There are six different kinds of certificates and ratings one must achieve in order to fly, depending on the type of pilot someone wants to become. The types of pilots are listed below and each one allows pilots to do some things while others are quite specific to the purpose of the flying. There are different kind of classes that each pilot receives, for example, Class A, B or C that is related to airspace and where and to what height a pilot can fly.
Recreational and Hobby Certifications
Airline Transport Pilot
By far the easiest kind of pilot to become, a Sports Pilot is the least restrictive. These pilots fly in light aircraft only and it only requires 20 hours of logged training. These pilots are limited to one passenger. An FAA medical certificate is not usually required.
The difference between the Sport Pilot Certificate and the Recreational
Pilot license is that generally with a recreational pilot license the pilot is able to fly heavier planes and who aren’t interested in moving on to higher airplane certifications. For this kind of certificate, aviators need 10 more hours of flying time than sports pilots plus another 15 of dual-flying lessons.
The Private Pilot license is by far the most common type of certificate that people go for. Training requirements are more intensive but by receiving one pilots are able to fly at night and at controlled airports. A private pilot also has the choice to drive different types of aircrafts but is not able to use that plane for any commercial purposes. For this type of certificate 40 hours of fly time is necessary with 20 of those hours being with an instructor.
The federal aviation requirements must be met for commercial pilots who are looking to be compensated for their flying. Commercial pilot planes are extremely complicated and involve complex skills. Expect to go to school for this type of certification, it is the most involved.
For those who later down the road in their career want to make another step forward in their knowledge by teaching, the option is out there. Some people fly as a flight instructor to get paid and to get the experience, so this is not only an option for more senior pilots, pilots can even start out as a flight instructor to get more knowledge under their belt first.
Airline Transport Pilot
This is by far the most advanced license a pilot can go for. It is necessary for those who want to gain employment as a commercial pilot. In order to become eligible for the certificate that is needed, the ATP certificate, there must be at least 1,5000 hours logged. To become an airline transport pilot, students must be at least 23 years of age. Ratings or endorsements are other things that can be added to a certificate to be able to fly with instruments, for example.