Home » Find Colleges & Programs » How to Become a Pilot In South Africa » How to Become a Pilot in South Africa 2024 – Everything You Need to Know

How to Become a Pilot in South Africa 2024 – Everything You Need to Know

by Omale Philip
How To Become A Pilot in South Africa
8 Mins Read

Do you want to become a professional pilot in South Africa or just to fly an aircraft? Discover all that is required to be a pilot who flies airplanes including commercial airplane in South Africa.

Pilot is one of the great career choices in the aviation industry and if you are planning to become a professional pilot or it is your dream career to be a pilot, then read on.

In this article, We at College Reporters have taken the responsibility to help you find and know all that is required to be the pilot you have dream or plan to become.

In addition to the requirements, you will know the best aviation schools in South Africa to attend for pilot training, fees, pilot licenses available, and duration of training.

Is Pilot Career In South Africa Worth It?

Considering the earnings in recent years and the fun of travelling around the world – from one city or country to another, yes it is certainly worth being a pilot. And there is a wide range of pilot careers.

However, this comes with much rigorous training and cost money if you do have the finance to study in a flight school and get the necessary training and pilot license.

In addition, being a professional pilot is the most rewarding as you view the world from a vantage point like the eye of a flying bird. It also allows you to travel to places, today you are in Cape Town, and a few hours later you are in Johannesburg or leaving South Africa.

Pilots have many opportunities to network, meet different unique individuals, and interesting cultures. These are all lots of fun.

Pilot Careers

There are different pilot careers available, The one that is right for you will likely depend on your career goals and interest.

Here is a few career path you would like to pursue with your pilot license.

  • Airline Pilot
  • Flight Engineer
  • Commercial Pilot
  • Flight Instructor
  • Cargo Pilot
  • Medical/Air Ambulance Pilot
  • Sport Pilot
  • Recreational Pilot

Aviation careers can vary extensively beyond pilot careers. You can be on the ground or in the cockpit.


Best Aviation Schools In South Africa For Pilot Training

10 Best Aviation Schools in Ghana and Their Fees & Courses

How Long Does It Take to Become a Pilot In South Africa

Pilot in South Africa

To complete a pilot training in South Africa would depend on the chosen pilot license. It takes a duration of 1 to 2 years to become a commercial pilot. But a private pilot license takes around 3 to 6 months duration to complete the training.

In general, the duration of time it takes to become a pilot can vary, though, depending on the pilot’s training and certification. – aviationfly.com. Each license requires a specified number of logged flight hours. Some pilot license allows you to fly aircraft but there is no payment, but the commercial pilot license, let you work as a pilot and receive payment.

If you decide to complete your pilot training in South Africa, it is important to note that becoming a pilot requires a certain financial budget, more funding may be required due to the increase in cost.

You can find a list of reputable flight training schools and institutes in South Africa that are recommended by professional pilots and training instructors.

Do check out their cost/fees for pilot license and flight training. You may have to do a background check on the flight school to select the one that best suits your training.


How To Become A Flight Attendant In South Africa – Everything You Need To Know

Here Is How To Become A Pilot In South Africa – Professional Pilots’ Advice

Discover all it takes to become a professional pilot in South Africa, below are the requirements to be fulfilled and become a pilot.

1. Must be at Least Age 17

To qualify for the pilot license and be a pilot in South Africa, you will need to be 17 years old and above. It is the allowed age by the South African Civil Aviation Authority for young individuals to begin fulfilling their dream career as a pilot.

If you pursue the flight training and complete them early, you can be one of the finest and youngest South African pilots.

2. Hold a Class 1 or 2 Medical Certificate

The medical certificate proves you are fit and healthy to meet all the duties and there are various medical certificates.

The least certificate is the class 3 medical certificate which is issued by the aviation doctors in charge. Followed by a class 3 medical certificate.

The class 1 medical certificate is the highest level of pilot medical certification. It is needed for pilots who want to be professional Airline Transport Pilot or flight instructor.

3. Hold a Valid Pilot License

The pilot license will differ based on your goal – the type of pilot your want to become and the type of aircraft you want to fly.

However, there are a wide range of pilot license that can be acquired after completion of your flight training.

You may need to advance your training to get the highest level of pilot license.

In addition to the training, this will require additional cost and time if you have the finance to pursue your dream career.

4. Complete Pilot Training

Every pilot license has its required pilot training that must be completed. The training gives you a very basic idea of flying an aircraft and during circumstances. Complete training requires building flight hours and passing the pilot exams. If you prove qualified by completing the required flight hours and exams during your flight training. Your pilot license will be issued.

5. Complete and Pass Pilot Exams

To be the pilot you ever dreamed of or plan to become, you must complete and pass the pilot exams. The pilot license allows you to write a few pilot examinations – such as Air law, meteorology, navigation, flight planning, and human performance.

There are other examinations you may write based on the flight license you want to pursue and acquire.

How Much Does a Pilot Training Cost In South Africa

The flight training cost in South Africa depends on the selected pilot license, chosen flight school, aircraft type, and the number of enrolled students.

S/N Pilot License In South Africa Estimated Cost
1. Private Pilot License R182 774
2. Commercial Pilot License R389 625 – R443 665
3. ATP License Available on demand
4. Night Rating License R43 900
5. Instructor Rating License R65 600


How To Become An Air Hostess In Nigeria – Complete Guide

Flight Schools In South Africa To Attend – Become A Pilot

If you are interested in attending a flight school, then check this list of reputable and best aviation schools in South Africa to attend and pursue your pilot career.

S/N Flight Schools in South Africa To Attend Location
1. Cranfield Aviation Training Johannesburg
2. Eagle Flight School Pretoria
3. Progress Flight Academy Port Elizabeth
4. U-Fly Training Academy Johannesburg
5. Lanseria Flight Centre Midrand
6. Johannesburg School of Flying Johannesburg
7. Aeronav Academy Gauteng
8. 43 Air School Port Alfred
9. Skyhawk Aviation Johannesburg

See all the list of prestigious top flight schools in South Africa offering affordable flight training fees.

Different Pilot Licenses Available

Pilot South Africa
The pilot license to be issued to you depends on your goal. The pilot training and requirement for the different pilot license varies. Here are the various pilot license you can pursue;

Student Pilot License

The student pilot license is issued on completion of your introductory flight training.

The student license allows you to start your flight training for a private pilot license.

To have the student pilot license, you must fulfill and meet the following requirements.

  • Completed introductory flight training.
  • Pass the pilot exam.

Private Pilot License

You will be allowed to fly solo, and pilot aircraft with passengers or cargo but without monetary payment.

The private pilot license is the first level to attain before you will be able to pilot an aircraft.

You will be trained and taught the principles of flight and fundamentals of aircraft control – from the point of engine kickstart through take-off and back to landing. This includes an aircraft engine shutdown.

To be a pilot in South Africa with Private Pilot License, these requirements must be met to get the PPL.

  • Must be at least 17 years of age.
  • Complete PPL exams.
  • Hold medical exams (class 1 or 2) certificate.
  • Hold a valid Student Pilot License.
  • Have accumulated 45 hours of total flight time at end of course/training.
  • Hold an ICAO language proficiency certificate.

This license is valid to fly an airplane to different destinations but to be a professional pilot, you will need to acquire the next certification called the commercial pilot license.

Commercial Pilot License

The commercial pilot license allows you to fly an aircraft and get paid for your service i.e you will earn for flying.

However, this license is a combined course – CPL and a Single Engine, Instrument Rating, or Multi-Engine Instrument Rating.

You must fulfill the requirements below to have a Commercial Pilot License as a pilot in South Africa.

  • Must be at least 18 years.
  • Complete and pass CPL exams.
  • Hold a valid class 1 medical certificate.
  • Hold a valid general certificate of proficiency in radiotelephony.
  • Hold a valid Private Pilot License.
  • Hold a Night Rating.
  • Show proof of English Language Proficiency.
  • Hold a minimum accumulation of 200 total flight hours.

ATP License

The Airline Transport Pilot License (ATPL) is recognized as the highest level of aircraft pilot certification.

Individuals who possess the ATPL are authorized to act as pilot in command of an aircraft on scheduled air carrier service.

Night Rating License

The Night Rating License offers the pilot the chance to conduct flight operation at night – take off, fly and completely land the aircraft at night.

This training can take up to 6 weeks duration to be completed. However, the following requirements must be fulfilled.

  • Pass the Night Rating exam.
  • Must have a valid Private Pilot License or hold a valid Student Pilot License on an integrated course.
  • Must have completed 5 take-offs and landings by night.
  • Must have 5 hours of theoretical training.
  • Must have 10 hours of dual instrument flight instruction (5 hours may have been completed in an approved FSTD).


The Flight Instructor Rating License (Grade 3 Flight Instructor Rating) allows the pilot to give flight training to other individuals for a private or commercial pilot license.

  • Pass Instructor Rating exams.
  • Hold a valid Commercial Pilot License or ATP License.
  • Must hold class 1 medical certificate.
  • 20 hours of flight instructor pattern training conducted by a Grade I or a Grade II Aeroplane Flight Instructor.
  • 15 hours dual in an airplane.
  • 5 hours in an approved FSTD.
  • 80 hours of one-on-one briefings of which 20 hours will be billed.


Best Aviation Schools In Durban To Attend For Flight Training

How To Get A Pilot License In South Africa

The pilot license is the certification that recognizes and permits you to fly an aircraft.

With a pilot license, you can fly for fun or fly an aircraft and get paid by a registered airline, but you must have completed your flight training and gotten a valid license.

So, how do you get a pilot license in South Africa? here are the few steps to follow and get your pilot license in no time.

  • Must be of age 16 or above.
  • Completed introductory flight training.
  • Hold a valid student pilot license/ private pilot license.
  • Hold a Night Rating license (depend on desired pilot license).
  • Completed & pass required pilot exams (Air Law, Meteorology, Navigation, Radio aids, and communication).
  • Pass medical exams, and hold a valid medical class certificate.
  • Accumulate required hours of total flight time (varies for pilot license).

Frequently Asked Questions

How Much Do Pilots Earn in South Africa?

The salaries of a pilot in South Africa vary and depend on the airline, and the experience possessed.

A pilot salary is around R54 700 to R95 000 per month, this earning includes transport, housing, and other benefits.

Pilot working at international airline monthly earnings is slightly higher than pilot employed by the domestic airline.

In addition to the airline company you are working with, the experience level is a key factor in determining the salary. – salaryexplorer.com


Best Aviation Schools in Cape Town, South Africa With Affordable Flight Training Cost

What Pilot Exams Can I Take?

In South Africa, the covered examinations are opportunities for those who want to become a pilot. You will have to pass the flight exams for pilot certification.

You will need to take the following pilot exams;

  • Air Law
  • Meteorology
  • Navigation
  • Human Performance
  • Flight Planning
  • Radiotelephony
  • Principle of Flight
  • Aircraft Technical & General

In Conclusion

Are you ready to begin your journey of flight as a pilot? Your path to becoming a pilot in South Africa depends on whether or not you are ready to pursue a pilot license.

Have the finance and plan the budget for necessary training costs. It is more of a personal goal and commitment.

Other factors may include the choice of flight school, instructor, availability of desired aircraft, weather, and maintenance of aircraft.

So, carefully choose the flight school that is committed and well recognized for flight training. You may have some costs reduced.

Do you have any questions? please do leave it in the comment. Wish you the very best in your pursuit to become a pilot in South Africa.

Source: collegereporters.com


Related Articles

1 comment

Michael October 7, 2022 - 5:47 PM

So I’m currently 16 and my mom wants to take me to a flight school so we’re can I apply to become an airline pilot


Leave a Comment

This website uses cookies to improve your experience. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. Accept Read More