Ivans Aviation Minute-How to go about learning to fly

By Ivan van der Schaar

As many of you may have noticed we receive a huge number of enquiries regarding how to go about learning to fly. Well here is the most basic and straight forward gen….

A good place to start is to learn to write and speak proper ENGLISH. A good place to start is to learn to write and speak proper ENGLISH. As you want to enter the world of flying you are going to be interacting with professional people who can speak and write English. These people will be responsible for your training and they will be expecting to interact professionally.

"SMS language" is not very professional and by communicating in this manner indicates to your mentors that you are not planning on being professional either. So in short; wise up on the language use or you will be wasting a huge amount of money….

After all your behaviour indicates your attitude and you also have to pass an English test.

People who want to learn to fly usually have a passion for aircraft. They read the local aviation magazines, they look up when an aircraft flies past and are able to recognise basic types. Apart from these attributes they know where the local airports are and how to get to them, in other words they show interest in the aviation world.

The next step would be to visit a flight school at your local airfield. Flight schools are rather plentiful at the various airfields and also well-advertised in the local media.

Choosing the right flight school can be an interesting task but most of the flight schools offer the same tuition structure. Flight schools must be accredited by the local aviation authorities which in our case is the SACAA.

Do shop around at the various flight schools for the best deal.

Once a flight school has been chosen you will receive the rates from them. In other words what it costs to learn to fly and any other important information that you are required to know.

Now here comes the tricky part…

Learning to fly is NOT cheap. I am not going to enter the rates here as they vary from school to school... You are going to have to make a plan to raise the necessary funds. Banks are hesitant to dish out student loans but they are none the less available. Personal loans are an option. Borrowing money from family or friends is of course also an option.

Scholarships are at times handed out by the airlines who offer cadet training. To qualify for the cadet program you usually need good maths, science and English (no sms language…). Only after vigorous testing you might be accepted for training by the airline and trust me you get closely monitored on your progress. If you don't shape up you will ship out.

The Air Force is another route that can be taken but the requirements are pretty much the same as for the airlines.

Once you commence training you will have to undergo a medical examination.

The Private pilot's license (PPL) is the first step in training towards a career in aviation and takes about 45 hours of flight training. Incorporated in the course are various exams.

After the PPL training you have to obtain a night rating. More exams and flight training towards a license to fly at night.

After the night rating you have to build day and night flying hours. You also have to write exams for your Commercial Pilot's License and instrument rating. Then follows more flight training towards your multi engine rating and to finish the instrument rating together with Commercial Pilot's License. When you get your commercial, instrument with multi engine rating are you allowed to be employed in a flying job.

You can then further you qualification by obtaining an Instructor's Rating and also an Airline Transport Pilot's License. The latter is required if you want to become an airline pilot.

So here is a basic outline of training required: Private pilot's license: 45 hours, Night rating: 15 hours. Total 60 hours.

Build hours until to a total of approximately 170 hours total time whilst writing exams for the Commercial and Instrument Rating. Obtain the Commercial and Instrument Rating at total time of 200 hours which makes it legal to fly for reward i.e. you can now get a job as a pilot.

Instructors Rating if desired. Forty hours flight training after obtaining Commercial License. More exams towards you Airline Transport Pilot's license (ALTP). The ALTP can be obtained by 1500 flying hour's total time.

So there you have it.

Good luck with the flight training and your career.

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