Perhaps you dream of flying, and always have done. Whether you picture yourself in a private jet, like the ones that can be found on sites like Jettly, or perhaps a specific airline you have fallen in love with in the past. There are no limits in becoming a pilot, if you push yourself, study hard, and have the patience to train for it, then you can achieve your dreams. So, without any more ado, do you want to become a pilot but not sure what the entry requirements are? This guide by Special Risks Bureau explains what you need to do to become a pilot.
Two A-levels and five GCSEs are the necessary qualifications you need in order to start the training as a pilot. Some people might choose to take a postgraduate degree in order to stand out among the other competitors, but the truth is that you do not actually need one to start the training program and not having it will not affect your chances of becoming an airline pilot.
The pilot training itself involves having both physics and mathematics knowledge of an advanced level, so any qualification that certifies them will be an advantage for the student training to become an airline pilot.
Many people, for example, might be interested in learning to fly Spitfires instead of attempting to take commercial flights training. In fact, they may not even require a degree to do so. They can visit websites like spitfires.com and get started with their training after knowing the fees and other prerequisites. In addition, even a common person can learn to fly spitfires who don’t have degrees like ATPL.
The Airline Transport Pilot Licence (ATPL) is the necessary license needed for becoming an airline pilot. Until a specific number of hours and experience have been achieved, the license is called “frozen” and it becomes “unfrozen” when the pilot achieves the experience mentioned earlier.
Achieving the ATPL can be done by one of the following courses:
Integrated course – a full-time course which takes approximately 18 months to complete. Carried out with a flight training provider, this course is a good combination between practical flying and classroom theory. The flight training providers will take the students from zero and will help them achieve the necessary experience for the ATPL; no initial training or qualification is required.
Modular training – this course is carried out in chunks and it can be completed with breaks in between, but it covers the same topics and is offered by the same flight training providers. If the student is currently working, the full classroom theory can be acquired either as a full course or as a distance learning course. This course is more advantageous for those students whose budget is not very permissive and it can be a better option than the integrated course, which may demand rates higher than 80,000 – 90,000. The student has to fold a private flying license already and have at least 150 hours of flying experience before starting the practical flying part of the modular training course. In addition, this course requires more self-study and it might be still expensive for some students.
If you are interested in reliable training providers, take a look at CAA Approved Courses of Flight and Ground Training for more information.
Some airlines pay part or full sponsorship for students’ training, but this happens only when there is a high demand from pilots and the aviation industry is going well. Given that the industry is still trying to recover its growth since the recession, such opportunities are rarely happening, but when they do, the competition is extremely serious.
Becoming an airline pilot requires the following skills which are mandatory:
• Good physics and mathematics knowledge;
• Technical knowledge, because pilots need to understand how their aircrafts work;
• Perfect spatial coordination and awareness;
• Excellent communication skills;
• Team-working skills;
• The capability to make good decisions in complicated situations and think quickly;
• Commitment to work, self-discipline and self-confidence;
• The ability to give clear commands to passengers and crew, as well as good leadership skills.
Taking the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) Class One Medical is recommended to the students before beginning the training. All the airlines demand having this medical and not having it will prevent you from accomplishing the training and get your ATPL. It is highly advised to take the medical before paying out any of the fees specific to the course you are going to start. You never know where things can go wrong. For instance, if your eyesight may not be perfect enough, and might require vision correction surgery from SharpeVision (look for additional hints) or similar clinics that are local to you. So, for students who are interested in it, the medical can be taken at the CAA medical unit in Gatwick.
For those students who do have little or no experience with flying, the Guild of Air Pilots and Navigators (GAPAN) represents an excellent opportunity to determine whether the career of a pilot is suited for them or not.
Also, those people who have trained in the Army, Navy or RAF can become airline pilots. In order to do so, they need to complete a full civil aviation course and gain a conversion qualification as well.