How To Become A Pilot

how to become a pilot

So you want to become a pilot. You’re either a fresh faced and dewy eyed teenager, or an *insert job title here* disillusioned with the whole *insert job description here* thing.

But how, I hear you ask, do I join the elite and illustrious ranks of the airborne aviationally related careered heroes and heroines of the sky?

This article is a showcase and collection on what is on offer within If you look around further and deeper inside the murky depths of this very site, you will be rewarded with an avalanche of information that should answer most of your questions. If not, mosey on over to our forums!

Is a flying career for you?

First of all, you need to be sure that this is something you want to get into. I won’t dwell on this issue too much, but you can find what the current aviationally related climate is like reading some of the other articles on this site (look under the news section). Key negatives though:

  • No guarantee of job after training (see our recent BA article)
  • Poor job security
  • Industry with an uncertain future
  • Several other people already qualified = competition for jobs!
  • £££££. I cannot emphasise enough the £££££!

That’ll do. There’s plenty of negativity on other sites, so if you wish, you can get your gloom fix there. On, it is all bunnies and sunshine (aviationally related bunnies and sunshine).


The positives are a given, and I am sure I don’t need to go into them. If you have decided that controlling a metal container flinging itself around the sky is something you want to do for the rest of your working life, then I believe you will already be acquainted with these.

Training Involved

The training involved in becoming a pilot can be summed up in one word: expensiveintensiverewardingsometimesfrustrating.

There are several different licences you can get that allow you to do different things, and there are several different ratings that you can tag onto these licences that allow you to do even more aviationally related activities. Look at the fascinating flowchart below for a tantalising glimpse into the meandering road of pilot training that stretches out before you.

I think you will agree that is a veritable hotbed of high quality interactivity.

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There are two ways to end up with a CPL/ME/IR/MCC (learn these acronyms, they are tossed around very casually in aviator circles). These are either through modular or integrated flight training. Briefly, modular training is where you do each of those boxes in the timeline as separate modules at one or more schools. You don’t have to do all of it all at once, and generally modular training is cheaper than the other option integrated. Integrated training is where you go to one school, and they will train you from zero to hero over the course of about a year and a half.

You can see what awaits you in either of those routes by looking at our article on modular vs integrated flight training.

What if I only want to fly for fun?

Then all you will need is a Private Pilot Licence, and a class 2 medical.

These will enable you to be able to fly, without getting paid for it, in a single engined aircraft. You can also tag on additional ratings afterwards if you want to start flying multi engined aircraft, or in instrument conditions (hurtling around in a maelstrom entrusting your life to pressure and gyros).

Where can I train?

You can train for your licences at any schools approved to conduct flight training by the CAA. Some schools are very grandiose with plush catalogues and receptions and stuff; others are more of a portaloo affair. Either way, they will both give you the same licence – so don’t necessarily get sucked in by the literature!

Again, is brilliantly amazing and has a snazzily interactive flight school map that shows you all (well… most) of the flight schools in the country. You can even filter the results to show what licence/rating training is available where (PPL, Multi rating, CPL etc.), at our map portal page.

Click on an airport to bring up the flight schools located there, and then on the flight schools names to take you to their information pages.

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All those red dots represent a flight school – zoom in to your area and see how aviation educationally diverse your area is!

All the schools have their own datasheet on this website, with contact details, web addresses and student reviews all handily collated on one page. Give the schools a buzz, and have a look around!

More information on choosing a school can be found in our PPL section

Once you’ve started training

Once you start your training, profpilot helps with this articles section, and also has a slowly expanding library of flight training videos for your digestion. If you have any questions – you can post them in our forums. And don’t forget to come back and leave a review for your flight school!

Having finished your training, the aviationally related world is your oyster. You could become an airline pilot, a bush pilot, a parachute plane pilot, a crop sprayer pilot, an air taxi pilot, a glider towing pilot, a flight instructor pilot, an aerial survey pilot, a charity pilot, a banner towing pilot, or just a flying for pleasure pilot.

Either way, you’re all set for a rewarding career. If you can get a job. That’s quite hard. And a whole different article.

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7 Responses to “How To Become A Pilot”

  1. Sam says:

    Hi ! I see no one has commented yet … I just wanted to say that your article was good , and i enjoyed reading it ! But what i loved most was your sincerity :) And i think you know what i mean by that !

  2. profpilot says:

    Hi Sam!

    Glad you’re finding the site useful.

    Also, you have an awesome name.

    That is all.

    Sam (aka profpilot)

  3. Jethro says:

    Do you have to have the same licences to be able to get a job in the helicopter side of civil aviation?

  4. profpilot says:

    They’re similar licences – but different. Instead of having the big whirly thing at the front, it’s on top, and this changes quite a lot regarding flying the thing. So you have a PPL, CPL, Instructor etc. all for helicopters. Helicopters are more expensive than fixed wing, and from what I’ve heard from the few helicopter qualified people that I know, it is even more difficult to get a commercial job as a helicopter pilot than it is for fixed wing. But since getting a job as a fixed wing pilot is so easy at the moment, I’m sure it’s only slightly more difficult. THIS IS SARCASM. Just so you’re aware.

    Want to find out more then this site looks like it might be quite useful: London Helicopters. I don’t know much about the whirly thing on top side of things I’m afraid.

  5. what are the subjects needed to be a pilot

  6. Mike says:

    I absolutely loved this article. So disarming in its honesty and cynicism – we need more of those around!

  7. natasha says:

    hey, this article is really helpful thanx 2 whoever made it ! anyway i just have a question:
    i really wanna be a pilot but am worried that my height might stop me from doing so, i’m only 4 ft 10 in! will this affect my career????

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