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Make it a Career

When you take the steps to become a commercial pilot it's because you want to be able to charge for your services as a pilot.  This is the basic definition of Commercial Pilot.

To become a commercial pilot, you need to meet the prerequisites (see the right side of this page) and achieve the requirements for the license (see the list at right).

Commercial pilots have a lot of opportunities for work in an increasingly mobile economy.  With more people traveling (now, after COVID-19) the airlines are hiring again, and while there are more requirements you must meet (Airline Transport Pilot (ATP) certificate), a commercial pilot license is a prerequisite. 

There are many options for commercial pilots.  You could:

Be a charter pilot

Be a cargo pilot

Fly for a medical evacuation company

Work in aerial surveying

Fly for a firefighting company

Be a corporate pilot

As you can see, if you want to make flying aircraft a career, there are lots of career opportunities, and having the commercial pilot license is a must.

Career Path:  If you wish to join the airlines, you can find more data about costs, how to cover costs, and potential employers here.

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Commercial Pilot (ASEL)

Taken from 14 CFR 61.129 – Aeronautical Experience


⬜ Valid private pilot certificate and third-class medical (or greater – a second- class medical is required to exercise commercial privileges once you pass your check ride).


⬜ At least 18 years old


⬜ Read, speak, write, and understand English

⬜ 70% or better score on commercial pilot knowledge test

Minimum Aeronautical Experience

250 hours of flight time, including 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

      ⬜ 50 hours cross-country flight (10 hrs. or more in airplanes)


   ⬜ 20 hours of training on the areas of operation in §61.127(b)(1) 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, and intercepting and tracking navigational systems. (5 of the 10 hours must be in SEL airplanes)

      ⬜ 10 hours of training in a complex aircraft (retractable landing gear, flaps, and controllable pitch propeller) or turbine powered or TAA.

      ⬜ One 2-hour day XC flight in a single engine airplane, w/ total straight-line distance of more than 100nm from original point of departure.

      ⬜ One 2-hour night XC flight in a single engine airplane, w/ total straight-line distance of more than 100nm from original point of departure.

   ⬜ 3 hours of practical test prep flights within the preceding 2 

calendar months with a CFI

   ⬜ 10 hours of solo flight time in a single engine airplane OR 10 hours of flight time performing the duties of PIC in a single engine airplane w/ a CFI on board, including –


      ⬜ One XC flight of not less than 300nm 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.

      ⬜ 5 hours night VFR w/ 10 takeoffs and 10 landings (each with a flight in the traffic pattern), at an airport w/ an operating control tower

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