How to become a Commercial pilot
Let’s start with the good news.
The global demand for new Commercial pilots are gonna be high to keep pace with the fleet growth among international airlines. Boeing is forecasting that 617.000 Commercial pilots are needed in the period 2016–2036. Boeing estimates 104.000 of these vacancies will be in Europe.
So now is a good time to start your education as a commercial pilot.
The job as an airline pilot has evolved through the years. A career as an airline pilot will be very rewarding, financially and in terms of job satisfaction. Having your office in the sky is a truly amazing experience and a fantastic achievement. But to get that far, will however require a lot of hard work and discipline from the very first day you start your education until you have reached your goal : Flying as a Co-pilot in a modern jet airliner. These days it will also take a lot of money to get your professional license. And as a newly educated and qualified commercial pilot, there is no guarantee you will be joining a major carrier immediately. Competition is fierce. Nevertheless, one way or the other, one day most pilots end up working for a major carrier.
Where do I start and what to expect ?
Here are 5 things you can start with :
- Get an EASA Medical Class.
- Introduction flight — take a trial lesson.
- Find your flying school.
- Funding and financing.
- Start your training course.
1. Get an EASA Medical Class 1.
First of all, to fly professionally you will need to hold a medical certificate — EASA Class 1. So before pouring a lot of time and money into your research, start by taking a Class 1 Medical. You can find an approved AME (Aeronautical Medical Examiner) by searching online. He will be able to help you. Still not sure you have what it takes ?
2. Introduction flight — take a trial lesson.
Is flying something for you ? Before embarking on an expensive training journey, go to your local flying school and take an introduction flight with an flight instructor. You can also click here and fill out our FREE form and we will get in contact with you and help you finding a flight school near you.
This way you will find out if flying really is something for you. Personally, I booked 2 hours with an flight instructor at my local flying school, to find out if I liked flying or not. We did various exercises. Climb, descends, steep turns, touch and go. And I was hooked!
3. Find your flying school.
Well. You are in the right place. At learn-to-fly.eu we have many flight schools listed. We try to give you an overview of what training courses are available, with price transparency. You can also search within our listed schools depending on your preferences. For example, you might be interested in flying somewhere in the sun, or always have had a dream about flying in the USA. Finally, we try to give you information on what career options you have after your training.
When you have narrowed down your search, then visit the schools. Go to an information day. It will give you a better feel for the learning environment at the school. Take their aptitude test for the schools you are considering. Many schools are as well offering to reimburse your travel costs, if you travel to visit their school. (Provided you select a course at their school, of course.)
Also make sure you understand what is in included in the training course and what is not. At learn-to-fly.eu, you will find a summary in the description for each training course, of what is included and what is not included. This way you will get an realistic overview of what additional costs are expected during your training.
If you know other in the business, ask for their advice. When you visit the schools, try and talk to other students. From this you will likely gain some valuable impressions as well as answering questions you may have about the process and what to expect.
Also try and use social media to gather information and ask for advice. But be critical and remember to use all your information in deciding which school and training course is most suitable for your needs.
4. Funding and financing.
It is time to find the money for your dream career. The biggest obstacle.
To take an Airline Transport Pilot License will set you back 65.000–120.000 EUR. And that is just for the license. Add on top your living expenses and other expenses for a period of 2 years and your bill will be much higher.
Some airlines are now offering financed training for a set number of candidates. You will then repay your debt through your salary once you begin working for the airline.
If you are self-financing your course, many schools are offering assistance and will assist you in securing your funding under a set terms and conditions. They often have a bank branch partner with a contact person who will help you and who understands your needs.
On learn-to-fly.eu you will find information about whether the listed schools are offering funding or not. Use our contact form and we will try and help you in your funding having an training advisor contact you. Our service is FREE.
Do you research with the flying school you have signed up with — do they have a payment protection scheme ? Understand what you are signing and committing to.
An increasingly popular way to secure funding is by lending the money from your parents or have your parents guarantee the loan from the bank through their home-equity. Think this through carefully, as it is a big commitment. (But probably the easiest option)
5. Start your training course.
Assuming you have no flying experience at all, you will probably choose an ‘integrated’ course which is known in the industry as ab initio training program. This is a full time course of flying and ground training run by an Approved Training Organisation (otherwise known as a flying school!).
Another option, popular with those who already have some flying experience, or are unable to immediately give up their existing jobs, is a ‘modular’ course. This allows students to stagger training by completing individual modules of training over a period of time. This has the advantage of allowing the trainee to remain in paid employment, but does, of course, take longer to complete than an integrated course.
Either way, you will soon find yourself in a torrent of flight training (a light aircraft only at this stage), simulator exercises, and class-based study. It will take a lot of hard work and dedication during your training. You will eventually clear the first major hurdle by acquiring the essential multi-engine and the Commercial Pilot Licence (CPL) will follow.
Flight training is hard work, but also so much fun. A whole new exciting world is opening up and you will enjoy every minute. You are gonna be challenged during your training and work in an exciting dynamic environment. Combined with flying abroad, this can without doubt be the best time of your life. It was for me …. !
Good luck with your flight training.
We hope this little introduction has helped you. Use our FREE service and we will get you in touch with an training advisor who can help you in answering your questions.