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The Difference between a Private and a Commercial Pilot Training School

Private vs Commercial Pilot Training

The youth of today’s generation are becoming more attracted towards aviation as a viable career choice. However, the problem they are faced with is the choice between a Commercial Pilot Training School and Private Pilots Training School. The choice will depend on whether they want to make a career of it or will it just be a “weekend” passion.


Private Pilot Training vs Commercial Pilot Training


A Commercial Pilot License  (CPL) or a Private Pilot’s License (PPL) is required in order for a student to become a certified pilot to start off with, irrespective of the choice of career at that point. Although both are extremely popular, there are differences in what each pilot license allows the pilot to fly and for what purpose.

Differences between the CPL and PPL Training Courses

Commercial Pilots Licence (CPL) Flight Training Course

The commercial pilot license is the qualification that allows its holder to fly as a commercial pilot for financial reward or gain as either a charter pilot or bush pilot. Many types of Commercial Pilot Certificates are issued to eligible candidates for major aircraft categories from a Commercial Pilot Training School . The commercial pilot license qualifies the candidate with a multi-engine instrument rating which can be acquired for either fixed wing or rotor. A CPL certification is the first step toward forging a path as a career pilot.

Private Pilot’s Licence (PPL) Flight Training Course

A private pilot’s license only allows the pilot to fly for non-commercial purposes, mainly interested in flying as a hobby or for those who own a private aircraft. There is no remuneration allowed for this type of flying. In order for the candidate to acquire a PPL licence, they must undergo training of at least 45 flying hours. The minimum age required is 16 years and the pilot should have a medical fitness clearance certificate as per the local and international aviation authorities. A PPL also only allows the pilot to fly in daylight and when the weather is good. Night flying and heavy weather flying have to be obtained as separate ratings.

Differences in the Basic requirements for a CPL and PPL

Private Pilot’s Licence (PPL) Basic Requirements

Student Pilot Licence (SPL)

  • • Pilots must be able to read, speak, write, and understand the English Language
  • • Pilots must be able to obtain at least a class 1 or class 2 medical certificate at the Student Pilot Licence stage (SPL)
  • Student Pilots must be 16 years old to get their student pilot license (SPL) but training can commence before the age of 16

Private Pilot Licence (PPL)

  • • Pilots must be 17 years old to get their private pilot license (PPL)
  • • Pilots have to acquire 45 hours total flying time
  • • 15 hours of the total flying hours must be solo flight time
  • • 25 hours dual flight instruction with 5 hours of instrument flight instruction
  • • 5 hours solo flying must be from one airport to another (cross-country)
  • • Pilots must pass a Private Pilot written exam
  • • Pilots must pass a Private Pilot Oral and Practical Exam which includes a Radio Operators Licence, General Flight Test and Safety Navigation Procedures

Commercial Pilots Licence (CPL) Basic Requirements

  • • Pilots must be able to read, speak, write, and understand the English Language (ICAO English Language Proficiency Level 4)
  • • Pilots must be in possession of a class 1 medical certificate
  • • Pilots must be 18 years of age
  • • Pilots must have received and logged the appropriate ground and flight training for the Commercial License
  • • Pilots must have 200 hours’ total flight time
  • • Pilots must have 100 hours’ flight time as pilot in command
  • • Pilots must have 20 hours of cross-country flight time as pilot in command
  • • Pilots must pass the SA-CAA Commercial Pilot Licence written exam
  • • Pilots must pass the Commercial Pilot Oral and Practical Exam, which includes a CPL General Flight Test headed by a Grade 1 Designated Flight Examiner

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