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Advice on becoming a pilot

Many young people dream of being a pilot and there is fierce competition for airline pilot jobs. It is extremely expensive and requires a lot of study to become a pilot, so it is important to be sure it is what you want to do as a career.

Flying hours

PPL
There are many different routes into a career as a pilot, depending on what sort of flying you ideally want to do. Many would-be pilots begin by joining a local flying club and obtaining their Private Pilot’s Licence (PPL), something which will show potential employers they are serious about flying as a career.
CPL
If you want to become an airline pilot, you will then need to obtain a Commercial Pilot’s Licence (CPL), something which takes time and a lot of money, unless you are lucky enough to be sponsored by an airline. Airlines regularly have recruitment drives, where a lucky few will be chosen to be sponsored to go to flight training school and hopefully get job at the end of it. Important factors
Age is a big factor, however, with most airlines only accepting students under the age of 26 to train. Fitness is also an important factor and if you want to enter airline pilot training, you need medical certification in the form of a Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) Class 1 medical test. You will also need to have two A-Levels or equivalent and there is a preference for maths and physics, although this is not compulsory. Before applying, it is important to have evidence of a true passion for aviation, such as a PPL, or membership of a local Air Training Corps.

Commercial pilot

If you are lucky enough to gain a place at pilot school, you will start training for a Frozen Airline Transport Pilot’s Licence (fATPL).
Requirements - This involves 750 hours of study and instruction and 150 hours flying a light aircraft. - The first stage of training usually takes just over a year and will lead to gaining a CPL and Instrument Rating (IR). - There is then more training in team working and commercial aircraft which leads to a Multi-Crew Operation Certificate. Once you have this, you can apply for a job with an airline that will pay for Type-Rating training. Alternatives
If you are unsuccessful and already have your PPL, you can build up flying hours and gain a qualification as an assistant flying instructor. This means you can gain enough experience to apply directly to an airline for the necessary training program. Some students also apply to a CAA registered airline training school. Other pilot career options include being a flying instructor, private pilot jobs or applying to the armed forces.

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