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United States Department of Transportation United States Department of Transportation

If I am deaf, can I obtain a pilot certificate?

Yes, an individual who is deaf can obtain a pilot certificate in one of the five categories of aircraft: airplane, rotorcraft, glider, powered-lift, or lighter-than-air.

What types of certificates can a deaf pilot obtain?

A deaf pilot can obtain a student pilot certificate, recreational pilot certificate, private pilot certificate, and, on a limited basis, a commercial pilot certificate; for example, agricultural aircraft operations, banner towing operations, or any operation which does not require radio communication. With new interface technology for in cockpit receipt of weather information and digital communication, additional pilot certificates may be available to deaf pilots in the future.

What are the grades of pilot certificates?

There are five grades of pilot certificates that are available: student pilot, recreational pilot, private pilot, commercial pilot, and airline transport pilot.

What are the differences in the certificates?

A student pilot certificate is designed for the initial instructional period of flying. The student pilot is limited to flying with the flight instructor or solo after appropriate instructor endorsements (Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) sections 61.87 and 61.89). A recreational pilot certificate limits the holder to specific categories and classes of aircraft, the number of passengers which may be carried, the distance that may be flown from the departure point, flight into controlled airports, and other limitations (14 CFR section 61.101). A private pilot certificate permits the pilot to carry passengers and provides for limited business use of an airplane (14 CFR section 61.113). A commercial pilot certificate permits the pilot to conduct certain types of operations for compensation and hire (14 CFR section 61.133).