What Are the Different Types of Commercial Pilot Programs?

Different types of commercial pilot programs have been developed to train pilots in the specific operation of each aircraft because there are so many different types of aircraft. While specific implementation varies greatly country, the International Civil Aviation Organization certifies the international requirements and training for commercial pilot programs (ICAO). With a few notable exceptions, the programs used to train today’s commercial aircraft pilots are essentially the same. Different airplanes’ power configurations determine the type of pilot training required for safe operation.

Despite the fact that the fundamentals of flight training programs are very similar, some countries have developed their own commercial pilot training programs. The majority of pilots today are trained to the standards of the FAA-approved international commercial pilot training program in the United States. For commercial pilots flying in those areas of the world, the Joint Aviation Authorities of Europe (JAA) and the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) in India have each developed their own training programs and aircraft ratings. Many other countries, such as Canada, New Zealand, and Singapore, have their own commercial pilot programs. Despite the fact that different aviation authorities exist around the world, the ICAO recognizes their commercial pilot training programs.

After obtaining a commercial pilot’s license, additional training is required to fly other commercial aircraft. Single-engine and multi-engine ratings are available in commercial pilot training programs for other planes. Single-engine rated programs typically include training to operate smaller aircraft, whereas multi-engine rated programs typically include training to operate larger commercial airplanes like those operated larger airlines. Individual commercial pilot programs for specific airplanes, such as the Boeing 737, 747, Airbus A320, and other commercial airliners, are also available.

Because airplanes differ from other aircraft, commercial pilot programs for helicopters, gyroplanes, airships, and balloons have been established. The majority of pilots who obtain a commercial pilot’s license in order to operate these types of aircraft have already completed some form of pilot training. Those who are licensed to operate these aircraft must meet the special requirements of that aircraft, just as they must meet the special requirements of any other training program. A commercial helicopter pilot, for example, will require very different training than a commercial balloon pilot or a Boeing 767 pilot.