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Richard Widdett
Western Michigan University


Commercial Pilot

A person who applies for a commercial pilot certificate with an airplane category and single-engine class rating must log at least 250 hours of flight time as a pilot that consists of at least: 


100 hours in powered aircraft, of which 50 hours must be in airplanes


100 hours of pilot-in-command flight time, which includes:

at least 50 hours in airplanes,

and 50 hours in cross-country flight of which at least 10 hours must be in airplanes


20 hours of training on the areas of operation listed in §61.127(b)(1)

10 hours of solo flight in a single-engine airplane on the areas of operation listed in §61.127(b)(1) 


For the complete requirements see CFR 14, § 61, Subpart F—Commercial Pilots



These hours are the minimum amount of training in each area as required for a Commercial Pilot Certificate by the FAA. 


Based on minimum training times of 15 hours in an Arrow III, the total cost of training is as follows:

* Cost does not include training supplies.

Commercial Pilot FAQ’s


Why do I need a commercial pilot certificate?

The commercial pilot certificate is required if you want to fly for hire and make money flying. This is a legal requirement from the FAA. The commercial pilot certificate is first step towards a professional flying career.


Do I need an instrument rating?

No, but your commercial pilot certificate will come with restrictions on its use. Since you need 250 hours of flight experience to qualify for the commercial pilot certificate, it makes sense to add the instrument rating first and allow full commercial pilot flight privileges. There are  some commercial flying jobs, such as aerial application(crop dusting), and banner towing, that do not require an instrument rating.


Can I fly multi-engine airplanes?

No. Additional training and practical flight test specific to multi-engine airplanes is required. The commercial multi-engine rating is an add-on to the commercial pilot certificate. It is possible for you to take both the single and multi-engine commercial practical flight tests at the same time.


I am not planning to fly commercially for a career, any benefit from getting the commercial certificate?

Yes. The commercial pilot has to have more experience and demonstrate a higher standard of aircraft control in every day conditions and emergencies and high density traffic airports than the Private pilot. It also requires the additional skills and endorsement of complex aircraft operations. If you own an aircraft, you can expect reduced insurance rates. The confidence that comes from being a commercially rated pilot will be appreciated by both you and your passengers.


Can I fly jets?

No. A  jet requires additional and specific training and testing on each make and model. This is called a type rating.


Can I use a simulator for commercial pilot training?

Yes. Up to 50 hours(FAR part 61) or 36 hours(FAR part 141) can be applied towards a commercial pilot certificate. A simulator is an excellent tool to practice the maneuvers and procedures required in the commercial pilot PTS.

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