What is a CPL and when do you need one?
Many people think that a CPL (Commercial Pilot License) holder means the person is or will be an Airline Pilot. This is not the case.
A CPL is required by anyone wanting to fly for hire or reward, thus the name “Commercial Pilot”. Most student pilots aim to become Airline Pilots because this is where the best financial rewards and prestige are, however the aviation industry is more than just airlines and for some people other sectors of the industry are of interest. So whether you want to fly for an airline or something else, if you are going to fly professionally and earn money, you will need a CPL.
Apart from Airlines, other avenues in the aviation industry for pilots include:
* Teaching people to fly: Flying Instructors
* Corporate Pilots flying aircraft for corporate clients
* Charter Pilots flying people and/or cargo
* Agricultural Pilots/ Crop Dusting
* Air Ambulance Pilots
* Search and Rescue Pilots
* Water Bombing Pilots
* Pilots taking parachuting clients
* Seaplane pilots
* Tourism pilots
* Customs and Border Control pilots
* Defence force Pilots
If you are only flying for recreational purposes and don’t want to earn a living from flying, a CPL is not required – a PPL (Private Pilot Licence) is all you need. Although it would not be common, holding a PPL does not mean you can’t fly a large aircraft/airliner if you were endorsed to do so. You just could not fly it and be paid.