Airline Pilots, Copilots, and Flight Engineers
To take lessons or become a pilot, you must be 16 years old. To take flying lessons, you'll need to find a flight instructor and sign up for an introductory lesson. You don't have to have any special licenses to take flying lessons. Next, your instructor must make sure you have learned to perform certain maneuvers before allowing you to solo. These maneuvers include safe takeoffs and landings. You must use good judgment when flying and be able to keep control of the aircraft. Before flying solo, you must be familiar with some of the FAA's rules and with the flight characteristics and operational limits of the make and model of the aircraft you will fly. Your flight instructor will give you some materials to study, and then test your knowledge. If you pass, your instructor will endorse your student pilot's certificate (license) for solo flight. The endorsement means that your instructor thinks you are competent to make solo flights. You'll also have to get a medical certificate and a student pilot's certificate (license) to fly solo. You can download a student pilot certificate application at
You must take a medical exam from an FAA designated physician to get a medical certificate.
Here is a list of aviation medical examiners: http://ame.cami.jccbi.gov/
Visit this site for requirements for pilots' licenses': http://www.faa.gov/licenses_certificates/
Most pilots traditionally have learned to fly in the military, but growing numbers have college degrees with flight training from civilian flying schools that are certified by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).
All pilots who are paid to transport passengers or cargo must have a commercial pilot's license with an instrument rating issued by the FAA. Helicopter pilots must hold a commercial pilot's certificate with a helicopter rating. To qualify for these licenses, applicants must be at least 18 years old and have at least 250 hours of flight experience. The experience required can be reduced through participation in certain flight school curricula approved by the FAA.
Applicants also must pass a strict physical examination to make sure that they are in good health and have 20/20 vision with or without glasses, good hearing, and no physical handicaps that could impair their performance.
They must pass a written test that includes questions on the principles of safe flight, navigation techniques, and FAA regulations, and must demonstrate their flying ability to FAA or designated examiners.
To fly during periods of low visibility, pilots must be rated by the FAA to fly by instruments. Pilots may qualify for this rating by having 105 hours of flight experience, including 40 hours of experience in flying by instruments; they also must pass a written examination on procedures and FAA regulations covering instrument flying and demonstrate to an examiner their ability to fly by instruments.
Airline pilots must fulfill additional requirements. Pilots must have an airline transport pilot's license. Applicants for this license must be at least 23 years old and have a minimum of 1,500 hours of flying experience, including night and instrument flying, and must pass FAA written and flight examinations. Usually, they also have one or more advanced ratings, such as multiengine aircraft or aircraft - type ratings, dependent upon the requirements of their particular flying jobs. Because pilots must be able to make quick decisions and accurate judgments under pressure, many airline companies reject applicants who do not pass required psychological and aptitude tests. All licenses are valid so long as a pilot can pass the periodic physical and eye examinations and tests of flying skills required by Federal Government and company regulations.
Initial training for airline pilots includes a week of company indoctrination, 3 to 6 weeks of ground school and simulator training, and 25 hours of initial operating experience, including a check - ride with an FAA aviation safety inspector. Once trained and on the line, pilots are required to attend recurrent training and simulator checks twice a year throughout their career.
Organizations other than airlines usually require less flying experience. However, a commercial pilot's license is a minimum requirement, and employers prefer applicants who have experience in the type of craft they will be flying. New employees usually start as first officers, or fly less sophisticated equipment. Test pilots often are required to have an engineering degree.
REQUIREMENTS TO OBTAIN A FLIGHT ENGINEER CERTIFICATE INCLUDE:
1. Be at least 21 years of age. The minimum age to take the flight engineer knowledge and practical tests is 19; however, the minimum age to hold a flight engineer certificate is 21. A person who is less than 21 years of age and successfully completes the flight engineer practical test will be issued a Letter of Aeronautical Competency. When the person presents proof of having reached age 21 and holds at least a second - class medical certificate, the Letter of Aeronautical Competency may be exchanged for a flight engineer certificate.
2. Be able to read, speak, write, and understand the English language, or have an appropriate limitation placed on your FE certificate.
3. Hold at least a current FAA second - class medical certificate. You must undergo a routine medical examination which may be administered only by FAA - designated doctors called aviation medical examiners (AME). A second - class (or first - class) medical certificate is valid for 12 months and expires on the last day of the 12th month after the month of issuance. The FAA publishes a directory that lists all authorized AMEs by name and address. Copies of this directory are kept at all FAA offices, Air Traffic Control (ATC) facilities, and Flight Service Stations (FSS).
4. Pass the Flight Engineer Test , which covers the following areas (FAR 63.35):
- The regulations that apply to the duties of a flight engineer
- The theory of flight and aerodynamics
- Basic meteorology with respect to engine operations
- Center - of - gravity computations
- Airplane equipment
- Airplane systems
- Airplane loading
- Airplane procedures and engine operations with respect to limitations
- Normal operating procedures
- Emergency procedures
- Mathematical computation of engine operations and fuel consumption
5. Pass a knowledge test with a score of 70% or better. Most FAA tests are administered at FAA - designated computer testing centers. The flight engineer test consists of 80 multiple - choice questions selected from the 686 basic and turbojet - related questions among the 857 questions in the FAA's flight engineer knowledge test bank; the balance of 171 questions are for turboprops and reciprocating engines. To add an additional aircraft class rating, you must pass the appropriate knowledge and practical tests.
6. Meet the aeronautical experience requirements (FAR 63.37).
When taking the flight engineer practical test for the initial issuance of a flight engineer certificate with a class rating, you must present satisfactory evidence of one of the following:
- At least a commercial pilot certificate with an instrument rating and at least 5 hr. of flight training in the duties of a flight engineer.
The 5 hr. of flight training may be done in a simulator.
- At least 3 years of diversified practical experience in aircraft and aircraft engine maintenance (of which at least 1 year was in maintaining multiengine aircraft with engines rated at least 800 horsepower each or the equivalent in turbine - powered engines) and at least 5 hr. of flight training in the duties of a flight engineer.
- Graduation from at least a 2-year specialized aeronautical training course in maintaining aircraft and aircraft engines (of which at least 6 calendar months was in maintaining multiengine aircraft with engines rated at least 800 horsepower each or the equivalent in turbine - powered engines) and at least 5 hr. of flight training in the duties of a flight engineer.
- A degree in aeronautical, electrical, or mechanical engineering from a recognized college, university, or engineering school; at least 6 calendar months of practical experience in maintaining multiengine aircraft with engines rated at least 800 horsepower each or the equivalent in turbine - powered engines; and at least 5 hr. of flight training in the duties of a flight engineer.
- At least 200 hr. of flight time in a transport - category airplane (or in a military airplane with at least two engines and at least equivalent weight and horsepower) as pilot in command or second in command performing the duties of a pilot in command under the supervision of a pilot in command.
- At least 100 hr. of flight time as a flight engineer.
- Within the 90-day period before (s)he applies, successful completion of an approved flight engineer ground and flight course of instruction as provided in Appendix C of FAR Part 63.
7. Successfully complete a practical (oral and flight) test given as a final exam by an FAA inspector or designated examiner. The practical test will be conducted as specified in the FAA's Flight Engineer Practical Test Standards (FAA-S-8081-21, dated January 1999).
The flight engineer practical test covers the following requirements:
- Satisfactorily perform preflight inspection, servicing, starting, pretakeoff, and postlanding procedures.
- In flight, satisfactorily perform the normal duties and procedures relating to the airplane, airplane engines, systems, and appliances.
- In flight, in an airplane simulator, or in a flight engineer training device, demonstrate satisfactory performance of emergency duties and procedures and recognize and take appropriate action for malfunctions of the airplane, engines, systems, and appliances.
There is no charge for the student pilot's certificate when it's issued by an FAA Flight Standards District Office. However, an FAA-designated pilot examiner can charge for issuing student pilot's certificates. Also, an FAA-authorized aviation medical examiner can charge for your physical examination in connection with issuing the combination medical certificate and student pilot's certificate.
For More Information, Contact:
Virginia Department Of Professional And Occupational Regulation
Board For Architects / Prof. Engineers / Land Surveyors, Certified Interior Designers, And Landscape Architects
3600 West Broad St.
Richmond, VA 23230-4917
Federal Aviation Commission
800 Independence Ave., SW
Washington, DC 20591
Federal Aviation Administration
800 Independence Ave, SW
Washington, DC 20591
Aviation Careers Division
AMH-300 Mike Monroney Aeronautical Center
P.O. Box 26650
Oklahoma City, OK 73126-4934
Federal Aviation Administration
Flight Standards District Office
116 North 2400 West
Salt Lake City, UT 84116-2984
Airline Pilots Association, International
535 Herndon Parkway
Herndon, VA 20170
The data sources for the information displayed here include: Virginia Career VIEW Research.