Aviation Career Guide - information on flight school training, studying for an aviation degree, military flying and all the certificates including PPL, CPL, ATPL, CFI, CFII and MEI. (new)
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Commercial Pilot License – CPL

Commercial Pilot License – CPL The only way you can make flying a living is by obtaining a commercial pilot license (CPL). Best compared to a commercial driving license the CPL gives you the privileges of flying for compensation or hire. This covers everything from flight instruction and crop dusting to piloting large airliners.

Before you start training for the CPL you need to hold at least a private pilot license (PPL) and an instrument rating (IR) is advised.

Commercial Pilot License in the United States (FAA)
There are two ways of obtaining the commercial pilot license in the United States; through a certified instructor or through a certified flight school (part 141).

If you choose to fly with a freelance instructor in a flight club you need at least 250 hours of total flight time. These are broken down in cross country hours, pilot in command time etc. Most commercial pilots in the United States have close to or over 250 hours when they get the CPL.

Flying with a part 141 flight school the hour requirements are a little less. However you have to do your training from scratch (private pilot license) in a part 141 program. This way you can obtain the CPL at a minimum of 190 hours total time. It is also a requirement that you have completed the instrument rating (IR), or currently enrolled in an instrument rating (IR) course.

Commercial Pilot License in Europe (JAA)
The training for the commercial pilot license in Europe is slightly different then in the United States. Many flight schools do your instrument rating (IR) and multi engine class (ME) combined with the commercial training. This way you only do one “check ride” (flight exam) and obtain the multi engine class and instrument rating (IR) on the commercial pilot license right away.

Depending on the flight school’s program you do a total of 130 hours flight time before you get the CPL. As most students aiming for a commercial license in Europe are career oriented they usually follow a scratch to CPL program and can therefore get away with less flight hours.

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