How Many Years Does it Take to Become a Commercial Pilot?

Nov 27, 2020

Becoming a commercial airline pilot can require months and even years of intense training, including written exams and flight practice. There are ways to shorten the path to a commercial pilot’s license and get into the air sooner. By choosing the right flight school, you can achieve your goal of certification in 14 months or less.

Pilot Certification Path

Traditionally, there are multiple steps that you have to take to become a commercial pilot. First, you need to get a medical certificate that clears you for safe flight. This medical exam tests your vision, balance, heart condition and hearing. While it is not mandatory to start your training with this exam, it helps to take it first so you don’t spend hours training, only to find out that you have a condition that would prevent you from flying.

After completing your medical clearance, the next step is to start ground training. This classroom training includes learning about navigation, instruments, weather and aviation procedures and terminology. This is often described as the most demanding and intense portion of commercial flight training, and student pilots are required to pass a written test administered by the FAA in the US (Federal Aviation Administration), EASA in Europe(European Aviation Safety Agency), or other the relevant agency in what ever jurisdiction you want to fly in.

Once you have fulfilled your basic requirements and passed your exam, you can move on to in-air training. You will need 1,500 of flight hours if you are training in the United States, but only 200 flight hours if you complete your training in Europe. You will train first with a flight instructor until you are ready to fly independently. You will also train in a simulator in the later stages to simulate the larger planes like an Airbus where costs of flying are too high just to train students.

Integrated Training vs. Modular Training

One of the big questions that a lot of aspiring pilots ask is how much it will cost to complete the licensing. One of the major factors in the cost and time it takes to get licensed is whether you train in an integrated program or in a modular one. Because the cost of the pilot’s license can average from around $10,000 for a private pilot’s license (PPL) to well over $100,000 for some commercial training academies, many student pilots complete their course of study while still working full time jobs. This modular training means that student pilots are learning their craft piecemeal, making it hard for them to complete the training quickly. In addition, lapse in training time means that many student pilots will need refreshers on critical information, which slows down the process and ends up costing more money in the long run.

Another factor that will greatly increase the time and cost of your training is weather. Inclement weather like snow, rain and ice storms will prevent you from getting the number of hours of flight practice that you need to complete the training. To get the right amount of required hours, you will need clear and sunny skies for your test flights and check ride. The geography of your school makes all of the difference in how much practice you will be able to enjoy and how quickly you will be able to finish. Consistent good weather means that you will have more hours behind the flight controls and the ability to pay less overall for your training.

With the integrated EASA ATPL certification, pilots can finish their entire training in one shot, and earn their licenses in as little as 14 months at FlyBy. Schools like FlyBy that offer aggressive flights schedules and have a large stock of planes available for practice are the best bet for completing your training on time. One of the major complaints that many students have is that there are not enough sunny days and available planes for them to get enough practice time to master their skills. Our students are more likely to complain they are flying too much.

Many student pilots from the United States choose to train for their license in Europe, as lower costs of living, favorable weather conditions and lower priced training makes it easier to complete the training. In addition, the European EASA flight time requirement is much lower than the United States’ required 1,500 hours, making it easy to complete the training in less time.

After completing the training in Europe, newly licensed pilots can then return to their home countries to transfer their certifications to the new location. But they can accumulate the hours they need from their home country while being paid for a large commercial carrier instead of accumulating up to 1,500 hours on their own dime. From there they can get additional certifications and licenses and work in aviation around the world.

The first step in getting your pilot’s license quickly is choosing the right school. While all pilot training schools follow a similar curriculum and use the same global standards, some schools are better than others when it comes to quickly gaining the certifications and licenses you need. Many students find that temporarily relocating for school is a worthwhile investment. When choosing a school, find one with the best calendar of flights in an area with plenty of ideal flying conditions.

Careers in the Aviation Industry

The aviation industry is experiencing rapid growth with the emergence of new discount airlines, expansion of existing airlines and increased demand for travel. At the same time, attendance at pilot training schools has remained steady, causing experts to forecast an unmet demand for trained pilots. While there has been a slowdown in the aviation industry due to the recent pandemic, the industry has bounced back quickly after every major slowdown in the past as there is always going to be a demand for commercial and leisure travel. There are still a lot of seasoned pilots retiring and if one begins training today, there is a good chance that things are going to be getting back to normal as you graduate, potentially with pent up demand. Never before has there been a better opportunity to break into the world of aviation, with an estimated 700,000 new pilot jobs expected to open in the upcoming years.

While most pilots train to become commercial airline pilots, there are other career paths that you can take after you have completed your training and earned your license. Commercial airline pilots have been traditionally in the highest demand due to the proliferation of new airlines that are starting up all over the globe. In Asia, especially, up until the recent pandemic issues, there had been a huge demand for trained pilots who can shuttle passengers all over the globe. There are also many positions available for private pilots who run charter flights for private passengers. Other new pilots work as helicopter pilots, flying aircraft for tour companies, television stations and police stations. Still others work as pilots for shipping and delivery companies like Amazon, FedEx and UPS. There are also jobs for pilots who work as first responders, fighting fires from the air, airlifting trauma victims to hospitals and performing high-altitude rescues.

With the pilot’s license, you can also start your career as a pilot instructor. With the right amount of flight hours, experience and additional certifications, you can earn a living training new pilots in your own business or in larger training schools. Flight school instructors are always in high demand. FlyBy has established a cadet program for those who want to gain more experience as a flight instructor after you have finished achieving your commercial license. You can click here to learn more about that program.

When it comes to getting your pilot license and commercial airline certifications, it can take years or as little as 14 months depending on the type of certifications you seek and the flight school program you select. The weather in your flight school’s location, the time you can devote to training and your financial resources all play a part in how much time it will take. At FlyBy, our intensive integrated ATPL program allows you to spend more time studying with fewer breaks so that you can complete your licensing program quickly.

We offer aggressive flight practice calendars that allow you to spend more time in the air and less time waiting for an available plane or a sunny day. In fact, many of our students find they spend too much time flying. In as little as 14 months, you can be well on your way to a high flying career as a commercial pilot, for only € 74,900 including all costs most flight schools charge extra for.

Contact us today to learn more about our ATPL integrated program.

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