Aspiring pilots, welcome!
Learning to fly takes time and effort, but it’s worth it. Not only will you be able to see the world from a whole new perspective, but becoming a pilot also opens up many doors for you—especially if you’re interested in becoming a commercial pilot.
You may have questions about how to get started with this career path and how to become a pilot in Australia, so we’ve put together this blog to answer some common questions we hear at our flying school, Learn To Fly.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some of the most-asked questions we get asked on how to become a commercial pilot:
1. How many years does it take to become a pilot in Australia?
The time to train and obtain your licence will depend on the type of licence and the time you spend working towards meeting your flying requirements.
An Integrated Bachelor of Aviation takes around three years, whereas a Private Pilot Licence (PPL) can take around 4 to 6 weeks (if flying and studying full time). While attending a school to obtain your flying licence, you must complete your practical training for licence type. For a non-integrated course, a minimum of 35 hours of flying experience as a pilot, 10 hours of solo flight time, and 5 hours of cross-country flight time are required to earn a private pilot licence.
On the other hand, the minimum training for an integrated course commercial pilot licence is 140 hours as the pilot, 70 hours as the pilot in command, and 20 hours of pilot in command in a cross-country flight. The necessary training increases to 200 hours as a pilot and 100 hours as a pilot in command for a non-integrated course.
2. How much does it cost to become a pilot in Australia?
The cost to become a commercial pilot in Australia varies depending on your chosen route. A standard 4-year bachelor’s degree in aviation with a major in Commercial Aviation can cost between AUD40,000 – AUD117.940.
If you’re looking for a more accessible way to pilot a plane, you may want to consider getting your Private Pilot Licence first. This is usually done through an approved flight school like Learn to Fly and will cost anywhere between $8,000 – $25,000.
3. What qualifications do you need to become a pilot in Australia?
To become a pilot in Australia, you must be 15 years or over. For a commercial pilot in Australia, you must complete an approved course with an aviation college or university. This course will include ground school training, flight theory, and practical exams. You must also pass the CASA medical examination and have your commercial pilot’s licence (CPL) before you can apply to fly commercially.
4. Are pilots in demand in Australia?
There is a high demand for pilots in Australia. This is mainly because there are not enough pilots to meet the needs of the industry. There are implications in Australia as a result of the worldwide pilot shortage. During the pandemic, airlines throughout the world reduced their staff pilots. The major pilot organisation in Australia, the Australian Federation of Air Pilots, reports that during COVID-19, over 23% of its members were laid off. The airlines are getting back on track sooner than expected, but pilot shortages are causing some problems.
Australia will require an additional 11,000 pilots by 2038, according to the New South Wales government in November 2021, and there will be a rising demand abroad for Australian-trained pilots.
5. How long does it take to be a commercial airline pilot?
The answer depends on several factors, including the type of certificate you are pursuing and the type of experience you already have. Aspiring pilots need the Commercial Pilot Licence (CPL), Instrument Rating, and 1500 hours of flying time to qualify for the Airline Transport Pilot Certificate, which is required to work for an airline. In some cases, such as with a relevant bachelor’s degree, the minimum required hours might be lowered to 1,000.
It can take 7–10 months to go from having never flown before to having earned a Private Pilot License, an Instrument Rating, and a Commercial Pilot License, and it can take another 1 to 3 years in the workforce before reaching the required 1,500 flying hours.
6. Can you become a pilot without a degree?
To become a pilot for a major airline, you need not attend a specialised aviation university or even have a degree in aviation. Indeed, big airlines hire people with bachelor’s degrees in any discipline and aren’t picky about what they studied. In reality, the degree serves more as evidence of the applicant’s skills, dedication, and persistence than anything else.
7. Is becoming a pilot worth it?
The answer to this question is not always easy because it depends on many factors, such as the type of flying you want to do, the level of education needed, and your financial situation. The average salary for a commercial airline pilot ranges from AUD45,000 to AUD200,000 per year. That’s a lot of money, considering you don’t necessarily need a college degree! However, if you decide that flying is not for you, you can become an air traffic controller or even work for an airline management company, which pays equally well.