How To Become A Pilot – Ultimate Expert Free Guide

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Flying high in the sky – it’s not just a dream! I’m a real commercial airline pilot, and I’ve clocked over 4500 hours on the Airbus A320. I am here to share the ultimate guide on how to become a pilot just for you.

Don’t worry if you’re in the UK, Europe, America, Canada, or anywhere else – I’ve got all the info you need.

Now, becoming a pilot can be a bit different depending on where you are. In the USA, there’s a rule by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) that says you need 1500 hours of flying before you can start with a regional or commercial airline.

But if you’re in the UK or Europe, you can hop into a major airline right after getting your commercial pilot license. It’s a bit easier there.

No matter if you’re 16 and just starting out, 40 and thinking of a change, or even if you’re from the Air Force – this guide is for you.

Ready to take off on your dream career? This guide is your ticket to the skies. Start now, and soon, you could be the one steering through the clouds as a certified pilot. learn about one of the most asked question what is the salary of a pilot

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How Long Does It Take To Become A Pilot In Europe?

When thinking about becoming a commercial pilot in the UK and Europe, it’s crucial to understand the time you’ll need to invest. The duration depends on the training approach you decide to take.

The Integrated, fast-track scheme is a popular choice, allowing aspiring pilots to acquire their Frozen ATPL/ATP License (Airline Transport Pilot License), a prerequisite for major airline employment, in just 18 months. This comprehensive program provides a swift progression from zero logged flight hours to the cockpit of a major airline.

If you prefer a slower and budget-friendly route, you might consider the modular scheme as an alternative. With this setup, you can go through flight training in manageable sections, similar to a pay-as-you-go system. It provides flexibility in terms of both time and expenses, making it suitable for individuals with various schedules and financial considerations.

In both the Integrated and Modular courses, you will cover the following:

Ground School: Building the Base

Your initial step on the journey to becoming a professional pilot is Ground School. In this phase, you delve into the intricacies of the 14 Air Transport Pilot License (ATPL) exams. This foundational stage provides you with the fundamental knowledge necessary for your future in the skies.

Flying and Hour Building: Taking Flight:

The adventure progresses with Flying and Hour Building, where you get to feel the thrill of your initial solo flight. During this phase, you’ll undergo multi-engine training, and there’s a chance you’ll attain your Private Pilot Certificate/License (PPL). Anticipate practical tests and the excitement of cross-country flying as you begin to soar as a student pilot.

Instrument Rating: Navigating Without Sight

Moving forward, you’ll enter the Instrument Rating phase. Here, you’ll become adept at flying solely by relying on instruments, without relying on visual cues. This skill, operating under instrument flight rules, equips you to confidently navigate through challenging weather conditions.

Airline Qualification Course (AQC) or Multi Crew Cooperation (MCC): Team Up in Simulators

In the AQC or MCC course, you collaborate with another trainee in realistic Boeing/Airbus simulators. This hands-on experience hones your skills, preparing you for the complexities of real-world flying scenarios. Teamwork becomes crucial as you engage in various flying tasks.

Type Rating: Specialized Aircraft Training

To operate a specific type of aircraft, you need to finish the Type Rating course. Spanning approximately two months, this training is designed to provide you with the expertise required for a particular aircraft, such as the Airbus A320. It serves as the ultimate step before you’re prepared to take command in the cockpit.

Meeting Regulatory Standards

It’s important to recognize that the regulations governing pilot training, as established by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) and the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), may vary from those in the United States. Staying informed about and adhering to these regulations is crucial for a successful aviation career.

Start your exciting journey to become a pilot, and as you progress through these stages, keep in mind that each step brings you closer to the skies and the realization of your dream. Safe travels and clear skies await!

How Long Does It Take To Become A Pilot In America?

Becoming a pilot in America involves a unique process compared to the UK/Europe. In the U.S., there’s a rule called the 1500-hour rule set by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). This rule requires all American pilots to accumulate at least 1500 hours of flying experience before they can fly for regional or major airlines.

This rule also applies to Canadian pilots for major airlines, but they don’t need the full 1500 hours to start flying for regional airlines. For American cadets aspiring to be airline First Officers, they can only achieve this once they’ve reached the mandatory 1,500 hours of flight time. To get there, they often spend an additional 12-24 months as flight instructors on small aircraft or other methods, obtaining their certified flight instructor rating along the way.

So, when people wonder how long it takes to become a pilot, they’re usually interested in how long it takes to fly for airlines. Here’s a breakdown:

  1. At least two years before becoming eligible to fly for regional airlines (though this usually takes around three years).
  2. At least three more years working at the regional airline before becoming eligible for major airlines. However, most pilots spend around 5 years at regional airlines before making the move to major airlines.

It’s important to note that finding a job with a regional or major airline can significantly impact these timelines. So, the overall journey to becoming an airline pilot involves meeting the hour requirements and then securing a position with an airline, which can add more time to the process.

How Much Does It Cost To Become A Pilot?

When you’re thinking about becoming a pilot, one of the big things to consider is the cost, especially if you’re aiming to be a commercial pilot.

Typically, the whole journey can set you back between $60,000 to $100,000 or even more (it’s the same in pounds and euros).

But, hold on! The actual amount varies based on several factors. Let’s break it down.

I spent a substantial £130,000 to become a qualified first officer in the UK. This amount included £100,000 for flight training and living costs, plus an extra £30,000 for my Type Rating. The Type Rating is a special license that allows me to operate a specific aircraft, like the Airbus A320 in my case.

Some of my friends finished their training and got jobs flying the Boeing 737.

It’s a lot of money, no doubt. But looking back, it was worth it for me.

Cost To Become A Pilot – The Integrated Training UK/Europe

If you’re thinking of becoming a pilot and want to take the fast track, integrated or accelerated flight training is the way to go. It’s quick but often comes with a higher price tag.

In the UK and Europe, plan to spend at least £/€80,000 for this integrated flight training. This type of training is like a package deal – it takes you from having zero flying hours to getting the license and certification needed to fly for a major airline. It’s the launchpad for your aviation career.

If all goes well, you can wrap up this training in 18-24 months and start your journey as a certified pilot.

Pilot Training Costs in America/Canada

If you are exiting to become a pilot or a commercial pilot quickly in the United States or Canada, you might be interested in Accelerated Airline Pilot Track (AAPT) courses. These are similar to fast courses in the UK/Europe but may have some differences.

However, exercise caution. Some flight academies promise to qualify you within 12 months, but getting the necessary qualifications for your first regional airline will take longer (see the previous chapter for more details).

Before you start a course, make sure you know exactly what you’re signing up for. You don’t want to pay a significant amount only to find out later that you need to spend more for a specific license.

Here’s what a comprehensive course usually covers:

Private Pilot Certificate (PPL): Lets you act as the pilot in command of a small aircraft.
Instrument Rating: Necessary for flying the aircraft using instruments only, without relying on outside references.
Commercial Pilot Certificate: This qualification allows you to be paid to fly as a pilot-in-command of a single-engine aircraft for compensation.
CFI and CFII: Flight Instructor Single-Engine Certificate, enabling you to teach on a single-engine aircraft.
Instructor: Work as an instructor to accumulate the mandatory 1500 flight hours and get paid.
Multi-Engine Rating.
This is often the quickest route to becoming an airline pilot, taking around 18 months. The cost usually covers everything, including accommodation, but not living expenses (food, etc.).

Most integrated/accelerated flight training programs are on the higher end, usually costing at least $80,000. If that’s too much, we’ll discuss more affordable options later on.

How Do Pilots Pay For Flight Training?

Wondering how pilots pay for their flight training? It’s a common question and an important one. Before we dive in, keep in mind I’m not a financial expert. Always do your research before deciding how to pay for flight school.

Now, let’s talk about how you can fund your training. If you’re financially comfortable and can afford it without a loan, great! You can skip this part.

But for most people, figuring out how to cover the costs is crucial. The good news is, you don’t have to be rich to become a pilot—I certainly wasn’t

Flight Schools Are Just Businesses

Flight schools are businesses, and they understand that their training programs can be expensive. That’s why they often have finance specialists to help answer your questions. They want you to succeed because, in the end, you’re their customer.

So, when you’re exploring how to become a pilot, know that the finance team at the flight school is a valuable resource. They’re there to help you understand your options and figure out the best way to pay for your training.

Tailor-Made Financing Options

Some big flight schools now provide financing options designed specifically for your flight training. These special loans usually come with fair interest rates, and you can pay them off early without any penalties.

They might also offer something called ‘repayment holidays.’ This means after taking the loan, you won’t have to start paying it back for a certain period. For instance, you might get a two-year break, allowing you to focus on your training without worrying about repaying the loan when you’re not earning.

Keep in mind, when you start your career as a pilot, your salary might not be very high. So, considering your loan repayment in the early stages is crucial.

Do Pilots Make A Lot Of Money?

When people think about becoming a pilot, they often wonder about the money, especially considering the hefty training costs. We’ve got a detailed blog post covering everything about pilot salaries.

Do Pilots Get Paid A Good Salary In The Aviation Industry?

Now, do pilots make good money in the aviation industry? Yes, they can earn quite a bit. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2021, the median salary for various roles like airline captains and flight engineers in the U.S. was $203,010. These figures have likely gone up since then.

Here’s an interesting tidbit: the CEO of American Airlines recently proposed a 40% pay increase for their flight crew. If this deal goes through, top-tier captains could make a basic salary of $590,000 annually, and narrowbody captains could make $475,000 a year.

Pilot Salary UK

In the UK, pilots generally earn less compared to their counterparts in the United States. For instance, an airline captain flying long-haul routes might earn around £200,000 toward the later part of their career.

Even short-haul captains working for low-cost airlines like easyJet and Ryanair can expect a respectable salary of around £150,000 per year after about 10 years with the airline.

For a detailed breakdown of pilot salaries in the UK, check out our comprehensive guide on pilot salary UK.

Commercial Pilot Salary – Pilot Career Progression

If you’re exploring how to become a pilot, you’re likely curious about the earnings, especially in the early stages of your career.

It’s essential to understand that a pilot’s salary grows with experience and the time spent in the airline industry. So, in the initial stages, your earnings may be less compared to later when you’ve accumulated more flight experience.

Think of it as a journey — your salary increases as you climb the ladder of experience in your pilot career. For a more detailed understanding of pilot career progression and salaries, keep exploring our resources.

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Airline Captain Salaries Worldwide

When it comes to senior long-haul airline captains, salaries vary across regions:

  • UK: Around £200,000.
  • Europe: Up to €250,000.
  • America: Well over $300,000, with some captains earning over $500,000 annually.
  • Middle East: Well over $220,000 yearly, and additional perks like living allowances can significantly boost this figure.
  • Asia: The average salary for an airline captain can exceed $400,000 per year.
  • For a deep dive into the factors affecting pilot salaries, check out our comprehensive post on the subject.

How To Become A Pilot – How To Become A Commercial Pilot

Now, let’s shift gears and explore the practicalities of becoming a pilot. There are crucial points to consider when aiming to become a commercial airline pilot. From training to certifications, we’ve got you covered.

For a step-by-step guide on how to embark on this exciting journey, delve into our resources. Learn the ropes and understand what it takes to soar as a commercial pilot.

The Medical Requirements – Class 1 Medical Qualifications

Getting a Class 1 Medical Certificate is a crucial step in the journey to become a pilot because, without it, an aviation career is a no-go.

Check out our dedicated post about Class 1 Pilot Medical requirements in the UK (Coming Soon for the US)!

Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need to be a super athlete with perfect health to pass these exams. However, you must meet certain health standards to ensure you’re fit for flying.

For instance, it’s a common myth that you need 20/20 vision to work for an airline. The UK’s Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) oversees aviation regulations and tests for various factors, including:

  • Medical history
  • Eyesight
  • Physical examination
  • Electrocardiogram (ECG)
  • Lung function test
  • Haemoglobin blood test
  • Urine test

In the United States, the Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) handles the medical exam and conducts similar tests to grant you an FAA Medical Certificate.

Remember, the aviation medical examiner (AME) isn’t expecting you to be a superhero. They just want to ensure you’re in good health to safely operate a large aircraft.

Do You Need 20/20 Vision To Become An Airline Pilot?

Many aspiring pilots worry about their vision when considering how to become a pilot. The truth is, you don’t necessarily need perfect 20/20 vision.

According to the American Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the UK’s Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), the minimum vision requirement for a license is 20/40 in each eye, with or without correction. In simpler terms, you should be able to read an eye chart from 20 feet away, with the smallest line you can read equivalent to what someone with ‘normal’ vision can read from 40 feet away.

If you don’t have the required vision without glasses or contact lenses, don’t worry. Pilots can wear corrective devices. The key is to have eyesight that can be corrected, whether it’s through glasses or contacts.

In the commercial aviation world, the idea of needing perfect eyesight is often associated with the air force or military. In those situations, high G-force maneuvers and face oxygen masks require perfect vision without correctable devices.

For aspiring pilots concerned about vision issues, talking to an eye doctor or optician is a wise move to understand your options. With the right vision correction and determination, you can still achieve your dream of becoming a pilot.

If you have other eye concerns, like color blindness, it’s advisable to get your eyes tested and compare the results with the requirements on the FAA/CAA/EASA website.

What Educational Qualifications Do You Need To Become A Commercial Pilot?

When considering how to become a pilot, educational requirements might be a concern. Here’s what you need to know:

No College Degree Needed: You don’t need a college or university degree to become an airline pilot. While many start with a degree, it’s not a prerequisite for professional pilot training.

Degree Requirements (Rare): Some flight schools or airlines may ask for a degree, but this is increasingly rare in the industry. Most flight schools will require GCSEs in the UK or a high school diploma in America/Canada.

Verbal Reasoning Exam: As part of your assessment, you might need to take a verbal reasoning written exam, but this is not something to be afraid of.

Degree Advantage (Rare): While some major airlines may prefer candidates with a degree, it’s becoming less common. The current pilot shortage in America means that airlines are more focused on qualified flight crew than academic degrees.

Personal Experience: The author provides personal proof by starting pilot training immediately after finishing A levels at 18 years old (similar to finishing high school in America/Canada).

You Will Need To Be Able To Read, Write And Speak English Fluently To Meet The Required Eligibility

English Fluency: Proficiency in English is crucial. Aviation is an English-speaking industry, and you need to be fluent in both verbal and written English.

International Students: International students must achieve a certain level of English proficiency (usually IELTS level 5.5 or equivalent ICAO level 4) before starting training. It’s essential to check with the chosen flight school for specific requirements.

Should I Get A Private Pilots License (PPL) Before Pilot Training?

If you’re wondering about becoming a pilot and whether it’s worth obtaining a private pilot’s license (PPL) before starting your formal training, the answer is no. You don’t need a PPL or a student pilot certificate before enrolling in a flight school.

Flight schools might not consider the hours you spent with a PPL, also known as a student pilot certificate, in your formal flight training. This is because you may have learned techniques or methods that aren’t suitable for professional flight.

However, if you already have a PPL or logged some flight hours, you can inquire with your flight school to see if they’ll acknowledge and credit some of them. This could potentially reduce the overall cost of your training.

If you’re planning to follow the modular route for your training, obtaining a PPL isn’t a bad idea. Additionally, if you simply want to get your PPL for personal enjoyment before starting formal flight training, you’re encouraged to do so!

This aspect is crucial in your research on how to become a pilot, so be sure to ask your chosen training provider about these considerations.

How To Become A Pilot – Find The Best Flight Training School

In the pursuit of becoming a pilot, one of the crucial decisions is finding the best flight training organization (FTO) or flight school. This step is vital to meeting your specific needs.

Whether you’re looking into how to get a Private Pilot License in the UK, America, or Europe, finding the right FTO is essential. Some flight schools may not incorporate previously earned PPL hours into your formal training, but it’s worth checking with them.

For the highest chance of securing a job after your training, consider factors like reputation, success rates, and instructor quality. This video can guide you in finding the best flight school to meet your goals.

Remember, if you’re passionate about aviation, getting the right training is key to a successful and fulfilling career as a pilot.

Job Placement Success

When exploring how to become a pilot, especially a commercial pilot, choosing the right flight training organization (FTO) or flight school is a critical step. While factors like costs and location are important, the ultimate question is: What are your chances of getting a job after completing your training?

Contrary to the assumption that everyone with the necessary license has an equal chance of employment, this is not always the case. Some flight schools have special relationships with regional and major airlines, enhancing your prospects of securing an airline job. Additionally, airlines differ in their pass/success rates.

Remember, you’re investing not just in a qualification but in becoming an airline pilot with a job. For instance, if a flight school has trained 500 cadets in the last five years, and only ten have secured airline jobs, it might not be the best choice.

Partner/Affiliated Airlines – How To Become A Commercial Pilot

This step is crucial when aiming to become a commercial pilot. Look closely at your employment chances post-training by checking if the flight school has partner airlines. These are airlines associated with the flight school, indicating an agreement that the airline will directly employ newly qualified pilots from that specific school.

This arrangement streamlines the placement of graduates with partner airlines. Some flight training organizations have affiliations with major carriers like British Airways, EasyJet, and Ryanair in the UK, and regional airlines such as Spirit Airlines, Endeavor Air, and Skywest in America.

While some schools may lack partner airlines, they could still boast an impressive record of graduates finding employment relatively quickly due to the institution’s excellent reputation with airlines.

For aspiring American pilots, it’s crucial to ensure that the school offers opportunities to accumulate the required 1500 hours, potentially as a paid flight instructor.

Personally, I selected my flight training school because of its strong ties with partner airlines, a decision that facilitated my swift employment with easyJet after completing my training.

Emphasizing once again, this step is pivotal when navigating the path of how to become a pilot and, specifically, how to become a commercial pilot.

How To Find This Information Job Placement History Information

When considering how to become a pilot, it’s crucial to research flight training schools thoroughly. Look into the number of cadets graduating from the Flight Training Organization (FTO) each year and find out how many of them secure positions with airlines or general employment in America. Gathering statistics from the past five to ten years will provide a comprehensive overview, eliminating fluctuations in industry demand.

Investing time in this research is vital as choosing the right flight school is a significant life investment. Becoming a commercial airline pilot is a substantial expense and comes with various challenges, particularly during ground school exams and flight tests.

Payment Protection Insurance
Many flight training organizations offer payment protection, which may have different names in various FTOs. This coverage ensures that the flight school bears the cost of retakes, re-assessments, and other expenses associated with unforeseen challenges during the training. Considering the potential expenses of retakes, it’s valuable to know whether your chosen flight school provides this kind of protection.

Request As Much Information As Possible/Attend Open Days

One of the most effective ways to gather information on becoming a pilot is by attending open days at training schools. While this might require traveling for hours, open days offer invaluable insights into the training school’s operations. It allows direct communication with those running the school, providing an opportunity to inquire about their job placement history.

Even if the open day requires significant travel, it’s highly recommended for anyone serious about pilot training. Speaking directly to the cadets undergoing training is particularly beneficial. They can offer the most reliable and up-to-date information about the school, providing an essential source of knowledge.

How To Become A Commercial Pilot – Pick The Best Course

When exploring how to become a pilot, understanding the various flight training courses is crucial for selecting the best fit for your goals. Distinguishing between packages, courses, and routes is a key aspect of your research.

The Integrated Pilot Training – A ‘Complete Package’

When delving into how to become a pilot, especially a commercial pilot, selecting the right school and course is paramount. Faster training courses are typically pricier. In the UK and Europe, they’re often termed Integrated courses, while in the US and Canada, they’re known as accelerated training courses. Although these courses can be costly, they usually cover everything in a comprehensive ‘all in one’ package.

These integrated or accelerated training packages are among the most expensive options, often reaching around $90,000/£90,000/€90,000 or even closer to a hundred thousand when factoring in living costs during the 1-2 years of training. When opting for these packages, especially in the US, it’s crucial to ascertain if they include an instructor’s rating.

Your commitment to the training is a significant factor when considering how to become a pilot. While these integrated/accelerated courses are efficient, they demand intense dedication over an extended period. This might not be suitable for individuals with other life commitments, such as those with young families requiring care. Choosing this path often entails putting other aspects of life on hold and fully committing to the training, a crucial point to consider in your pilot journey.

How I Became A Pilot – The Integrated Scheme
This integrated route was the choice I made at 18, with no commitments and a strong desire to enter the airlines swiftly. Going from zero flying hours and no aviation qualifications to operating as a commercial pilot for EasyJet, one of Europe’s largest airlines, took under two years. The Flight Training Organization (FTO) I selected happened to be a partner with EasyJet, facilitating a smoother transition into the commercial aviation sector.

Modular Pilot Training – Pay As You Go

Breaking down your pilot training into smaller, more manageable segments is known as the modular scheme in the UK and Europe. This approach can be more cost-effective compared to integrated or accelerated schemes.

This method allows for a flexible progression. For example, you might complete your ground school exams, obtain your Private Pilot License (PPL), or its equivalent (as sometimes a basic PPL license isn’t granted during training in the UK), and take a break before proceeding with the rest of your training. Depending on your financial situation, you could continue working full-time to fund additional training, such as a Multi-Engine add-on and a Flight Instructor Certificate.

It’s crucial to be aware of the qualifications you’ll attain at each stage when opting for a modular training program. This route to the flight deck is highly variable and should be carefully considered when exploring how to become a pilot.

The MPL Pilot Training Route

A comprehensive guide on how to become a pilot must include the Multi-Crew Pilot Licence (MPL) route. This route, available in the UK and Europe due to the 1500-hour rule in the US, involves committing to an airline before starting training. The course is customized to the airline’s requirements and standards, ensuring a tailored approach.

Upon completing MPL training, you are typically employed by the airline you trained with, eliminating uncertainty about post-training employment. However, it’s crucial to consider the downsides.

The Downsides To The MPL

While the MPL route has its merits, there are drawbacks to consider. Unlike the standard Airline Transport Pilots License (ATPL) obtained after Integrated or Modular training, the MPL is airline-specific. In cases of financial downturns in the aviation industry, cadets halfway through MPL training might face uncertainties, as their licenses are tied to a specific airline.

If an airline is no longer recruiting, cadets may need to incur significant costs to transfer their license to a standard ATPL. Therefore, opting for the MPL program with financially stable airlines is crucial. Researching these points is an essential step when considering how to become a pilot through the MPL scheme.

Fully Sponsored/Paid For Pilot Training

Lots of people dream about becoming pilots, and one way to make that dream come true is by getting someone else to pay for your training. Some big airlines, like British Airways and Virgin, have programs that do just that. Quick note, though: these programs might not be open right now (as of May 2023).

Here’s the deal: in the UK and Europe, it’s more common for airlines to foot the bill for your training compared to the United States. The U.S. has a thing called the 1500-hour rule, making these programs less common there.

Good news, though! Even though these sponsored training programs have been rare recently, they’re making a comeback. Why? Because there aren’t enough pilots globally, and this shortage is felt more in the U.S. than in the UK and Europe.

A recent example is Tui’s MPL program. If you’re based in the UK or Europe, Tui could cover some of the costs of your training. The catch is, once you finish, you’re committed to working with Tui for several years. If you decide to leave before that time is up, you’ll have to pay a penalty.

Sure, you might start with a bit less pay to make up for the training costs, but many think it’s a good deal. This is especially true because interest rates on pilot loans are pretty high right now.

These programs are super popular and competitive. If you qualify, apply early and give it your best shot. Keep an eye out for similar opportunities in the future—they’re a fantastic way to make your pilot dreams a reality

Passing Pilot Assessments – How To Become A Pilot

selecting the right training academy and successfully passing the assessment day are pivotal steps.

In any comprehensive guide on how to become a commercial pilot, a thorough assessment day walkthrough is essential. Most flight training organizations or flight schools mandate this step before you can embark on your training.

The assessment day typically includes:

Maths Tests:

Multiple-choice questions covering various difficulty levels.
Given a pen and paper to make calculations, making it more manageable.

Aptitude Tests:

Assessing your natural abilities relevant to piloting.
Verbal Reasoning Test (less common):

Evaluating your language and communication skills.
Group Exercises:

Collaborative activities to assess teamwork and interpersonal skills.
Interview Process:

Exploring your motivations and qualities that make you a suitable candidate.
Additionally, you might be required to submit a CV and a summary explaining your desire to become a pilot and outlining your qualities.

For a deeper understanding of this crucial aspect of the “how to become a pilot” journey, continue reading.

Pilot Math Tests – Mental Math For Pilots

If you’re pondering how to become a pilot and whether you need to be a math whiz, our extensive guide clarifies why pilots undergo math testing and offers strategies to ace these tests during the selection day.

The math test typically involves one question per minute, all in a multiple-choice format. Questions vary in complexity, such as finding cube roots or solving measurement conversions.

You’ll be provided with a pen and paper on the day, easing the process of jotting down calculations. Typically, you can expect around 15 questions in 15 minutes.

If you’re seeking more insights on preparing for and acing these math assessments, delve into the full article. Successfully navigating these assessments is a foundational aspect of mastering how to become a pilot.

Pilot Group Exercises

When you want to join a cadet program, they often make you take aptitude tests. These tests check your skills. To prepare, look online for practice tests. Many websites help future pilots get ready for these tests. It’s a smart move when you’re trying to become a pilot.

These tests are usually on a computer. They check things like recognizing patterns, hand-eye coordination, and how well you can concentrate. Passing these tests is a must if you want to be a pilot.

Now, let’s talk about another important aspect:

group exercises.

We also have a guide on how to handle group exercises. As a pilot, you need to work well with others, especially during emergencies. Airlines want to see if you can be a good team player.

During your airline or flight school interview, they’ll test your teamwork, communication, and leadership skills. For example, they might put you in a group scenario. Imagine you’re stuck on the moon with limited resources like oxygen, tape, food, and an iPod. Your team has to decide the order of importance for these things.

If you want to know more about these group exercises, check out our detailed guide. Passing these tests is a crucial step in your journey to becoming a pilot.

How To Become A Pilot – Pass 14 Ground School Exams

People often wonder about the journey to becoming a pilot, especially when it comes to the interview process. We’ve put together a comprehensive guide on what to anticipate and how to successfully navigate your pilot interview.

During the interview, the focus is on evaluating the qualities that make you a suitable candidate to become an airline pilot, such as non-technical skills, ambition, and drive. Interviewers typically delve into your past experiences, asking about instances where you demonstrated specific skills like leadership, motivation, and teamwork.

Your communication skills are also under scrutiny during the interview. It’s crucial to maintain open body language and utilize eye contact to convey confidence. Here are some examples of questions you might encounter:

  • “How would your friends describe you in one word?”
  • “Apart from basic responsibilities, how can a flight crew member enhance the passengers’ overall experience?”
  • “Tell me about a situation where you demonstrated leadership.”
  • “Describe a setback you faced and how you overcame it.”
  • “Share an experience where you had to make a split-second decision.”
  • Preparation is key to success in your pilot interview. Be ready to provide examples that showcase your skills and abilities.

Navigating Ground School: A Crucial Step in Becoming a Pilot

Moving on to the next stage in our guide on how to become a pilot — ground school.

We’ve compiled a detailed guide on what to expect and how to excel in your 14 pilot ground school exams.

Many inquire about the secrets to passing ground school, which is often considered the most challenging phase of training. Regardless of your Flight Training Organization (FTO), ground school courses usually follow a similar structure.

This initial phase of training spans five to eight months in the integrated route, presenting a steep learning curve. It’s worth noting that maintaining a social life becomes a challenge during this period. Your dedication directly influences the outcomes, so the more effort you invest, the more you’ll gain.

Here’s an overview of the subjects covered in ground school:

  • General Navigation
  • Performance
  • Aircraft General Knowledge
  • Principles of Flight
  • Communication 1
  • Communication 2
  • Radio Navigation
  • Mass and Balance
  • Performance Operations
  • Flight Planning
  • Meteorology
  • Human Performance
  • Air Law

Conquering ground school requires commitment, and understanding these subjects thoroughly sets the foundation for a successful pilot career.

Basic Flying, Going Solo And Multi-Engine Training

This step is crucial, as it involves gaining the skills needed for your commercial pilot’s license on a plane with two propellers.

During this phase, you’ll do various types of flying, like basic maneuvers, navigating in the day and at night, and more. Most of this flying happens under Visual Flight Rules (VFR), where you rely on what you see outside, unlike later when you’ll learn Instrument Flight Rules (IFR).

At the beginning, you’ll have an instructor by your side until you’ve gathered enough flying hours to go solo. Once you achieve flying on your own, you get a student pilot certificate. Around 20 hours into flying, you’ll tackle more challenging routes. At some point, you’ll also earn your multi-engine rating, which allows you to fly planes with two engines.

Expect practical exams where you’ll showcase your flying skills, navigation abilities, and ability to follow specific patterns. Completing all of this gets you the certification needed for your Commercial License (CPL).

How To Become A Pilot – Instrument Rating

Now, we’re moving on to the next step in becoming a pilot – the Instrument Rating phase. This is a detailed guide on what to expect and how to pass your instrument rating.

Completing your Instrument Rating is a big deal. It adds to your Commercial Pilot’s License and is known as CPLIR. With an instrument rating, you can fly in conditions where you can’t rely on what you see outside. Instead, you’ll use your aircraft’s instruments to navigate and fly. This is crucial because most airline pilots do about 99% of their flying using instruments only. So, it’s a skill you definitely want in your pilot toolkit.

Feel free to let me know if there’s anything specific you’d like to add or modify!

Complete Your MCC/AQC Course

Let’s talk about what comes next in becoming a pilot – the Instrument Rating phase. We’ve got a detailed guide on how to handle and pass your AQC/MCC Course.

Now, before you can join an airline, you need something called an MCC (Multi-Crew Cooperation) Airline Qualification Certificate. But here’s the thing, your flight training school might not cover this AQC course. You might have to go to another school to finish up this part of your pilot training.

This part is exciting because it’s your first time teaming up with another pilot. You’ll be flying a plane with two people in the cockpit. It’s super important to follow the rules (we call them SOPs or Standard Operating Procedures) to keep everything consistent. It helps both pilots know exactly what’s going on.

Why is this so crucial? Well, imagine working in the cockpit with someone who doesn’t speak English as their first language. Following the procedures and using standard language is a must so everyone can understand each other.

The Chance Of Getting A Pilot Job After Flight Training

Alright, you’re almost at the finish line. You’ve done your training, and now it’s time to land a job with an airline. We’ve got a guide that covers all the details on getting a pilot job after your training.

Here’s the deal – your chances of getting a job depend a lot on what’s happening in the airline industry right now. Good news is, there’s a shortage of pilots worldwide. That means airlines are really looking for folks like you.

Especially in North America, there’s a high demand for pilots, and you might find a job pretty quickly. Just a heads up, if you’re in America, you’ll need to rack up 1500 flight hours before an airline will hire you.

Once you’re in, you’ll probably need to do something called a Type Rating. It’s like a special license to fly a certain kind of plane. Big airlines need their pilots to have these Type Ratings. For example, if you’re licensed to fly an Airbus A320, you’ll need another Type Rating to fly a different plane, like a Boeing 787.

Getting that Type Rating is a big step in your journey on how to become a pilot.

Pilot Career Progression

In your journey to become a pilot, understanding the progression in your career is vital. Pilots typically follow a specific hierarchy:

Second Officer (SO):

The entry-level rank for those joining an airline with minimal experience.
Some airlines still use this rank until the pilot gains enough flight hours.
Promotion occurs based on experience.
First Officer (FO):

Given to most flight crew who are not captains.
Experience levels can vary widely, and first officers usually occupy the right-hand seat.
Senior First Officer (SFO):

Similar role as a first officer:

Promotion to SFO comes with increased experience within the company, often accompanied by a significant pay raise.


The commander in charge of the aircraft, seated in the left-hand seat.
Captains are typically well-compensated for their leadership role.
Training Captain:

Specially trained to conduct pilot training.
Involved in training new pilots or providing the necessary guidance for first officers to become captains.

The Career Outlook For Commercial Pilots – The Huge USA Pilot Shortage

Understanding the career outlook is crucial in your research on becoming a pilot. Currently, there is a substantial shortage of qualified pilots compared to the demand. This shortage has led to improvements in salaries, signing bonuses, and overall contract terms. For instance, Delta Airlines recently granted its flight crew a substantial 34% pay raise over the next three years.

Learn more about the pilot shortage and its implications for the aviation industry.

How Hard Is It To Become A Pilot?

Answering the question of difficulty is pivotal when considering a career in aviation.

Becoming a commercial airline pilot is no easy feat. The training course demands commitment and dedication for at least 18 months (on an integrated course; potentially longer for a modular course). Success requires intensive study, hard work, and a full application of oneself. Additionally, aspiring pilots should be prepared to invest between $60,000 and $100,000 in their training.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s)

First, finish high school and make sure you’re at least 17 years old. Next, find a good flight school that airlines really like. It might cost you around $50,000, but that’s the norm. The training usually takes 18 to 24 months. After you finish, start looking for a job as a commercial pilot.

You’ll need to be at least 17 years old, but keep in mind that most flight schools will ask for you to be 18 years old. You should have finished high school or have the essential educational qualifications. It’s important to get a Class 1 Medical Certificate. You’ll need at least $50,000 (or £50,000) to cover the costs of your pilot training. Be prepared to fully dedicate yourself to your training.

You don’t need a college degree to become a pilot. However, you must have finished high school with the necessary qualifications. To get into flight training school, you need to pass a pilot selection process, which evaluates skills like communication, teamwork, and leadership. Having good hand-eye coordination is also important.

Discovering a flight school highly regarded by airlines is essential. Pick a pilot training program that suits you best. Secure a Class 1 Medical Certificate. Successfully finish your pilot training to earn a Commercial Pilot’s License. Accumulate the required flight hours (1500 in America/Canada) to qualify for airline applications.

Give flying a test run by taking a trial flight at a nearby flying school to make sure it’s something you enjoy. Make sure you’re aware of the expenses involved in becoming a pilot and ensure you’re financially ready for the cost, which is typically around $50,000/£50,000 at a minimum.
Choose a flight school with a solid reputation, especially one recognized by airlines for providing excellent pilot training.

If you’re aiming to become a commercial pilot, be prepared to invest a minimum of $60,000 or £60,000. On the other hand, if you’re pursuing a private pilot license for recreational flying, the cost is generally lower, typically less than $20,000 or £18,000.


You now have a clear roadmap on becoming a pilot. This comprehensive guide covered every step in detail, aiming to make the process understandable. I hope you found it helpful. If there’s anything I missed in this guide, please reach out.Becoming a pilot is a highly rewarding career with a unique progression compared to other fields. Thank you for reading this guide on how to become a pilot.

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