What Is a Multiengine Rating?

What is a multiengine rating

A twin-engined propeller business plane during landing. [Credit: Tofotografie]

A multiengine rating is an additional certification pilots obtain on a private, commercial, or airline transport pilot certificate that allows them to fly aircraft with more than one engine. As a multiengine rated pilot, your flying experience will build as you operate more and more high-performance aircraft. You’ll also enjoy the security a twin-engine aircraft provides if operated correctly. So, how does a multiengine rating work?

How Does a Multiengine Rating Work?

Existing single-engine airline transport pilots (ATP), and private or commercial pilots can acquire this add-on rating. While you can get the multiengine rating after receiving your private pilot certificate, some training programs recommend that you wait until you get your commercial pilot certification in order to save a considerable amount of money down the line. We’ll get into more about that later, but first, let’s go over how to get a multiengine rating. 

How To Get a Multiengine Rating

Flying a multiengine airplane involves mastering the differences in systems, performance, and aerodynamics between operating a single-engine aircraft and those with more than one engine. All phases of flight differ–from engine start to landing–as do many of the procedural operations. That’s what makes specific multiengine training crucial (and required) for the entire process of getting a multiengine rating

While you don’t need to log any specific total flight hours in multiengine aircraft in order to qualify for the rating, you will have to spend at least three hours training in a multiengine airplane before taking the checkride. You’ll be trained on the airplane’s emergency procedures, performance, flight maneuvers, and aircraft limitations. The check ride is given by an authorized instructor who must give you their endorsement before you can take the check ride for the multiengine rating. 

The test is not a written exam but an oral one administered by the designated pilot examiner. But multiengine training aone is not all you need to be a certified multiengine pilot—so what are some of the other requirements? 

What Are the Requirements for a Multiengine Rating?

There is no specific age requirement, but you must be at least of age to get a private pilot certificate (17 years old under the FAA regulations), and you must be able to read, write, speak and understand English as part of the basic requirements needed for obtaining a multiengine rating. Basic math skills are also required, as well as an FAA medical certificate. 

Further FAA multiengine rating requirements include takeoffs and landings, slow flight and stalls, operating at high altitudes, and pre- and postflight procedures. Your ground training will consist of learning the aircraft systems, how to determine the weight and balance, and understanding the aerodynamics of a multiengine aircraft, among other topics.

Your flight training goes over both the normal and emergency multiengine aircraft maneuvers and operations. Once you have this completed, it’s time to pay for the certification. How much money do you need to complete the process? 

How Much Does It Cost to Get a Multiengine Rating?

To get the proper multiengine training, several elements have to be funded. Costs include payments to flight instructors, usage of rental aircraft, books and materials, and the FAA examiner fee for the check ride. Depending on where you train and the type of aircraft you train in, the multiengine rating cost will range between $2,000 and $6,000. 

How Long Does It Take To Get Multiengine Rating?

On average, it takes most pilots one to two weeks to complete the training. This, of course, is all dependent on the student’s schedule, competency, and commitment to the training program

How Long Does FAA Oral Exam Take for Multiengine Rating?

The exam will take about two hours to administer. An FAA designated pilot examiner (DPE) will give you scenarios to talk through on the ground before you fly, and you will have to walk them through the issues they present. You will also need to discuss aerodynamic principles, explain systems operations, and talk through standard procedures. After finishing the oral exam, you will go on to the practical test in the airplane. 

What Else Does a Multiengine Rating Cover?

To fly a certain class of airplane–such as a multiengine airplane–you need a class rating to prove you can maneuver the aircraft safely. But when you accomplish that class rating, you can also check a couple of other boxes. Airplanes that require a multiengine rating are also considered complex aircraft because they normally possess retractable landing gear, controllable pitch propellers, and flaps. They are also typically high-performance airplanes if they have engines that are rated at 200 hp or above.

Advantages of Having a Multiengine Rating

Your multiengine rating will introduce you to more job opportunities as private charter companies may use light twin-engine aircraft to transport clients. You may be able to fly faster and further with a multiengine airplane so that trips can be made quickly. Flying an aircraft with two engines also gives you a safety net should one engine fail–if you understand how to manage the airplane during these situations. 


Having another engine means you may not have to land immediately should you have engine trouble. Instead, you can use the thrust and performance of the second engine to search for a more suitable spot to land the airplane in an engine-out emergency. However, some multiengine aircraft will still lose altitude following the loss of one engines’ thrust–especially when they are operated at high-elevation airports or when cruising at altitude.


Your multiengine rating will come with new knowledge about the speeds used when flying twin-engine aircraft. Speeds important to the operation of aircraft are referred to as V-speeds. Twin-engine airplanes have V-speeds unique to their operational procedures and may provide a smoother and faster experience than a single-engine airplane. 

However, the V-speeds you will master as you pursue your multiengine rating include those specific to single-engine performance and operations, such as best rate and angle of climb speeds on one engine, and minimum controllable airspeed on one engine.


Obtaining the multiengine rating allows pilots to earn more money, as previously touched on in the article. Besides flying commercially, advancing your pilot skills may also allow you to instruct others. You can add a multiengine instructor (MEI) rating to a flight instructor certificate–though a pilot typically gets a single-engine airplane rating on their initial CFI certificate. You can earn a supplemental income working at an aviation school with the add-on MEI rating. 

The multiengine rating also gives you an edge over the competition in the job market. The more multi time you have, the more desirable you are to employers. 

Single-Engine Rating vs. Multiengine Rating

So is it better to have a single-engine rating or a multiengine rating? That all depends on your motivation for flying. If you only make personal trips and fly because it’s a hobby you enjoy, then a simple, inexpensive airplane is enough to meet your needs. However, if you want an aircraft with more power and redundancy, that can quickly get you from point A to B, work on achieving a multiengine rating.

Fly High and Subscribe to Stay in the Know 

A multiengine rating is an add-on any aspiring commercial pilot should look to gain. Not only will it give you access to safer, powerful aircraft, it also enables you to explore different areas in a piloting career. Now that you know how to get a multiengine rating, you can get started on your journey. 

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