows the student pilot to complete the majority of their flight training, ratings, ground training, additional flight hours, and airline training all in one  multi engine commercial pilot training program. After the student pilot graduates from the dual FAA/EASA commercial pilot program then all they have to do is take a quick EASA Instrument Rating Conversion Course to complete the entire  FAA/EASA flight training program. Once complete, the student pilot can fly almost anywhere  in the world as a professional pilot.

Dual FAA - EASA pilot license training course

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About our US Flight School-

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Epic Flight Academy-  international flight academy that has been training pilots from all across the globe for over 15 years. Specializing in accelerated pilot training programs at our FAA approved flight school USA: private pilot licenses (PPL), commercial pilot licenses (CPL), Instrument Ratings(IR) and ME ratings, certified flight instructors (CFI, CFII, MEI), and airline transport pilot licenses (ATP).


Flight School Scams

Want To Become a Pilot? Beware Flight School Scams!

flight school scams

Going to flight school to become a pilot can be one of the best experiences in a person’s lifetime, that is of course, so long as you find a reputable, honest, established, and accredited FAA approved flight training institution.

If you have been considering going to flight school to become a pilot, you need to understand that there are many flight schools and aviation academy’s that operate “shady” businesses. These unscrupulous flight schools use a wide range of deceptive business practices to prey on unsuspecting people interested in going to flight school to receive their FAA pilot certificate.

Common Flight School Scams-

1- Contract Inflation, Hidden charges– This is the most basic and lowest type of flight school fraud if that’s what you even what to call it. A lot of flight schools will end up over billing or adding additional billing items to your final tuition costs for items, classes, services that were not included in your original tuition bill or agreement, sometimes this is an accident and sometimes it is intentional. Most of the time a student pilot can simply reduce their chances of going to a sub standard flight school by conducting a little research on the flight school itself. Read reviews, check FAA cand business credentials, take a tour of the pilot training facilities, check out the aircraft, meet the CFI’s, and ask the proper questions to find out exactly what is included and what is not included in the main flight school tuition fees.

2- Flight School Student Loans- Paying for flight school with a student loan is not necessarily a bad idea so long as you have done your research on the flight school you want to attend along with the student loan company that you plan on using. If everything checks out and you receive a good student loan package and rate, go for it! Just be aware of smaller, lesser known student loan companies and predatory financial institutions.

3- Upfront Payment/Deposit Stealing- This type of fraud is nothing new in terms of how it works. Basically, a student puts down a cash deposit towards their flight training with a supposed flight school or individual certified flight instructor. The flight school or certified flight instructor then simply disappears with the student pilot(s) money, never to be heard from again.

4- New School Opens, Then Closes Months Later- This type of pilot school fraud is similar to the example in number 3, it is just a little more of an elaborate drawn out process. A flight school that appears to be established- has a training facility, several pilot training aircraft, a flight simulator, office and classes, a couple instructors, and some student pilots. The flight school reaches a certain threshold of students and their deposits or complete tuition payments. The flight school remains in operation for a short amount of time and then proceeds to take all of the new student pilot tuition deposits and payments, and then proceeds to close down the business. What is even more frustrating is that shortly after the scam flight school steals everyone’s money and closes, shortly thereafter, another pilot academy opens right back up under a new name and under “different” ownership.

5- Federal Student Loan and GI Bill fraud- This type of flight school scam involves the flight school administrators over-leveraging the federal student loan program and GI Bill program for military veterans. Read about this type of flight school scam that involved the flight school owners and employees being enrolled in their own flight school just to keep GI Bill required student attendance ratio to veteran student ratio compliant as to receive federal VA flight school funding  http://dcourier.com/main.asp?SectionID=1&SubsectionID=1&ArticleID=122518

6- Immigration / US Visa Fraud- This type of fraud involves the flight school owners using “doctored” US visa papers (usually involving Form I-20) to entice international students to sign up and send deposits that they will never see again. Sometimes this practice is used on student pilots in country that need to extend their stay for flight training or are the US Visa is used as a means of threatening student pilots to pay more for additional random ”surcharges”, as the flight school can have the student’s visa rejected at any time.

Read more about immigration fraud and flight school scams in the news- http://www.foxnews.com/us/2010/05/25/ice-busts-flight-school-massive-visa-fraud-scheme/

7- Insurance Scam Scare Tactics- All legitimate and established flight schools in the USA have to carry some sort of business insurance and usually aircraft insurance as well. The way this scam works is if a student pilot breaks something or has a small accident, the flight school owner will try and make the student pilot pay for any and all damages incurred. The flight school’s insurance company will cover just about any and all damages caused by a student, faculty, staff, etc. This type of scam is usually used on international students by using threats and scare tactics to extort more money out of the student pilot and their families.

8- International Pilot Student Scam- This category is fairly broad and can include some or all of the aforementioned examples listed above. There are a lot of flight schools out there that market specifically to people interested in becoming pilots that are located in countries all over the world. These scandalous flight schools and their admission specialists target and recruit in countries where there is a need for professional commercial pilots as they know that once they get them enrolled, they can start chipping away at the student’s bank accounts and family’s life savings. Once again, international student pilots are usually the ones whom experience the biggest problems as they are not aware of how “everything” works in the US.

Read about one flight school in California that was just recently closed down and left about 30 student pilots without flight training, housing, and US Visa’s-


Go To an Established FAA Flight School-

The purpose of this report was to inform all would be pilots or pilots looking for additional pilot training to be aware of the many different types of fight school scams that are out there. With a little bit of research and use of common sense, most of these students could have saved their money and themselves from falling victim to these scandalous, deceptive, and downright dubious flight training schools and their thieving owner/operators.

As there are several different ways to receive your pilot training- flight school, certified flight instructor, aviation college; the trick is to finding an honest, established, and reputable flight school where they care about how their pilots truly perform while flying- before, during, and after graduating from their flight school’s pilot training programs.

About Our 15 Year Veteran US Flight School-

Our FAA approved, accredited, and accelerated flight school, Epic Flight Academy, trains aspiring pilots from all across the world. We have successfully trained and graduated thousands of student pilots with their- private pilot license, commercial pilot license, certified flight instructor certificates, type ratings, and airline transport pilot training. Our prestigious pilot school offers over 40 state of the art aircraft for pilot training- single engine aircraft and multi-engine aircraft- Cessna’s, Seminole’s, and Diamond DA-42 aircraft. Our FAA commercial flight school has an ample supply of over 30+ multi-rated professional certified flight instructors as to make sure there is no downtime for a student pilot that wants to log additional flight training hours. Epic Flight Academy operates out of the Jack Bolt Municipal Airport in New Smyrna Beach, FL, located just minutes away from the beach.

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