Plane & Pilot
Friday, July 1, 2005

Moving On Up

Advanced training is the easiest way to become a better pilot

Is there life after the check ride? The obvious answer is a re-sounding yes, there is definitely life after the check ride. Before the check ride, you’re a student; after it, you’re a pilot and the world is open to you.
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The Additional Airmen Certificates
Still itching to continue to educate and challenge yourself? Why not strive to get another airman certificate? Sure, they may take more time, money and effort, but having these additional certificates under your belt will not only improve your skills, but also pave the way to an aviation career if you choose to do so someday. Either way, it’s an investment that’s well worth making.

Commercial. In theory, the commercial ticket exists so you can charge for your services, but don’t look at it that way. Look at it as a graduate course in flying—it takes the basics you learned in the PPL and carries them to a higher level of proficiency and capability.

ATP. The airline transport pilot rating is one of those things only the true pros actually need, but for many, it’s the cherry on top, the Ph.D. after your name that automatically says you’ve earned the entire list of merit badges, and a great thing to casually mention at cocktail parties.

CFI. If you really want to learn to fly, try teaching someone else to do it. Earning the certified flight instructor rating will teach you a lot, but not nearly as much as your first couple of dozen students will. You don’t have to instruct full time. In fact, the vast majority of CFIs are part-timers who use it as a way to keep in the air at a lower price as well as maintain their own proficiency. The CFI ticket is different from all the rest in that it’s a stand-alone license designed specifically to allow you to give flight training and charge for it.

With your check ride behind you, the entire world of aviation lies before you, but you’d better hurry. You only have one life, and visiting all aspects of aviation will take at least that long.


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