Types of Pilot Licenses: From Part-Time Hobby to Lifetime Career and Everything In Between

You want to become a pilot, but did you know the FAA issues different types of pilot licenses? These vary by classifications, ratings, and various regulations. Depending on your pilot license and ratings, you will be licensed to fly different types of aircraft. Above all, you can even fly for commercial airlines as a paid professional certified pilot. Whether you’re an international student or American student, you just have to decide which pilot license meets your needs. Therefore, you need to think about your pilot goals. What is a pilot license? In simple terms, a pilot’s license, or pilot certificate, allows a person to be able to fly an aircraft. This is similar to a driver’s license allowing you to … Read more

How to Become a Commercial Pilot

Steps On How To Become A Pilot

A 7-Step Guide Is your head in the clouds? If you’ve always wondered how to become a pilot, this guide is for you. Perhaps you’ve thought about this as a hobby, but becoming a commercial pilot is actually a great career choice. In fact, it might help to first understand exactly what defines a commercial pilot. Simply put, a commercial pilot is someone who has been approved by the FAA to charge for pilot services. So, what you might think of as a hobby has the potential to become a career. What types of commercial pilots are there? While most people immediately think of commercial airline pilots flying passengers, the most common example of a commercial pilot, there are other … Read more

Diversity in Aviation

Captain Judy’s Corner: Finding a Role Model “You are a girl. Good girls do not fly.” My personal journey began with hearing these lies at a very young age. You may have heard similar words from a parent, teacher, or peer, as I had. I dreamt of flying for as long as I can remember. However, I kept my dream a secret, and self-doubt grew believing these devastating words. Your self-doubt might be growing, as well. Diversity in aviation has been a work in progress over the years. I would sit for hours looking at airplane picture books. At that time, women were not pictured in the cockpit. I found no photos of women flyers. Then one day, I discovered a … Read more

Airfoil

What is an airfoil? The definition of an airfoil (or aerofoil in the UK) is a structure with curved surfaces, such as an airplane wing, fins, and horizontal stabilizer, designed to provide the best ratio of lift to drag during flight. The meaning of airfoil is the same for all aircraft. Let’s consider the stubby, short wings of my Grumman compared to the long, flowing wings of the Epic Flight Academy’s Cessna 172SP. You may wonder how my little bird would have enough wing to leave Earth’s gravity. You can compare this to an egret flapping frantically to rise a few feet from the sand. Its tiny wings are capable of supporting what appears to be an oversized body. However, … Read more

Cross Country Flight Planning

Cross Country Flight Planning Training

Captain Judy’s Corner: The Art & Science of Not Getting Lost Cross country flight planning is something every pilot must know. Even though it was 30 years ago, I vividly recall soloing in the Cessna150. Exhilarating, yet terrifying, describes this memorable day. There was nothing in life that prepared me for the intensity. My flight instructor assured I was ready. I knew I was ready, but I was anxious all the same. Leaving the airport environment on a solo cross country was as exciting and distressing. I prepared, studied the routes, check points, and unfamiliar destination airport environment. Nonetheless, I consistently got lost.  Preparing a Navigation Log What helped me throughout learning cross countries? It was understanding how to prepare … Read more

What is yaw?

What is yaw?

We climbed effortlessly in the Citation Jet to our assigned altitude of FL380 (38,000’MSL). This light jet is controlled much like most commercial jets and with similar design features. One of the Citation’s smooth handling characteristics in a climb are the result of the yaw dampers. The Citation has vertical fins under the tail cone and an electronic yaw damper engaging automatically when the yaw is overpowering the vertical fins.  –Captain Judy Rice on her around-the-world flight What is yaw? The official definition is a twisting, or rotation, of a moving ship or aircraft around a vertical axis. Yaw describes an airplane, boat, or fish with the nose or front moving side-to-side through the air. Motion determines the meaning. Do … Read more

How to Study

How to Study to Become a Pilot

Recipe for Success: How to Study to Become a Pilot Coordinating my hands and feet while manipulating the flight controls, rudder pedals, and at the same time focusing on flying the airplane was a big challenge. Forty years of life experiences had not prepared me for the intense focus and dexterity required while learning to fly.  My first training airplane was a tired Cessna 150 with basic analog instruments. In fact, we navigated with a magnetic compass and heading indicator. The communication radio was an old tube-style with a hand-held microphone. Headsets were not an option. The instructor had to yell guidance over the loud engine noise.  Math was not my strength. Cross-country flying was a nightmare. I was alway … Read more

Airspace Part 2

LECU Fly & Fun Captain Judy

Above: LECU: Fly & Fun Flight School – Julio de Zavala and students greet Captain Judy Rice Uncontrolled Airspace Captain Judy’s Corner: The Airspace ABCs – Part 2 ATC approved our Instrument Flight Plan (IFR) as filed for the Citation jet. We were departing Le Bourget, France (LFPB). Our destination was Madrid-Cuatro Vientos airport (LECU). Once we crossed the Federal Information Region (FIR) boundary, ATC cleared us from FL320 (32000’ MSL) to 7000’ MSL. Next, they smoothly handed us over from the French airspace control to Spanish control.  Our descent took us over the Pyrenees mountains and two major rivers, the Ebro and Tagus. We saw Madrid from a distance, perched on a plateau of sand and clay. The breathtaking panorama revealed … Read more

Love at First Flight

Grumman AA1A maneuvers

Above: Maneuverability and handling characteristics vary from aircraft to aircraft. Pictured here is Captain Judy Rice in her AA1A. Captain Judy’s Corner: Love at First Flight – Handling Characteristics Make Every Aircraft Unique Aircraft handling characteristics are important. I initially trained in a docile Cessna 150 (C150) and a spunky Piper Tomahawk. I appreciated the C150’s stability and enjoyed the Tomahawk’s maneuverable handling characteristics. Shortly after completing my private pilot check ride, I noticed a cute little airplane practicing take-offs and landings. Looking to increase my experience, this looked to be a fun airplane to fly. I inquired at the airport office regarding this mysterious airplane. Three pilots owned the Grumman AA1A. One of the owners offered a flight and mentioned it was … Read more

Once Upon a Time: Filing a Flight Plan

Captain Judy Rice

Captain Judy Rice found the ICAO International Flight Plan form beneficial during her world flight. Captain Judy’s Corner: Once Upon a Time… Filing a Flight Plan This fairy tale began long before the FAA announcement for change to the form used by United States pilots when filing a flight plan. The purpose of a flight plan might be compared to going on a long drive to visit a relative. You let your relative know the overall anticipated travel arrangements, and you include approximate time of arrival. An overdue arrival would likely cause concern, and your relative will likely call you to make sure you’re alright. A flight plan is much like having your relative on the other end of your … Read more