How to become a pilot

Control of the flight. Pilot on the work in the passenger airplane. Preparing for takeoff
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Your pathway to a career in aviation

Becoming a pilot is the dream of many, but making that dream a reality is becoming increasingly harder as prices rise and training places become scarce in the UK.

FlightPlan have produced this guide on the steps required to become a pilot. There are a number of different routes available, should you need personalised advice feel free to get in touch.

Our team have experience in delivering training programmes for some of the best flying schools in the world.

The Basics

From First Flight to First Officer

In order to work as an airline pilot you’ll need to get your Airline Transport Pilot Licence. This is what you will work towards while in a training programme in the UK, however you won’t get the actual licence until you start work with an airline.

These steps are the basic outline of what you will need to go through in order to start working for an airline as a first officer.

All training here refers to the Modular training pathway, we feel this offers the best value for money for you. To find out more about this, or for advice on MPL or Integrated Training, book in with one of our team.

Basic Flight Training and Theory

You'll learn how to fly light aircraft and study for your Airline Transport Pilot Licence Theory

Commercial Training

You'll work towards your Commercial Pilot Licence while also learning how to fly more complex twin engine aircraft

Airline Training

You'll learn how to work as part of a team on the flight deck, you'll also study the aircraft you will be working on in detail
Phase 1

Basic Flight Training

You’ll start by studying for your Private Pilot Licence, this will take you from your first flight right through to being confident handing a light aircraft in all phases of flight, and navigating over long distances. 

Once you have completed this we’d recommend you study for your ATPL theory right away. This can be distance learning or classroom based. Book in with us to find out recommendations based on your circumstances.

You’ll need to build hours of flying experience in order to progress on to the next phase of training, this can either be taken alongside your ATPL theory or you can book in for a structured hourbuilding course with us.

You can study for your Basic Flight Training modules all over the UK, get in touch for our recommendation of a school close to you.

By the end of this phase you should have :

  • Private Pilot Licence
  • Night Rating
  • Restricted Instrument Rating
  • Airline Transport Pilot Licence Theory
  • 90-100 hours of hourbuilding
Phase 2

Commercial Training

When you have finished Phase 1 you can choose a Commercial Training Centre in the UK to complete the rest of your training. This phase of training can take 3-6 months depending on your chosen provider.

You’ll learn how to fly multi-engine aircraft in challenging situations, putting you through your paces to ensure you are well equipped for your future career as an airline pilot.

In this phase you will complete

  • Multi-Engine Piston Rating
  • Instrument Rating
  • Commercial Pilot Licence
  • Advanced Upset Prevention and Recovery
Airline captain and first officer sitting in the cockpit
Phase 3

Airline Training

You are now ready to look to enter the workforce, and the last course you’ll need to complete is the Multi-Crew Coordination Course (MCC). This 1-2 week course will prepare you for working as part of a 2 person team in the cockpit, ensuring the safety of your passengers and aircraft while working in a challenging environment.

Depending on your chosen airline you may also elect to take your Jet Orientation Course (JOC).

Once you have these in place you will be free to apply for an airline position in the UK. 

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