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How do you become a commercial pilot?

How do you become a commercial pilot?

Becoming a commercial pilot used to seem like such a far fetched dream that cost a lot of money and took a lot of time. These days though, it’s become more accessible than ever!

So how does it work…we spoke to:

Who: Carlos and Mitch from Sydney Flight College

What: Commercial pilots building up their hours through flight instructing

Studied: Diploma of Aviation (Commercial Pilot Licence) at Sydney Flight College with TAFE NSW

Watch the video for all the details or continue reading below for the highlight real of what we learnt.

So how is the course structured?

It’s a 12 month course and throughout the course you alternate doing one week of flying and one week of TAFE.

After the twelve months, provided you pass, you’re a fully qualified commercial pilot.

So you could work for an airline then? 

In theory, but you airlines usually won’t hire you unless you have a few thousand hours of flying experience under your belt.

How do you build up your hours?

Well, there’s generally two ways pilots build up there hours.

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The first is through flight instructing which is what we do, and the second is through flying a charter plane – so you might be based in the Northern Territory or Western Australian and your flying people or goods around there.

Once you’ve built up your hours, then you can apply to the big airlines.

Is this the only way into a big commercial airline?

No, you can go directly to an airline through a cadet program and they’ll train you basically from zero. Most pilots do it this way though – get their commercial pilots licence, build up their hours, and then apply to the airlines where they then get trained on the specifics of that airline and their aircraft.

Are there any prerequisites to get into the course?

You only need to be 17 years of age and be eligible for VET FEE-HELP. This makes the course SO much more accessible. I used to be a weekend warrior – working and then learning to fly on weekends, but with VET FEE-HELP I was able to complete my course and get my licence within 12 months. Next stop is the airlines hopefully!

What the video to hear more about the course and different pathways – or find out more about the course here.

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