Are you a pilot?

I saw this question on Facebook recently:

Do you call yourself a pilot after you have your PPL? I don’t do it but tried once recently during an interview as a kids aviation interest group instructor and she asked which airline I’m in. I said I’m not an airline pilot in which she replied, “Then you’re not a pilot!” Share your opinion.

There is a frustrating and odd misconception that you are not a pilot unless you work as a pilot. I am here to tell you that this is wrong.

You’ve Earned It

You did the work and got your license, so you ARE A PILOT. Be proud of it, and don’t think that somehow you are less of a pilot than others who fly for a living.

When do you become a pilot?

The moment you are ready to solo with your logbook endorsed (and all your other pre-solo documentation in order), you are legally a pilot.

A student pilot is a pilot!

I like to think that the moment the wheels leave the ground on your first solo takeoff is the moment you are fully a pilot. Would the woman in the question above, seeing a plane flown solo by a student pilot, say that there is not a pilot flying it?

Being a pilot is not about bragging or trying to prove something, but you have every right to consider yourself as a full-fledged pilot. You are an important part of the aviation community regardless of your experience or job title!