How to Start Flying for Fun or a Career
With all the news about pilot shortages, airlines paying over six-figures salaries, and daily reports of airlines cancelling flights due to lack of crew members. I bet your asking yourself, “How can I become a pilot?”
The first step will be finding a local flight school. Typically, larger airports will have a flight school on premise, it will either be classified as a part 61 or part 141 school (I will go over the differences between these in a later blog). From there, you will be able to sit down with a flight instructor and they can answer any questions you have about the school and aviation in general. You can use the time to discuss what your goals are and how to achieve them. This is typically a free meeting, and it will give your future instructor the information needed to develop a plan for your specific aviation needs. If you want to be an airline pilot, a crop duster, a cargo/freight, an aerobatic, or just a fair-weather type of flyer, the wonderful thing about flying is no matter what type of pilot you want to be, either for recreation or a career, it’s for everyone no matter your age.
The second step, is to schedule a discovery flight. The purpose of a discovery flight is to determine you still have interest in flying a small airplane.. Chances are you will be bitten by the flying bug. This bug is very contagious, so beware! Jokes aside, flying a small aircraft is an incredible experience that very few people get to enjoy. We live in special time where humans can not only fly but fly safely.
The third step after your discovery flight is to make an appointment with an FAA Aviation Medical Examiner (AME). To proceed to a pilot’s license, you need to be approved medically, this approval will determine if you can continue to fly. . There are 3 different types of medicals, third, second and first class. A third class allows you to be a private pilot and a flight instructor, a second class allows what the third class offers plus being able to be a commercial pilot in everything except the airlines, and a first class allows third- and second-class privileges as well as being fit for the airlines. If you are only looking to buy a personal plane and fly with friends and family, then a third class is for you. If you want to go to the airlines, you will need to get a first class. Not just any doctor can give you an aviation medical exam, go to this website to find an AME near you. FAA Aviation Medical Examiner Locator.
Finally, it is on to the good stuff! Training! Everyone starts with the private pilot rating, this rating allows you to fly friends and family in your own personal aircraft or one that you rent. A private pilot’s license is the first step towards freedom. Once you have your pilot’s license, it is recommended all pilots receive their instrument rating. An instrument rating allows you to fly in inclement weather. It also gives you the knowledge needed to navigate through adverse conditions.. After you finish those two ratings you can start your training to become a commercial pilot. An instrument rating is necessary for commercial pilots.
Now that you have the information you need to get started in aviation, we hope that you’ll consider starting with us! Best wishes as you navigate the friendly skies.