How to Start Your Career in Aviation
Have you always wanted to be behind the wheel of an aircraft? Certified and able to soar in a jet at your control and enjoy that newfound freedom?
There’s no time like the present to start. We’re not going to lie it’s going to take hard work and dedication to become a professional pilot. Knowing your goals and being determined to achieve them is the number one thing you need, and look you’re already started.
Let’s start with the obvious question, what is a professional pilot?
There’s a misconception about the word ‘professional’ in the industry. For many aviators, a professional pilot is someone wo flies for airlines. Whereas others consider it to include anyone who gets paid to fly anything. Really, it’s neither of those things. Being a professional pilot is all about seeing yourself as a pilot and being dedicated to achieving that goal.
To start out, there’s the knowledge portion of all certifications. The FAA requires at least a 70% on all knowledge tests and a pilot examiner knows the minimum performance standards to grade a pilot’s performance. However, when you’re flying, situations can be thrown at you where you’ll be required to not only have knowledge far beyond the minimum but be able to use it.
For a professional pilot, it’s not enough to identify what clouds are in the sky, a true professional will understand how and why those clouds are forming, particularly if there’s a risk of weather trouble on the horizon. There comes a deep level of self-confidence and awareness that goes beyond hours logged and information memorized. These are the kind of professional pilots everyone wants to hire.
Ratings and Certifications
Fixed-wing regional or major US airlines require a valid airline transport pilot certificate. To earn this certificate, you’ll need to log at least 1,500 flight hours. However, there are many other stops along the way to earning the ATP for US pilots. Flying a charter or business-aviation aircraft requires a commercial, instrument, and, potentially, multiengine rating. While its not always necessary, the best long-term plan includes earning a multiengine rating, regardless if it’s not immediately required.
The least amount of time spent earning your ratings, the better. When you compress your training, you don’t have to worry about forgetting things that were taught years ago in past courses and will be sharp in an interview.
Notably, the most important part of early flight training is dedicating the time to earn the pilot certificates while earning as much flight time as you can. Large flight schools are designed specifically to train pilots quickly and efficiently to go from zero flight time to a flight instructor certificate in less than a year. That sounds like a lot to learn, it is. Like we said, as long as you’re dedicated to achieving this goal, it’ll be worth it down the line.
Here’s some insight into a couple of the professional ratings earned after you already have a private pilot certificate.
This knowledge test is understanding and knowing how each instrument of an aircraft functions. This training teaches a pilot to handle various tasks at the same time. For instance when approaching the destination airport in poor weather. A pilot is responsible for not only maintaining control of the aircraft and keeping an eye on the autopilot, but communicating with Air Traffic Control on top of preparing aircraft nav systems to guide the airplane to the ground.
In modern aircraft, GPS-guides require a thorough understanding of not only how the technology creates the approach procedure, but how to make sure the accurate one is loaded and activated. This training also includes understanding IFR routes, approach charts, and weather patterns.
In order to qualify for an instrument rating, an applicant needs at least 40 hours of training from either an airplane or simulator. A 250-mile cross-country flight, that can be completed in a simulator with different approaches and weather conditions. Some flight schools will combine this training with a commercial certificate as instrument rating is necessary to earn the unrestricted commercial pilot certificate. Without instrument training, the commercial certificate would have the limit similar to a young person’s driver’s license: “The carriage of passengers for hire in airplanes on cross-country flights ins access of 50 nautical miles or at night is prohibited.”
Commercial Pilot Certificate
A commercial pilot certificate is designed to teach pilots more about what makes an airplane fly and how to handle unique situations in the air. There is some crossover in the information one would learn as a private pilot including preflight checks, airport and seaplane base operations, takeoff, landing, go-arounds, performance and ground maneuvers, slow flight, stalls, navigation, high-altitude operation, emergencies, and post-flight procedures.
This training is designed to go more in depth with the specific needs of commercial aircraft. As unique aspect of this certificate is the time limits of eligibility and flight time specifications. The FAA has Commercial Pilot Airmen Certification Standards to outline all the necessary requirements and tests. They’re known to be the most time-consuming rating to earn and you’ll want to reference them directly as they change.
We said earlier, it’s always better to plan to get this rating in your effort to becoming a professional pilot, even if it’s not required. The certification and information can be invaluable. This rating doesn’t have a time specification and only requires a pilot meet the proficiency level to gain an instructor’s endorsement as an operator of a multiengine aircraft. The specialization of this rating including understanding single-engine and twin-engine maneuvers, systems and performance within a multiengine aircraft, and being able to showcase that knowledge during a flight test.
Certified Flight Instructor
You might be thinking this certification is only for pilots who want to train others, but it actually has a lot of benefits. For instance, you’re able to log flight time and earn credit towards that 1,500 hours of flight time for your ATP. You’re able to learn more about flying from the passenger seat as students ask questions about different ways to perform maneuvers and aircraft operations.
You’ll also gain more confidence in yourself and hone your ability to demonstrate and describe complex information for your students.
The world needs more professional pilots with the expertise and knowledge to continue the proud history of aviation. There’s nothing like the freedom of flying and we can’t wait to welcome you into the world of private aviation from all of us at Miami Jet. We offer a pilot referral program so you can receive compensation for aircrafts that may be coming onto the market for sale or information about a potential buyer.
Miami Jet is a dedicated team of experts in aircraft brokerage and always happy to build partnerships in the aviation industry. We know that pilots, mechanics, and airport support staff are the eyes and ears on the ground in the pilot lounges and maintenance facilities of FBOs and often learn that an owner is considering selling their aircraft or possibly searching for a new one. Receive compensation from this information that leads to an aircraft sale or acquisition we broker. Contact us today to learn more about our program!