I already have the title of pilot, and now how can I become a flight commander?

For all those people who don’t know how to become a flight commander, they should know that they have a long way to go, it’s not just about getting a pilot’s license and having conquered sleep. Many ask: I am already a pilot, and now how can I become a flight commander? Once you obtain the Commercial Pilot License (CPL), pilots need to continue training in order to obtain other licenses and eventually become flight commanders. All these trainings that have to be carried out and the necessary procedures, we will explain in this blog.

How to become a flight commander is not getting to the end of the training; obtaining a pilot’s license, having conquered the dream, is by no means the end of a story but the beginning of a much more exciting one: Entering into the world of commercial aviation.

The profession of the pilot, as in all those in which high technology plays an important role, is in continuous progress. The new systems or procedures that are incorporated into the daily routine and the maintenance of the necessary expertise in flight implies the completion of courses or periodic training, both by the operator and the State Agency for Aviation Safety, in order to maintain the day the aptitudes of the pilots.

Periodic training is a process that pilots combine with flight activity, and it is carried out on a mandatory basis every six months. These are the so-called “refresher courses” that contain simulator training and a final exam that confirms the pilots’ aptitude to continue exercising. In these “refreshments” special emphasis is placed on emergency procedures which, due to the extreme rarity of the occasions when they are necessary and due to the safety of carrying them out in a simulator, are thoroughly reviewed in these sessions.

Certificates that must be in force

Along with how to become a flight commander with a license, during training, you must have a valid medical certificate in the case of commercial pilots of class I, which is held annually, and a certificate of competence in English. Depending on the mark obtained in the exam – the minimum to take advantage is level 4 -, it must be renewed every four years or never have to be renewed if you reach level 6, that is, “native ”.

But to get to fly as a pilot in a commercial plane, there is only required to have a license to fly, but must obtain what is known as Type Rating Aircraft (Type Rating).

So if you are a pilot, can you already take any plane?

No. At the end of your pilot training, you will have obtained a commercial pilot license (CPL) which is the one that legally enables you to practice professionally; a multi-engine rating (ME), a rating to fly under instrumental procedures (IR), a theoretical course ATPL “frozen” (later we will explain what it consists of), an MCC (multi-cabin coordination course) that has enabled you to fly in a certified aircraft for two pilots and enables you to work as a team that takes place in the cabin of any commercial or cargo aircraft, but you are not in a position to fly any of the numerous aircraft models that exist on the market. For that, you must obtain the aircraft type “rating”. That is, take the course for a specific or model.

The completion of the Type Rating (or Type Rating) course is a step that must be taken only at the time of being chosen by an airline and not before since before having a contract on the table, we will hardly know why to enable opt. The H.T. consists of a theoretical part, where the pilots learn all the specific systems and procedures for each type of aircraft, and a practical part composed of eight to ten sessions in a “Full Motion” simulator, where the standard procedures and operations are practiced. normal and emergency operations.

The training is completed with what is called “Base training”. The operation with the real plane in approach, landing, and takeoff maneuvers. Finally, the student is subjected to an evaluation before inserting the corresponding Type rating in his license and beginning to be programmed on the line, initially under supervision.

Throughout your professional life …

A pilot obtains authorization to fly various aircraft models, either for his own interest or for the company in which he is hired. This allows greater versatility when it comes to choosing the airlines or destinations in which they want to operate.

Of course, the cost of an authorization for a specific type of aircraft, such as the Airbus A320 (valid for the A319, A320, and A321 models) can cost between 25,000 and 30,000 euros. An investment that the pilot can make on his own or, often and depending on the market situation, it is the airline that pays the total or part of the amount, in exchange for the pilot staying working for a certain time in the company.

Ready to be a commander

There are two types of pilot selection calls: High and low experience. Newly graduated students, logically, initially will only be able to opt for the low experience calls generally intended to cover co-pilot positions, leaving the high ones reserved for pilots with a certain number of total hours and in the type of aircraft requested and who meet all the requirements to fly as commanders.

Sticking to the novice pilot, and once he is hired by a company, training continues during the first flights as a co-pilot under supervision. This phase lasts between 100 and 120 flight hours. Once cleared, he is ready to fly as First Officer (co-pilot) without any restrictions.

But … and to be a commander?

In order to assume the tremendous commitment that comes with being the final person in charge of the aircraft during the flight, and of the people on board, it is necessary to have accumulated a minimum of 1,500 flight hours and to pass the course for commanders taught by the companies to their pilots when they reach that degree of experience. At that time, the part of the license that was frozen at the beginning – that is the “frozen” ATPL to which we alluded a little above – is activated, and it goes from having a commercial pilot license with IR and ME ratings to having the Full Airline Transport Pilot (ATPL) title. Once you have reached this point, you can officially serve as the commander of the aircraft!