Thinking about Commercial Pilot Licence?
Updated: Mar 19
It is an incredible time to consider a career in aviation with the current outlook for the industry to require up to 790,000 new pilots by 2037!
Our industry is currently playing catch up with pilot training, with the global forecast for so many qualified pilots and engineers constantly increasing. The flow on effect for the industry is already showing, with many GA and regional operators in desperate need of qualified staff.
This has lead to an increased need for pilots to be trained within a suitable time frame and obtaining all of the skills and ratings needed to work within the industry.
Obtaining a Commercial Licence (CPL) has never been easier with many schools offering full time/part time training pathways. However there are some big traps to look out for that can end up costing the students additional money and time.
As always, when there is a growth in an area such as aviation, there is often the darker side of the industry, where some operators will take advantage of those less experienced or less knowledgeable for their own financial gain.
Funding - this is a huge aspect of obtaining your pilots licence as learning to fly is not the cheapest type of training, however many pilots are fooled into believing that by undertaking a course funded by VET fee loans that they will be better off.
The VET student loans program assists eligible students pay for tuition for approved vocational training. This means that students will not have to pay upfront for their training, and will repay the loan once employed and reaching a repayment threshold.
However there are some down falls with this process. Often an additional fee is charged on-top of the course fee, this can depend on the facility delivering the training, but it has been mentioned that some are charging around an additional 25% to the course cost, this adds up to a lot of money that you still have to repay in the long run.
Additionally not all fees are always covered by the funding, leaving a short fall for the student to absorb, so pilots need to ensure that they have done their research thoroughly.
Funding can be provided in the form of personal loans or there is the option to work to fund your training and study for your licence part time as many flying schools offer these options to pay as you go. (which is what most of us did before the days of VET fee help).
Additional Ratings - many student pilots do not realise that they can undertake a variety of additional ratings and endorsements to their licence as part of their CPL training period.
For example, the Multi Engine rating which takes around 7-10 hours and the associated Multi Command Instrument rating - which is around 40 hours of training are additional training hours, can both be included in the 200 hour CPL course instead of being added to the 200 hours. This will significantly reduce the costs and the time frame involved to the student.
Timelines & Expectations - One of the main issues we find is when pilots have graduated with their CPL they believe that they can obtain a job immediately with what we call in the industry, a 'fresh' CPL licence.
Sadly this is far from accurate, with most companies requiring minimum hours of flying experience before they can employ you.
This is usually based on the need to meet the minimum insurance requirements for that operator and the aircraft being used. Realistically most pilots struggle to obtain full time commercial work with less than 350 hours total time, unless they have obtained a large amount of time on the aircraft being used in the commercial operation throughout their training period.
At PanAir Flight Training we offer pilots the option to train in our charter aircraft during their training period, as well as the opportunity to fly ICUS (In command Under Supervision).
ICUS is a wonderful way to build hours on type with an experienced pilot beside you and all ICUS hours are viewed as equal to command hours in your log book, helping you to meet the minimum insurance and experience hours on type.
Training Plan - It is vital for any student to have a training plan in place to assist with their training program. This ensures that each students training needs are personalised to suit the individuals and ensures accountability on both the student and training provider. It is important for the student to be able to share their expectations to their instructors, to ensure that the students needs are being met.
Aircraft - many student pilots can be misguided by the aircraft type being used for training. Just because it looks flashy, doesn't mean it is the best aircraft for you to be undertaking your training in. Many flashy newer aircraft are often on leasing or hire purchase which means they are charged out to the students at a higher rate, these aircraft are vary rarely used in GA operations.
Many GA operators use a variety of aircraft in their day to day business operations, most of these aircraft we refer to in the industry as the 'GA work horse' aircraft. These aircraft such as the mighty Piper Chieftain (PA31), are one of the most popular working aircraft in GA around Australia. These aircraft will carry large payloads, cover great distances in a short timeframe, but they also can be flown into some of the remotest locations and challenging airstrips in the country.
It would make perfect sense to undertake at least some of your training on an aircraft type that you will most likely need in your log book to get that first job in the industry, instead of having to pay for additional time on that aircraft after you have finished your CPL, costing you time and more money! So make sure you consider this option as a part of your training plan.
We hope that some of this information is helpful and informative, our team are always available to answer any further questions or help in any way that we can with your training needs. Check out our web site for more details on obtaining your pilot licence.
BLUE SKIES TAILWINDS!