Commercial Pilot Certificate
The commercial pilot certificate allows a pilot to be compensated for flying. Training for the certificate focuses on a better understanding of aircraft systems and a higher standard of airmanship. The commercial certificate itself does not allow a pilot to fly in instrument meteorological conditions. For aircraft categories where an instrument rating is available, commercial pilots without an instrument rating are restricted to daytime flight within 50 nautical miles (93 km) when flying for hire.
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Commercial Pilot Certificate Requirements
A commercial pilot must be able to operate a complex airplane, as a specific number of hours of complex (or turbine-powered) aircraft time are among the prerequisites, and at least a portion of the practical examination is performed in a complex aircraft.
The requirements are:
Be at least 18 years of age
Hold a private pilot certificate
Be able to read, speak, write, and understand the English language
- Accumulate and log a specified amount of training and experience; the following are part of the airplane single-engine land class rating requirements:
- If training under Part 61 (61.129 Aeronautical experience)
- Log at least 250 hours of flight time as a pilot that consists of at least:
100 hours in powered aircraft, of which 50 hours must be in airplanes.
- 100 hours of pilot-in-command flight time, which includes at least—
- 50 hours in airplanes; and
- 50 hours in cross-country flight of which at least 10 hours must be in airplanes.
- 20 hours of training on the areas of operation listed in §61.127(b)(1) of this part that includes at least—
- 10 hours of instrument training using a view-limiting device including
- attitude instrument flying
- partial panel skills
- recovery from unusual flight attitudes
- intercepting and tracking navigational systems
- 5 hours of the 10 hours must be in a single engine airplane
- 10 hours of training in an airplane that has a retractable landing gear, flaps, and a controllable pitch propeller, or is turbine-powered, or for an applicant seeking a single-engine seaplane rating, 10 hours of training in a seaplane that has flaps and a controllable pitch propeller;
- One 2-hour cross country flight in a single engine airplane in daytime conditions that consists of a total straight-line distance of more than 100 nautical miles from the original point of departure;
- One 2-hour cross country flight in a single engine airplane in nighttime conditions that consists of a total straight-line distance of more than 100 nautical miles from the original point of departure;
- 3 hours in a single-engine airplane with an authorized instructor in preparation for the practical test within the preceding 2 calendar months from the month of the test.
- 10 hours of solo flight time in a single engine airplane or 10 hours of flight time performing the duties of pilot in command in a single engine airplane with an authorized instructor on board (either of which may be credited towards the flight time requirement under paragraph (a)(2) of this section), on the areas of operation listed under §61.127(b)(1) that include—
- One cross-country flight of not less than 300 nautical miles total distance, with landings at a minimum of three points, one of which is a straight-line distance of at least 250 nautical miles from the original departure point. However, if this requirement is being met in Hawaii, the longest segment need only have a straight-line distance of at least 150 nautical miles; and
- 5 hours in night VFR conditions with 10 takeoffs and 10 landings (with each landing involving a flight in the traffic pattern) at an airport with an operating control tower.
- If training under Part 141, at least 150 hours of training time including 55 hours with an instructor and 10 hours of solo flight, and other requirements including several cross-country, solo, and night flights
- Pass a 100-question aeronautical knowledge written test
- Pass an oral test and flight test administered by an FAA inspector, FAA-designated examiner, or authorized check instructor
By itself, this certificate does not permit the pilot to set up an operation that carries members of the public for hire; such operations are governed by other regulations. Otherwise, a commercial pilot can be paid for certain types of operation, such as banner towing, agricultural applications, and photography, and can be paid for instructing if she or he holds a flight instructor certificate (In the case of lighter-than-air, only a commercial pilot certificate is required to teach for that category). To fly for hire, the pilot must hold a second class medical certificate, which is valid for 12 months.
Often, the commercial certificate reduces the pilot’s insurance premiums, as it is evidence of training to a higher safety standard.
- Total Flight Time: 205.2 Hours
- Pilot In Command Time: 112.4 Hours
- Solo Time: 87.5 Hours
- >50NM Cross Country Time: 64.2 Hours
- >50NM Cross Country Time (Solo): 31.5 Hours
- Night Time: 5.1 Hours
- Simulated Instrument Time: 4.8 Hours
- Landings (Day/Night): 506 (486/20)
- Flight Training Received: 92.8 Hours
- Ground Training Received: 30.8 Hours