Up Up and Away- How To Become A Pilot


Becoming a pilot is the dream many of us have had since childhood. However, can a job as glamorous and exciting as aviation, really be as accessible as any other job? We take a look at the requirements of becoming a commercial or airline pilot.

Consider Your Goals

Before even thinking about the ins and outs involved in becoming a pilot, you must first understand if this is something that is really for you. To learn to fly is a highly demanding and competitive field that takes a huge amount of dedication, focus and commitment and one that will demand some sacrifices along the way. So before you really begin to look into the details of becoming a pilot firstly research the kind of lifestyle involved in becoming a pilot and weigh up whether this seems like a way of life that you would really relish and enjoy.

Flight School

So if you’ve looked into the reasons for wanting to become a pilot and what the process demands and you’re still feeling that this is definitely what you want to do, then the next stage will be to look at a flight school. Most aspiring pilots begin the process with flying classes at their local airport. Most airports provide flight schools and the most common flight course is called a ‘Part 61 flight school’ which is often the least expensive option and the instructors can create the flight programme that best suits their experience and preferences, so these options can be reasonably flexible.

The other option is a ‘Part 141’ which is a much more regulated programme and is also usually more expensive. Part 141 adheres to a very rigorous and strict training that has been approved by the FAA.

With both of these flight schools, student pilots can get the necessary certificates and qualifications to become a commercial pilot, but they will then need to go on to get some additional experience before they can become an airline pilot.

College, University or Aviation Academy

There is also the option to go to a specific college, university or aviation academy. The benefits of attending a college or university is that alongside learning to fly, students can also learn a degree in another subject within the four years that it takes to graduate from the flight course. Attending a college or university can be one of the more costly options but with all the additional teaching that accompanies the practical flight training, it is a very well rounded learning experience.

An Aviation Academy is the most expensive option of all as it is the most intensive flight training course of all of the above. Students can graduate from an aviation academy after two years as the coursework is highly focused and condensed and the airline training is incredible fast-paced. As with all the other flight schools, students upon graduating from aviation academy, will then need to go on and gain flight experience to become an airline pilot later on down the road.

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