How to become a Pilot in South Africa

How to become a Pilot in South Africa

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How to become a Pilot in South Africa – Do you want to fly Airplanes? Ask yourself; what do you want to do when flying? Just have a Pilot licence to fly around with, maybe take a friend or two along with your own airplane or a rented airplane?

If this is what you want to do, then you need a PPL (Private Pilot Licence)
Do you want to earn money with your Flying? Then you need a CPL (Commercial Pilot Licence)
Do you want to fly the big boys, the Airliners? Then you will need an ATPL (Airline Transport Pilot Licence)

Also Read THE AVIATION ALPHABET (The Phonetic Alphabet)


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What is a PPL?

This is a globally recognised pilot’s license that enables you to fly an aircraft for pleasure or business, with friends or family. You may however not fly at night or for remuneration. You would share the same air spaces as all the airliners and other aviators, with all the same responsibilities.

What is a night rating?

This is an additional course that works hand in hand with your PPL. Air law states that 15 minutes before sunrise and 15 minutes after sunset you may fly with your PPL.  A night rating enables you to fly at any time, day or night. This course gives a very basic idea of instrument flying and the dangers of flying with insufficient visual reference to the ground or horizon.


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What is a commercial licence?

This is a pilot licence that enables you to fly for remuneration. You would have completed your full instrument rating which would enable you to fly the aircraft with reference to the instruments only. By now you would also have done your multi engine rating. Although you can do a single-engine commercial licence, we recommend the multi-engine rating, as most charter and airline aircraft are multi-engine aircraft.

Time to complete your training:

PPL full time    – approx 12 to 16 weeks

PPL part time   – approx 6 to 9 months

Commercial full time – approx 15 to 18 months

Commercial part time – approx 24 to 30 months

These times are given as an idea of what we have experienced throughout the years we have been involved in flight training. We have had many students that complete the training in a shorter period of time, so it ultimately depends on the student. All training is done on a “one-on-one” basis so the pace and program is flexible and will be set out by you and your instructor.

Now, the Cost +/- R110k for all the Training requirements + R10k for additions such Medical, examination fees, insurance, issuing the PPL licence and more.

*please note this is only estimate as on December 2017 prices.
Do not let the cost scare you away! With planning and determination, anything is possible. We suggest contacting your local flight school. If you are in Gauteng we recommend contacting EAGLE AIR (PTY) Ltd at Office 012 543 1929, Email: info@eagleair.co.za, web: www.eagleair.co.za or Facebook: Eagle Air (Pty) Ltd.

Okay, now you have your PPL and you want to do more… Go for a Night Rating with Eagle Air

*Night Rating enables the pilot to operate an aircraft at night – optional for PPL, but required for CPL

The estimated cost for this is R24k

Hereafter, you want to start making flying your full-time career. You will need your Commercial Pilots Licence (CPL) The cost for your CPL is an estimated

R 390 642.00 (SUMMARY FOR This is from Zero flying hours to CPL WITH A SINGLE ENGINE AIRCRAFT)

R 438 067.00 (SUMMARY FOR This is from Zero flying hours to CPL WITH MULTI ENGINE AIRCRAFT)

**This prices is based on December 2017 EAGLE AIR training program which is also in line with SACAA minimum requirements to obtain the desired licence. Meaning the price can increase depending on student performance, aptitude and dedication.

Now that you have your CPL, Eagle Air can help you get your ATPL, the costing and training requirements is calculated per individuals needs and this is not specified in this article, please contact Eagle Air or your local flight school for more information.


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Why do Aviation Central recommend Eagle Air?

TR Eagle Air (Pty) Ltd has been in operation as an elite flight school for more than 10 years and has as such been registered as an Aircraft Training Organization with the South African Civil Aviation Authority.

Eagle Air is situated at Wonderboom National Airport, Pretoria South Africa. We have a fully functional Air Traffic Control Tower, with a ground frequency so students are exposed to radio work from the start and this creates confident and polished pilots.  Our pledge to all our clients is to provide safe, efficient and cost effective flight training.

The training area designated to our airport is only five minutes of flight time from take-off.  This means no wasted time and money whilst flying to remote training areas, as is often the case.

Eagle Air uses the most reputable maintenance organisation on the airport. Safety is our main concern!  The maintenance facility exposes pilots to the mechanical aspects of aircraft maintenance thus enhancing their total understanding of aviation.

Eagle Air is a flight school devoted to producing pilots that are “marketable” in the aviation industry. We have a “train to instruct” package available whereby successful candidates, after completion of their training, can be employed as flight instructors at Eagle Air.

Eagle Air’s application for a licence charter division (Part 135) that exposes pilots to the real aviation ‘day to day’ flying world is pending.  Our application for a charter licence includes medical evacuations (Part 138).  The application should be finalized within a number of months.  The latter would also enhance our pilots opportunities for successful employment.

Eagle Air have a wide range of aircraft available for training, advanced training and type ratings.  Eagle Air’s Operational Specifications enables us to provide training on aircraft ranging from Single Engine Piston, Complex Single Engine Piston, Piston Twins and Jet (Twin Turbine).

Eagle Air provide the following training…

Fixed wing:  PPL Training, CPL Training, ATPL Training, Instructors rating, Night rating, Instrument rating and Jet ratings.

Rotary:  PPL training, CPL training, Instructor ratings.

Eagle air also has the following Aircraft for Single prop to Buz Jet!

Fixed wing fleet: 

6 x Cessna 172

5 x Cherokee 180

1 x Piper Arrow II

1 x Piper Arrow III

3 x Seneca II

1 x Cessna 402

1 x Cessna 210

1 x Barron 55

1 x Cessna Citation 500 Jet

 Rotary Fleet:

4 x Robinson 22

4 x Robinson 44

2 x Squirrels

1 x Augusta 109


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You got your CPL and want to build more hours, this is the part that takes long and can cost the most, keep this options in mind.

Fly scenic tours

Many visitors to South Africa and also local guys want to see landmarks and game views from the sky.

Fly photographers

Aerial photography flying is also an option as photographers need to get photographs of properties, buildings and other landmarks. This is normally slower and lower altitude

Banner Towing

Although not as exciting and looks boring, towing banners is a though job does require a lot of skill. An advantage is the location is often over Sport events, beaches and other public events

Share flight time

If you have a friend that is also hour building, share hours where legally possible and this reducing your cost by sharing the cost per flight. This also allows for skill sharing.

Become a flight instructor

A job guaranteed to make you a better pilot is that of flight instruction, analysing your student’s flying will enhance your own skills and you will achieve the required hours quickly. These hours also look good in your logbook when applying for that airline job on which you have your eye. An experienced flight instructor has an extra trump card; airlines need training staff and, in the event of a medical issue you have something to fall back on as you can be utilized in simulator training.

Do Skydiving flights

This can be very exciting work quick turnaround on busy days between jumps and safety of skydivers is a MUST

Do some crop Spraying

An agricultural pilot or crop duster usually requires a few more flying hours than the other jobs previously mentioned because of the fact that it requires low slow flying. This is also only a seasonal job.

Work at an airport

Another way to get flight time is to actually pay for flying time. When you work at an airport you might get a discounted rate on your flight rental time, which will allow flying at a much-discounted rate.

Do whatever it takes to get your flight time in and get that sought-after job at the airline on which you have set your sites!

To see one man’s success story, Click here

If you do have a unique Flight training experience please share with us, send your story to us to admin@aviationcentral.co.za


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