Real Answers from Real Pilots

What is the hardest rating

Hello All,
Just curious what was hardest/most difficult rating to achieve? On the other side, which rating was most fun to do?
Thanks, Jesse


I would say that the hardest rating is the Private Pilot license as it is the foundation of everything else that you will learn and requires the most new knowledge.

The easiest and most fun for me was my ATP, which I did in the Seminole. At that point I had a pretty good idea what I was doing and was very comfortable on the checkride. The checkride was more a formality than anything.

I would say that the next most exciting checkride was the Private Multi. It felt good to be flying a twin engine airplane.


Great question Jesse,

I’m going to respectfully disagree with Chris. I found the Instrument Rating most challenging as it requires not only a lot of skill but knowledge as well. During you’re Instrument training the flying skills need to be honed tremendously as flying Precision approaches requires a fair amount of precision.

I’d also say the initial CFI (Cert Flight Instructor), while not a challenging rating in and of itself, the checkride can be quite a bear. Since you’ll now be responsible for students, literally EVERYTHING is fair game as far as knowledge and skills.

I will go with Chris on the multi being a blast. One of the cool things (to me) as you’re advancing is every next bigger plane seems HUGE. The Seminole was HUGE compared to a Cherokee, The RJ was HUGE compared to the Seminole. The 717…


Hey Jesse,

I’ll also butt in and give my opinion on the topic :slight_smile:

From my personal experience, I found that the CFI single engine add-on, although not a “difficult” rating, was the most stressful to achieve. The transition from the left seat as a student to the right seat as an instructor requires some getting used to and the allotted time for this rating was a whopping 3 hours of flight training, so going into the checkride was definitely nerve racking.

From my experience as a CFI, I would say that most students find the Instrument Rating a little bit more challenging and need to spend more time on the sim to practice and sharpen their flying skills.

As for the rating I had most fun with, I would say that learning all the Commercial Single-Engine maneuvers (from the left seat, of course) was a blast! Also, the fact that this rating does not require too much ground work makes it that much more enjoyable, it’s kind of like a little “break” in the middle of all the chaos that is flight training :wink: