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5 of the Most Common Types of Pilot Licenses


Did you know that there are nearly 125,000 pilots in the United States alone at the moment of this writing? This is a sought-after job that gives candidates the chance to make more than $120,000 per year after receiving their pilot certificate.

But did you also know that there are multiple types of pilot licenses? The different types of pilots licenses qualify you for flying certain planes and under specific circumstances. Keep reading to learn more about pilot license classifications and what they entail.

The Student Pilot Certificate

This is the type of certificate you need to become a qualified pilot. It allows you to fly a certain type of plane alone and under specific circumstances. The Student Pilot Certificate is awarded by the FAA and you need to meet certain requirements to obtain it. For example, you must be over 16 years of age, speak English fluently, and send your application through the IACRA website.

The Sport Pilot Certificate

The Sport Pilot Certificate allows you to fly small airplanes that usually fall under the Light Sport Aircraft category. The planes you are allowed to fly have up to 2 seats and can include gliders, rotorcraft, gyroplanes, and so on. You can obtain this certificate after just 20 hours of flight - 5 solo and 15 with your instructor. You are also limited to an altitude of 10,000 feet and you are not allowed to fly at night. You can keep reading at this link.

The Recreational Pilot Certificate

This certificate can be obtained after you have completed 30 more hours of flight time. 15 of these hours consist of training, 3 of solo flight, and at least 2 of a cross-country flight. Despite this, there are still some limitations on what types of planes you can fly and how you can fly them. For example, you are limited to a distance of 50 nautical miles from the departure airport and you still cannot fly during the night.

The Private Pilot Certificate

After 40 more hours of flight training, you are able to obtain your Private Pilot Certificate. This type of license allows you to fly most planes, fly into airports, fly at night, and with passengers. During your 40 hours of training, you will practice landings, take-offs, and multiple flight maneuvers to get you used to different flight scenarios. You are still not allowed to fly under extreme weather conditions and you cannot be compensated for flying.

Commercial Pilot Certificate

This is the type of pilot license people usually wish for. The Commercial Pilot Certificate allows you to get paid to fly and to make a living flying planes. You need to complete 250 more hours of flight training that involves written exams, medical exams, flying under certain conditions, etc. After you have completed these 250 hours, you are allowed to transport cargo by plane or tow banners for advertising purposes. You are still not eligible for scheduled flights.

Now You Know the Different Types of Pilot Licenses

As you can see, various types of pilot licenses allow you to do certain things. If you want to fly as a hobby, you should go for the recreational or private pilot licenses. If you want to make money flying, the commercial license is required, but it also requires more training. It's up to you.

To help you make the right decision regarding your flying career, check out the other articles on our website to learn more about flight licenses, planes, and how to fly them.

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