With the Commercial certificate, you’ll practice fun maneuvers, learn how to operate a complex aircraft, and fine tune everything you learned as a Private Pilot.

All of the time requirements can be done in our club airplanes except the complex aircraft time. Some of our members have done this and then finished with a complex airplane at a local flight school.


Steps to getting a Commercial Certificate:


1. Be at least 18 years old



2. Be able to pass a 2nd Class Medical

You only need a 3rd Class Medical to actually take the checkride, but if you plan to use your Commercial certificate, you want to make sure you can pass the medical exam.  You can find a list of AMEs (Aviation Medical Examiners) in Indiana here.



3. Hold a Private Pilot certificate

An Instrument Rating is not required, but it will limit your Commercial pilot privileges (no flying for hire at night or for a distance more than 50 nautical miles.)



4. Pass a written Knowledge Test at an approved testing center

This exam tests your knowledge about flight, the rules and regulations, and what you understand about the airplane. You can do a home study course such as Gleim or Sheppard Air (the latter offers a money-back guarantee with their inexpensive test prep program.)


Once you are ready to take the exam, you must go to an approved testing center, take a 100 question test on a computer, and pass with a score of at least 70%. You can find a list of testing centers in Indiana here.


The knowledge exam can be taken at any time during flight training.  It only must be finished by the time you are ready to take your practical test.  Some people like to take it before starting flight training so that it is done and they don’t have to worry about it.  Other people prefer to take it later on in their flight training as some of the concepts make more sense once you’ve used them.



5. Fulfill the flight time requirements


(Click here for the official and complete list)

You need a total of:

  • 250 hours total time
  • 100 hours as PIC
  • 50 hrs cross-country time
  • 10 hours instrument time
  • 100 mile day cross country with instructor
  • 100 mile night cross country with instructor
  • One long cross-country of at least 300 nautical miles with one leg at least 250 nautical miles
  • 10 hours in complex or “TAA” aircraft


All of the time requirements in this list can be done in our club airplanes except the complex aircraft time. Some club members have done all but the required complex time in our club aircraft, and then found a complex airplane at a flight school to finish up the requirements. You can also combine your 100 nautical mile cross country trips with your Instrument training.



6. Pass a practical test (also known as a checkride) with an examiner

Once you’ve met all of the requirements for the Commercial certificate, and your instructor knows that you’re ready, he or she will sign you off to go take the “practical test”, also known as the checkride.  You will meet with an examiner much like you did for your Private Pilot and /or Instrument exam. Once you have passed this test, you’re a Commercial pilot!




Helpful Links for Commercial Students

Need help paying for your flight training?