Pilot certification USA (Airman certificate)
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|Student||A pilot who is being trained by an instructor for their first full certificate, and is permitted to fly alone (solo) under specific, limited circumstances.
|Sport pilot||Used for Light-sport Aircraft, a category that was created in 2004. These aircraft are larger and faster than ultralights, carry more fuel, and often two occupants.
|Recreational||A pilot who is restricted to flying short distances.
|Private||A pilot who flies for pleasure or personal business without accepting compensation for flying except in some very limited, specific circumstances.
|Commercial||A pilot that can fly for hire.
|Airline Transport||A pilot that can be pilot-in-command for a scheduled airline.
Pilots are certified to fly aircraft of a specific category and class. Certain kinds of aircraft also require a type rating.
Type ratings are required in a specific make and model of airplane if the airplane is "large" (greater than 12,500 lb gross takeoff weight) or powered by one or more jet engines
The pilot can separately add certain ratings, such as the instrument rating.
Ultralight category of aircraft in the US requires no specific training and no certification.
Website of the Federal Aviation Authorities (FAA)