Pilot training in the United States.

How to become a pilot in the U.S.A.

Becoming a pilot with L3 is an investment in your future. We have the facilities and training expertise at our Florida Airline Academy to prepare our cadets for an exciting and rewarding career as a Commercial Airline Pilot. As a world leader in aviation training, L3 is dedicated to helping our graduates build flight hours, preparing tomorrow’s pilots for a role with one of the 14 airlines we work with across the US.

The airline pilot career programs we offer at our global airline academies are all slightly different. This page will provide an overview on how to become an Airline Pilot if you are living in the United States. This means you will undertake an FAA (Federal Aviation Agency) pilot training program.

The type of training program you choose to undertake will depend on your ultimate career goal. Obtaining your Commercial pilot license, with a Flight Instructor Certificate, in the U.S.A. can be achieved in as little as 15 months at L3, subject to scheduling. The steps below outline a cadet pilot’s typical progression through our flagship Professional Pilot Program which prepares students whose goal is to work for an airline.

Your journey to become a pilot

Discover the journey you will take to become a FAA certified pilot at our Florida Airline Academy.

No two days will be the same; you'll meet colleagues from all walks of life and fly hundreds of new customers each day. You'll experience new cities, landscapes and cultures throughout your career. We look forward to welcoming you to L3 and helping you to launch your Airline Pilot career.

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Stage 1: Research

There are many flight schools in Florida, but none that stand out like L3 Airline Academy. As part of a world-leading, global aviation business, our cadets have access to the latest training technologies and systems.

Our Florida flight school is well equipped with over 100 aircraft and five Flight Training Devices, but aside from our excellent facilities we have a reputation in the industry for having friendly, approachable staff who provide outstanding training.

We hold regular ‘Be A Pilot Careers Events’ (BAPCEs) across the state and country and recommend you attend one of these events to meet the team and get a feel for life at L3 Airline Academy as well as learning more about being a pilot as a career. It can also help to check out our blog posts to get a sense of what cadet life is like, during and after your training.

Stage 2: Application & selection

Please check the entry criteria for the United States to ensure you are eligible for the pilot training program you wish to apply for.

Once you are ready to apply you can either submit the short application form on the website to register your interest in a program or complete the full application form online. We charge an application fee of $150.

Once your application has been screened by our admissions team you will be invited to complete a Wonderlic assessment. You must meet or exceed the minimum score requirement.

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Stage 3: Preparation

Once through selection, it will be time to move into your accommodation and begin your course. Our student services team can provide assistance with orientation, housing, transportation and student affairs. We also coordinate extra-curricular activities to help you and your fellow course mates have fun and get to know one another.

Stages 4-7: Training

Stage 4: Private Pilot Certificate
You will study for your Private Pilot Certificate (PPL) at ground school within Academic Building of our Florida Airline Academy as well as learning to fly a single engine airplane.  Once this phase is successfully completed you will receive your Private Pilot License (PPL).

Stage 5: Instrument Rating
Achieving your Instrument Rating (IR) extents the privileges of your PPL and allows you to fly according to Instrument Flight Rules. Obtaining your IR will build your confidence in flying under different conditions as you will learn to reference instruments in the flight deck and navigate via electronic signals.

Stage 6: Commercial Pilot Single-Engine Certificate
This module will provide you with commercial pilot privileges in single-engine aircraft. Ground school will include pre-flight preparation and procedures and your flight training will cover FAA regulations such as radio communications, air traffic control and commercial operations.

Stage 7: Commercial Multi-Engine Add-on Rating
The multi-engine rating is the next necessary step for any professional pilot who wishes to fly for an airline. The module will focus on aircraft control, performance, and multi-engine operations.

Stage 8. Certified Flight Instructor Certificate

Pilots must have a minimum of 1,500 hours of flight time before they can apply to passenger airlines in the United States. For this reason, we include the Certified Flight Instructor Certificate in our Professional Pilot Program and offer all our graduates an interview to become a flight instructor. Teaching others is a great way to embed your own learning as well as building up valuable flight hours.

Once you have successfully completed your Professional Pilot Program and built up the required 1,500 flight hours you may decide to continue your career as a Flight Instructor or apply to become a Co-Pilot at an airline.

Learn about our Professional Pilot Program
Where you will train

If you are successfully selected to become a pilot in the U.S.A your training will take place at our Florida Airline Academy based at Orlando Sanford International Airport. With over 100 aircraft, this site has one of the largest fleets in the industry and the Florida climate provides the ideal weather for flying. As well as modern facilities and world-leading training, cadets at our Florida campus enjoy many fun extra-curricular activities and most form lifelong friendships.

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Pilot training courses

Becoming a pilot in the U.S.A. means your pilot training will be regulated by the Federal Aviation Agency (FAA) and your training will be tailored to meet FAA requirements.

Browse our pilot training courses in the U.S.A and enroll to start your pilot training journey at our Florida flight school.

Pilot training courses
Your future pilot career

Most applicants who wish to become a pilot in the U.S.A. aspire to fly for a commercial airline. Our pilot training courses are all designed to prepare you for a role as a Co-Pilot on a passenger aircraft. It is important to note the FAA states that all graduate pilots must build at least 1,500 flying hours before applying to work for an airline.

Here at L3 we help you achieve your ultimate career goal by offering all our graduates an interview to become a Certified Flight Instructor (CFI) – one of the best ways of building flight hours.

We also invite representatives from airlines to visit the campus and interview our cadets and flight instructors, providing valuable opportunities to secure your future pilot career.

Career prospects and CFI opportunities
Get in touch today

It is time to start your airline pilot journey. Request info or speak to the team.

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Entry criteria – United States

The following entry criteria applies to applicants applying for FAA pilot training at L3's Florida Airline Academy in Sanford.

AGE

All applicants must be at least 17 year and 6 months old at the start of their program.

EDUCATION AND ENGLISH LANGUAGE

Applicant must meet 1 of the 3 following requirements:

  1. Received high school diploma – evidence of a cumulative GPA of 2.5
  2. High school transcript required of received GED – evidence of completed 24 college credit hours from an accredited institution with a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.5
  3. College transcript required Private Pilot's Certificate with verification of high school diploma or GED
MEDICAL

Photocopy of an FAA Medical Certificate.i

CRIMINAL RECORD CHECK

Produce a criminal record check (CRC) basic disclosure certificate before training can commence.

VISAS


United States Citizens: (including individuals from D.C., Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, Northern Mariana Island, American Samoa, and Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Island):

  • Valid U.S. passport or passport card
  • And Certificate of Birth Abroad (if applicable)
  • And Certificate of Naturalization (if applicable)

OR – Any two of the following:

  • State issued Birth Certificate
  • Unexpired government issued photo ID
  • U.S. Military ID Card
  • Native American Tribal Card

Permanent residents:

  • Valid international passport
  • And unexpired Permanent Resident Card

A course-by-course transcript evaluation is required for any applicant who attended high school outside of the United States. If the applicant's transcript is printed in any language other than English, please submit a copy of the original document as well as a translated copy. Ask your Admissions Officer for a list of translation and/or evaluation companies.

SELECTION

Complete a Wonderlic assessment and meet or exceed the minimum score requirement.

Unsure? Try our careers quiz

Complete our careers quiz to find the best path for you

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Pilot training news & updates

If you would like to be the first to know about offers and events from our Florida Airline Academy including our popular Be A Pilot Careers Expos (BAPCEs) and information on ways to fund your pilot training, please sign up below. You can unsubscribe at any time.

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