I would like to pursue a career as an airline pilot. Could you please recommend which is the best place to do my flight training (CPL/ATPL licence) along with a degree in a related field? I am dazed by the number of options available.
Sigmund Baretto, via email
As I do not have enough information on what qualifications you currently have or know if you are in school or college, it is difficult to answer the question clearly. Several colleges all over the world have a high requirement for the selection process for flight training.
Commercial Pilot Licence (CPL): This is the licence you need to make a living out of flying. The licence allows you to be a pilot in private or commercial airlines, lets you do crop dusting or give flight instruction. In the US, you can get your CPL through a certified flight school or a certified instructor. To acquire your private pilot licence, you also need to do the instrument rating (IR) course in addition to the flying hours.
Airline Transport Pilot Licence (ATPL): To become the captain of your crew, you will need this licence. In the US, you should have a minimum of 1,500 hours of flying time and be above the age of 23. Once you have achieved your flying hours you will need to sit for a written exam and a flight exam.
In the US there are scores of flight schools and the best person to guide you through the maze would be a qualified college advisor. Some schools offer Dual Certificates, in both Federal Aviation Administration (USA) and Joint Aviation Authorities (Europe) certificates.
Flight training is available in the UK at various universities. You could apply for a BA in Air Transport with Commercial Pilot training. To qualify, you need to have good grades in school; two A level subjects, English and Mathematics at GCSE level. Science subjects would be an advantage.
Another option is the BSc in Air Transport Operations with ATPL (Airline Transport Pilot Licence): for this maths and physics are highly recommended but not essential. A level should have a science subject.
If doing IB, then the minimum normally is 28.
There is also a Bachelors in Engineering, Aviation Engineering and Pilot studies, BEng Aerospace Engineering with Pilot Studies to mention a few.
In addition, you will need to get a Class 1 medical certificate from the UK Civil Aviation Authority before commencing training.
It is highly recommend that you take a pilot aptitude test from the Guild of Air Pilots and Navigators (GAPAN) or a flight training organisation. You will also need to take an IELTS exam and obtain a minimum of 6.0 or a TOEFL minimum 79.
Sanjeev Verma began his career with Ernst & Young before moving on to set up the Gulf operations of IDP Education Pty. He now leads Intelligent Partners in Dubai developing a wide range of solutions in areas of international education