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What is the first step in becoming a pilot?
By Kyle Garrett
First, decide what type of aircraft you want to fly because rules for earning a pilot's certificate differ depending on the type of aircraft you fly. You can choose among airplanes, Light Sport Aircraft (LSA), gyroplanes, helicopters, gliders, balloons, or airships. If you are interested in flying ultralight aircraft, you don't need a pilot's certificate.
You should also think about what type of flying you want to do. There are several different types of pilot's certificates, from student pilot all the way up to airline transport pilot, including the eligibility, training, experience, and testing requirements for the following types of pilot's certificates:Student Pilot
Airline Transport Pilot (ATP)
Note that we use the term certificate, not license. Although practically similar, a "license" grants permission whereas a "certificate" shows that one has fulfilled certain requirements.
If you don't see your question answered here, check out our Pilot Training Frequently Asked Questions to learn more.
For information on U.S. pilot careers, including job outlook and rates of pay, visit the Bureau of Labor Statistics.