“Ladies and gentlemen, from the flight deck this is your First Officer/Captain Dube. We’d like to welcome you on board flight UH13 from Neverland to Tomorrowland. We have been cleared for push back and taxi and expect to be third in line for takeoff” that is the smooth reassuring voice from the airliner’s intercom reaching out to every passenger on the airliner. That voice and another voice belong to the guys who will be in charge of your safe and comfortable flight to your destination. They are responsible for every life on board that airliner, the airliner itself, cargo in the hold and the safety of other airliners they come into contact with for the duration of the journey.
For these privileged people to be where they are they had to go through some very tough training and challenging financial situations. Those people are your PILOTS and today I will talk about the road to becoming one, requirements and costs and challenges. People always ask me what do I need to be a pilot? First you need to know that there are different types of pilots and each comes with its own training needs. There are helicopter pilots, sports and recreational pilots, glider pilots, private pilots, military aircraft pilots, commercial and airline transport pilots.
For all of these except recreational and sports pilots you need to do a full physical medical check from an approved medical doctor that you will present to your flight school. Be 16 years old to do a solo and 17 years to receive your pilot certificate. Read, speak and understand English. Depending on flight school you normally have to attend ground school training that you have to pass. The final test is taken online and your school will set that up for you.
You will have to pass these 9 subjects Navigation, Air Law, Meteorology, Human performance and limitations, Communications, Principles of flight, Operational procedures, Aircraft general knowledge and Flight planning and performance. You pass these you get your student pilot license and you on your way. You get to do your first solo after 10 instructor led hours and according to the school system you then start mixing it up doing cross country flying, mixing with general traffic and even taking off from a commercial airport. You will be flying single engine propeller planes only. To cut costs most airlines now issue a private pilot license (PPL). At this stage you cannot fly commercial, you can be hired by individuals and fly them around to gain your hours. For a pilot the more hours you get the more qualified you become, of course you will be taking exams along the way. I will talk more about them in my next blog on pilot training. For ground school you are looking at a tab of +-US$1200 depending on the school and between US$10 000 to 15 000 for a complete PPL covering a minimum 40 hours using a single propeller engine plane like this one below.
You will also need to buy most of the material to use yourself as some schools do not provide. You need to buy aviation headsets, your log book, charts, fuel tester , operating handbook and emergency kit. Depending on where you shop you are looking at a price tab of +- US$1000
From here on you can now proceed to CPL, commercial pilot license till you get your airline transport pilot license and you can now fly for airlines such as Emirates, Lufthansa etc. For your CPL you are looking at between US$40 000 to 60 000 and much more for the ATPL. Fear not though because there are many ways, ways that will take you to places you would never imagine to go round these high costs of training which I will get into on my next pilot training blog. Hint – Do you know about bush flying?
Hope you are enjoying the flight, till next time thank you.
AviaConnect (M B Dube)