Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Commercial Pilot Licence

This is the rating you will require to enter the commercial and airline world of aviation. As a commercial pilot you may fly as pilot in command, for remuneration, any aircraft certified for single pilot operations.


You may operate as a co-pilot, for remuneration (once you have completed the type-specific training) on any large commercial aircraft certified for multi crew operations, up to the Boeing 747. To operate as pilot in command on multi crew aircraft you must complete the Airline Transport Pilot Licence (ATPL).

It is obvious that the CPL is required should a career in aviation be your dream. It will also allow you to build the mandatory experience required for the ATP.

Requirements for the issue of a Commercial Pilot’s Licence (CPL): 

1. You need to be at least 18 years old.

2. You need to be the holder of a class 1 medical certificate.

3. You need to hold a General Radio Telephony certificate.

4. You must have completed a minimum of 200 hours, of which 20 may have been completed on approved simulators. This actually means that if you pursue a CPL with Instrument Rating, you will need 180 hours of flight time.

5. Of these flight hours, 100 must be as pilot in command (PIC), which must include 5 hours as pilot in command at night. These hours must consist of a minimum of 20 hours cross country flight time, with at least 1 flight of more than 300NM’s with 2 full stop landings at airfields other than the base. You must also complete a night cross country flight with a minimum of 3 legs with each leg being more than 50 NM’s. You must have completed at least 10 take offs and 10 landings at night.

6. You must have successfully completed the SA-CAA CPL theory examinations.

7. You must complete a CPL General Flight Test in a complex-type aircraft (one that has adjustable flaps, retractable undercarriage and a constant-speed propeller), conducted by a Grade One Designated Flight Examiner (DFE).

8. Should an instrument rating be sought, the conditions listed under Instrument Rating must be met.

9. Application must be made to the SA-CAA for the Commercial Pilots Licence. The applicable fee must be paid.


It is possible to do the final flight test in a Multi-Engine (ME) aircraft, if you are planning to obtain a multi engine rating. You need an effective hour building program, which is aimed at developing basic Crew Resource Management, and reinforces instrument procedures throughout. You will need supervision and monitoring. This allows for skills transfer between the airline environment and aspiring Commercial candidates.

Airline Transport Pilot

After you have spent considerable time in the Commercial aviation industry, you will need to upgrade your licence to the highest obtainable in the industry, the Airline Transport Pilots’ Licence. This allows you to act as pilot in command on any aircraft, once you have been appropriately rated. This is the rating required to become an Airline Captain.

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