Passenger Jet Gives a Whole New Meaning To Low Fly-By

If you’re anything like us, you’re a sucker for an extremely low fly-by. Well, that’s precisely what this PAWA MD-80 passenger jet pulled off during this fantastic low altitude landing over St. Maarten. These Caribbean vacationers gathered on the beach expecting a normal low altitude landing as is common with smaller island airports – but we’re sure they didn’t expect it to be this low.

If you haven’t seen it yet, you’re definitely going to want to check out this airplane landing. So, this begs the question – how does someone get that fun gig of flying jets to scenic tropical paradises? We’ll show you and discuss some options for both accelerated flight training to get you in the cockpit as well as more casual Cessna flight training.


If you’re curious, the jet airliner is a McDonnell Douglas MD-80. First launched in 1979, it’s a short-to-medium range aircraft designed with two twin jet engines. It’s still in service today and who knows – if you end up attending an aviation school for professional flight training, you may just find yourself in the cockpit of one of these MD-80s.

How To Become An Airplane Pilot In The Shortest Amount Of Time

Right now there’s five basic pilot licenses that can be issued by the Federal Aviation Administration for individuals to fly both non-commercially and commercially. For the purposes of simplicity, we’re not going to discuss the requirements to become a flight instructor – because that will only come after you’ve already obtained a pilot’s license. Each serves a different purpose and require their own specialized course of training. They are:

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Sport Pilot License
For those wishing to fly under 10,000 feet in altitude and carry only one passenger, a sport pilot license is probably the easiest to obtain. This license only requires 20 hours of logged time plus some additional training and you’re not required to submit.

Recreational Pilot License
If you’re just interested in just flying a Cessna (or something heavier) and keeping your trips to underneath 50 nautical miles, a recreational pilot’s license may be something to consider. The training requirements are a bit stricter: 30 hours of logged flight time plus 15 hours of dual instruction with a certified flight instructor.

Private Pilot License
This license requires a minimum of 40 hours of flight time with at least 20 of those hours being alongside an instructor. The advantage of a private pilot’s license over a sport or recreational license is you’re able to take off and land at controlled airports and you can fly at night. Just remember – once you get a private pilot’s license, you cannot legally exchange money for your services as a pilot.

Commercial Pilot’s License
There’s steps a lot of companies look to see are complete prior to hiring a jet airline pilot. While many like to see a bachelor’s degree in a related field, ultimately an airline company is looking for at least the basic requirements. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) mandates a person must complete at least 250 hours of flight time. There are additional training, endorsements, and other things required before any company will likely let you fly one of their aircraft but ultimately, this is the basic requirement to fly a small, privately owned cargo jet or dual-prop airplane. You are not rated for an airline passenger jet, though. That requires an airline transport pilot license.

Airline Transport Pilot License
The airline transport pilot license is the basic requirement needed to fly for a commercial airliner. If you have dreams of cruising at high altitude with 250 people in your cabin, you’re going to need an airline transport pilot license. This license requires 1,500 hours of flight time in addition to training related to the complex instruments, FAA procedures, and other basics of commercial flight. It’s a long, costly process but if you want to pursue this, your best bet is by attending a dedicated aviation school where flight instructors are on hand to participate in dual instruction. Before gaining an ATP license, you will need to be at least 23 years old. After completing this training, you will be eligible to pursue endorsements that companies will consider when choosing to hire you.

Some airline companies will pay for parts of your training or offer reimbursement if they are considering hiring you or have already hired you specifically for a special program. In general, achieving an ATP prior to signing on with a commercial airliner will be considered a basic requirement prior to applying. In general, the fastest way to become a commercial pilot is to undergo advanced flight training programs through an aviation school or by pursuing a career in the military. In the military, most fixed wing pilots are officers – so you will have to complete your bachelor’s degree and successfully pass Officer Candidacy School (OCS). In addition to those two things, you will also be required to undergo that branch’s flight school for the fixed wing craft you are assigned to. So, the fastest way to become a commercial airline pilot is to simply attend a dedicated flight training program at an aviation school. In general, these programs can take up to two or more years but you will likely be eligible for your ATP afterwards.

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Right now there’s five basic pilot licenses that can be issued by the Federal Aviation Administration for individuals to fly both non-commercially and commercially. For the purp