SilverPilot Flight Training
Quincy & Tallahassee, Florida



The FAA

 

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is empowered to regulate all aspects of the use of the airspace above the United States. Regarding the licensing of pilots, the FAA has established a system of Pilot Certification. There are many different Pilot Certificates granted by the FAA. Examples of these Certificates are the Student Pilot Certificate, Private Pilot Certificate and Commercial Pilot Certificate. There are also Ratings associated with each Certificate. With one exception these Ratings have to do with the actual type of aircraft the pilot is certificated to fly, like:

 

• Private Pilot Certificate, Airplane Single-Engine Land, or

 

• Commercial Pilot Certificate, Rotorcraft-Helicopter

 

The exception is that upon the proper passing of the required tests, the FAA might issue an Instrument Rating to a Pilot Certificate qualifying the pilot to operate "in the clouds". This is a Rating but it is not associated with an actual type of aircraft. It is designated like this:

 

• Private Pilot Certificate, Airplane Single-Engine Land, Instrument

 

It must be noted however that a Student Pilot Certificate has no associated Ratings of any kind. This is because a Student Pilot must operate totally under the guidance of a Certified Flight Instructor.

 

There are other types of Certificates like Airline Transport Pilot Certificates, Flight Instructor Certificates and Ground Instructor Certificates. But that is beyond the scope here.

 

For nearly everyone learning to fly, the goal is the Private Pilot Certificate, Airplane Single-Engine Land. With this Certificate and Rating you can fly almost any single engine aircraft to almost any place you want, and you can carry passengers; as long as you are not doing so commercially and not "in the clouds". Once you are certificated by the FAA with a Private Pilot Certificate, Airplane Single-Engine Land Certificate and Rating you can go further if you want; for instance getting an Instrument Rating or maybe a Sea Plane Rating. But the Private Pilot Certificate, Airplane Single-Engine Land Certificate and Rating is the place almost everyone starts.

 

For the issuance of each Pilot Certificate (except the Student Pilot Certificate) there are a set of requirements that must be meet to the satisfaction of the FAA. These requirements are generally:

 

1) The successful completion of a Knowledge Test (In the past this was called a written test, but today it is taken online so it is called a Knowledge Test),

 

2) The successful completion of a Practical Test (In the past it was called a flight test, but because today it is both an oral test and an operational test in an aircraft, it is called a Practical Test) and,

 

3) an FAA Medical Certificate where applicable.

 

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