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Pilot Licensing And Certification

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Pilot licences (in the United States, airman certificates) are issued by national aviation authorities, and establish that the holder has been trained by a qualified flight instructor and has met a specific set of knowledge and experience requirements, sometimes determined by taking a checkride. The licensed or certificated pilot can then exercise a specific set of privileges in the nation’s airspace. Despite attempts to harmonize the requirements between nations, the differences in certification practices and standards from place to place serve to limit full international validity of the national qualifications.

In the U.S., airman certificates are issued by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) — and pilots are certificated, not licensed, although the word license (note the spelling) is still commonly used informally. Legally airman certificates can be revoked by administrative action; whereas Licensing requires intervention by the judiciary system. In Canada, licences are issued by Transport Canada, and in the United Kingdom by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA).

At all times, an aircraft in flight must be under the authority of an appropriately qualified pilot, the pilot in command, who is responsible for the safe and legal completion of the flight.

Pilots are qualified to fly at a specific privilege level and in one or more specific categories of aircraft. Examples of privilege levels found in most countries are

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