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More People Are Getting Their Private Pilot License. Should You?

With crowds at airports getting longer and too many canceled flights, some aviation fans are training to become pilots themselves. Why wait in line at the airport? What if you could provide valuable flight service to your community?


Not every pilot flies for major airlines. Charter pilots make money shuttling private citizens, or you could get your certification as a private pilot or sports pilot, or launch a new career as a commercial pilot.

First Time Jitters

If you’re brand new to flying, you can start out with what is called a discovery flight. It will put you through the motions, and let you experience what it’s like to be co-pilot for a day, assist in preparing the aircraft for flight, and learn about instrumentation and protocols. If you are ready, your instructor might allow you to briefly take control of the aircraft.

From there, flight instructors are the best resource for those interested in aviation as a hobby or a career. Who knows? Maybe you could become a flight instructor yourself.

Types of Pilot Licenses

Have you seen a colorful powered parachute flying by? Looks like fun? It is! The person at the helm has their sports pilot license.

Recreational Sports Piloting

Becoming certified as a sports pilot only requires a short training period, after which time you will be able to commandeer light aircraft. These include light airplanes (with weight restrictions), gliders and more. It is a certification for the adventurous looking for an adrenaline rush.

Private Pilot Instruction

Many people dream of getting their private pilot license. At this level, you would be able to log actual flight time and learn in a hands-on environment. There is no substitute for experience and hands-on training, and this means you will be logging flight hours shortly after the sign-up process. A private license gets you flying for personal trips, but not for profit.

Professional Commercial Certification

If it’s a new career you seek, you can start earning money as a commercial pilot. You still won’t be able to commandeer aircraft for large commercial carriers yet, but you would be able to work for an airline charter company. Charters are increasingly popular due to their convenience and privacy. A chartered flight can be booked for only a few people, which some people believe increases safety. Classes include written and oral exams, as well as practical experience flying the aircraft. 250 hours of flight time is required to receive your certification.

Airline Transport License Advancement

The epitome of flight training, receiving your airline transport license will require you to expound upon an already existing commercial or private pilot license. If you have decided to make piloting a career, then this is the path for you. Fly commercial aircraft and join an elite group of individuals who make commercial aviation their job. Rigorous training and 1,500 hours of flight time are required.

The Risks and Rewards of Taking Flight

Of course, whether you’re a pilot, pilot-in-training, or passenger, it is always possible you could be involved in an accident. Flight is exhilarating, but not without risk. For example, a small plane crashed into a Worthington backyard in June 2021, but fortunately there weren’t any injuries.

The state of Texas provides insurance information for pilots here. If you are on a flight and are injured, contact an Austin personal injury lawyer to learn about your rights. The laws surrounding aviation are complex, but the risk is worth it for many aviation fans.