- A retractable landing gear (land aircraft only; a seaplane is not required to have this)
- A controllable pitch propeller (which includes constant speed propellers)
- Movable or adjustable flaps.
Before or after earning the private pilot certificate (PPL) (usually after), a pilot can be trained in complex aircraft operation by a flight instructor. When the pilot has demonstrated proficiency in complex aircraft, the flight instructor endorses the pilot's logbook and the pilot is said to have a "complex endorsement".
The FAA requires a pilot to have experience in, and take at least part of the practical test in, a complex airplane in order to earn the commercial pilot certificate (CPL) and the flight instructor certificate (CFI).
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