What is flight experience?

  • Jul 10, 2024
What is flight experience?

What is Flight Experience?

Flight experience can be described as the number of hours of flying in an aircraft as a pilot or as a member of the crew. It covers everything as far as flying an aircraft is concerned, right from planning and preparation, take-offs, flying exercises, landings, and debriefing sessions at the end of the flying exercise. Flight experience is very crucial in the training of a pilot since it is the most important way of making a pilot a well-experienced pilot.

Flight training is the initial stage of the flying process that aims at helping individuals achieve their goal of flying airplanes through practical knowledge and experience. To many a fledgling pilot, flight school is the start of their flying experience. Flight schools offer the main curriculum for student pilots to gain private pilot licenses, instrument ratings, commercial licenses, flight instructor certificates, and other higher licenses. Normal private pilot training needs an in-air practice of about 20 to 40 flying hours and not forgetting more on-the-ground practice. It is during this first training that the basic knowledge on amassing more flight hours and experience is acquired.

Building Flight Time

Once one has obtained a pilot certificate or a rating, then he or she has to complete a minimum flight time before moving to higher certificates or qualifying for a particular post. This is where the concept of accumulating overall flight time is useful for pilots to have more flight hours, and get familiar with various conditions, airports, planes, and circumstances.

The minimum professional pilot experience usually ranges from 250 to 400 hours of total flight experience to just be considered competitive candidates for most professional pilot positions. It is not only the LCCs that require pilots with 1,000+ hours; other airlines and corporate flight departments also prefer pilots with such experience. These specific flight hours turn out to be unique to the role one takes, the licenses possessed, the types of aircraft flown, and many more factors. The rationale for this is simply the understanding that a candidate who has flown often is more competent and knowledgeable than a candidate who has flown a few hours.

Importance of Maintaining Records

Over time it means that every detail of the flight should be recorded in a pilot logbook and this is best done with precision. Flight records document the type of aircraft and the metered real flight time or the actual simulated time per each flight. Both the airport identification and flight details including the flight path, take-offs and landings, and the flight conditions among other flight details are recorded in Logs. Recording this data is considered to be evidence of historical activity and is necessary for passing pilot vacancies or receiving FAA licenses. They record flight time parameters such as total flying hours, flying hours within the last year, hours flown at night, hours logged in actual instrument meteorological conditions, and specific aircraft types.

Types of Flight Experience

Flight time can be earned in different kinds of flight operations: Flight time can be earned in different kinds of flight operations:

Flight training †is the operation of a flight with a flight instructor to receive an FAA license, rating, or recurrent training. The training flights may be considered as total time but the instructor usually records PIC.

Solo flights When trained, student pilots are allowed to practice flying alone (solo) with the guidance of the instructor. This means that the student operates as a pilot in command to accumulate such flight hours. There are certain conditions a pilot has to meet before he may accomplish a particular type of pilot certificate solo.

Longhaul flights Flights to airports located in other countries that can mimic real-life scenarios. There are some standard minimum cross-country hours for pilot licenses and jobs that must be fulfilled.

Amendment A change in the terms of a flight that is made before the planned journey begins, for example, a change in the time or destination of the flight. This challenging environment is flown during adverse weather and does not only require an instrument rating but also favorable weather. Real experience and hours on the plane.

Weather Icing, storms, turbulence, and visibility where are worst at night. The exposure that is obtained from night flights is invaluable.

Commercial business When pilots engage in business flights to obtain revenue by flying passengers, conveying merchandise, or providing any other service involving pay or remuneration.

Other hours Many additional flight environments lead to accumulated experience: Corporate/business flight, agricultural application work, flight training, banners towing, parachuting, etc.

The types of flight times to be logged are:

It is important to note that pilots don't record the flight time each time an aircraft is in flight. Due to the complexity of flight crew positions and types of flying, the FAA recognizes various categories of logged flight hours.

Total Time: The movement of the plane from the start point to the destination in a continuous or interrupted period.

PilotinCommand Time: Experience in the capacity of a person flying an airborne vehicle and managing its controls, excluding periods when the individual is learning how to fly. PIC time clearly shows that there is command responsibility and command authority.

SecondinCommand Time: The periods during which the pilot was flying the aircraft and was temporarily out of control but still had other responsibilities. Not uncommon in crews of commercial aircraft.

Instructor Time: The number of hours flown as a qualified flight instructor, whether offering inflight instruction or simply being stationed in a specific part of the aircraft for the sake of safety.

Instrument Time: Flight time to practice instrument-only flying, which means that the pilot is not able to see outside the cockpit even in real conditions.

Night Time: It is that time of the day when the sun is down until it rises back again in the morning. In other words, from the end of evening civil twilight until the beginning of morning civil twilight.

Turboprop/Turbofan Time: Involvement in an aircraft operated by a turboprop or a turbo/turbojet engine aircraft. Specified for airline pilots.

Tailwheel Time: Time flown in aircraft using tailwheel. Challenging skill.

Complex Aircraft Time: Flying aircraft of this type have retractable undercarriage, flaps, controllable pitch propellers, or multiengine aircraft. Advanced planes.

High-Performance Aircraft Time: Airplanes that have an engine capacity of over 200 horsepower and those that can only be flown by those who have been issued with a type rating. Includes jets/turboprops.

Possible methods through which pilots may be able to acquire more flight experience. Beyond mandatory training minimums, pilots can supplement with: Beyond mandatory training minimums, pilots can supplement with:

  • Personal/recreational flying
  • Cross country trips
  • Additional solo flights
  • When you want to get new jet/turboprop ratings
  • Medical flights for volunteers, youth programs for volunteers
  • Aerial tourism/sightseeing rides
  • Flight instruction
  • Ferrying airplanes
  • Aerial advertising business banner pulling, writing in the sky
  • Pilot timeshares

The Experience Flying Experience

Peculiarities of flight time and quality of flying experience continue to be the most important criteria determining the prospects of an aviation professional and the likelihood of securing preferred flying positions. Pilots document this carefully. A focus on minimums to earn licenses are reasonable starting point; far more flight experience is better preparation and defines working competencies and qualifications for pilots. Pile heights are always increasing, and so is the pilot's edge in the game of two pilots battling it out in the cockpit.

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