Tips and Tricks for General Aviation Pilots Making a Move into the Commercial Sector


Are you a general aviation pilot hoping to move from the private, recreational, or specialized service sectors to become a commercial pilot? Becoming a commercial pilot and getting paid to do what you love is a realizable dream for any General Aviation pilot.

Commercial pilots can fly passengers for hire, become a flight instructor, transport cargo, fly charter, and qualify to be an airline pilot.

The demand for commercial pilots will continue to increase in the coming years as forecasted by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). The combination of fewer new pilots transitioning from the military, pending retirement of many existing pilots, and an increase in global passenger and cargo demand will create a significant shortage in meeting the demand for commercial pilots.

Becoming a Commercial Pilot

Becoming a licensed pilot in the commercial sector requires clearing certain well-defined hurdles. Having your private and general aviation experience is an excellent prerequisite to demonstrate that you understand the basics of flying before you progress to more complicated commercial aircraft and operating situations.

Here are some of the essential requirements to qualify to be a commercial pilot:

  • Must be 18-years old
  • Speak, read, and write English fluently
  • Have at least a private pilot certificate
  • Under Electronic Code of Federal Regulations (e-CFR), prospective commercial pilots must have at least 250 flight hours
  • Instrument Rating. While Instrument rating is not mandatory to qualify, you would be so restricted only to flying under limited conditions.
  • Minimum of a 3rd Class Medical Certificate, although at least a 2nd Class Medicate Certificate is preferred for more significant career opportunities.

Candidates to become commercial aviation pilots must pass an FAA-administered examination. It is also a good idea for a prospective commercial pilot to earn Multi-Engine commercial certification.

Job Hunting Tips with Your Commercial Pilot Certificate

Once you are certified as a commercial pilot, begin looking for professional pilot positions. Here are some general tips to help you find and qualify for the best job for you:

  1. Follow the market carefully, paying attention to job boards like Aviation JobNet that currently lists hundreds of quality pilot positions. You can sort through these by specifying the type, location, salary range, experience required, and more.
  2. Be realistic, based on your current job experience and qualifications
  3. Target companies that interest you most
  4. Develop a professional network to help you find
  5. Keep healthy and exercise
  6. Continue to build your hours and skills while job hunting

Becoming a Commercial Airline Pilot

Once you have started your climb in commercial aviation, perhaps become an airline pilot is on your horizon. Requirements for becoming an airline pilot are more advanced. Applicants must prove to have the necessary technical flying skills as well as training to manage the crew, passengers, and cargo in all types of circumstances. Airline pilots are expected to handle emergencies safely and responsibly in diverse conditions.

Minimum airline pilot requirements:

  • Must be at least 23-years old
  • Hold a commercial pilot certificate with an instrument rating
  • Have recorded at least 1,500 hours flying time
  • Have flown at least 50 hours in a multi-engine aircraft

Check Out the Aviation JobNet Job Board

Commercial pilots enjoy an extensive job search resource with Aviation JobNet. Listing hundreds of open positions with top-notch aviation companies throughout the country, Aviation JobNet’s job board matches great pilots with great companies.

Job seekers can search and apply for current open positions by entering their preference for job type, qualifications, location, salary range, and other parameters to find their dream job.

Start your commercial pilot job search with Aviation JobNet by visiting their comprehensive Job Board to learn more.

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