How Many Hours Does It take to Become a Pilot?

How long does it take to become an airline pilot?
Four photos showing some of the steps to become a pilot

العربية English :يمكنك قراءة هذا المقال باللغة

Flying is an exciting experience. Whether you’re starting your aviation career or just want to Become a Pilot congratulations!

You’re going to have an amazing time!

But how long does it take to become an airline pilot?

It seems like a straightforward question. But it’s not.

The flight time required for each type of pilot license whether it’s a commercial pilot certificate or private pilot certificate varies depending on many factors.

There are many factors involved when flying, including how often you fly, how complex the airspace you fly in is, the type of aircraft, the weather in your region, and your flight instructor’s experience.

But even if there are minimum hours required for becoming a pilot, you’ll likely need quite a few more hours before you become one. If you’re thinking about becoming a private pilot, consider this: The national average is between 55 to 70 hours to become a licensed private pilot. That’s almost twice the FAA minimum.

First, Do you need any qualifications to become a pilot? 

The age requirements:

Age requirements vary depending on where you are in your career as a pilot as follows:

  • There is no minimum age requirement to fly a plane with a certified instructor.
  • 16 years old to fly an airplane solo
  • 17 years old to get a private pilot license
  • 18 years old to be eligible for employment
  • To qualify for an airline transport pilot (ATP) certificate, you must be at least 23 years old.

That’s mean after you finish high school you can join flight school directly, you don’t need any other qualifications. 

Let’s get back on track. How long does it take to become a pilot?

Hours Required to Become a Pilot Vary

We briefly mentioned the factors that affect how long it takes to become a professional pilot. We’ll go into more detail about them here.

Pilot License

There are different types of pilot licences. Student pilot license, Commercial pilot license, and private pilot license and flight instructor certification, Every one of them come with their own eligibility, aeronautical knowledge, and flight time requirements For example, you don’t need any experience to get a student pilot’s license, but it takes 1500 hours to become an airline pilot.

Aircraft Type

Do you want to learn to fly a small airplane? 

It’s either a helicopter, commercial aircraft light aircraft aerobatic aircraft, a gliding plane, or maybe even a small jet airplane. The time to become proficient at flying an aircraft depends on which type of aircraft you’re flying.

Flight School

Your flight training will be conducted by instructors who hold various levels of pilot licenses. You’ll also be trained by other pilots as well. This means that the number of hours required to become a pilot can vary based on the quality of the pilot training school.

Flight Frequency

One of the factors that influence the number of hours required for you to become a pilot is how frequently you fly. It’s quite different flying once a month than flying several times a week. As a general rule, the more often you fly, the more flight experience you acquire. You certainly will retain knowledge a lot better without long gaps between lessons.

Pilot Aptitude

Your natural ability to learn and master flying skills plays an important role in how long it will take to reach the required level of proficiency.

Other factors include:

These include things like weather, availability of flight instructors, and the condition of your aircraft training. 

If you choose South Africa for example to get your aviation degree, the weather condition is optimal for learning how to fly it and suitable to develop your abilities as a pilot as well as the activities you can enjoy while studying there.

Another factor is, how many students for each instructor, the more student with one instructor, the less time and care you’ll have and this means you’ll waste more time. However, in Eagle Air academy you’ll study one to one, we have one instructor for each student which will give you the attention you need and guarantee the quality of training.  

Student pilot certificate

You don’t even require a student pilot’s license before beginning your flying lessons. You need to get it done before you start flying solo

How Many Hours to Become a Private Pilot

The private pilot license contains a practical part where you study 8 different subjects that teach you the basics of aviation and information about flying with low or high airspeeds.

You spend a total of 40 hours in the air, 15 of which are solo flights. So, the total number of hours for this license with its two components would be 60 hours.

How Many Hours to Become a commercial airline pilot

To become a commercial pilot, you will first need to earn 1500 hours of flight time. You can do so by flying for two years. Eagle Air’s accelerated flight training provides a structured timeline and shortens the time it takes to gain the necessary experience and qualify for commercial flying jobs. Get the training, certifications, and flight time needed to begin your career as an airline captain in the shortest period of time possible. If seniority is everything, then go for it with Eagle Air Flight School.

How Many Hours to Become a Flight Instructor

There isn’t a specific time requirement for becoming a flight instructor, but all flight instructors must obtain a commercial pilot license before they can be hired by an airline. Commercial pilots must have at least 250 hours of flying experience before they can be licensed to fly commercially. From the first day they begin flying lessons, a student who wants to become a flight instructor must meet the requirements of each level of certification.

Eagle air academy offers you a job as a flight instructor at academy after finishing your required training. 

Medical certificate requirements

Depending on which type of medical certificate you’re pursuing, there are three types of medical certificates you can get. Each certification documents that your vision, hearing, balance, mental health and neurological, and cardiovascular functioning are within acceptable limits.

First-class medical certificate

This is the highest level of certification available and lasts for either six or twelve months depending on your age. If you’re considering ATP certification to acquire an advanced pilot-in-command (APIC) rating or are an older commercial pilot, you will need this designation. The first-class designation has more rigid requirements, such as passing an electrocardiogram (EKG) to measure cardiovascular functioning.

Second-class medical certificate

Pilots who exercise the privileges of a commercial airline pilot will need this certification every year. Despite being less intense than first-class, this certification still has very high standards of vision.

Third-class medical certificate

Private use pilots must be certified by a third-party organization. Depending on your age, you may need to be certified for up to two years. The third class checks vision and hearing, equilibrium, mental health, and neurological and cardiovascular functioning less extensively than the higher qualifications.

Tips to Get your Pilot License in Fewer Hours

You can’t change your aptitude or weather, but you can take these steps to reduce the time needed to become a pilot.

Fly Frequently

As you fly more often, you’ll be able to handle an airplane without needing as many flight hours. Regularly practicing flight maneuvers helps you to become better at flying. Choose a school which provides a one to one training to be able to achieve this kind of training. 

Choose Carefully

To get your pilot license faster, you need to find an accredited flight school. Try asking for recommendations, researching online, and checking out the fleets.

Finally, What Skills are Needed for Successful pilots? 

Problem-solving skills

One of the important skills you’ll acquire as a pilot is Problem-solving skill. This skill lets you think logically in any situation you face, also, it makes you a good team member.

Communication Skills

Being a pilot requires excellent communication skills. You must be able to communicate effectively with people from all walks of life.

Teamwork skills

A pilot needs to work together with other pilots, mechanics, and crew members to complete tasks. They need to collaborate on projects and make decisions quickly.

leadership skills

Pilots need to lead their teammates and others through different situations. They need to motivate and inspire them to achieve goals.

The Bottom Line

Now, you know how long it takes to become a professional pilot. We’ve mostly discussed the minimum required hours, but there are other factors to consider.

Most future pilots need at least several more hours than the minimum to reach the required level of proficiency.

You can spend up to 35 hours to complete your PPL, but you definitely have some control over “how much more time” you need to put into it. You can significantly cut down on flight time by flying frequently, selecting an excellent instructor, and practicing at your own pace.

Have fun with your aviation journey, it was one to remember!