Before a pilot may receive compensation or be hired to carry passengers, he or she must obtain a commercial pilot certificate. A commercial pilot is allowed to carry passengers for hire, pursue a career as a flight instructor, cargo, corporate, or airline pilot, tow banners, complete sight-seeing flights, and more.
An applicant for a commercial pilot certificate must be at least 18 years of age, and able to read, speak, write, and understand English. The pilot must already have a private pilot certificate and at least a 2nd class medical to fly commercial operations. Although a pilot does not need to complete instrument training to become a commercial pilot, most pilots do, since not having one will apply limitations to flying commercially—such as no commercial flying allowed at night, or more than 50 miles away from the home airport.
Like other certificates and ratings, commercial training involves ground training and flight training. Most pilots choose to do an online ground school course, which will prepare them for the Commercial Aeronautical Knowledge Exam. Ground school covers many aspects of commercial flying including regulations, air traffic control systems, navigation, meteorology, crew resource management, and aeronautical decision-making.
Many more flight hours are required for a pilot to become commercially rated. Under FAR Par 61, a pilot must have 250 hours of flight time (100 of those in powered airplanes and 50 hours in airplanes; 100 hours of Pilot in Command time (50 of those in airplanes); 50 hours of cross-country time (10 of those in airplanes); 20 hours of dual instruction with a flight instructor including 10 hours of instrument, 10 hours of complex or TAA (technically advanced aircraft) time, some cross country and practical test preparation; 10 hours of solo training including cross country and night time.
Desert Flying Club has several aircraft available for commercial flight training, including Remos GX, Cessna 172, Cessna 177, Diamond DA-40 (with Garmin G1000), Piper Archer, Piper Comanche (complex aircraft), and Beechcraft Musketeer.
Like other certificates and ratings, the time for completion depends on the student. A pilot flying 2-3 times per week may finish in as little 2-3 months, but most students take 6-9 months on average.
Like other certificates and ratings, training cost depends a lot on the individual pilot. Here is a breakdown of estimated expenses for the commercial certificate (assuming applicant meets the minimum hour requirements):
|Based on 6 months:|
|Flying club dues||$55 x 6 months||$330|
|Aircraft Rental – Cessna 172||$140/hr x 20 hours||$2800|
|Aircraft Rental- Comanche||$190/hr x 10 hours||$1900|
|Instructor flight training||$75/hr x 30 hours||$2250|
|Instructor ground training||$65/hr x 20 hours||$1300|
|Renter’s Insurance (annual)||$200|
|Written Exam Fee||$150|
|Supplies, Charts, books||$50|
|Check ride examiner fee||$800|
|Check ride plane rental||$140/hr x 2.5 hours||$350|
Get started by purchasing an intro flight with our instructor.