Are you considering a career as a private jet pilot? There are several steps you will need to take to earn the proper certifications to fly a private jet, but it can be an extremely fulfilling career.
Learn more about the requirements to become a private jet pilot and the possible careers you might be able to pursue.
How Do You Become a Jet Pilot?
If you don’t currently hold any flight certificates, the first step you will need to take to become a jet pilot is to obtain your private pilot certificate. After you get your private pilot certificate, there are additional ratings and certificates to obtain as well. You will need them if you plan to pursue a career in aviation. Here’s a quick overview.
1. Private Pilot Certificate
One of the first steps in private jet pilot training is to get your private pilot certificate. You will need to ensure you meet the basic requirements, including being proficient in English. There is no specific age limit for when you can start learning about flying, but you must be at least 16 years old to fly solo and 17 years old to earn a pilot certificate. You also need a minimum of 40 hours of flight time, and those hours include a combination of solo time, where you are the sole occupant of the aircraft, and dual time, where you fly with a certified flight instructor.
In the 40 hours, you must have at least:
- 10 hours of solo time: During the solo time, you will practice takeoffs and landings, as well as the maneuvers you learn in your training. You will also need to complete at least five hours of solo cross-country time. A cross-country flight is defined as a straight-line distance of at least 50 nautical miles between the takeoff point and the point of landing. Additionally, you will need to perform takeoffs and landings at an airport with an operating control tower.
- 20 hours of dual time: This 20 hours of training is broken up into components such as airport operations, cross-country flight training, nighttime training, and simulated instrument meteorological conditions (IMC). You will also learn operations such as emergency procedures, a variety of training maneuvers, and preflight and postflight procedures.
Keep in mind that while the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) only requires a minimum of 40 hours, many people take longer than that to become proficient. You will also need to receive a medical exam from an FAA medical examiner.
In addition to your flight training, there is also plenty of ground knowledge you will need to be very familiar with as well — from weather and aircraft systems to regulations, navigation, and more. To demonstrate your ground knowledge, you will need to take an FAA knowledge exam — a computer-based exam that can be taken at a certified testing center.
Once you have received a passing score on the knowledge exam and have completed your flight training, you will be scheduled for your practical test, or checkride. The checkride consists of both an oral portion you will complete on the ground and a flight portion where you will demonstrate your abilities in the aircraft.
2. Instrument Rating
Once you get your private pilot certificate, you are qualified to fly under visual flight rules (VFR). Under VFR, you can navigate using visual references outside the aircraft, such as landmarks on the ground and the horizon. There are also distances from clouds you must maintain and visibility requirements as well. Essentially, if you are flying VFR, heavy precipitation, low visibility, clouds, and other inclement weather should be avoided.
However, an instrument rating enables you to fly by instrument flight rules (IFR). When you fly IFR, you can fly even when cloud heights and visibility are lower than what’s required for VFR operations. Additionally, when you are flying a jet, most operations, except for takeoffs and landings, will be conducted above 18,000 mean sea level (MSL), where an instrument rating is required.
To obtain an instrument rating, you will need to complete additional flight training for instrument operations and become familiar with what it’s like to fly in the clouds and without outside visual references. There is also another computer-based knowledge exam and checkride for the instrument rating.
3. Multi-Engine Rating
A private pilot certificate qualifies you to operate single-engine aircraft. While this works for most people, if you are looking to make aviation your career, you will likely want to consider getting a multi-engine rating. With this rating, you will be able to fly aircraft with more than one engine. Since there are very few single-engine jets, a multi-engine rating is a necessary addition to your private pilot certificate if your goal is to fly a jet.
There is no computer-based knowledge test for the multi-engine rating, but you will still be required to pass the oral and flight portion of a checkride to get a multi-engine rating.
4. Type Rating
To fly a jet, you will need to receive a type rating, which applies to a specific jet. That means if you want to fly a jet from a different manufacturer, and in some cases even just a different model, you will need to obtain another type rating.
Different training companies and aircraft will all have their own requirements for pilot knowledge and experience for a type rating. Regardless of your level of pilot certificate, a type rating checkride will be judged by airline transport pilot (ATP) standards, meaning you must be within plus-10 and minus zero of your final approach speed, plus or minus 100 feet of the assigned altitude, and plus or minus 10 knots of the assigned airspeed.
What Do Pilots Need to Fly for Hire?
Once you have received the above certificates and ratings, you are legally qualified to fly a jet. However, you are not permitted to fly for hire. If you plan to operate an aircraft for hire, or work for a company that does, you will need a commercial pilot certificate. This certificate is essentially an extension of the private pilot certificate, going deeper into operations and increasing the precision at which you execute maneuvers. You will need to pass a knowledge exam and a checkride to receive your commercial certificate.
The commercial certificate also gives you the option to do other aviation jobs for hire, such as aerial surveying, aerial firefighting, pipeline and powerline patrol, and air ambulance — however, there may be additional endorsements and training you must receive before you are completely qualified to perform these jobs.
Note that the commercial certificate does not qualify you to fly for an airline. Each airline has its own requirements for hire, but at the very least, you will need to fulfill hours requirements and receive an airline transport pilot (ATP) certificate.
Do Jet Pilots Need Special Endorsements?
There are numerous special endorsements for aircraft pilots. In addition to the certificates and ratings themselves, you can also earn specific endorsements, improving your marketability and increasing your skillset. You don’t have to complete a knowledge test or a checkride to get an endorsement. Instead, you must receive training from a certified instructor, and they will give you an endorsement in your logbook once they are confident you are proficient in the aircraft. If you are looking to operate private jets, you may want to consider the following endorsements:
- High-performance endorsement: A high-performance aircraft is an aircraft with an engine that is over 200 horsepower. For a high-performance endorsement, you will need simulator or flight training in a high-performance airplane and display proficiency in the operation of this aircraft.
- High-altitude endorsement: High-altitude endorsement is required if you want to fly an aircraft with a maximum operating altitude or service ceiling above 25,000 feet MSL. To receive this endorsement, you will need to undergo ground training from an authorized trainer specializing in topics such as high-altitude aerodynamics, hypoxia symptoms, and supplemental oxygen use. You will need to log flight time in a pressurized aircraft or flight simulator that mimics operating in high altitude conditions, too.
- Complex endorsement: Complex endorsements are another common endorsement, which requires training on operating and handling complex aircraft. A complex aircraft is defined as an aircraft that features adjustable flaps, a controllable pitch propeller, and retractable landing gear. The Code of Federal Regulations does not have a specific number of flight hours for complex endorsement. Still, it does require you to log simulator or flight training and ground training that covers the basic topics of operating a complex aircraft. The certified instructor will sign your logbook with the endorsement when they determine you are proficient in the aircraft.
What Careers Are Possible After You Get Your Commercial Pilot Certificate?
After receiving a commercial pilot certificate, there are many potential career paths you can follow. While many people think the only career path is becoming an airline pilot, there are many ways to put your skills as a pilot to use — and becoming a private jet pilot is one of them.
While a jet pilot license is a commonly used term, there is not a specific jet pilot license to achieve. Instead, you receive the certificates, ratings and endorsements mentioned above. The certificates and ratings you hold, as well as your total flight time, will help your marketability in the aviation field.
Just a few of the possible career paths for a commercial pilot include:
- Charter pilot: Working as a charter operation or air taxi may be ideal for you. If you own your own plane, you might be able to charter flights for tourists on sightseeing or island exploring trips. You might also be able to work for a company, like Latitude 33 Aviation, that provides charter services for passengers who are traveling for purposes such as business or pleasure.
- Corporate pilot: Some companies, or individuals, own their own aircraft that they use for themselves. Working as a corporate pilot involves flying employees, company owners or the aircraft’s owner around the country, and perhaps internationally, for various needs. While it can seem similar to charter work, a corporate aircraft is not available to people outside of the company or the individual who owns the aircraft.
- Freight pilot: A cargo pilot is responsible for transporting various cargo around the world. Cargo pilots often pick up and deliver packages to the next location for businesses and personal orders. A benefit of becoming a cargo pilot is that it is a service that is high in demand.
- Air ambulance: Air ambulance pilots help transfer ill or injured people to hospitals or other facilities for proper care. You may also transport medical crews to a specific location.
How Much Does It Cost to Get a Commercial Pilot Certificate?
The average cost of getting your private pilot license and your commercial pilot license will vary depending on where you receive your training. For example, you can get your certifications and ratings from an FAA-certified flight school. There are also accelerated programs and universities that take you all the way from the private pilot certificate through commercial multi-engine certification.
On average, the cost of earning a private pilot certificate is approximately $9,500. However, earning a commercial pilot certificate is typically more expensive. The flight training and academic education from a four-year aviation degree to receive a commercial pilot certificate with additional ratings to be hired as a professional pilot may cost over $100,000. After receiving a commercial pilot license, those looking to earn an ATP certificate will need to gain experience and log flight time while working to get additional ratings and endorsements as required.
The salary of a commercial pilot varies based on the job they are doing, as well as their training and expertise. On average, a private jet pilot’s salary is approximately $53,386 per year.
Is There a Shortage of Business Aviation Pilots?
The business aviation sector is attempting to attract and retain more talent that typically may be initially drawn to working as an airline pilot. Many businesses and companies rely on business aviation for efficient, flexible, secure, and cost-effective access to destinations domestically and globally. In many cases, business aviation is an effective solution that opens the door for businesses to conduct commerce nationally and internationally.
The demand for business aviation pilots increases as the demand for the position outpaces the number of available and trained pilots. In addition to business aviation pilots, it is also expected that there will be an increased need for technicians and commercial personnel. Some of the benefits of becoming a business aviation pilot include:
- Flying different types of aircraft.
- Flexible schedule.
- Unique jobs.
- Competitive compensation and benefits.
- Opportunity for growth.
What Are the Requirements of a Charter Jet Pilot?
Charter companies must be certified and abide by the regulations set forth in 14 CFR Part 135.
Part 135 certification allows a charter company to conduct on-demand operations, including limited scheduled operations and scheduled commuter operations. Both commuter and on-demand operations have specific limits associated with them, including maximum payloads and the number of passenger seats.
As far as certifications and requirements for charter jet pilots, they can vary from company to company. For example, a company may require its pilots to obtain an ATP certificate, even though they aren’t flying for an airline. However, no matter where a charter pilot works, they will need at least a commercial pilot certificate and the type rating for the aircraft they will be flying.
One of the main duties of a charter jet pilot is to charter passengersfrom one destination to another. Individuals, private organizations, and even the government may hire charter flight pilots. A charter pilot is hired or transports a client to one or several destinations. Some charter pilots work on a regular schedule of repeat charter flights.
In most cases, charter flight pilots also tend to work in closer contact with their passengers and may even drive a passenger to a destination after the flight. The majority of charter pilots do not carry any cargo other than passengers’ luggage. Along with excellent flying skills, a charter pilot should have a high level of safety awareness and operate the aircraft in accordance with FAA requirements and company safety protocols. Strong customer relation skills and overall flexibility are also important traits of a charter pilot.
Explore Private Jet Pilot Careers at Latitude 33 Aviation
Latitude 33 is a premier charter company for those looking to pursue a commercial pilot career. We offer exciting career opportunities based out of Los Angeles and San Diego. We also are proud to offer private jet charter services, aircraft management services, jet acquisition, and brokerage services. We are an industry-recognized expert in providing professional, high-quality management programs while also maintaining safety and security.
To learn more about commercial pilot careers or our services, contact us online today or call 800-840-0310.