Becoming a Pilot

How to Become a Pilot

People want to fly for all sorts of reasons, but ones things for sure, its a great hobby and rewarding career. When researching how to become a pilot, the information seems daunting and the idea may seem too much work… But it isn’t, You can do it !!!!

Lets have a look at some of the basic outline or watch SkyLearner’s Head of Training layout the basic steps.

SkyLearner Aviation-Plane Corner

Which Pilot License Do I Get ?

The 3 Types of License

There are 3 main types of pilots license available (excluding LAPL) which allow you to legally operate aircraft. You can start with a private pilots license or (PPL) and progress through various training stages in order to get your Commercial Pilot License.

Training can be done in steps at your flexibility known as a modular course or as part of a fulltime university type training course, also known as Integrated.


Private Pilot License

A Private Pilots licence allows you to fly friends and family for recreational purposes.

This licence is taken up by individuals who want to fly for a hobby or as part of the journey towards a Commercial Pilots Licence

View Our PPL Theory Course


Commercial Pilot License

The Commercial Pilot Licence allows you to be paid as a pilot and fly larger aircraft.

This licence is taken by people who want a career in flying such as Airline Pilots, Charter Pilots and Flight Instructors.


Airline Transport Pilot License

This is the highest Pilots Licence allowing you to become a captain of a large aircraft .

It is normally issued after certain requirements are met and you have been working with a commercial pilots licence for a period in order to gain experience.

The Example Story of Susan

For Example if a person called Susan wanted to learn to fly, she could chose to go modular, and complete a Private Pilot License (PPL), this allows her to fly friends and family for recreational purposes.

Susan could then continue to get additional training and ratings at her own pace, eventually completing a commercial pilots license, allowing her to get paid to fly and apply to join a commercial operator such as an airline.

After a few years of flying as a first officer for an airline also known as a co-pilot, Susan now meets the requirements for her ATPL to be issued out, and so she completes any required outstanding training and receives her ATPL.

Susan can now be upgraded to the position of Captain if the airline thinks she is suitable.

Book a Trial Lesson

The first step in getting a pilots license is to book a trial flight lesson. This allows you to go along to your local flying club and get a chance and experiencing the thrill of being behind the controls of a light aircraft.

Trial Lessons are normally available as gift certificates. and you can even normally count that experience as your first hour of flight training.

SkyLearner Aviation-Plane
SkyLearner Aviation-Light Aircraft Panel

Choose a Training Route

Modular Training

Modular Training allows you to get each license in a more time and financially flexible manner. You start with your PPL and work your way through various ratings and license levels until you get to the license you need.

A Typical trainee Airline Pilot via the modular route would be:

  1. Private Pilots License (6 Months)- £10,000
  2. Ground school for 13 x ATPL Exams (6-12 Months) £10,000
  3. Multi Engine & Instrument Rating (4 Months) £20,000
  4. Commercial Pilot License (2 Months) £10,000

Typical Total Cost: £50,000

SkyLearner Offers approved courses for the theoretical Knowledge required to pass the exams.

Integrated Training

Integrated Training is typically aimed at people who want to attend a full time course and have little or no aviation knowledge at the beginning but end up leaving as a qualified commercial pilot.

A Typical trainee Airline Pilot via the Integrated route would be:

  1. Ground school for 13 x ATPL Exams (6-12 Months)
  2. Combined Private, Commercial, Multi and Instrument Training.

Typical Total Cost: £100,000

SkyLearner Aviation- Medical

Get A Medical

Pilots are required to undertake a medical examination to ensue they have no underlining health problems which may affect their ability to fly. These conditions vary depending on the type of medical and the severity of the condition.

When you are training to become a pilot, we recommend that you book an aviation medical after your trial lesson and before you start your flight training. This is to protect your investment in the training and ensure you have no barriers to getting that dream license.

Pilot Medicals are divided into 3 main areas

  • Class 1 Medical (Commercial and Private Pilots)
  • Class 2 Medical (Private Pilots License)
  • LAPL Medical (Light Aircraft Pilots Licenses Only)

The medical examinations will be carried out by an Approved Medical Examiner (Doctor) at specified locations around around the country. Initial Class 1 Medicals are only carried out by Aeromedical Centres at limited locations such as London.

Some useful information & links published by the UK Civil aviation Authority is found here:

SkyLearner Aviation-Pilot

Once I get my Pilots License

Once you get your pilot’s licence you are free to exercise it’s privileges, meaning for private pilots you can fly your family and friends, for commercial pilots you can now start applying for jobs with an operator such as an airline.

SkyLearner offers Careers talks and advice for trainee pilots regularly via premium private zoom sessions with our dedicated instructors or through one of our live video conferences.

Frequently Asked Questions

We sadly cannot answer all the questions here in the FAQ section below, but we do offer advice and information to all our students and subscribers as a free email service or as a premium private video chat over webcam.

If you have a subscription, Do not hesitate to get in Touch !

This all depends on what type of pilot license you want to get and there are some limitations set by the Civil Aviation Authority.

Private Pilot Licence: 17 Year Old (No Maximum)

Commercial Pilot: 18 Years Old (Retire from airlines at 65 but other work still possible)

This depends on alot of different things such as what type of flying you are doing, whether you are co-pilot or captain, whether you work for domestic or long haul carriers etc.

But on average first officers get around £50,000 before tax and Captains can earn over £100,000.

Remember this is an approximate figure and there are many who earn under this and many over this !!!

The exams can be challenging, but it is important to get a good understanding in your knowledge, its not just about passing exams.

All exams have a passmark of 75% and majority use multiple choice questions selected from a central question bank operated by the Civil aviation Authority.

The syllabus is well structured and as long as you ask lots of questions you will find no shortage of help from SkyLearner to get you through the exams and understand the bits you really need to know.

SkyLearner is an Approved Training Organisation in the UK offering the theoretical knowledge (Ground school) to pass the exams.

At SkyLearner we also offer courses to help you remain proficient and improving your flying skills.

We are constantly adding new courses but our library is found below.

No !

You can continue to work and do your flight training in small chunks. This is the modular route.

Unfortunately, this is the unfair part. You will need to finance your flying training privately or if you are lucky through one of the rare funding schemes offered by airlines and organisations such as GAPAN.

This is the reason many people opt to go for the modular route and do training alongside regular work.

We do not encourage people to get into debt, by taking on large loans.

Most people however end up either:

  • Taking a Loan against property
  • Borrowing from a family member
  • Pay out of pocket

This depends on your flight school or club. Not all organisations will be approved to do the training you need, and you may need to combine a few different ones.

What is important is that you only train with Approved Training Organisations (ATOs) such as SkyLearner.

Organisations are categorised as ATOs or DTOs (Designated Training Organisations). DTOs are limited to general aviation type training (PPL) whereas ATOs can be approved on a case by case basis to conduct a large array of training.

The training must be approved by the country where you want to get your license.

As long as it is an Approved Training Organisation or Designated Training Organisation, you can do your training anywhere.

Your training school MUST be recognised by the UK CAA in order to get a UK issued license.

You must be able to obtain a medical certificate which is appropriate to the license you want.

Dont worry these are fairly sraight forward, and are conducted by Authorised Aviation Medical Examiners.

We suggest that you get your medical issued out in the early stages of your training.

You will be issued a medical certificate and must renew it based on your age range and class of medical.

Flying is fun, it can be challenging at times, but it offers huge rewards to those who love it.