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How to become a pilot?

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Most people wish they could get a job that will allow them to visit places from all over the world. While that could seem like a pipe dream, becoming a pilot is one way to visit many major cities all over the world in a short amount of time as possible.

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Answer Adeosun
Sep 30, 22 · min read
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Being a pilot requires more than just having a 20/20 vision or being tech savvy. The aviation sector and the airlines also need to know that you have the required qualifications as well as being physically fit to navigate an airplane.

To know these and more, read through the rest of this article.

What do Pilots do?

Pilots don’t just get on an aircraft and fly. There are other duties you must perform to be effective in your role as a pilot. These are some of the duties pilots perform.

  • File and update flight plans – the pilot must file flight plans when due and keep the necessary quarters up to date.
  • Maintain the aircraft – the pilot has to ensure that the aircraft they have been assigned is well maintained. You must make sure to report any perceived faults to the right quarters for swift repairs.
  • Ensure the aircraft is adequately fuelled – the fuel must be much more than enough to take the aircraft to the next point of landing. This is because there are times when aircraft would not be able to land in their designated landing space and have to hover in the air for a while or proceed to the next available airport. The pilot cannot afford to have an empty tank mid-air.
  • Prepare aircraft for departure – before take-off, the pilot must make sure that the aircraft is ready to fly. Just because the aircraft is routinely maintained does not mean it should not be checked through before lifting up in the air as any major issue may result in a crash if not dealt with before take-off.
  • Constant communication with air traffic control – the pilot must seek permission to take off from the air traffic control as well as keep in communication with them while in the air.
  • Conduct a post-flight check of the aircraft after landing – the pilot must do a post-flight check of the aircraft after landing and keep records of his observations before leaving the airfield. This is to ensure that any tampering with the aircraft will not be his responsibility if he was not responsible for it.
  • A pilot in the UK must conform to the rules and regulations of the CAA (the Civil Aviation Authority). The CAA is the regulatory body for all things related to aviation policies and regulations in the UK and it is a part of the Department for Transport

How to qualify to be a pilot

The basic education requirement for being a pilot is a Bachelor's degree for airlines. You must have obtained 2 or 3 A levels before proceeding with aviation studies. 

Many higher institutions offer aviation studies as a course of study while there are various aviation schools and colleges dedicated to training pilots and getting them rightly equipped.

In the UK, you need to have a university degree to become a pilot. During application to your school of choice, you must have a Class 2 medical certificate which must be upgraded to Class 1 by the time you are rounding up your education.

Also, while in training at the university, you will be given a ‘frozen’ ATPL (Air Transport Pilot Licence) which allows you to train as a co-pilot in any airline of your choice.

How else can you qualify to be a pilot?

Going through the university system to take courses in aviation studies is the best route. However, you can become a pilot through

  • Direct job application
  • Training in private aviation schools
  • Join and complete a trainee scheme

Required skills for pilots

  • excellent verbal communication skills. You must be able to communicate with your crew and passengers effectively.
  • leadership skills. Leading your crew effectively is important for a safe flight.
  • knowledge of maths. This is non-negotiable as the right heights and altitudes to be at the right time are crucial.
  • be thorough and pay attention to detail. You cannot afford to leave anything to chance or miss something crucial. The lives of the crew and passengers depend on you.
  • thinking and reasoning skills. You must be able to think fast and execute your plans, especially in emergencies.
  • the ability to operate and control equipment. Being physically fit is non-negotiable for pilots. You must be able to hold control of the aircraft at all times.
  • patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations. The passengers will respond to your emotions when in danger. So, you must be able to keep calm at all times.
  • excellent computer literacy. This competence is important because many of your duties are computerized, including flying the aircraft itself.

The salary range for pilots

Pilots in the UK earn between £25,000 for entry-level pilots and £140,000 for captain level. How much you earn depends on the airline and your experience in the field.

Career progression for pilots

Pilots in the UK must start out as co-pilots with frozen ATPL certificates. After completing 1500 flights, you can then request to have the certificate unfrozen.

To become qualified for applying to be a certified commercial flight pilot, however, you must have on-the-job experience for at least 3 years. You can become a flight training officer or instructor, operations manager, or captain as you gain more experience in the field.


Training to become a pilot requires you to get field experience which is why being a co-pilot is required. The unfrozen ATPL licence you get after your aviation education, gives you the access to get jobs as a pilot which is the right step in the right direction in your career.

How to become a pilot?

Follow this guide:
HowTo step image

1. Obtain your A-level certification

The A-level certification is your in-way to gaining admission for aviation study in many universities. Otherwise, you can simply enroll in a trainee programme

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