A commercial pilot licence is the qualification you will need if you wish to pursue a career as a professional pilot. Training for a CPL may only commence once the candidate has obtained a valid Private Pilot Licence. There are a number of different choices available to students who wish to do a commercial pilot licence.

The options available are as follows:

CPL Single-engine VFR
CPL Single Engine IR
CPL Multi-engine VFR
CPL Multi-engine IR

CPL Single-engine VFR/ CPL Single-engine IR

While the single-engine CPL VFR is the most cost effective way to obtain a commercial pilot licence it is also unfortunately the most limiting. With a single engine VFR (Visual Flight Rules) you will only be able to fly single-engine aircraft in favourable weather conditions. You may choose the option to complete the single engine CPL IR (Instrument Flight Rules), this allows you to pilot an aircraft in marginal/ deteriorating weather conditions by learning to fly solely on reference to the aircrafts instrumentation. This is less limiting than a VFR licence but you will still only be able to fly single-engine aircraft which will significantly narrow down the number of commercial operations who will be able to employ you due to fleet requirements.

CPL Multi-Engine VFR/ CPL Multi Engine IR

While the CPL multi-engine IR is the most expensive option available due to the increased costs of operating a multi-engine aircraft it is without a doubt the most marketable commercial licence when it comes to applying for a job as it is the least restrictive of the CPL licences. Very few people will choose the option of doing a Multi-engine VFR CPL as an instrument rating is a vital qualification when working towards becoming a career pilot.

What does the training involve?

In order to obtain a South African Commercial Licence you will need the following:

  1. You must be the holder of a valid South African Private Pilot Licence with a night rating.
  2. You must be no less than 18 years of age.
  3. You must be the holder of a valid General Radio Licence.
  4. You must be the holder of a valid Class 1 Aviation medical certificate.
  5. You must have completed all SACAA commercial licence theoretical examinations.
  6. The practical flight test must be undertaken with a SACAA approved designated flight examiner within 36 months of having passed the theory exams.

The following are the MINIMUM requirements that must be met before the practical flight test:

200 hours of flight time which must include:

  • 20 hours of flight instruction time in an approved flight simulation training device.
  • 100 hours as pilot-in-command, or 70 hours in the case of and applicant who has undergone integrated training.
  • 20 hours of cross-country flight as pilot-in-command. This must include one flight of not less than 300NM. This flight must also include two full-stop landings at no less than two different aerodromes away from base.
  • 5 hours night flying as pilot-in-command, this must include not less than 10 take-offs and 10 landings at night. It must also include a cross-country flight of at least three legs, each leg is to be a minimum of 50NM.
  • 20 hours instrument instruction time, of which no more than 10 hours may have been acquired on a flight simulation training device.
  • At least five hours instruction on a complex aircraft (variable pitch propeller, retractable undercarriage).
    Please note the above requirements are based on the single-Engine commercial pilot licence with an instrument rating. The requirements as laid out above are determined by which CPL course you choose to enrol for (i.e. Single-engine/Multi-engine or Visual flight rules/Instrument flight rules). Please see our cost estimates for the various courses for more detailed information regarding the requirements.
    At present it is not compulsory to attend a Commercial Ground School course however we strongly recommend that all candidates consider attending as this will give you the best preparation for the examinations you will need to complete. All CPL theoretical examinations are written at the Civil Aviation Authority and booking are to be made directly through the SACAA.

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