American Pilot Certification

A person can only act as a director if they are able to pay the required fees.Pilot-in-commandFlugzeugeIt is. It is regulated under theFederal Aviation Administration(FAA), A branch of theU.S. Department of Transportation(USDOT). (USDOT).Code of Federal Regulations(CFR Part 61, 14 CFR Part 140 (if you are a student at an approved school part 141). Commercial drone operation pilots can also be certified under 14 CFR 107.

A pilot certificate issued by the FAA is proof that an individual has been authorized to fly. The FAA issues a variety of pilot certificates.

General structure of certification

Pilots are certified to fly planes at one or more privilege levels. At each privilege level, they are rated to fly specific types of aircraft. In order of increasing privilege, the following are the privilege levels for pilot certificates:[1]

  • Student PilotA person who learns to fly under the guidance of a pilot.Flight instructorWho is allowed to fly alone in certain, limited circumstances
  • Sport PilotA person who has been authorized to fly onlyLight-sport Aircraft
  • Remote PilotAn individual who is willing to fly small Unmanned Aerial Vehicles, (UAV), for compensation or hire
  • Recreational PilotA person who can fly up to 4 seats in an aircraft during the day for pleasure.
  • Private pilotA person who can fly for pleasure, personal or business purposes. Usually without receiving compensation
  • Commercial PilotA person who can fly to receive compensation or for hire, subject to certain restrictions
  • Pilot for Airline Transport(often called)ATP(): An individual who is authorized to fly for a scheduled airline. First Officers who fly under 14CFR121 must have an Airline Transport Pilot Certificate. This certificate is effective August 1, 2013.

These aircraft categories allow pilots to be rated: [1] [2]

The classes are the most common sub-categories of aircraft. A pilot who is a part of a divided category must have a a>class rating to be able to fly the same aircraft in that group. To operate an aircraft of that class, you must have a ">class rating:[1]

  • The Airplane class is broken down into single-engine land, multi-engine land and single-engine sea classes (ASES), ASEL and AMES.
  • The Rotorcraft category can be divided into two categories: helicopter and The Rotorcraft category is divided into helicopter and
  • The Lighter-than Air category can be divided into two parts: a href="An" class="redactor-linkify-object">">An airship, also known as an aerostat, is a lighter-than air aircraft that can travel through the air on its own. ">airship and ">Airship and
  • The powered parachute category can be divided into powered parachute land and powered sea.
  • The weight-shift control category can be divided into two parts: weight-shift land and sea

The student pilot certificate does NOT list any category or class ratings, but it is endorsed by a flight instructor to grant privileges in certain makes and models.

If the aircraft is more than 12500lb in weight at takeoff, or powered by more than one engine, a type rating is required. If the aircraft weighs more than 12500lb at takeoff or is powered by one or more turbojet engines, a type rating is required. The Boeing 747. The Boeing 747,

A pilot can add an IFR instrument rating to his or her private certificate in order to legally fly under the instrument flight rules (IFR). A pilot who is an airline transport pilot implicitly has an instrument rating. The instrument rating will not be listed on an ATP certificate. The FAA issues separate instrument ratings for the aircraft and powered lift categories, and the helicopter class (INSTA or INSTH). Glider and airship pilots can also be subject to Instrument Flight Rules in certain situations. An Airline Transport Pilot certificate holder might be allowed to use ATP privileges for multi-engine land planes but not Commercial Pilot privileges for single-engine land planes or gliders. A Commercial Pilot certificate holder who holds a rating for gliders may only be eligible to use Private Pilot privileges when flying single-engine land planes.

The FAA can impose limitations to a pilot certificate if the pilot fails to demonstrate the skills required to exercise all privileges at a particular privilege level, category or class. A DC-3 type ratings holder who fails to demonstrate instrument flying skills during the practical exam would receive a limitation reading "DC-3 (VFR only)".

A pilot must either complete a training course with a CFI (Certified Flight Instructor) or enroll in a 14CFR141-approved course to obtain a certificate. An applicant must have accumulated and documented specific aeronautical experience and pass a three-part exam: a knowledge test (a computerized multiple choice test, commonly called the "written test") and an oral test. The practical test is conducted by either an FAA inspector, or a Designated pilot Examiner.

A logbook endorsement by a flight instructor is another form of authorization. This certifies that the certificate holder has been trained in certain skill areas and does not require a full test.

Although pilot certificates are not subject to expiration, they can be suspended or revoked at the FAA's discretion. Every pilot must undergo a a>flight review every two years. This is required by many aviation authorities around the world. ">flight review with an Instructor every 24 months, unless she/he obtains a new rating or pilot certificate in that time. A medical exam is required for most certificates. The frequency of these examinations can vary from six to five years depending on the pilot’s age and desired flight privileges. Additional currency requirements are required for passengers and flight under instrument flying rules (IFR).

Pilotage for commercial purposes

A commercial pilot certificated may be able to act as A commercial pilot certificated may be able to act as A commercial certificate does not permit a pilot to fly in meteorological conditions. Commercial pilots who do not have an instrument rating for a particular aircraft category are limited to flying within 50nmi during daytime when they are carrying passengers.

Commercial airplane pilots must be capable of operating a complex aircraft. A specific number of hours spent in complex (or turbine-powered!) aircraft is required.

These are the requirements:

  • At least 18 years old
  • Private pilot certificate
  • Learn English Language skills.
  • Log a certain amount of experience and training; these are required for the single-engine aircraft land class rating.
    • For Part 61 training, 250 hours piloting time, including 20 hours with an instructor, 10 hours solo flight and several "cross-country" flights. These include at least 50 nautical miles (93km) (25 NM for helicopter rates) from the departure airport.
    • Part 141 training requires at least 150 hours, including 55 hours of instruction and 10 hours solo flight. Other requirements include several cross-country solo and night flights.
  • Pass the 100-question written aeronautical knowledge test
  • Pass the oral and flight tests administered by an FAA inspector or FAA-designated examr, or an authorized check instructor

This certificate by itself does not allow the pilot to operate an operation that transports members of the public for hire. A second-class medical certificate must be obtained by the pilot to fly for hire. This certificate is valid for 12 months if the pilot has reached 40 years of age. The certificate for younger pilots is valid 24 months.

The commercial certificate can often reduce the pilot's premiums because it is proof of higher safety standards.

Pilots for airline transport

A pilot who is an airline transport pilot (commonly known as an " ATP") must pass a rigorous piloting test. This certificate is required to be able to fly in scheduled airlines.

Minimum pilot experience is 1,500 hours flight time (1200 for Helicopters), 100 hours night flight time and 75 hours simulation or actual instrument operations time. You must also be at least 23 years old, have an instrument rating, be able to read and write English, understand it, pass a rigorous written exam, and be of good moral character.

For pilots who do not meet the strict requirements of an ATP, an Airline Transport Pilot – restricted (ATP-r), is also available. The ATP-r only hour requirement is 1,500 total hours and 200 cross-country. For former military pilots, the "total time" requirement has been reduced to 750 hours, 1,000 hours, and 1,250 hours for graduates from university associate degree programs. An ATP-r holder can only serve as the first officer in a 2-pilot operation. Upon proving that the pilot has the required age and experience in aeronautical operations, an unrestricted ATP-r is granted. See 14CFR61.160 for requirements and see 14CFR61.167 for privileges and limitations

Remote pilot

Part 107 regulations apply to UAVs weighing more than 0.55 lbs or less than 55 lbs[25], and used in a commercial manner. Part 107 exemptions are granted by the FAA on a case-by-case basis subject to risk mitigation. [26] UAVs weighing more than 0.55 lbs and less than 55 lbs[25] are subject to Part 333 regulations.

Eligibility requirements:[28] (29]
Non Part 61 certificate holders

  • At least 16 years of age
  • Learn English Language skills.
  • Pass the required knowledge test
  • During all UAS operations, remote pilots must be able to reach them easily
  • Certificate valid for 2 years. Certificate holders must complete recurrent knowledge training each two years.

Part 61 certificate holders

  • You must have a pilot certificate under Part 61 of 14 CFR.
  • Must have performed a flight review in the last 24 months
  • Certificate valid for 2 years. Certificate holders must pass either an online recurrent training course or a knowledge test every two (2) years.

Restrictions [30]

  • Unmanned aircraft should weigh less than 55 pounds (25 kg).
  • Only visual line-of sight (VLOS) is allowed; unmanned aircraft must be within VLOS of remote pilot in command, and person controlling the flight controls of small UAS. The unmanned aircraft can also be kept within VLOS of a visual observer.
  • The small unmanned aircraft must be kept close enough to the remote pilot in charge and to the person controlling the flight controls. This will allow them to see the aircraft without the aid of any other devices than corrective lenses.
  • A small unmanned aircraft cannot fly over persons who are not directly involved in the operation. It must not be operated under a cover structure and it must not be inside a covered stationary vehicle.
  • Daylight-only operations or civil twilight (from 30 minutes before official sunrise to thirty minutes after official sunset local time) are possible with the appropriate anti-collision lighting.
  • You must yield to any other aircraft.
  • You may use a visual observer (VO), but it is not necessary.
  • The "see-and-avoid” requirement cannot be met by a first-person camera, but it can be used as long the other requirements are satisfied.
  • Maximum groundspeed 100 mph (87 kph).
  • Maximum altitude is 400 feet above the ground (AGL), or if you are higher than 400 feet, stay within 400 feet of any structure.
  • [27]
  • With the appropriate ATC permission, operations in Class B, C and D airspace are permitted
  • ATC approval is not required for operations in Class G airspace.
  • One remote pilot in command, or VO, may not be assigned to more than one unmanned flight at a time.
  • There are no operations from moving aircraft.
  • If the operation is in a sparsely populated region, there are no operations from a moving car.
  • No reckless or careless operations.
  • No hazardous materials are allowed to be carried.
  • UAS flying in or around stadiums is forbidden. This includes UAS operations within three nautical miles of stadiums. ()[31]
    • Major League Baseball
    • National Football

You can mix and match the levels of licenses on one certificate. A private pilot could have both a glider rating and an airplane rating, for example. This would allow him to obtain a commercial license. The new license would list the plane ratings as only having "private privileges".

Number of pilots currently in service

The US had an estimated 664,565 pilots who were actively certified as of 2019. [32] This is a decline from the 1980 high of more than 827,000 pilots. In 1990, there were 702,659 pilots and 625.581 in 2000. These numbers include:

  • 197,665 student pilots (123,663 in 1990, 93,064 by 2000).
  • 127 recreational pilots (87 vs 340 in 2000).
  • 6,467 pilots in sport (disappearing from 2005 to 2005).
  • 161,105 private pilots (199,111 in 1990 and 251,561 2000).
  • 100,863 commercial pilots (149.666 in 1990, 121.858 in 2000).
  • 164,947 pilots of airline transport (107,732 in 90 and 141,596 respectively in 2000).
  • 19,143 pilots who only fly gliders (9,567 in 90 and 7,775 by 2000)
  • 15,511 rotorcraft (helicopter) pilots-only (7,833 in 1990; 9,387 2000).
  • End of 2019, 611 825 male pilots
  • End of 2019, 52,740 female pilots

These numbers are based upon the highest certifications each pilot holds.

These numbers also include:

  • There were 113,445 certified flight instructors (CFIs), 63,775 in 1990, and 80,931 2000.
  • Overall, 314,168 pilots who were instrument-rated (297.073 in 1990 and 311,944 2000)
  • 160,302 remote pilots (certification was first offered in 2016 and does not require an active medical certificate. However, it must be re-trained every 2 years).

A pilot who is an active pilot holds both a pilot certificate as well as a valid medical certification. This certificate is required for certifications that are medically required.

Other ratings and certificates

  • A flight instructor teaches others how to fly an aircraft. ">flight instructor certificateThe holder is authorized to provide training and endorsement for a certificate and to perform a flight review.
  • Ground Instructor Certificates allow the holder to provide ground instruction, knowledge exam endorsements and the ground training portion for a flight review.
  • Aninstrument ratingFlying below the required level is not possibleInstrument flight rules. An instrument rating is issued for a particular type of aircraft. A pilot who has been certified to fly an airplane in IFR has anInstrument AirplaneRating.
  • AnInstrument instructor ratingA certificated flight instructor is authorized to provide training and endorsement for instrument rating pilots.
  • AMulti-engine ratingIt is necessary to fly an aircraft with more than one engine. This is the most common type of ana.Class rating.
  • AMulti-engine instructor ratingA certificated flight instructor is authorized to provide training and endorsement for multi-engine ratings.

After completion of flight training, and the issuance of a pilot certificate, United States militarypilots receive an Aviator Badge. Qualified applicants may also be issued badges for ground or crew positions.

Pilots of unmanned aircraft system (Drones) must obtain a remote pilot pilot certificate with a small UAS rating to operate commercially.

Requirements and certification for medical professionals

Except for those who have a Sport or Recreational pilot certificate [34], all certificated pilots must maintain a medical certificate commensurate to the privileges they plan to enjoy as pilot-in command of an aircraft.

Sport pilot certificate holders or applicants must have a valid United States drivers' license.

Pilots must undergo a medical exam from an Aviation Medical Examiner to be eligible for a medical certificate. Based on the type of certification required, the Aviation Medical Examiner conducts an exam.

There are three types of medical certifications:

Third class

Third-class certifications require the least involvement in medical certifications. These certificates are required for pilots who plan to fly an aircraft as a pilot-in-command under the Private or Recreational pilot certificates, or when they have solo privileges as student pilots.

  • Distance vision: 20/40 or higher in each eye, [35] with or not correction
  • Near vision: 20/40 in each eye, with or without correction. Measured at a distance 16inches
  • Color vision: Demonstrate your ability to see the colors required for safe performance of airman duties
  • Hearing: You must demonstrate the ability to hear a conversation in a quiet space using both your ears at a distance between six and six feet with your back to the examiner.
  • Ear, nose, and throat: Do not have any ear condition or condition that could reasonably be expected to manifest by vertigo, a disturbance in speech, or imbalance.
  • Blood pressure below 155/95
  • Mental Status: There is no diagnosis for psychosis, bipolar disorder or severe personality disorders
  • Substance Dependence: There has been no dependence on alcohol or any other pharmacological substance during the past two years

Third-class medical certificates for pilots younger than 40 years old expire five years after the date they were issued. This rule was changed by the FAA to make it five years old on July 24, 2008[36] [37]. For all other pilots, they expire two years after the date they were issued.

The U.S. Senate approved a bill by Montana Senator Steve Daines (S. 571- Pilot's Bill of Rights 2 PBOR 2). The bill, if signed into law by Montana Senator Steve Daines, would extend the third-class medical exemption for recreational pilots and reform the FAA's medical certificate process to include more qualified, skilled pilots.

Second class

For those who wish to use the privileges of a commercial pilot certificate, a second-class medical is required. A commercial pilot certificate can be obtained with a third-class medical. However, flight instruction is not permitted.

Pilots must fulfill the requirements of the third-class certificate plus in order to be eligible for a second-class medical certificate.

  • Distance vision: 20/20 or better in each of the eyes, individually, with or without correction
  • Intermediate vision: 20/40 in each eye, with or without correction at 50 years old and older, measured at 32 inches

Certificates of second class are valid for twelve months from the date they were issued. A certificate holder can then only use the privileges of third-class medical certificates.

First class

For those who plan to become pilot-in-command of an air carrier operation that requires an Airline Transport Pilot (ATP), first class certificates are required. For insurance purposes, it may be required for other operations, such as those covered under Part 91.

Pilots must fulfill the requirements of the third and second-class certificates plus to be eligible for the first medical certificate.

  • Heart Function: An electrocardiogram must demonstrate normal heart function at least once per year for people aged 35 to 40.
  • Maximum 65 [40]

First class medical certificates for pilots younger than 40 years old expire one year after the date they were issued. This rule was introduced by the FAA on July 24, 2008.[36] 37. All other certificates are valid up to the end of the month six months following their issue. The certificate holder can then only use the privileges granted by a second-class medical certificate for twelve months from the date of issue. After that, the privileges will be extended to a third-class medical certificate for twenty-four months. (FAA $61.23 d-1iii).

Special Issue

Pilots who fail to meet these requirements could be issued a special issuance medical certificate. A special issuance is basically a waiver for disqualifying conditions and is evaluated individually depending on the type of certificate requested. A special issuance issued by an Aviation Medical Examiner can resolve minor problems, while other special issuances must be obtained directly from the FAA.


To reduce safety concerns, a medical certificate may contain restrictions. Pilots who need glasses or contacts to meet visual acuity standards are subject to the common restriction that they "must wear corrective lenses." A restriction is usually issued to color-blind pilots that reads, "NOT VALID for NIGHT FLIGHT OR BY COOR SIGNAL CONTROL." This is to prevent situations from being considered potentially dangerous and reduce the possibility that color-blind flight crews might not be able identify the colors necessary for safe flying.

Pilots with color vision impairments can often have these restrictions removed by using an FAA approved alternative office-based color vision test. If passed, the applicant will need to continue taking that test (or any other passable test) at each renewal. A real-world operational test is available if the pilot applicant fails any of the office-based tests. The test consists of a ground based chart reading and control tower light test for Third Class medical certificate (also known as Operational Color Vision Test, or OCVT). A specialized "Medical Flight Test (MFT), is also required for Second Class and First Class medical certificates. An actual flight test is performed by the applicant with an FAA Aviation Safety Inspector. This is to further demonstrate "the ability of perceive those colors necessary in order to safely perform airman duties". Not required is "Normal Colour Vision", as some degree of color vision impairment is safe and allowed. A "Letter of Evidence" from the FAA will be issued if the tests pass. This serves as evidence that the pilot meets Color Vision standards. The AME can issue the class of Medical Certificate indicated in the LOE. (All classes if both OCVT or MFT have been passed). There is no restriction if the other medical requirements are met. The pilot can receive a medical certificate without any restrictions regarding color vision. However, the pilot must pass an office-based color vision test at each renewal. If the applicant fails both the OCVT or MFT, they will be allowed to keep the restriction indefinitely and not be permitted to remove it again. This method of restriction removal is considered high-risk and high-reward for pilots with color vision impairment. [41]

Non-pilot certificates

The FAA issues additional airmen certificates in addition to pilot licenses.

  • Title="Flight instructor": A person who teaches others how to fly an aircraft. Pilot certification is not the same as flight instructor certification. Each rating on a flight instructor certification must have a commercial pilot certificate. Written and flight skills testing must be passed by the applicant.
  • title="A flight engineer monitors and controls complex aircraft systems. Flight Engineer Certifications can be applied to large transport aircraft that weigh more than 80,000 lb. Further, Flight Engineer Certificates can be rated by the type of engine they have been trained on and tested on:"... turbofan is an airbreathing jet engine widely used in aircraft propulsion. ">Turbojet-Powered ">Turbopropeller-Powered, Reciprocating engine Powered. Modern jets have made it less common to employ flight engineers as they move towards two-person crews.
  • Although Flight Navigators certificates remain available, modern technology and high speeds of jets have rendered the rating obsolete.
  • Aviation Medical Examiner a>=" Instructor" is a certificate that was issued by the Federal Aviation Administration in the United States. ">Ground Instructor ">Ground Instructor, Parachutist, Aircraft Maintenance Technician. ">Repairman ">Repairman and These positions have their own rating systems. An A&P, for example, is a certified mechanic who has both powerplant and airframe ratings. A Ground Instructor can be rated to provide Basic, Advanced, or Instrument training. Certificated mechanics with the required experience and training can obtain an IA (Aircraft Inspection Authorization) which is an additional privilege.
  • For those involved in commercial operations under 14 CFR Part 121, an AircraftDispatcher Certificate must be obtained. You can find the qualifications requirements at idx?c=ecfr&sid=f35b162c10fe55f8312195acd7a0019b&rgn=div5&view=text&node=14. FAR 65.53

FCC licenses are not required for pilots to use radio in the United States. Pilot certificates double as FCC radio licences. However, licenses may be required by other countries.

  • The flight attendants receive the training required to obtain an FAA Certificate Of Demonstrated Proficiency. This certification is not for airman.
  • title="Avionics, a combination of electronics and aviation, is a title. ">Avionics techs. a>>The General Radiotelephone Operator License, which is granted by the U. The FCC certifies the General Radiotelephone Operator License (GROL).