Flight Training: What’s Involved in Becoming a Pilot
Becoming a pilot is a dream career for many people. Not only is it well paid, but you will also be able to travel around the world and live a jet-set and even glamorous lifestyle.
But how do you become a pilot in the first place? Here’s a guide to what you need to know to get your licence and start flying either private or commercial planes for a living.
How to Become a Pilot
Before you even start training to become a pilot, you must have the right set of skills. This means being physically in great condition, as well as having a cool head, the ability to concentrate for long periods of time, and a good teamwork ethic.
If you’ve got what it takes, then the first thing you will need to get is your Airline Transport Pilot’s Licence (ATPL). You must be 21 to qualify for this, and you will also have to undergo a medical check. You do not require any specific grades such as GCSEs or A-Levels, although good grades can help.
Once you have passed all the exams, you will receive a Frozen ATPL. To get your full ATPL, you will need to undergo enough hours of flying practice.
Types of Flight Training
To carry out your training, you have a few options. You could apply to a private training school that is approved by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), and the course will cost about £60,000.
However, if you have experience of flying in the armed forces, you may only need to take a conversion course.
Another option is to train via university, and you may find a course that combines training and pilot studies with a degree.
One of the most popular options is to join an airline’s training scheme. Airlines like British Airways run these, and they allow you to train with the company to get your licence. The company may pay all or some of the training costs, which you will then pay back after qualification.
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What You Learn During Training
To reach frozen ATPL level can take up to three years, but it can take less if you already have a Private Pilot’s Licence or armed forces experience. During this time, you will learn:
- aviation law
- flight simulators
- basic flying skills
- you will also undergo 195 hours’ flying time
Cost of Flight Training
Training to become a pilot is not cheap. It costs around £60,000 on average, and you are likely to end up with large debts. The benefit is that the job is well paid.
To get your Private Pilot’s Licence (PPL), however, it is considerably less expensive. Perhaps you want to learn how to fly so you can purchase an aircraft of your own and fly it. If you want the PPL, you can expect to pay up to about £10,000.
Types of Pilot Licences
There are various licences you can get, including:
- Private Pilot Licence (PPL)
- National Private Pilot Licence (NPPL)
- Light Aircraft Pilot Licence (LAPL)
To fly commercially, you will need:
- Commercial Pilot Licence (CPL)
- Airline Transport Pilot Licence (ATPL)