How to Become a Pilot
For those of you who are interested in becoming a pilot but do not have much knowledge of the aviation industry, the question of how to become a pilot may seem like a confusing one.
Like any industry, there is a clear path to a career as an airline pilot.
The first thing you need to do is find a flying school that can teach you to fly. Your flying will be divided between practical flying and then a flight test and theory courses followed by a theory exam or exams.
The first stage of your course will be the Private Pilot Licence. This is normally broken in two steps. Step 1 is the “how to fly” part of the course where you will learn the basic skills like take off, climbing and descending, turning, straight and level flight, landing etc. Once you know how to fly, you then need to learn how to navigate the aircraft from place to place. The technique that will be taught is what is known as VFR (Visual Flight Rules) Navigation. You will use your map and compass to find your way and at all times you must remain visual, that is, you must see where you are going and therefore stay clear of cloud.
Once you have your Private Pilot Licence you are entitled to fly an aircraft with passengers for recreational purposes only. That is, you cannot be paid to fly on a Private Pilot Licence.
If you want to fly professionally and be paid to fly, then you need a Commercial Pilot Licence so you must continue your training towards this license.
The Commercial Pilot is required to fly at a very high standard, so this stage of your training will try to elevate you to a higher level of competency. You will also need to build your solo or pilot in command hours. All the flying for your commercial licence will be by Visual Flight Rules and using a single engine aircraft. One you have passed the Commercial Pilot Licence flight test and exams, you then have the basic license that allows you to be employed as a pilot.
However as nearly all airlines fly twin engine aircraft under what is known as IFR (Instrument Flight Rules), you will need to continue your training to pass your Multi Engine Endorsement (learning to fly a twin engine aircraft) and Instrument Rating. The Instrument Rating will teach you how to fly by reference to the aircraft instruments so that you can fly under IFR conditions.
So, the basic things you need to become an airline pilot are a Commercial Pilot Licence, a Multi Engine Endorsement and an Instrument Rating. Once you have these qualifications, you have the minimum requirements to apply for a job as a pilot. Whether or not you get a job straight away depends a lot on economic conditions at the time and the current demand for pilots. The good news is that current forecasts are that the world needs about 25,000 new pilots every year, so the future looks good for new aspiring airline pilots.