Pilots are highly trained professionals who fly aircraft, performing a multitude of tasks. Most pilots are employed in the commercial and military aviation fields. Civilian or private pilots may not offer flying services in exchange for reward but fly merely for pleasure or may apply their flying abilities in their own businesses. They usually only have a private pilot's licence.
Professional pilots work within the commercial field. They hold either a commercial pilot’s licence or an airline transport pilot’s licence. The work may involve transporting passengers and cargo to and from airports or performing tasks such as crop dusting, inspecting pipelines, conducting sightseeing trips or helping with rescue operations. There are usually two pilots on board during commercial airline operations but there may be more depending on the type of aircraft and specific requirements.
The captain is the pilot-in-command and the first officer is the co-pilot. The captain is responsible for the safety of the aircraft, passengers, crew and cargo. The captain supervises the crew, gives instructions and makes all decisions.
It is the captain’s job to check the aircraft, route, weather and an alternative destination before take-off, then fly the aircraft over the planned route, land it and file the flight report. The co-pilot assists or relieves the captain operating the aircraft, monitoring flight instruments and air traffic control channels.
The working life of an airline pilot is highly regulated by flight duties. A pilot is only allowed to fly a specific number of hours in a month. Evaluations and medical examinations continue throughout career.
Schooling & School Subjects
National Senior Certificate
Private Pilot: The training for a private pilot can be done at numerous licensed flying clubs or schools:
After completion of the course, a Private Pilot Licence (PPL) is obtained which entitles the pilot to fly for recreational purposes but not for money or any reward.
Professional Pilot: qualified private pilots may enrol at certain advanced flying schools to receive training as a commercial pilot and qualified commercial pilots may receive training toward obtaining an Airline Transport Pilot’s Licence.
Commercial Pilot: Commercial Pilot Licence (CPL):
Airline Pilots’ Association of South Africa (ALPA-SA)
P O Box 796
Kempton Park, 1620
Tel: (011) 394-5310
South African Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA)
Ikhaya Lokundiza Building 16
Treur Close, Waterfall Park
Bekker Street, Midrand
Tel: (011) 545-1000