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Agricultural Pilots

Certification, Licensing, and Special Requirements

Certification or Licensing

Agricultural pilots must hold a commercial pilot's license from the FAA. A fairly long and rigorous process is involved in obtaining a commercial license. The first step in this process is to receive flying instruction. Anyone who is 16 or over and can pass a rigid mandatory physical exam can apply for permission to take flying lessons. When you have finished this training, you can take a written exam. If you pass the exam and fulfill such requirements as being at least 17 years of age and have completed a solo flying requirement of 20 hours or more, you can apply for your private pilot's license. The next step in getting a commercial license is to continue to log flying time and increase your knowledge and skills. To receive your commercial license you must be at least 18 years of age, have 250 hours of flying time, and successfully complete a number of exams. These tests include a physical exam; a written test given by the FAA covering such topics as safe flight operations, navigation principles, and federal aviation regulations; and a practical test to demonstrate your flying skills. Pilots must also receive a rating for the kind of plane they can fly (such as single-engine or multi-engine). In addition, a commercial pilot needs an instrument rating by the FAA and a restricted radio telephone operator's permit by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). In states where they spray restricted pesticides, agricultural pilots must be certified by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

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