Classes of Pilot Certificates
In the United States, there are many different Pilot Certificates:
- Student Pilot - This is issued at the time you pass your first medical exam and simply identifies you as a student.
- Sport Pilot - This does not require a medical exam and allows very restricted use.
- Recreational Pilot - This limits pilots in the number of passengers they can carry and distance they can travel.
- Private Pilot - Pilots may travel any distance and may carry passengers, but may not receive payment.
- Commercial Pilot - Pilots may receive payment.
- Airline Transport Pilot - Airline pilots.
For each class of certificate (except Student Pilot) the pilot must pass a knowledge test on the computer, an oral examination by a Designated Examiner, and a flight test by a Designated Examiner. For each class of certificate (except Sport Pilot) the pilot must also pass a medical examination. Sport pilots are allowed to certify themselves as fit to fly.
Pilots certificates contain ratings that specify which category aircraft the pilot is certificated to fly. Aircraft categories include:
– Single Engine Rating (Included in Private Pilot lisence) - Multi-Engine Rating - Instrument Rating
- Rotorcraft (helicopters and autogyros)
- Lighter than Air (blimps and balloons)
- Powered parachute
- Weight-shift-control aircraft
Your certificate only gives flying privileges for the category aircraft you trained for. To be able to fly other categories, you must also get the training and take the tests appropriate for them.
It is not necessary to have any certificate to begin flying lessons. After some ground school and some flying lessons, it will be necessary to get your Student Pilot certificate before you can fly solo. For any certificate other than Sport Pilot, your temporary Student Pilot Certificate will be issued by a Medical Examiner when you get your Medical Exam.
You then continue with lessons until you achieve your Sport, Recreational, or Private pilot certificate.
All these are done in a flying school, under the guidelines of the FAA, Federal Aviation Administration. The rules with relation to certifications are listed in the FAR Part 61. The FAR has other rules and regulations laid down as well, applicable for a student pilot to a airline pilot as well.
The Recreational Pilot's does not allow you to make flights more than a radius of 50 nautical miles of the airport you take of from and you cannot carry passengers. A private pilot does not have such restrictions but cannot carry passengers for income.
The actual rules and regulations are as follows.
- REDIRECT 61.8161.81 Applicability.
- REDIRECT 61.8161.83 Eligibility requirements for student pilots.
- REDIRECT 61.8161.85 Application.
- REDIRECT 61.8161.87 Solo requirements for student pilots.
- REDIRECT 61.8161.89 General limitations.
- REDIRECT 61.8161.93 Solo cross-country flight requirements.
- REDIRECT 61.8161.95 Operations in Class B airspace and at airports located within Class B airspace