What is a type rating?

Can anybody briefly explain to me how type ratings work ? I mean suppose I get a PPL course on say a Piper Cub. If I wanted to fly a 172 would I have to have some kind of formal training (of course I guess some familiarization is always required). And if I take the Multiengine course, could I fly both the Baron and the Eclipse (or a jet requires another type rating ?).

I know most of the big iron goes like one plane one type, but I would like to know how yo do it in the GA.

Thanks in advance for your support


Sergio Almendra
Campinas - Brazil

14 CFR 61.31 governs....see below for the full text

if it is over 12,500lbs or is a jet you need a type rating. the type rating is added to your ATP license.

the situations you describe are basically check outs. each rental facility has their own policies regarding these (no doubt dictated by insurance companies). a c-172 is usually a one-hour deal, provided the person displays an ability to safely fly the airplane. now a baron would probably require 50hrs of dual with a qualified instructor before an insurance company would even consider it.


I am not sure if things are the same now but when I flew, type-ratings applied primarily to commercial flying. I hold a single-engine land rating. That generally applies to most any SEL aircraft. What controls the familiarization more than anything else is insurance.

If I licensed in a Cub and wanted to rent and fly a 172, the owner of the rental aircraft would probably have to check me out in the 172 before his insurance would cover me operating it. Similarly, if I went out an bought a 172, my insurance would probably stipulate that I be "checked out" in that aircraft before I would be covered. It would not be illegal for me to fly it without instruction, just stupid.

Once checked out, my log would then show that I had been qualified to operate the aircraft but that would not be considered a "type rating."

The commercial side, however, is a bit more picky understandably and requires formal ratings even when moving from one aircraft to another model of the same aircraft (such as from a Dash-8 200 to a Dash-8 400.

Like I say, it has been quite some time since I had to be concerned about this so maybe someone else can better detail the way it works today.


It is pretty simple.

A type rating is required for 1: Turbojet aircraft (note not turboprops in and of themselves, but jets including turbofans)

2: Aircraft weighing more than 12500 pounds.

Theoretically with a PPL for single engine land you can fly any single engine land aircraft. Aircraft over 201 hp require a high performance sign-off (not a type rating) and aircraft with constant speed props, retractable gear require complex endorsements (not type ratings).

So you could go out with a PPL for single engine land aircraft and a high performance and complex endorsement, hop into a Caravan and fly away.

But type ratings are not the controlling factor in GA. By the way, a Baron would require a Multiengine, complex and high performance endorsement but not a type rating. An eclipse jet would require a type rating. A Conquest doesn't require a type rating but a Beech 1900 does.

In some cases a King Air 350 requires a type rating.

Some families of aircraft like the CRJ and I assume the ERJ 135/145 will have a common type rating. Meaning that once certified to fly the CL-65 you can also fly the CRJ-700 and 900 with some familiarization training.

There are also letters of endorsement, say for warbirds. If you get checked out in four different fighters, say a P-51, a P-47, a Spitfire Mark XIII and a P-40 the FAA might issue you a letter of endorsement authorizing operation of all single engine propeller fighter aircraft. The same might be true of multi-engine bombers.

Airbuses are notorious for common type ratings.

I would think that the Dash-8s probably all the Qs especially share a common type rating as well. Though I am not certain.

The real show stopper by the way is not the rating, it is the time. I could go get a B737 and a Citation X type rating. It is just money and time in training. However, nobody is going to let me operate their 737 or Citation X because Insurance won't cover me until I get so much time in type. So You can have ratings out the wazoo and never fly the real thing all due to insurance.

If I went out and bought a Malibu, the insurance company would likely require me to go to Simcom or Flight Safety for training twice a year AND fly 50 hours with a qualified Malibu pilot/CFI prior to covering me for solo flight.

A very expensive proposition. So even though right now I am qualified to fly a Malibu, having never done that, I couldn't get insurance and when I did it would be VERY expensive.

Anything similar to a 172 or 206 or 182 or 210 I could get insurance in easily, such as a Cherokee 6 or Saratoga or other complex single because I have enough time to satisfy the insurance requirement though they might want me to go through a Flight Safety course or some dual transition, 5-10 hours likely.

Insurance companies make the rules today...in everything.

Todd :-wave


It's been widely recognized in the aviation industry since long before I started flying, that the insurance companies have controlled large parts of aviation, especially pilot qualifications, which is one reason that the FAA regs sometimes seem to set parameters for long-time experts which would be hazardous for relative newcomers.

Larry N.

See also the Wikipedia entry type rating.

This page has been seen 2,170 times.