How much it costs to get a pilot licence in South Africa

With reports that Emirates is currently in the country recruiting pilots, there have been an increasing number of queries around the costs of obtaining a pilot licence in South Africa.

However, even if you were not going to go the full distance and obtain a Commercial Pilot licence, there are still a number of other options available to South Africans who are looking to take to the skies.

BusinessTech recently spoke to Johannesburg-based flight school U-Fly about the current costs and requirements involved when looking to obtain your private pilot licence, as well as the additional requirements for night flying and a commercial licence.


Student and Private Pilot Licences (PPL)

Speaking to Businesstech, U-Fly’s Chanel Minaar explained that before obtaining a Private Pilot Licence (PPL), one first needs to obtain a Student Pilot Licence (SPL).

The requirements for this include:

  • Must be at least 16 years of age.
  • Hold a class 1 or 2 medical certificate.
  • Hold an ICAO language proficiency certificate (if required).
  • Completed an aircraft technical.
  • Completed an Airlaw exam.
  • 2 passport photos.

Following this, holders of an SPL may then apply for a Private Pilot Licence.

“Usually students will start off with an introduction flight (optional) and signing all the necessary forms followed by a medical and briefing with an instructor to do an aircraft technical and Airlaw test,” Minaar explained.

“Thereafter you may apply for your Student Pilot Licence (SPL) at CAA in Midrand. Training will then continue as per your availability. Once you received your PPL you may only fly during the day with good weather conditions, you may not be paid for flying passengers,” she said.

Minaar said that this typically takes between 6 to 12 months – depending on completion of exams, finances and time availability.

In addition the following requirements must be met:

  • Must be at least 17 years old.
  • Valid Student Pilot Licence.
  • Hold a restricted or general radiotelephony certificate.
  • Completed 8 online PPL exams.
  • Accumulate 45 hours total flight time by the end of the course, the 45 hours must include:
    ≥ 25 dual hours with an instructor.
    ≥ 15 solo hours as PIC.
    ≥ 5 hours cross country PIC.

Costs for PPL

U-Fly noted that the flying costs will differ based on the type of plane and the training academy.

However it provided a general overview of how much the total course would typically cost.

Costs are based on the minimum requirements and do not factor-in the students performance or any additional costs to service providers.

Cost Amount
25 Dual hours on PA28-161 @ R2 050 per hour R51 250
15 Solo hours on PA28-161 @ R1 750 per hour R26 250
5 Dual hours on FNPT II @ R960 per hour R4 800
15 Hours @ R414.00 (minimum by law) R5 250
3 Dual hours on PA28-161 @ R2 050 R6 150
2 Hours @ R350 – Ground Evaluation/Test R700
PPL Kit including all PPL notes (without Headsets) R6 544
Exams (7 x R190) with Radio exam  R1 830
Total amount  R102 774

Night Rating

“This part of training you will start doing some of the training in our simulator, and the rest takes place in the aircraft,” said Minaar.

“There is only 1 exam for this part of training and once completed you may fly at night.”

She added that training can typically be completed within 6 weeks.

In addition the following requirements must be met:

  • Must hold a valid Student Pilot Licence on an integrated course or hold a valid Private Pilot Licence.
  • Must have 5 hours of theoretical training.
  • Must have 10 hours dual instrument flight instruction (5 hours may have been completed in an approved FSTD).
  • Must have completed 5 take-offs and landings by night.
  • Night cross country of at least 150nm and including two full stop landings at different aerodromes.

Costs

U-Fly also provided a general overview of the typical costs for the licence.

Costs are based on the minimum requirements and do not factor-in the students performance or any additional costs to service providers.

Cost Amount
5.0 Dual Instrument hours on [email protected] R2 050 per hour (actual 6.5 hours) R 10 250
5.0 Dual Instrument hours on FSTD @ R960 per hour R 4 800
3.5 Dual hours night cross country flying on PA28-161 @ R2 050 per hour R 7 175
1.5 Dual hours on [email protected] R2 050 R 3 075
5.0 briefings @ R400 per briefing R 2 000
Total amount R27 300

Commercial or Multi-Engine Commercial Pilot Licence (CPL)

“This part of training is more advanced, and it includes hour building and Instrument Rating (IR),” said Minaar.

“All exams are done at CAA. Simulator and advance aircraft training will be done during the duration off training.”

She added that training duration is typically 12 to 18 months, depending on completion of exams.

The requirements are:

  • Must be 18 years or older.
  • Hold a valid class 1 medical certificate.
  • Hold a valid general certificate of proficiency in radio-telephony.
  • Hold a valid Private Pilot Licence.
  • Hold a Night Rating.
  • Show proof of English Language Proficiency.
  • A minimum of 200 hours total flight time, this includes:
    ≥ 100 hours PIC flight time.
    ≥ 5 hours PIC by night.
    ≥ 50 hours of cross country flying as PIC.
    ≥ 40 hours dual instrument time (20 hours may be done in an approved FSTD).
    ≥ 5 hours dual in an aircraft with adjustable flaps, retractable undercarriage and variable pitch propel ler or turbojet engine.

Costs

U-Fly also provided a general overview of the typical costs for the licence.

Costs are based on the minimum requirements and do not factor-in the students performance or any additional costs to service providers.

Hour Building

Cost Amount
30 Hours PIC by day on PA28-161 @ R1 725  per hour R 51 750
5 Hours PIC by night on PA28-161 @ R1 725 per hour R 8 625
50 Cross country PIC hours on PA28-161 @ R1 725 per hour  R 86 250
Total R146 625

Instrument flight rating

Cost Amount
20 Hours on FNPT II for SE IF @ R945 per hour. R18 900
20 Hours dual on PA28-161 IF @ R2 025 per hour (15 hours actual) R40 500
3 Hours on FNPT II for Multi Engine IF @ R1 045 per hour R3 135
3 Dual hours on AC50 for IF Actual @ R3 950 per hour (2 hours actual) R11 850
27 Briefings @ R350 per briefing R9 450
Total R83 835

Multi-engine class rating

Cost Amount
4 Dual hours on AC50 for Multi Engine Class @ R3 950 per hour R 15 800
3 Hours on FNPT II for Multi Engine Class @ R1 045 per hour R 3 135
7 Briefings @ R350 per briefing R 2 450
1.5 Dual hours on AC50 for DFE test flight R 5 925
Sub-Total R27 310
Grand Total R257 770

Read: 8 of the cheapest countries for South Africans to buy citizenship in 2018

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How much it costs to get a pilot licence in South Africa