Private Pilots Aim High
Learning to fly is an exciting challenge that opens a world of possibilities for new pilots! Earning a private pilot's certificate is a first step and in most cases, private pilots begin their flying experience with a propeller-powered aircraft of some sort. Small piston and turboprop aircraft offer an ideal training platform for new pilots, providing both simple and forgiving operation.
But once they've become experienced—and have mastered the skills required of smaller aircraft—many pilots yearn for the challenge and adventure that comes with tackling more complex aircraft and long to experience the speed, thrill and exhilaration that can only be realized in the cockpit of a jet! And increasingly, many private pilots are pursuing piloting a jet as their goal.
So what does it take to pilot a jet?
First some background... Credentials offered by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) include certificates, ratings and endorsements.
Certificates are the equivalent of a driver's license for the skies and each certificate indicates the level of license a pilot holds. Common pilot certificates include student pilot, sport pilot, private pilot, commercial pilot and airline transport pilot (ATP).
Ratings, which are expressed in terms of category and class, are used to indicate the kind of aircraft the certificate holder is allowed to fly. All certificates except for student pilot certificates include at least one aircraft category/class rating. Categories indicate general equipment groups such airplanes, rotorcraft (i.e. helicopters), gliders, and others, while classes refer to further subdivisions within each category. For example, within the airplanes category, ratings include single-engine land (ASEL), multiengine land (AMEL), single-engine sea (ASES), and multiengine sea (AMES). There are also ratings for operating privileges, such as instrument ratings.
Endorsements are written authorizations in a pilot’s logbook, signed by a flight instructor, indicating that a pilot is proficient to operate certain aircraft such as flying high performance aircraft (aircraft over 200 horsepower) or complex aircraft (those with retractable landing gear, controllable pitch propeller, and adjustable flaps); or that a pilot is authorized to perform particular operations (such as towing a glider).
Jet Pilot Requirements
While a private pilot certificate with ASEL rating will allow a pilot to fly virtually any piston or turboprop aircraft, due to the speed and complexity of jet aircraft, FAA requirements are far more stringent in governing their operation. In fact, there is no such thing as a 'jet aircraft certificate' or 'jet rating' that would enable a pilot to fly ‘any jet’.
Rather, an eligible certificate must first be obtained, and then a type rating must be awarded for the particular model of jet that will be flown. Indeed, a type rating is required for any aircraft over 12,500 pounds MGTOW (maximum take-off weight) and/or any aircraft with a turbojet powered engine.
Eligible certificates include private pilot, commercial pilot and ATP. So a certified private pilot is already on the road to jet flight! But before qualifying for a type rating, there are a few other things that will be needed…
Multi-Engine, Instrument Ratings and Solid Skills Required...
Moving to a jet also calls for a multi-engine class rating, as virtually every jet is a multi-engine jet. And an instrument rating will also be needed, as is always the case for flying any aircraft that is capable of flying above 18,000 feet, where flying under IFR (instrument flight rules) often comes into play due to instrument meteorological flight conditions (IMR)—or simply due to flying through clouds.
According to Keith Douglass, president of Shoreline Aviation, “Solid instrument skills are essential for any pilot who wants to transition to flying a jet. Moving to a jet – it’s a big leap. You have to have your skill set down so you can focus on absorbing everything that is new.”
Added Douglass, “Getting plenty of hours in a turboprop/pressurized aircraft is the best way to prepare for the next level. Establish that base first.”
Other requirements generally include a number of endorsements. For a jet that flies above 25,000—which is almost always the case—a high-altitude endorsement will be needed. Additionally, high-performance and complex aircraft endorsements will also be called for.
How Can We Help?
For individuals with plans to purchase a jet of their own, a type rating is often the first step in the process. And getting qualified for the jet you want to buy is a good way to make sure it’s the right choice—before opening your wallet!
For private pilots who want to transition into jets, Shoreline Aviation can provide jet experience that prepares you for type rating training, advise pilots on all details the transition process, and help with jet acquisition.
Call us to learn more: 781-834-4928 Or submit a flight training inquiry form here.