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Pursue a Career as a Commercial Pilot

  • Publish Date: Posted over 2 years ago
  • Author:by Resource Group

 Are you are looking to become a pilot and have a long successful career with great opportunities and to meet people all over the world, but always wondered how?

A career as a pilot often pays well and comes with various benefits including, reduced airline tickets and hotel stays but, this varies from airline to airline.

If being a pilot is the career of your choice, it will be very costly and requires a lot of self-funded private training before you can look at applying for a pilot job.

What are the different types of pilots?

There are two primary types of aircraft, these are fixed-wing (pilot) and rotary wing (helicopter). Also, there are three different flying groups: private, commercial, and military.

Private pilots – these usually include Cessna and Piper planes and are 2-4 seaters. You tend to see these planes flying much lower in the sky compared to cargo planes. Private pilots fly at their leisure. 

Commercial pilots – requires additional training compared to private pilots, and also a minimum of 200 hours qualifying flight experience, meaning they will qualify for a Commercial Pilots License (CPL). If they hold this license, they can fly planes for all different airline companies allowing passengers to travel around the world and transport cargo and are allowed to receive money to do so. 

Military pilots – follow a separate path to private and commercial pilots. They are required to take a different type of training which enables them to control/manage aircrafts in the armed forces. To become a military pilot, you must join the RAF, Royal Navy, British Army, and Air cadets air squadron.

Commercial Pilot

To become an airline Commercial Pilot, you need to gain your ATPL exam qualifications, which are achieved through an aviation academy or flight school. With the ATPL exams passed, plus Commercial Pilots licence and Instrument Rating training you will hold what is known as Frozen ATPL (or fATPL) you can apply for first Officer jobs working beside a captain.

To become a captain, you must have a minimum of 1500 hours of flight time behind you and meet a specific standard, this ‘unfreezes your fATPL to allow you to carry out the role as Captain). The role of a Captain comes with a much higher salary but a significant increase of responsibility.

Skillset needed for training to be a Pilot:

Personal attributes: you must have a great interest, desire, and enthusiasm for flight, technical ability, able to deal with demand and structural thought.

Secondary education grades: You must show qualifications for GCSE grades A-C in Maths, English, and Science.

Medical certificate: You must hold an official Medical Certificate (Class 1 for Commercial Pilots, and Class 2 for Private Pilots). To show proof, you have passed your eyesight, hearing, coordination, and general health test which you need throughout your pilot career.

Age and correct qualifications: You are entitled to apply for the training at 17 years old however you must be 18 to start the training. You need to meet the requirements to live in the country the training occurs in.

Assessment: You will be required to carry out various tests that includes; Computer-based aptitude testing, personality questions, teamwork exercises, and competency-based interview questions that allow the interviewee to find out whether you will succeed as a pilot and this is a suitable career path for you.

Different Paths to take to achieve your career as a pilot

There are two routes you can take to become a pilot. Whether you decide to study at a university (which isn’t vital) or, if you are sure you would like to have a career as a commercial pilot then, it would be beneficial for you to start your private training and would be more cost-effective in the long run.

However, if you are not 100% sure, you can study Private Pilot’s license at university, this will not give you the full qualification, and additional training and studying are required. In addition, to be accepted for a university, you will be expected to have A-Levels or similar.

How to gain your fATPL Licence:

There are 3 different ways you can achieve your fATPL training these include:

Integrated Training

Modular and integrated training are not similar, but they can still achieve the same result. Integrated training is where you will start the training right from the beginning and, modular training is where you should have PPL already and work for 150 hours prior to training.

Unfortunately, like everything, the private training is costly and varies between £80,000-£90,000 and added extras.

The integrated course runs on average, for 18 months and includes a mixture of theory teaching and practical flying time. This course is strongly advised if you are looking to start with an airline and even though you may have zero flying time, you are more likely to be accepted from taking this course.

Modular Training

You can train/study Modular training alongside you working, but the downside is that there is no set time limit where the course needs completing by. You are also unable to begin your commercial pilot training until you have met the entry criteria, which includes having your PPL and completing 150 hours of flying.

Multi-Crew Pilot Licence

This type of license can stop pilots from being able to work for certain airlines and aircraft. This route isn't advisable unless you know you have a job opportunity at the end of your training.

Registered training providers

Civil Aviation Authority:

University courses:
  • Private Pilot Licence (PPL)

  • Private Pilot Licence and ground instruction theory (ATPL)

Frozen ATPL goes hand in hand with the Private Aviation Training Schools providing the whole knowledge and practice you need.

There will be numerous written exams that you have to sit/pass to gain your commercial pilot licence, these include:

  • Air law

  • Aircraft general knowledge: airframe/systems/powerplant

  • Aircraft general knowledge: instrumentation

  • Mass and balance

  • Performance

  • Flight planning and monitoring

  • Human performance

  • Meteorology

  • General navigation

  • Radio navigation

  • Operational procedures

  • Principles of flight

  • Communications: visual flight rules (VFR) and instrument flight rules (IFR) 

  • KSA – Knowledge, Skills, and Attitudes 

Overall Becoming a pilot has many pros and very few cons but, it is a great career choice. If this is the career you would like to pursue, please consider the study route and how quickly you would like to become a pilot.

When you have passed your qualifications, we could help you find your first job, therefore don’t forget to keep an eye on our website to see all the jobs we are recruiting for.