What are the different types of pilot licenses and how do I get them?
Here are the various types of pilot licenses:
- Student Pilot License (SPL)
- Private Pilot License (PPL)
- Commercial Pilot License (CPL)
- Airline Transport Pilot License (ATPL)
The process of getting these pilot licenses may vary depending on where you are planning to do your pilot training and the route that you will choose (Modular Pilot Training or Integrated Pilot Training). Nevertheless, we will provide you with a general overview below:
You start your becoming a pilot journey by getting a Student Pilot License. For this, you will need to attend ground school first where you will learn how planes fly, how engines of the planes work, how to fly as a pilot, rules and regulations to comply with, lessons about the weather, among others!
After that, you have to pass your exams, get your medical done, and then you will obtain your Student Pilot License (SPL). In most cases, the flight school will process this for you.
Having an SPL allows you to fly solo given that you receive an endorsement from your flight instructor.
The next stage after your SPL is getting your Private Pilot License (PPL). You will obtain this after doing your ground school and flight training, passing your written exams, flight/skills tests, and meeting the required flight hour experience.
This Private Pilot License (PPL) will allow you to fly alone or with other people but you should not be paid for your flying services. This license is perfect if you want to fly as a hobby or for a leisure activity.
After getting your PPL, you can proceed to do your Commercial Pilot License training which starts with ground school followed by flight training. After this, you will need to build your flying hours, pass written exams and flight/skills tests before getting your Commercial Pilot License (CPL).
Having a CPL will allow you to be paid for your flying services.
If you want to become a Captain of an Airline, you will need to have Air Transport Pilot License (ATPL). In some countries, Flight Schools offer a frozen ATPL course – which is the ground school theory training required to learn the knowledge required for the ATPL (one example is Europe where frozen ATPL training is integrated into your initial training).
Another Pilot License is a Multi-Crew Pilot License (MPL) which is an airline-specific pilot license that focuses on training student pilots right from the beginning of training the specific standards and operational practices of a specific airline which the pilot will join after successfully passing the training. The main training difference compared to the traditional pilot training above is the MPL Training focuses on using more aircraft type-specific simulators in the pilot training.
Check out our other FAQs related to Pilot Licenses and how to get them:
How to get student pilot license (SPL)?
How to get private pilot license (PPL)?
How to get commercial pilot license (CPL)?
How to get airline transport pilot license (ATPL)?
If you have any other questions kindly reach out to us and we will try to provide you with an answer!