When you were little, did you dream about one day being a pilot of a huge jet? This is a dream that many have, and for some of us, that dream can become reality. Believe it or not, becoming a pilot is a lot easier than you might think. Once you have your pilot’s license, it is just a matter of time before you are ready to take the next step and become an actual airline pilot, flying those huge jets all over the world. If this is a career path that really interests you, here are the steps you must take in order to make your dream come true.
1. Get Your Bachelor’s Degree
The first thing you need to do in order to become an airline pilot is to get your bachelor’s degree. While this is not always necessary to work in the airline industry, it is essential if you want to eventually become an airline pilot. You can choose any major, but you will receive the best education for your chosen field if you choose an aeronautics or aviation program. You will also need to take physics, aeronautical engineering, English, and mathematics. The program also needs to be approved by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).
2. Get Flight Experience
Once you have your education, you need to get flight experience. You can do this while still studying. In order to be able to get your commercial pilot’s license, you will need to have 250 hours of flight time. In order to receive an airline transport pilot certificate, you will need an additional 1,500 hours of flight time. You can get your flight training from your degree program or from a flying school that is approved by the Federal Aviation Administration. To become an airline pilot, you will also need to have at least 40 hours of instrument flying experience, both in the air and via simulation. This shows your skills in low visibility conditions.
3. Get Your License
The next step is to get your pilot’s license (private pilot, recreational pilot, or sport pilot). Once you have completed all of the training and required flight time, you will be required to pass a written exam. You will also be required to demonstrate your abilities as a pilot and take an exam in instrument flying. You will need to pass a physical examination, including having perfect vision or vision that is correctable to 20/20, excellent hearing, and no physical handicaps that could hinder your performance.
4. Get Professional Experience
There are several career paths that you can take once you have your pilot’s license. You may even want to start out as an FBO advisor, helping other businesses that work within airports. If you choose to work for an airline, you will likely be required to take another physical examination, as well as aptitude and drug tests. Most companies offer six to eight weeks of additional training, which includes a minimum of 25 hours of flight time. Your first pilot job will probably be as a co-pilot, working for a small commuter or regional airline. This will give you the experience that you need to work for a major airline.
5. Advance in Your Career
There are various ways that you can advance as a pilot to the rank of captain. First, get an air transport pilot’s license, which indicates that you have night, instrument, and cross-country flying experience. You will need to pass extra Federal Aviation Administration exams, both written and practical. Try to get more flight ratings as you advance in your career, such as being licensed to fly various types of aircrafts, including multi-engine jets.
While the road may seem long, the most important thing is to take the first step and stick with it. If you are dedicated and work hard, you can make your dream of becoming an airline pilot a reality.
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