Congratulations! You have earned the pilot certificate that you have always wanted. What now? Many of our readers will continue to earn the certificates and ratings necessary for their first job in aviation. Others may feel the time and financial investment they have made into their first one or two certificates and/or ratings is enough.
At some point, we all earn the level of certification that we need to maintain our objective. This may be a recreational pilot, or you may be an airline pilot. Is that enough?
As I started writing this article, I wondered how much is too much? As I pondered this and started typing in random relevant words in my search engine, I found a name. Robert Briggs jumped off the page. Robert holds the Guinness World Record for the most FAA Type Ratings. He currently has 103 of them. Going one step further, he holds every category and class rating as well not to mention his A&P and Aircraft Dispatcher Certificate. Why would someone want to do this? In one of his many interviews, he talks about how he enjoys the challenge and learning experience of each new rating.
So here we are. You invested all this time and money in earning your certificate(s) and/or rating(s), not to mention the financial and mental investment necessary for maintaining your currency and proficiency. So why wouldn’t you want to make yourself a better pilot? Why wouldn’t you want to expand your skills and knowledge? Why wouldn’t you want to learn something new and different? Why wouldn’t you want to fly in the clouds? Why wouldn’t you want to teach someone else to fly? Why wouldn’t you want to fly an airplane with two or more engines?
In 2017 there was an article in the “Harvard Business Review” that was titled “Lifelong Learning is Good for Your Health, Your Wallet and Your Social Life.” The article starts off talking about a woman who was 99 years old when she earned her college degree. She did it for herself, to expand her own horizons and to exercise her mind. In other words, because she wanted to. It goes on to discuss that cognitive activity can’t change the biology of Alzheimer’s, but learning activities can help delay the symptoms and improve a person’s quality of life.
There you go; in case anyone asks, you need to earn your next certificate or rating for health reasons! While this may be somewhat true based on biology, there are other reasons to consider earning your next certificate or rating. Doing so makes you a better and safer pilot.
The hardest certificate to earn is the Private Pilot certificate. This is so because when you start, you know nothing about aviation, and you certainly have no idea what you are doing. Once you earn your Private Pilot certificate, everything else that you learn as you progress through your Instrument Rating, Commercial Pilot Certificate, Multi Engine Ratings, Flight Instructor Ratings, etc. is designed to be built on your
Private Pilot skills and make you a better and safer pilot. The process of earning your next certificate or rating is easier than you may think.
American Flyers’ national support team speaks with many pilots who don’t realize how close they are to that next certificate or rating. In many cases, with a little bit more effort than it takes for a flight review or IPC, you may be able to earn something new. As in Briggs’ case above, it is safe to assume that he doesn’t stay current in all those airplanes. But with each new rating came a new level of understanding, a new level of proficiency and a new chance to make his piloting skills that much better.
Every time you fly an airplane you should be asking yourself, “How do I make myself a better pilot? How do I make myself a safer pilot?” The answer is simple. Keep learning; keep striving for that next certificate or rating. The good news is that you are in charge of your own schedule. Do it at a pace that is comfortable for you. The only thing that you may need assistance with is coming up with the plan. That is where the American Flyers National Support Team comes in. We can help you develop a plan based on your needs, your budget and most importantly, your goals.
You have nothing to lose and everything to gain!