Do Private Jets Need 2 Pilots?

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December 7, 2022

Yves

If you ever fly commercially, you most likely notice there are two pilots operating the plane. However, commercial planes are often larger than private jets. So this begs the question, do private jets need two pilots? The simple answer to this question is sometimes, but it is way more common that private jets to fly in the sky with two pilots.  Read below, and we will tell you more about this answer to the question and about single pilot jets. 

Why are two pilots more common?

A private jet with two pilots rather than one is far safer. If a pilot is unable to fly or is fatigued, then the other can safely operate the aircraft. Thus, having two pilots has more safety assurance rather than a plane flown by a single pilot. In addition to safety precautions, having two pilots instead of a single pilot can ensure that the workload requirements of flying a plane are delegated more efficiently. One pilot can fly the plane and the other can communicate with air traffic control and do other tasks such as reading charts. 

What kind of jets are flown by one pilot?

While private planes are more often than not flown by two pilots, there are a few jets that can be flown by a single pilot. The benefit of a plane that requires only a single pilot is that you can add an additional passenger by sitting upfront and if you fly planes can operate the aircraft by yourself. 

The largest private jet that can be flown by a single pilot is the Pilatus PC-24. Another notable model is the Citation CJ4 which is the fastest private plane with a top speed of 442 knots. Light Jets and Very Light Jets are other aircraft that only have requirements for a single pilot. Other jets that can be flown with only one pilot are: 

  • Cessna Citation M2 (500/550 series)
  • Cessna Citation CJ3+
  • Citation Encore
  • Cirrus Vision Jet
  • Eclipse 500
  • Eclipse 550
  • Embraer Phenom 100(EV)
  • Embraer Phenom 300(E)
  • HondaJet HA-420
  • Pilatus PC-24
  • Hawker/Beechcraft Premier
  • Cirrus VisionJet
  • SyberJet SJ30i

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Are there laws around having two pilots fly at a time?

There are specific requirements for chartering a private jet, which is often why planes cannot depart with a single pilot. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) enforces strict rules about flying in order to ensure the safety of the public. Nearly every private jet is classified as a “large aircraft” when they are built because they weigh more than 12,500 pounds. A requirement for these aircraft is there must be two pilots up front.

 There might be some exceptions to this rule, such as if it is under the 12,500 pound limit and is FAA certified to safely fly with one pilot. In the mid-1980’s the FAA modified the rule so that pilots who earn a certain rating could fly single-pilot jets. This rating comes from training that ensures the pilot has mastery of the aircraft and their tasks as a pilot. While all of this is true, many charter companies do not make it so only one pilot is flying because it has safety risks and extra work management for the pilot. In the end, the harms overwhelm the benefits such as cutting costs.

Are there any times when more than two pilots are needed?

While most planes require two pilots by law, some flights might even have requirements for a third pilot. These are often for longer transatlantic flights. Pilots have a maximum number of flight hours they can fly in order to be safe and avoid fatigue. Having an additional relief pilot can ensure that the plane is safely flown to the destination while one pilot can rest at a time.

Choose Jet Agency

Now you know all about the requirements of the number of pilots in a private plane and all about single pilot jets. When you choose to fly with Jet Agency, we make sure your safety is of utmost concern. We will always make sure that your flight crew is trained to handle the plane and the workload. With Jet Agency, we guarantee you are in the right hands at each step of the way.  We can help you choose the perfect jet and ensure that your flight is comfortable and stress-free. With over 30 years of experience, you can trust you’re in the best hands possible. Contact us today for more information and to book your next flight with us.

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