Glossary of Aviation Terms | Certificate

Certificate | Paramount Business Jets

The type of intended flight will determine what type of pilot certificate is required. Eligibility, training, and testing requirements differ depending on the type of certificate sought. 


  • You must be at least 17 years old, or 16 for Gliders. 

  • Able to read, write, and understand English

  • Hold a valid driver's license as evidence of medical eligibility

Recreational Pilot

  • Be at least 17 years old (16 to be a private pilot or be rated for free flight in a balloon).

  • Able to read, write, speak, and understand English.

  • Pass the required knowledge test.

  • Meet the Aeronautical experience requirements.

  • A logbook endorsement from an instructor.

  • Pass the required practical test.

  • Except for gliders and balloons, where medical eligibility is not required, a third-class medical certificate is issued under part 14 CFR part 67. 

Private Pilot

A private pilot is a person who flies for pleasure or personal business without accepting compensation for flying, except in some very limited and specific circumstances. The private pilot certificate is held by the majority of active pilots. It allows command of any aircraft for any noncommercial purpose and gives almost unlimited authority to fly under VFR. Experience requirements include at least 40 hours of piloting time, including 20 hours of flight time with an instructor and 10 hours of solo flight. 

Commercial Pilot

  • A commercial airplane pilot must be able to operate a complex airplane.

  • A specific number of hours of complex aircraft time. A portion of the examination is performed in a complex aircraft.

  • A complex aircraft must have rectangular landing gear, movable flaps, and a controllable pitch propeller.

Airline Transport Pilot

The Airline Transport Pilot (ATP) is tested to the highest level of piloting ability. The ATP certificate is a prerequisite for acting as a pilot in command (PIC) of a scheduled airline operation. 

  • The minimum pilot experience is 1,500 hours of flight time.

  • The pilot must be at least 23 years of age.

  • Be able to read, write, speak, and understand English.

  • Good moral standing.

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