Flight School Requirements In South Africa

In South Africa there are currently no compulsory subject requirements, or minimum mark requirements to start training as a pilot. It is, however, strongly recommended that you do maths, science, English and geography at the highest possible level, as these will definitely help with the theoretical exams. Do take into consideration, if you intend applying for a bursary or private funding, to check the minimum application requirements, as you can be sure they will require top marks in the previously mentioned subjects. If you did not attend an English medium school, or you are from a country outside of South Africa, you will need to prove your ability to speak and comprehend English by undergoing an English proficiency test, and obtaining a minimum of level 4. Your school will advise you on how to do this test.

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Choosing a flight school

Careful thought must be given when choosing a flight school – you will be spending a lot of money, so making a bad choice will end up costing you even more. Try to speak to other student pilots and get their recommendations. While it may be tempting to go for the cheapest quote, there are far more important considerations:

  • Location – will you spend a lot traveling to and from the school?
  • Did you feel like a VIP when you visited the school? There should not be a feeling of big egos and belittlement, and the staff should be excited to share their passion for aviation with you.
  • Aircraft – Are they generally clean, in good condition and well-maintained? Do they have a sufficiently large fleet to cater for the number of students? I also suggest going for ‘common’ aircraft which are familiar to many schools, these are designed for training, and parts are readily available. If they have a rare type of aircraft, there may be delays if maintenance is required and a part needs to be sourced.
  • Airport – There are pros and cons to going for a controlled (busy) airport or a quieter unmanned airfield. A quiet airfield will provide a calm environment, especially if you are a complete beginner. You will also be able to maximise your flight time in this type of environment, as there will be very little waiting at the holding point with your time running. That said, controlled airports are especially good if you intend to fly commercially, as you will be exposed to that environment from the beginning, and gain significant practice talking to controllers on the radio. However, if the airport has significant traffic volumes you may find your flying time limited by waiting time on the ground.
  • Climate – Choosing a location that generally has good weather will mean that you can fly more often.
  • Access to a general flying area – Ask how close the nearest general flying area (GFA) is in relation to the airfield. As a considerable amount of training time will be spent in the GF practising various exercises, you want to be close in order to maximise your flying time (and minimise costs).
  • Instructors – The instructors should appear neat and professional, and interested in answering your questions, and showing you around.
  • Structure – There should be a clear structure as to the process that you will follow to achieve your goals. Every student progresses at a different rate, but there should be a plan in place with specific milestones.

Medical requirements

The next step, before you can get your student pilot licence, you will need to get your medical. As this will be your very first medical examination, you will be required to bring with you a chest x-ray. Most hospitals / clinics with an x-ray department will be able to do this for you – explain that it is for an aviation medical. Once you have this, you need to book an appointment with the Designated Aviation Medical Examiner (DAME). Your school should be able to provide you with a local contact and number. For information on various medical conditions and for a list of aviation doctors click here 

A Class 2 medical certificate is the minimum required to obtain PPL, and when you progress to CPL training you will need a Class 1.

Getting your Student Pilot Licence (SPL)

Your school will assist you with the forms that you require to obtain your SPL. These forms, together with your medical certificate will need to be submitted to the CAA in order to obtain your SPL. The SPL allows you to fly as a student pilot undergoing training, and you may not take passengers.

Below are South Africa Flight Schools and their requirements

Eagle Flight Academy

  • Requirements for pilots

FLIGHT TRAINING

NATIONAL PILOTS LICENSE

1. Weight shift controlled microlight

Requirements

  • A student should be at least 16 years of age for a student pilot license and to go solo.
  • A student should be at least 17 years of age to be issued with a license
  • Hold a class 4 or higher medical license
  • Hold a valid student pilot license
  • Valid restricted radio certificate
  • Min of 10 Hrs dual flying
  • Min of 15 Hrs solo flying
  • Complete Exercise 1 to 19
  • Principals of Flight
  • Air Law
  • Aviation Meteorology
  • Engines, Airframes & Instruments
  • General Navigation
  • Human Performance
  • Pass a skill test on type

2. Conventional controlled microlight (up to 450kg)

Requirements

  • A student should be at least 16 years of age for a student pilot license and to go solo.
  • A student should be at least 17 years of age to be issued with a license
  • Hold a class 4 or higher medical license
  • Hold a valid student pilot license
  • Valid restricted radio certificate
  • Min of 10 Hrs dual flying
  • Min of 15 Hrs solo flying
  • Complete Exercise 1 to 19

Passed

  • Principals of Flight
  • Air Law
  • Aviation Meteorology
  • Engines, Airframes & Instruments
  • General Navigation
  • Human Performance
  • Pass a skill test on type

3. Light sports aircraft (450kg-600kg)

Requirements

  • A student should be at least 16 years of age for a student pilot license and to go solo.
  • A student should be at least 17 years of age to be issued with a license
  • Hold a class 4 or higher medical license
  • Hold a valid student pilot license
  • Valid restricted radio certificate
  • Min of 20 Hrs dual flying
  • Min of 15 Hrs solo flying
  • Complete Exercise 1 to 19

Passed

  • Principals of Flight
  • Air Law
  • Aviation Meteorology
  • Engines, Airframes & Instruments
  • General Navigation
  • Human Performance
  • Pass a skill test on type

PRIVATE PILOT LICENSE

Requirements

  • A student should be at least 16 years of age for a student pilot license and to go solo.
  • A student should be at least 17 years of age to be issued with a private pilot license.
  • Hold a class 2 or higher medical license.
  • Hold a valid student pilot license
  • Valid restricted radio certificate
  • Complete not less than 45 hrs flight time as pilot of an aeroplane

Total of 45 hrs must include

  • min of 25 Hrs dual flying ( includes min of 5 Hrs instrument instruction time)
  • min of 15 Hrs solo flying of which at least 5 hours are cross-country flight time; which must include at least one triangular cross-country of at lease 150 NM, on which at leastone point must not be less than 50NM from base and must include full-stop landings at two different aerodromes away from base;
  • a Maximum of 5 hours dual instruction may be in an approved FSTD
  • Complete Exercise 1 to 19

Passed

  • Principals of Flight
  • Air Law
  • Aviation Meteorology
  • Engines, Airframes & Instruments
  • General Navigation
  • Human Performance
  • Flight Planning and Performance
  • Pass a skill test on type

CONVERSIONS

At least one hour of dual flying (includes a minimum of three take-offs and landings)

NIGHT RATING

Requirements

  • Hold a valid pilot license
  • Passed theoretical exam
  • 5 Hrs theoretical ground training
  • 10 Hrs instrument time of which not more than 5 hrs may be done on a approved flight simulator
  • At least 5 take-offs and landings at night as pilot manipulating the controls of the aircraft under dual instruction
  • At least one dual cross country at night
  • Passed skill test

COMMERCIAL PILOT LICENSE

Requirements

  • A student should be 18 years or older
  • A valid private pilot license
  • A valid class one medical
  • A valid general radio certificate
  • A valid night rating

Passed

  • Aircraft technical and general
  • Air Law and Flight operations
  • Aviation Meteorology
  • Instruments and Electronics
  • Navigation
  • Human Performance
  • Radio Aids and Communication
  • Flight Planning and Performance
  • 200 Hrs of flight time which may include 20 hrs of flight instruction time in a approved flight simulator training device

Total of 200 hrs must include

  • 100 hrs as pilot in command
  • 20 hrs of cross country as pilot in command
  • 5 hrs of night flying as pilot in command
  • 20 hrs of instrument instruction time ( max of 10 hrs on approved flight simulator)
  • At least 5 hrs instruction in an aeroplane with adjustable flaps, retractable undercarriage and variable pith propeller or turbojet engine
  • Passed a skill test

INSTRUMENT RATING

Requirements

  • Student should hold a valid pilot license
  • A valid night rating
  • A valid class one medical
  • A valid general radio license
  • 50 hrs cross country flight time as pilot in command
  • 40 hrs instrument flight training under instruction of which 20 hrs may be in an approved flight simulator training device
  • Passed a skill test

SIMULATOR TRAINING

Requirements

  • 5 hrs may be done in a simulator for private pilot license
  • 5 hrs may be done in a simulator for instructors rating
  • 10 hrs may be done in a simulator for commercial pilot license
  • 20 hrs may be done for an instrument rating

MULTI ENGINE TRAINING

Requirements

  • 7 hrs of theoretical training
  • 11.5 hrs dual instruction
  • Passed a skill test

INSTRUCTORS RATING

Requirements

  • Hold a valid commercial pilot license or Airline transport pilot license
  • Have passed the theoretical knowledge exams
  • 25 Hrs dual patter
  • 80 Hrs briefing
  • Passed skill test

Flight Training College

Academically, it obviously helps to have Mathsand Science to Matric (Senior) level but even if you haven’t, there’s nothing to stop you taking extra lessons to get up to scratch in these areas. Good English is obviously vital as it is the international aviation language. (Geography is another very useful subject although not mandatory.)  In South African Airways the minimum requirement is a Matric with Maths and Science – that’s obviously in addition to your flying qualifications. Although only a Commercial Pilot Licence is required to be eligible for the interview, if you arrive without your ATP (Airline Pilot Licence) you are unlikely to be selected; given that most other candidates will already have theirs. Remember; you will be competing against the “cream of the crop” candidates for the top job, and the more attractive your qualifications and experience are, the better your chances of being selected. Airline selections are conducted on a point system and you will score points for experience and qualifications. Having an ATP, Instructors Rating, Multi crew, Multi engine, Turbine endorsement, all count for big points. Another factor is the age/experience ratio. Obviously the older you are, the more experience the airline expects to see you with.

Medically, many impediments that were an immediate disqualification years ago are now acceptable, as long as they can be corrected. Eyesight for example.
The air force still has more stringent medical standards for their recruits but that’s because their financial investment and risk is greater. Should you lose your medical while employed as a professional pilot most company’s have a Loss of Licence Insurance to cover you until you’re fit to fly again, or even a lump sum payout if you’re permanently boarded. Several insurance companies are happy to insure individuals under a similar policy and it’s obviously advisable to have this cover if you’re self-employed.

Johannesburg School of Flying

Requirements for Student and Private Pilot License

Ab-initio – Student Pilot License (SPL)

i. You must be 16 years of age; however training may commence before this age. (Our youngest students at the moment are 14)

ii. A medical examination (Class I or II) must be done by a qualified aviation medical doctor.

iii. You must pass a technical examination of the aircraft chosen to train on, and a student pilot exam.

iv. 2 passport size photos will be required.

v. Pay the fee to issue the SPL. The South African Civil Aviation Authority (SA CAA) will allocate a License number which will enable you to fly an aircraft solo (on your own) while still under the supervision of your Instructor. Students who prove to be proficient enough after a minimum of 10 hrs dual flying will be sent for the first time Solo. This is a truly memorable experience, which signifies your official entry into the prestigious group of Aviators.

Requirements for Night Rating (NR)

i. You must hold a valid Private Pilot License.

ii. You will need to complete 10 hrs Dual Instrument Flying. At least 5 take-offs and landings must be done by night and a night cross-country flight of at least 150nm with 2 full stop landings at 2 separate airfields away from base must be done.

iii. Successfully pass an online examination.

iv. Pass a practical night/IF flight test with a Grade II Instructor.

v. Once all requirements are met, all documentation is sent to the CAA and a fee must be paid in order to include the night rating in your PPL License.

Requirements for Instrument Rating (IR)

i. You must hold a valid Private or Commercial Pilot License.

ii. Hold a Class I medical certificate.

iii. Have a valid Night Rating on your License. The 10 hours done during your Night Rating will be counted towards your Instrument Rating training.

iv. Pass a General Radio License exam.

v. Successfully pass the online Instrument Rating examination (pass mark 75%).

vi. Complete 40 dual hours of Instrument flying time, of which 20 hours can be done on an approved simulator.

vii. Pass a practical flight test with a Grade I Designated Flight Examiner.

viii. Have flown 50 hours cross country time as Pilot-in-Command (PIC).

ix. Once all requirements are met, all documentation is sent to the CAA and a fee must be paid in order to include the instrument rating in your License.

ATP Flight School

How to Become a Pilot

You can become a pilot. ATP has helped thousands of men and women just like you become pilots. Below are the steps for how to become a pilot and earn a private pilot certificate.

Download Your FREE Airline Pilot Career Guide »

Here are the steps you take to become a pilot:

  1. Step 11. Research Pilot SchoolsThe first step to become a private or commercial pilot is to research your flight training options. Learn and compare available programs offered by flight schools, and pick the best match for your aviation goals.FREE Airline Pilot Career Guide »
  2. Step 22. Take an Introductory Training FlightSuccessfully completing an Introductory Training Flight is required before enrolling in a pilot training program. This flight lesson will help you see first-hand the training, aircraft, and quality of instruction a flight school will offer you. It is also a great way to get a better sense of what it’s like to fly from behind the controls.Get Started with Free Lesson »
  3. Step 33. Apply for FAA Medical CertificatePilots must meet basic medical requirements to fly. If you want to fly professionally, you must meet higher medical standards than recreational pilots and should apply for a first class medical certificate through an Aeromedical Examiner (AME).
  4. Step 44. Apply for FAA Student Pilot CertificateApply for a student pilot certificate through the FAA’s Integrated Airman Certification and Rating Application (IACRA) website (your flight instructor can help with this). While you don’t need a student pilot certificate to start flying lessons, you will need it to fly solo during your training.
  5. Step 55. Start Flight Training LessonsStart taking flight training lessons and begin working towards obtaining the aeronautical knowledge and pilot training experience requirements needed to become a private pilot.Download Your Free Pilot Career Guide »
  6. Step 66. Pass Private Pilot Knowledge TestDuring your private pilot flight training, you will need to take and pass the computer-based FAA private pilot knowledge test. To be eligible for the test, you must receive an endorsement from your flight instructor.
  7. Step 77. Pass Private Pilot Practical ExamThe final step in earning your FAA private pilot certificate is to take a practical exam with a Designated Pilot Examiner (DPE). This exam consists of both an oral and a flight portion, and once completed you will be a private pilot.

Download Your FREE Airline Pilot Career Guide »

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