How To Become A Pilot In South Africa 2025

Pilot as a profession is demanding , Unlike most other professions, a pilot will continue studying  and developing. You will always  need to constantly read about all the changes and enhancements taking place within the airline and the overall industry. There are also simulator checks that you will have to undergo every six months. You also have to stay physically fit to pass the annual medical check-up.

This is not easy if you do not have desire and motivation, which most pilots who are passionate about their jobs have.

Frequently Asked Questions On Pilot Training In South Africa

What Are The Requirements To Become A Commercial Pilot In South Africa?

Private Pilot Licence Requirements In South Africa

What Is The Cost Of Pilot Training In South Africa

What Is a Private Pilot Licence?

What Is A Commercial Pilot Licence?

What Is An Instructor Rating Licence?

What Is An Air Transport Pilot License (ATPL)?

Pilot Training Bursaries In South Africa

How to Get A Pilot Licence In South Africa

Where To Study Pilot Training In South Africa?

Johannesburg School of Flying

43 Air School

Lanseria Flight Training

Progress Flight Academy

Flight School – Eagle Air south Africa

Madiba Bay School of Flight

U-Fly Training Academy

Aeronav Flight, Pilot and Ground School Training

Cape Town Flight Training Centre

Johannesburg Flying Academy

Blue Chip Flight School

Virginia Flight School

Sky Aviation Academy

Morningstar Flight Academy

Airborne Aviation

More topics:

Funding and timing

In South Africa, pilots mostly  pay for their own training, which will cost about R1 million to reach the CPL level. Because of this, few people can afford to complete their qualifications and required flying hours in one full-time slot. One funding alternative is to do your pilot’s training with the SA Air Force before going on to commercial piloting. There will probably be a work-back period or similar ongoing commitments to honor if you go this route.

The salary:

According to incomescale, A mid-career Airline Pilot, Copilot, or Flight Engineer with 5-9 years of experience earns an average total compensation of R585,549 based on 23 salaries. An experienced Airline Pilot, Copilot, or Flight Engineer with 10-19 years of experience earns an average total compensation of R627,500 based on 11 salaries.

How Long does  It Take To Become A Commercial Pilot?

The minimum time to become an airline pilot from scratch is about 18 months. It could take much longer if you opt to do it part-time.

Pilot training requirements and licensing regulations can vary considerably around the world. Also, most countries will only allow you to fly a locally registered aircraft with a pilot’s
license issued by that country. Some countries will validate another country’s license by having you write an air law exam, while other countries will require you to pass all the theory exams, take a flight test and pass a Class 1 medical exam in that country.

Students qualifications on getting a pilot licence:

U-Fly’s Chanel Minaar explained that before obtaining a Private Pilot Licence (PPL), one first needs to obtain a Student Pilot Licence (SPL).

The requirements for this include:

  • Must be at least 16 years of age.
  • Hold a class 1 or 2 medical certificates.
  • Hold an ICAO language proficiency certificate (if required).
  • Completed an aircraft technical.
  • Completed an Airlaw exam.
  • 2 passport photos.

Following this, holders of an SPL may then apply for a Private Pilot Licence.

“Usually students will start off with an introduction flight (optional) and signing all the necessary forms followed by a medical and briefing with an instructor to do an aircraft technical and Airlaw test,” Minaar explained.

“Thereafter you may apply for your Student Pilot Licence (SPL) at CAA in Midrand. Training will then continue as per your availability. Once you received your PPL you may only fly during the day with good weather conditions, you may not be paid for flying passengers,” she said.

Minaar said that this typically takes between 6 to 12 months – depending on completion of exams, finances and time availability.

The requirements:

  • Must be at least 17 years old.
  • Valid Student Pilot Licence.
  • Hold a restricted or general radiotelephony certificate.
  • Completed 8 online PPL exams.
  • Accumulate 45 hours total flight time by the end of the course, the 45 hours must include:
    ≥ 25 dual hours with an instructor.
    ≥ 15 solo hours as PIC.
    ≥ 5 hours cross country PIC.

Costs for PPL

U-Fly noted that the flying costs will differ based on the type of plane and the training academy.

However, it provided a general overview of how much the total course would typically cost.

Costs are based on the minimum requirements and do not factor-in the student’s performance or any additional costs to service providers.

25 Dual hours on PA28-161 @ R2 050 per hour R51 250
15 Solo hours on PA28-161 @ R1 750 per hour R26 250
5 Dual hours on FNPT II @ R960 per hour R4 800
15 Hours @ R414.00 (minimum by law) R5 250
3 Dual hours on PA28-161 @ R2 050 R6 150
2 Hours @ R350 – Ground Evaluation/Test R700
PPL Kit including all PPL notes (without Headsets) R6 544
Exams (7 x R190) with Radio exam  R1 830
Total amount  R102 774

Night Rating

“This part of the training you will start doing some of the training in our simulator, and the rest takes place in the aircraft,” said Minaar.

“There is only 1 exam for this part of training and once completed you may fly at night.”

She added that training can typically be completed within 6 weeks.

In addition, the following requirements must be met:

  • Must hold a valid Student Pilot Licence on an integrated course or hold a valid Private Pilot Licence.
  • Must have 5 hours of theoretical training.
  • Must have 10 hours dual instrument flight instruction (5 hours may have been completed in an approved FSTD).
  • Must have completed 5 take-offs and landings by night.
  • Night cross country of at least 150nm and including two full-stop landings at different aerodromes.


U-Fly also provided a general overview of the typical costs for the license.

Costs are based on the minimum requirements and do not factor-in the student’s performance or any additional costs to service providers.

5.0 Dual Instrument hours on PA28-161@ R2 050 per hour (actual 6.5 hours) R 10 250
5.0 Dual Instrument hours on FSTD @ R960 per hour R 4 800
3.5 Dual hours night cross country flying on PA28-161 @ R2 050 per hour R 7 175
1.5 Dual hours on PA28-161@ R2 050 R 3 075
5.0 briefings @ R400 per briefing R 2 000
Total amount R27 300

Commercial or Multi-Engine Commercial Pilot Licence (CPL)

“This part of training is more advanced, and it includes hour building and Instrument Rating (IR),” said Minaar.

“All exams are done at CAA. Simulator and advance aircraft training will be done during the duration off training.”

She added that training duration is typically 12 to 18 months, depending on the completion of exams.

The requirements are:

  • Must be 18 years or older.
  • Hold a valid class 1 medical certificate.
  • Hold a valid general certificate of proficiency in radio-telephony.
  • Hold a valid Private Pilot Licence.
  • Hold a Night Rating.
  • Show proof of English Language Proficiency.
  • A minimum of 200 hours total flight time, this includes:
    ≥ 100 hours PIC flight time.
    ≥ 5 hours PIC by night.
    ≥ 50 hours of cross country flying as PIC.
    ≥ 40 hours dual instrument time (20 hours may be done in an approved FSTD).
    ≥ 5 hours dual in an aircraft with adjustable flaps, retractable undercarriage and variable pitch propeller or turbojet engine.


U-Fly also provided a general overview of the typical costs for the license.

Costs are based on the minimum requirements and do not factor-in the student’s performance or any additional costs to service providers.

Hour Building

30 Hours PIC by day on PA28-161 @ R1 725  per hour R 51 750
5 Hours PIC by night on PA28-161 @ R1 725 per hour R 8 625
50 Cross country PIC hours on PA28-161 @ R1 725 per hour  R 86 250
Total R146 625

Instrument flight rating

20 Hours on FNPT II for SE IF @ R945 per hour. R18 900
20 Hours dual on PA28-161 IF @ R2 025 per hour (15 hours actual) R40 500
3 Hours on FNPT II for Multi-Engine IF @ R1 045 per hour R3 135
3 Dual hours on AC50 for IF Actual @ R3 950 per hour (2 hours actual) R11 850
27 Briefings @ R350 per briefing R9 450
Total R83 835

Multi-engine class rating

4 Dual hours on AC50 for Multi-Engine Class @ R3 950 per hour R 15 800
3 Hours on FNPT II for Multi-Engine Class @ R1 045 per hour R 3 135
7 Briefings @ R350 per briefing R 2 450
1.5 Dual hours on AC50 for DFE test flight R 5 925
Sub-Total R27 310
Grand Total R257 770


This is a globally recognised pilot’s license that enables you to fly an aircraft for pleasure or business, with friends or family. You may not however fly at night or for remuneration. You would share the same air spaces as all the airliners and other aviators, with all the same responsibilities.


This is an additional course that works hand in hand with your PPL. Air law states that 15 minutes before sunrise and 15 minutes after sunset you may fly with your PPL. A night rating enables you to fly at any time, day or night. This course gives a very basic idea of instrument flying and the dangers of flying with insufficient visual reference to the ground or horizon

Meaning of Commercial Pilots Licence: 

This is a flight license that enables you to fly for remuneration. You would have completed your full instrument rating which would enable you to fly the aircraft with reference to the instruments only. By now you would also have done your multi engine rating. Although you are able to do only a single engine commercial license we recommend the multi-engine rating, as most charter and airline aircraft are multi engine aircraft.


  • Full time – approximately 12 to 16 weeks
  • Part time – approximately 6 to 9 months

These times are given as an idea of what we have experienced throughout the years we have been involved in flight training. We have had many students that complete the training in shorter times so it depends on the student. All training is done on a “one on one” basis so the pace and program is flexible and will be set out by you and your instructor.

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