FAQ & Answers
I am in high school and I’m thinking of a career as a pilot. When is the best time/age to begin my training?
Due to the time which it could take for someone to reach the point at which they are “Employable” as a pilot, may be a lengthily (which is usually factored by money and the cost of flying), that we recommend starting as soon as possible.
The law requires one to be a minimum age of 17 years old before he/she may fly solo. With that in mind, we suggest starting 6 months prior to your 17th birthday.
A FULL TIME student could complete the Private Pilot Licence within 6-8 weeks, but part time, and at a good pace, still leaving time for school work and studies, the above age/time to start is very beneficial and is explained below.
The Private Pilot Licence is the first step towards acquiring a Commercial Pilot Licence.
The PPL (Private Pilot Licence) consists of the following:
- 8 theoretical examinations.
- 25 hours of DUAL flight instruction.
- 20 hours of SOLO flight hours.
As can be see a very minimum amount of added workload is required and should not interfere with schoolwork when working at the following pace.
- 8 subjects and exams over a 12-month period is a very low workload – 1 exam every 1½ months.
- 25 DUAL hours completed in the first 6 months (prior to turning 17) is 1 flight hour a week.
- 20 SOLO hours – at 1 hour per week.
The advantages of starting with the PPL at this age/period, apposed to only once finishing with school, are countless and will ensure a person of a good head start in a career which could take a long time to complete and not to forget, a good amount of money too.
Below, are the 2 biggest advantages which are to be the most beneficial to start you training as early as possible:
- Costs are spread over a 1-year period, instead of 6-8 weeks.
- Unlike a career in say Medical or Law, where one needs to outlay large sums of money at the beginning of each university year, and as in many cases, only to find that half way through a degree that it may not actually be the career for YOU (this does not really happen to pilots very often), by the time the student is done with school not only do you have a very good head start to your career, but also a “Qualification” or Private Pilot Licence. Even if, in the very unlikely chance that flying is not what it was thought to be, one still has PPL Licence and can use it throughout life on a recreational level.
This further goes on, that the following year may be used to continue with the CPL (Commercial Pilot Licence) from the get go. On a full time basis, the Commercial portion should/could take anywhere between one to two years to complete, Factors such as Weather and again finances could extend the time further. On the other hand, if funding is available and weather is good, it could take less than 12 months. It is solely up to the student and the above mentioned variables. At AFOS we do NOT take students at interval periods (2 or 4 times per year), as most other flight schools do. We pride ourselves on giving each student INDERVIDUAL attention, on a 1 to 1 basis, thus we take students in at any time, and we do not stipulate how long it should take a student to complete ANY part of their training. This means that if it takes someone 10 years to complete their training, then so be it. We understand that everyone is in a different situation to the next person and that everyone learns differently and it is just THAT, which we feel makes it necessary for each student to receive individual, undivided attention and to be allowed to work at their own pace.
It has always been my dream to fly, either as a career or on a recreational basis. It was never possible until now, but I think my age may be a problem. Do you think that I can start learning to fly at my age?
Absolutely!! We at AFOS Flight Training Academy have students of all ages. The only age prohibiting clause in the law to flying is “A student may not fly solo under the age of 17 years old”. With regards to the upper limit of age, so as long as you are healthy enough to pass your Class II Medical examination, you are in the all clear to live out your dream.
How do I enroll at AFOS Flight Training Academy? What are the first steps & how often does the academy take on new students?
Give us a call to setup a meeting at the school. On your first visit we will also arrange you Introduction Flight. Unlike majority other flight schools, AFOS takes on new students all the time. We will require you to bring the following documents along with you for your Intro Flight:
- South African Identity Book / Passport if not a S.Answer Citizen.
- Parent or Guardian if under the age of 18 years old.
- Medical Aid Details for your file.
The first step in starting to fly is doing your Introduction Flight.
How long does it take to do my Private Pilot Licence or Commercial Pilot Licence?
There is no time limit on how long or how quick one can complete your pilot Licence. With that said, we have can tell you that on a full time basis it is possible to complete your PPL in 6-8 weeks (Weather Dependent).
For a Commercial Licence, it could be done in 6 months on a full time basis(Weather Dependent).
I have received quotations from other flight schools and they are way more expensive than AFOS. What are the hidden costs?
There are no hidden costs what so ever. The reason why AFOS Flight Training Academy is cheaper than most other flight schools is due to the aircraft on which we train on. We use Tecnam Aircraft whose running costs are much lower than Cessna’s & Piper Cherokee’s.
What are the Pros & Cons of learning to fly on Tecnam Aircraft?
There are not many Cons, well none any different from any other training aircraft. The Pro’s on the other hand are MANY more when being compared to Cessna’s or Piper’s. Below is a list of Pros:
- Cost is probably the biggest pro.
- Technam’s are basic training aircraft, thus students start learning to fly from their first lesson opposed to first learning complex aircraft systems.
- Safety – Technam’s are known to have a very high safety rating. They are well built Italian built aircraft.
- Students will achieve their Licence in way less hours than those learning on more complex aircraft.
I would like to fly Cessna’s or Piper’s once I have my Licence. How does training on a Tecnam affect the kind of Licence I get?
The aircraft on which you learn to fly on does not affect your “type” or “kind” of Licence what-so-ever. Each different aircraft we wish to fly thereafter would requires a “Type Rating” on that particular aircraft. Each type rating acquired involves the pilot to do +/- 2-3 hours with an instructor. The aircraft on which a student learns to fly on, ensures that when the PPL is completed, the new pilot will then hold the type rating for that aircraft.
How often do I need to fly when doing my training?
There is no regulation which stipulates how often a student should fly. But like learning anything, Repetition & Frequency is key. While there is no regulation, we would suggest flying no less than 1 time per week. Anything less than that would/could result in the student doing a few more hours to complete their Licence due to a bit of re-capping each lesson but it is not a huge issue.
What subject’s do I need to take at school to become a pilot?
When doing your Pilot Licence on your own (Not on a bursary or through an Airline Cadet Program), there are no minimum requirements needed. That said, there are certain subjects which will help knowing when learning to fly. These are Mathematics, Geography, Physical Science & English. If the above subjects were not taken at school, it is not a problem, the learning curriculum will cover everything needed.
Will my South African Pilot Licence I receive at AFOS be valid in other countries?
The training curriculum which is followed for all flight training is in accordance with the SA-CAA (South African Civil Aviation Authority). The SA-CAA acts under ICAO (International Civil Aviation Organization). Although most countries follow the ICAO regulations, each country has their own CAAnswer Thus, each country has small air laws which differ from country to country. In countries which are regulated by ICAO, the SA-CAA pilot licence is recognized, but due to the differences in laws, in most cases would require the pilot to write the Air-Law examination of that particular country along with a stipulated number of hours to be flown with a Flight Instructor within that country. Once this has been completed, you will then hold a licence for that country. When converting your licence to another country, the number of hours required to be flown under instruction will be reduced as the number of hours flown on your SA-CAA licence – Experience Counts!
The USA is not governed by ICAO and their regulations are governed by the FAA (Federal Aviation Authority). Although the process to convert is not as straight forward, your flying experience, hours & licence will all still be recognized.
How do I go about paying for my training?
Do I need to pay everything upfront?
Do I need to pay a deposit?
Do I need to pay Insurance?
I received a quotation from AFOS. Are there any HIDDEN costs or FEES?
With regards to how you pay for your training, it is up to you. If you would like, you may pay as you fly. If you can only afford to fly once a month and pay on the day of your flight, then so be it. Should you prefer to deposit an amount, say R10 000 & keep your account in a positive, then you may do so.
No payments are required before you start flying. AFOS is one of the very few schools who do not ask for a deposit nor do we ask the student to pay for excess insurance. Our hourly rate includes excess insurance.
The pricing on our website covers EVERYTHING which you will be charged for. This said, we quote according to the SA-CAA stipulated MINIMUM hours required for the issue of a pilot licence. It is not a given that anyone will finish their training upon reaching those hours. Some people do, and some people don’t. Every hour over the stipulated amount in our quotation will obviously be a “HIDDEN” cost which was unforeseen.