South Africa has the continent’s most advanced aviation industry. There are close to a thousand commercial pilots operating in the country, and a good number of them have found employment at international airlines like Emirates and Qatar Airways.
This has been a big relief, especially since our own national carrier SAA has been on its death bed for several years, pausing new hires and even laying off pilots and other employees.
This is not a particularly good time for South Africans to pursue flying as a career. While the industry is growing, it appears that foreign airlines, especially Arab ones, are set to benefit the most. The only major African airline that appears to be going against the tide on the continent is Ethiopian.
That said, there are many ways to get to the skies. A commercial license is just the most difficult. If you are doing it as a hobby, you can stop at a private pilot’s license.
However to pursue this, you need a Student Pilot License (SPL) first.
What is a Student Pilot License?
Before proceeding to piloting small planes solo, you need to get this license.
To qualify for this, these are the requirements:
* Must be at least 16 years of age.
* Hold a class 1 or 2 medical certificate.
* Hold an ICAO language proficiency certificate (if required).
* Completed an aircraft technical.
* Completed an Airlaw exam.
Once you acquire an SPL, you can then proceed to train for a Private Pilot License.
What is a private pilot license?
This is the first level a trainee pilot attains before they can ever take control of a commercial airplane.
Holding this license means you have been taught the basics and principles of powering an aircraft into the sky and returning it safely to the ground. You will understand the priciples of flight, aircraft maneuvering, etc.
One of South Africa’s top flight schools, U-FLY training academy offers 19 practical lessons for this license.
Requirements for a Private Pilot License in South Africa
While some schools may differ on certain requirements, this is what you can generally expect to find.
* Must be at least 17 years of age
* Hold a class 1 or 2 medical certificate
* Hold a restricted or general radiotelephony certificate
* Hold a valid Student Pilot License
* Hold an ICAO language proficiency certificate (min. level 4)
* 45 hours total flight time by the end of the course, the 45 hours must include:
> 25 dual hours with an instructor
> 15 solo hours as PIC
> 5 hours cross country PIC
Exams that you must pass:
* Air Law
* Principles of Flight
* Human Performance
* Flight planning
* Aircraft Technical & General
How much does it cost to get a Private Pilot License in South Africa?
A pilot course does not come cheap relative to other courses. This is the 2021 price structure for U-Fly Academy.
|25 Dual hours on PA28-161 @ R2290.00 per hour – Training
15 Solo hours on PA28-161 @ R1950.00 per hour – Training
|15 Hours @ R450 (minimum by law) – Briefing
3 Dual hours on PA28-161 @ R2290 – Flight Test
2 Hours @ R450 – Ground Evaluation / Test
PPL Kit including all PPL notes (without Headsets)
Exams (7 x R190) with Radio exam (R490)
Grand Total for PPL Course
|Additional costs (payable directly to the service provider)
English proficiency exam
What is a Commercial Pilot License?
This is the kind of license that allows you to fly large commercial planes. In South Africa, this is also the license that allows you to make money from your skills. You cannot get paid as a holder of a Private Pilot License.
A CPL also means that you have gone through other courses such as a a Single Engine Instrument Rating or Multi Engine Instrument Rating, allowing you to fly cross country without visual reference to ground features.
Requirements for a Commerical Pilot License in South Africa
* Must be 18 years or older
* Hold a valid class 1 medical certificateHold a valid general certificate of proficiency in radiotelephony
* Hold a valid Private Pilot License
* Hold a Night Rating
* Show proof of English Language Proficiency
* A minimum of 200 hours total flight time the, 200 hours must include:
> 100 hours PIC flight time (Pilot-in-Command)
> 5 hours PIC by night
> 50 hours of cross country flying as PIC
> 40 hours dual instrument time (20 hours may be done in an approved FSTD)
> 5 hours dual in an aircraft with adjustable flaps, retractable undercarriage and variable pitch propeller or turbojet engine
Exams that you must pass:
* Flight Planning & Performance
* Instruments & Electronics
* Human performance
* Air Law & Operational Procedures
* Radio aids & Communication
* Aviation Meteorology
How much does it cost to get a Commercial Pilot License in South Africa?
30 Hours PIC by day on PA28-161 @ R1950.00 per hour
|Instrument Flight Rating
20 hours on FSTD @ R1090 per hour
|Advanced single-engine class rating
1.5 Hours dual on Piper Arrow @ R2425.00 per hour
Grand Total for CPL Course
Please note that due to considerations such as weather, aircraft availability and serviceability, instructor availability and the progress of individual students, completion of a course may take longer than indicated, and may require more funds. This fee structure is therefore more of an estimate.