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Going Beyond the Private Pilot’s License

You have your private pilot’s license allowing you to carry friends and family over scenic landscapes. It’s a wonderful thing to be able to do, but that doesn’t have to be your stopping point. There are many additional certificates and ratings you can add to your knowledge base. Even if you don’t pursue a career as a commercial pilot, you can still get a lot of value and utility by obtaining more ratings and certificates.

Instrument Rating

Instrument rating will equip you with the skill needed to fly in the clouds and under reduced visibility conditions. Getting an instrument rating is the most frequent next step taken by private pilots seeking to advance their aeronautical skills. Pilots on a fast-track training program for a career in aviation (link) will move right into instrument flying, while others will wait until they become more comfortable flying. At the end of the say instrument training makes you a sharper pilot.

Multiengine Rating

The multiengine rating qualifies you to fly “twins,” or aircraft with two engines. If you’re planning a career in aviation this rating is a must have. For others, it’s a fun and interesting challenge to try. Twins are faster and can carry multiple people. They also offer the reassurance of a second engine. It’s recommended to first get your instrument rating before pursuing a multiengine rating.

Commercial Certificate

Even if you don’t plan on flying for a living, working on your commercial pilot certificate (link) can help you hone your basic flying skills. You do a lot of the same things flying commercially as you do flying privately, you just have to do them better. The margin for error on the commercial checkride is much more narrow than on the private checkride. Checkride is like a flying test. You’ll learn different maneuvers and learn how to fly with more smoothness and precision. It will also set you up for longer cross country flights allowing you to see more with your aircraft. 

CFI Certificate

A lot of pilots that decide to fly for a living start out as a certified flight instructor. If you ask most instructors where they picture themselves several years down the road, they’ll tell you something about sitting in the left seat of a Boeing 747. Even if you don’t have dreams of flying for a big airline becoming a certified flight instructor can be a good source of income and get you in the sky more often.

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