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Commercial pilot license

A commercial pilot license (CPL), is a type of pilot licence that permits the holder to act as a pilot of an aircraft and be paid for his/her work.

The basic requirements to obtain the license and the privileges it confers are agreed internationally by International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). However the actual implementation varies quite widely from country to country. According to ICAO, to be eligible for a commercial pilot license, the applicant must;

  • be able to read, speak, write, and understand English
  • already hold a private pilot license
  • have received training in the areas of a commercial pilot
  • successfully complete the relevant written exams.

To proceed in obtaining a commercial pilot license, the applicant must first obtain first-class medical certification. The JAA has several approved courses leading to the issue of a JAA commercial pilot's license with an instrument rating without first obtaining a private pilot's license. Upon completing those prerequisites the applicant will then receive an exam from the governing aviation body that consists of an oral and practical flight test from an examiner. Applicants for a CPL (aeroplanes) must also have completed a solo cross-country flight of at least 300 nm with full-stop landings at two airfields other than the pilot's airfield of origin.

Different types of commercial pilot certificates or licenses are issued for the major categories of aircraft: airplanes, airships, balloons, gliders, gyroplanes and helicopters. As noted below, depending on the issuing jurisdiction these may all be on the same document.

A certificate/license will contain a number of sub-qualifications or ratings. These specify in more detail the actual privileges of the license, including the types of aircraft that can be flown (single-engine or multiengine), whether flight under instrument flight rules is allowed (instrument rating), and whether instructing and examining of trainee pilots can be done (instructor or examiner rating). It may be possible to show these ratings at different levels.

Some JAA states (but not the United States) restrict the use of the title "Captain" to CPL holders and above.[citation needed]

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