How to become a Pilot
3 March 2020
The first step is to pass Matric with Mathematics and Physical Science, with a level 5 (60% - 69%) or higher. Then you will be required to pass a Class 1 medical from an aviation medical examiner, enrol at a training school and commence with a Student Pilots Licence.
The Student Pilot's Licence requires Air Law and Aircraft Technical. The Private Pilot's Licence (PPL) requires Radio licence exams and seven exams comprising of: Aviation Meteorology; Flight Performance and Planning; General Navigation; Aircraft General; Principles of Flight (Aerodynamics); Human Performance and Limitations; Air Law; and to complete, a practical flight test. Finally, completing a Private Pilot's Licence requires approximately 45 - 50 hours flying training. A Commercial Pilot's Licence (CPL) training involves the following advanced exams: Theoretical and oral radio licence exams; Aviation Meteorology; Flight Performance and Planning; Radio Aids and Communication; General Navigation; Instruments and Electronics; Aircraft Technical and General; Human Performance and Limitations; and Air Law.
The pass mark for examinations is 75%, following which, you will need to complete a practical flight test and undertake 200 - 220 flying hours.
Being a commercial airline pilot is considered a top job. Airline pilots earn premium salaries in recognition that they assume levels of responsibility for the lives of their passengers and fellow crew that is well above the corporate norm. At South African Airways, first-year salaries are R900,000 a year and rises over time to match those of C-suite corporate executives.
It is, therefore, surprising that there is a worldwide shortage of pilots - there is a global requirement for about 31,000 new pilots annually.