The airplane is the nearest thing to animate life that man has created. In the air a machine ceases indeed to be a mere piece of mechanism; it becomes animate and is capable not only of primary guidance and control, but actually of expressing a pilot’s temperament.
— Sir Ross Smith, K.B.E., ‘National Geographic Magazine,’ March 1921.
There are many kinds of pilot licenses that you can receive. This book primarily deals with private pilot licenses and certifications. Pilot licenses are issued by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA.) They are divided into two categories:
certificates and training. A certificate defines the various levels of flying privileges that the pilot has earned. A rating defines the various categories and classes of aircraft in which the pilot may exercise the privileges of their certificate.
- Student pilot
- Sport pilot
- Recreational pilot
- Private pilot
- Commercial pilot
- Airline transport pilot
Ratings primarily refer to commercial pilots, airline transport pilots, flight instructors, and private pilots. Some of the ratings that a pilot can receive are:
- Airplane – single-engine land
- Airplane – single-engine sea
- Airplane – multi-engine land
- Rotorcraft or helicopter
Denney Kitfox (G-FOXC), built in 1991. Photographed by Adrian Pingstone in July 2005 at Kemble Airfield, Gloucestershire, England,
Sport Pilot Licenses
The exhilaration of flying is too keen, the pleasure too great, for it to be neglected as a sport.
— Orville Wright
Sport pilots fly smaller and lighter planes. The idea is to enable a pilot to fly a light, small plane for pleasure. To fly as a sport pilot, you have to get a sport pilot license which consists of 20 hours of flight time, getting a medical examiner’s certificate, and passing a knowledge test.
A sport pilot license allows you to fly for pleasure. It does not teach you how to fly into an air traffic control strip at a busy airport like Chicago O’Hara or New York’s La Guardia airport. Many private pilots flying around today though primarily fly planes as sport pilots do and hence do not need to have taken all the certifications and flight time which they do not use.
Sport pilots are not allowed to fly higher than 10,000 feet above sea level nor are they allowed to fly more than 2,000 feet above the ground level, whichever being higher. Sport pilots do not have to acquire the third-class medical examiner certificate.
Recreational Pilot License
The recreational pilot license was created in 1987. Unlike the sport license, the recreational pilot license has almost the same requirements as a private pilot license such as acquiring the third-class medical examiner certificate, yet with more limitations and not as many ben efits. In fact, currently, there are a little over than a thousand recreational pilot licenses in use today.
A recreational pilot can not fly all the planes that a sport pilot can. A recreational pilot can fly only single-engine aircraft and helicopters, with a horsepower of 180 or less, and can only fly planes with four seaters or less. At the same time, a recreational pilot can only have one passenger.