Career Advice

How to Become A Pilot: A Step-by-Step Guide

Published by Afterschool.my on Aug 24, 2020, 11:15 am

Piloting has always been an enticing career for thousands of SPM and STPM leavers. The relatively short duration of the course (2 years) coupled with the fact that the starting salary for fresh graduates is high is just one of the main key factors why aviation continues to draw many interested potential students. We at afterschool.my thought it would be wise to compile a step-by-step guide on how you can become an airline pilot, from your first step to your first flight.

Step 1: Checking If You Meet the Requirements

Being a pilot is not for everybody because this career takes into account your physical characteristics such as your height and eyesight

Prior to even considering becoming a pilot, you need to check to see if you meet the minimum requirements. If you don’t, these are the minimum requirements for most of the recognised flying schools in Malaysia:

  • Malaysian citizen, age between 18 to 26 years old (as at the date of application)
  • Pass SPM or its equivalent qualification recognized by Malaysian Government with six (6) credits including Bahasa Malaysia and a minimum of B in Mathematics, Physics and English taken at one sitting OR
  • Possess Diploma / Degree in Engineering or Science related disciplines with minimum CGPA 3.0 or above and six (6) credits with a pass in Bahasa Malaysia in SPM taken at one sitting.
  • Must be physically and mentally fit with good eyesight (visual acuity of at least 6/60 without optical aid, correctable to 6/6) and not colour blind.
  • Minimum height of 163 cm (5ft 4in).

Step 2: Choosing a Flying School

Either you can enrol in a flying school or a cadet pilot programme

If you do meet the requirements as listed above, then you have TWO options.

Option A: Enrol in a Flying School/Academy

While there are numerous flying schools and clubs spread out all around Malaysia, there are a few notable flying schools in Malaysia that are recognised by the Department of Civil Aviation (DCA):

  1. Malaysian Flying Academy (MFA)
  2. HM Aerospace
  3. International Aero Training Academy (IATAC)

The course you would enrol in is to achieve your Commercial Pilot Licence with Instrument Rating (CPL/IR) with Frozen ATPL license (don’t worry, we will explain what ‘Frozen’ refers to further down the article). The shortest time this will take is 18 months. However, it should be noted that it may take longer, depending on your results in the said course. The total cost can be close to RM200,000, which is fairly normal these days for the course.

Option B: Apply for a Cadet Pilot Programme

Another option is to apply to the Cadet Pilot Programme offered by different airlines. What you can do is Google the words ‘Cadet Pilot Programme’ followed by airlines, such as AirAsia, Malaysian Airlines, etc. This program basically encompasses an airline sponsoring your flying school education, after which you will be bonded to them for a set number of years. 

Step 3: Applying for a Job / Gaining Flying Hours

Being a full fledge pilot does not take overnight and requires many flying hours to achieve that position

Upon graduation, what most fresh graduate pilots lack are flying hours. As such, fresh graduate pilots would need to apply for entry-level jobs. Once you secure a job, if you’re coming directly out of flying school, you will undergo a short training period and be given the rank Cadet Pilot (1 bar) which will involve ground training, observation of flights, simulator testing, line training (actual flying), which would amount close to 12 months (this depends on the proficiency of the cadet and how long he/she will take to clock in the hours). Once this is done, you will have secured the hours necessary to become a fully-fledged pilot, with your rank at the airline would be a second.

Step 4: You’re a Pilot!

Working as a pilot gives you the opportunity to travel to many places as long as you are physically capable of it

So with that, you’re all set. It’s all up to you to decide whether piloting is for you. Yes, the competition is fierce, but nothing worth having is ever easy to get. Just make sure you aren’t afraid of heights!

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