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Commercial Pilot Certificate

The commercial pilot certificate is where you will demonstrate to the FAA that you have a safe, professional command of your aircraft and are prepared for in flight emergencies.
The commercial certificate will allow you to fly (in limited scenarios) passengers and/or cargo for hire. This is the first step toward becoming a professional pilot. Commercial pilot training will build on skills you already have from your primary flight training and instrument training.
You will demonstrate a greater precision in flying, flight planning and understanding federal regulations, as well as a greater knowledge of weather and aircraft systems.

  1. Be at least 18 years of age.
  2. Be able to read, write, and converse fluently in English.
  3. Hold a current FAA medical certificate.
  4. Receive and log ground training from an authorized instructor or complete a home-study course, such as studying the Commercial Pilot FAA Knowledge Test (and the related Gleim FAA Test Prep software), the Pilot’s Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge and the Airplane Flying Handbook. Subjects include:
    1. FARs
    2. NTSB Part 830
    3. Aerodynamics
    4. Aviation weather
    5. Operation of aircraft
    6. Weight and balance
    7. Performance charts
    8. Effects of exceeding limitations
    9. VFR charts
    10. Navigation facilities
    11. Aeronautical Decision Making (ADM)
    12. Aircraft systems
    13. Maneuvers, procedures, and emergency operations in the airplane
    14. Night and high-altitude operations
    15. National airspace system
  5. Pass the FAA commercial pilot knowledge test with a score of 70% or better.
  6. Accumulate flight experience (FAR 61.129). You must log at least 250 hrs of flight time as a pilot that consists of at least:
    1. 100 hrs in powered aircraft, of which 50 hrs must be in airplanes
    2. 100 hrs as pilot in command flight time, which includes at least:
      1. 50 hrs in airplanes
      2. 50 hrs in cross-country flight of which at least 10 hrs must be in airplanes
    3. 20 hrs of training in the areas of operation listed in item 8. below, including at least:
      1. 10 hrs of instrument training of which at least 5 hrs must be in a single-engine airplane
      2. 10 hrs of training in an airplane that has a retractable landing gear, flaps, and controllable pitch propeller, or is turbine-powered
      3. One cross-country flight of at least 2 hrs in a single-engine airplane in day-VFR conditions, consisting of a total straight-line distance of more than 100 NM from the original point of departure
      4. One cross-country flight of at least 2 hrs in a single-engine airplane in night-VFR conditions, consisting of a straight-line distance of more than 100 NM from the original point of departure
      5. 3 hrs in a single-engine airplane in preparation for the practical test within the 60 days preceding the test
    4. 10 hrs of solo flight in a single-engine airplane training in the areas of operation required for a single-engine rating, which includes at least:
      1. One cross-country flight of not less than 300 NM total distance, with landings at a minimum of three points, one of which is a straight-line distance of at least 250 NM from the original departure point
      2. 5 hrs 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
  7. Hold an instrument rating or your commercial certificate will be endorsed with a prohibition against carrying passengers for hire on flights beyond 50 NM or at night.
  8. Demonstrate flight proficiency (FAR 61.127). You must receive and log training, and obtain a logbook sign-off (endorsement) from your CFI on the following areas of operation:
    1. Preflight preparation
    2. Preflight procedures
    3. Airport and seaplane base operations
    4. Takeoffs, landings, and go-arounds
    5. Performance maneuvers
    6. Ground reference maneuvers
    7. Navigation
    8. Slow flight and stalls
    9. Emergency operations
    10. High-altitude operations
    11. Post flight procedures
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