Learning to fly will be one of the most challenging and rewarding experiences of your life. Private pilots can fly planes for fun and in furtherance of their own business. Imagine visiting cities such as Minneapolis, Kansas City, and St Louis in 2 hours or less.
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Private | Instrument | Commercial
A private pilot certificate is like a driver’s license. It allows you to fly anywhere in the United States and even outside the United States when you comply with regulations of the foreign country where the aircraft is operated. You can carry any number of passengers, and you can share certain operating expenses with your passengers. Although, there are currency and medical requirements to make sure you stay proficient and healthy, only a few other factors affect when and where you can fly. Once you earn your license, you are free to wander around in the skies below 18,000 feet above sea level to your heart’s content. You might take the family on a trip to see relatives in a distant state or use an airplane to shorten the time it takes to make business trips to another city. (source AOPA)
An instrument rating allows pilots to fly above 18,000ft but, more importantly, through instrument meteorological conditions, or IMC. Basically, IFR pilots can fly through clouds by reference to their instruments, whereas the private pilot is limited to visual flight only. Many pilots choose to pursue an IFR rating to continue to improve their airmanship and piloting skills while increasing the number of flyable days a year.
Commercial Pilots may be compensated for their piloting services. Commercial pilot training focuses on expanding knowledge of aircraft systems, regulations, and a higher level of airmanship. Training includes time spent in a complex rated aircraft as well. Commercial pilots may go on to fly as flight instructors, patrol pipelines, tow banners, and eventually go on to fly for the airlines.