Wondering how to turn your passion for flying into a paying career? Then a commercial pilot license (CPL) might be perfect for you. Holding a commercial pilot license means you are legally allowed to get paid as a pilot, opening the door to a wide range of exciting and rewarding career options in the sky.
Once you have a CPL, you can pursue a career as a professional pilot. Commercial pilots are paid to fly single-engine aircraft such as a Cessna 17 or a dual-engine aircraft including a Piper Seneca or Beechcraft Baron that perform a wide variety of services. In addition to flying aircraft that transport cargo and up to 9 passengers, commercial pilots perform operations such as agricultural flying, air charter, rescue operations, plus more.
Yes. Put simply, a commercial pilot is involved in unscheduled flight activities such as charter flights and aerial tours while airline pilots operate regularly scheduled passenger flights. To fly as an airline pilot, you must have an Airline Transport Pilot (ATP) certificate - the highest pilot license the FAA issues. All aspiring airline pilots must first start by earning their private pilot license and then their commercial pilot license before they can attain an ATP certificate. So, if you would like to ultimately become a commercial airline pilot, you’ll first have to get your commercial pilot license and then apply for your airline transport pilot certificate.
To get a commercial pilot’s license you must:
While you do not need an instrument rating to get your commercial pilot’s license, it is highly recommended as most operations require instrument flight, which is necessary for flying at night.
A commercial pilot license (CPL) costs between $71,000 to $130,000 to earn, depending on several factors like airplane rentals and flight instructors. When looking for the best flight school to attain your commercial pilot’s license, a good question to ask is how much it costs to rent their planes per hour and do they have required commitments to start. By getting the answers to these questions, you’ll have a good starting point for planning your budget.
A full-time student can get their CPL in less than a year. To get a commercial pilot's license, pilots must have at least 250 hours of flight time, 100 hours of pilot-in-command (PIC) time, 20 hours of training and 10 hours of solo training, including cross-country and night flying.
In the United States, the average salary for commercial pilots is approximately $99,000 per year and can rise to as high as $200,000 annually. In Europe, a commercial pilot can earn £50,000 to £70,000 in basic pay.
Investing in getting your CPL is worth it for many reasons. For starters, the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects 5% job growth for commercial pilots over the next ten years, which is faster than the average growth for all occupations. And, as your seniority number grows, your pay rate, schedule, and quality of life continue to improve too. What’s more, commercially licensed pilots who fly private aircraft may have more flexibility in their careers than airline pilots. For example, commercial airline pilots must retire by age 65, while pilots who fly planes like chartered jets can continue working past that age domestically.
So, pursue your dreams and get paid for doing it by getting your CPL.
welcome aboard the new airside
We took our community to the next level with an elevated look, innovative features, and new tools.