Requirements To Become A Pilot In South Africa (2024)

If you’re interested in becoming a pilot, the process in South Africa is quite rigorous. It’s important to understand that this career path requires years of training and hard work, so don’t expect to become an airline pilot overnight!

Requirements To Become A Pilot In South Africa

To become a pilot, you need to meet the following requirements:

  • You must be at least 18 years old and below 35 years old when applying for the flight training course.
  • Education. You need to have at least completed your matric so as to be able to join any of the registered flying schools in South Africa.
  • Language proficiency levels in English language is also required by aviation authorities and thus it is important that you are fluent with both written and spoken English before you apply for any course of study at a flying school or academy that provides education about becoming pilots in South Africa.. Flight training usually takes place after passing through medical exams given by physicians who will check if there are any underlying health conditions that might endanger other passengers on board an aircraft during take-off or landing stages during flights..
  • You must be at least 18 years old. If you are between 16 and 18 years old, you can apply for a PPL if your parents or guardians consent to your application. You will also need their written permission each time the aircraft takes off or lands at an aerodrome other than one where it is based. If you are under 16 years old, you cannot get a PPL but may apply for an Instrument Rating (IR), which allows you to fly in IMC conditions only with specific training and equipment on board.
  • In order to fly in South Africa, you will need to be able to speak and understand English. This is the only language that air traffic controllers speak at airports. You may also have to speak another language in order to communicate with your passengers and crew.

A medical examination is required to ensure that you are in good physical health. You must be free from any form of permanent disability and not suffer from any illness or disease which may make it unsafe or unsuitable for you to fly as a pilot.

Be sure to submit all relevant medical documentation, including CT scans or MRI results, before your flight training begins so that your instructor can review them with you. The following conditions will disqualify you from becoming a pilot:

  • poor eyesight;
  • hearing impairment;
  • claustrophobia; and

Private Pilot License (PPL)

You’ll need a Private Pilot License (PPL) to fly small aircraft. To get it, you must:

  • be at least 17 years old and have passed your matriculation exams (South Africa’s high school diploma).
  • read, write and speak English fluently.
  • pass a medical examination by a doctor who is registered with the South African Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA). The medical examination must include eyesight checkups every 24 months after you’ve been issued your license.
  • You’ll also need an eye test before each flight under the visual flight rules (VFR), which means flying in good weather conditions unless visibility is zero or below cloud base—in which case it’s instrument flight rules (IFR).
  • This includes instruments like GPSs, radios and other navigation aids that help pilots find their way on cloudy days or at night when skies aren’t clear enough for VFR flights without those tools available yet again due to poor visibility conditions across various altitudes above ground level (AGL).

Commercial Pilot License (CPL)

With a Commercial Pilot License (CPL), you can become a commercial pilot and fly for hire. To get your CPL, you’ll need to meet the following requirements:

  • You must be at least 18 years old.
  • You must already hold a Private Pilot License (PPL).
  • You must have completed 100 hours of flight time—50 of which were cross-country flying and 50 instrument flying.

Airline Transport Pilot License (ATPL)

In order to be eligible for the Airline Transport Pilot License (ATPL), you must have a minimum age of 21 years, and a minimum of 300 hours of flying experience. You also require 100 hours instrument flying experience and 100 hours night flying experience. Finally, you need to have completed at least 100 hours cross-country flight time with an instructor on board (i.e., not just short flights from home base).

You’ll need to hold a valid Class 1 Medical Certificate in addition to all these requirements as well before applying for your ATPL.

The process of becoming a pilot in South Africa is quite similar to that of other countries. It consists of three phases: training, licensing and employment. The first step is to obtain an undergraduate degree in aviation or aeronautical engineering from one of the universities listed on the PPL website (

The next step is to apply for the relevant licenses through your home country’s flight school, which can be done online or by visiting their offices directly.

Once you have obtained your commercial pilot license (CPL) and instrument rating (IR), you must send proof of this through an application form called “Form IV” before moving onto Phase 3: Employment as a pilot with any licensed airline company based in South Africa.

Marks Needed To Become A Pilot In South Africa

The South African Civil Aviation Authority requires that you have a minimum of NQF Level 5 (A-level) or equivalent as a prerequisite to be able to apply for the examination. This is because flying involves many complex calculations, particularly in relation to navigation and weather conditions.

The SACAA also requires that your maths, science and English marks should average at least 50% throughout high school.

This is because they want pilots who are able to think quickly while under pressure and make decisions accordingly. Pilots must also be able to work well in teams when needed but also independently when required.

To be a flight navigator, you need to:

  • Be over the age of 21
  • Have a school leaving certificate (N4 or N5)
  • Get accepted into a flight school or college.

What is the minimum average mark to become a pilot?

South Africa has made it easier to become a pilot. The minimum average mark to become a pilot is 60% and the average mark is 70%. However, there is also a minimum average mark needed to become qualified as commercial pilots.

To be qualified as commercial pilots, you should have at least 60% in your N4 (Basic) Cumulative Grade Point Average (CGPA). If you want to apply for flying school, you need to have at least 70% in your N4 (Basic) CGPA.

Is it difficult to become a pilot in South Africa?

The first step in becoming a pilot is to have a high school diploma or equivalent qualification. You should also have good marks in Maths, Science and English. After that, you will need to pass an aptitude test which is offered by some flying schools and training organisations.

The next step is to pass the South African Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA) exam before going for pilot training at one of the many certified flight schools around South Africa.

When you’re ready for your first solo flight, you must be physically fit with no medical conditions that would prevent safe flying operations.

To help make sure this happens, pilots will undergo regular medical assessments so they can remain fit enough for work as well as maintain their licenses and ratings over time.

How can I get into flight school with no experience?

  • You need to have good marks.
  • You need to be able to pass the entrance exams.
  • You need to be able to pass the physical exams.

Why is becoming a pilot so difficult?

Becoming a pilot is not easy. You may have thought that all you need to do is pass your exams, get your licence and then fly wherever you want. While there are pilots who do this, it’s not always the case. There are a number of things that make becoming a pilot so difficult in South Africa:

  • You need a degree in aeronautical engineering (engineering or mechanical engineering). This means studying math, science and English for three years before specializing in aerospace engineering for another four years or so. This can be very time-consuming!
  • Once graduated from university with your degree, you’ll need to be able to pass occupational competency tests before being granted your licence by the South African Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA). The SACAA requires that pilots meet certain standards including good eyesight and physical fitness levels.
  • You need to be good at mathematics, science and english. In order to become a pilot in South Africa, you’ll need to be good in mathematics, science and English. It’s important that you study hard for these subjects at school.
  • It is also very important that you take physics at high school level. You must also study chemistry and biology while at high school but they are not as important as the other subjects mentioned above.
  • You will also need to study geology if you want to become a pilot because being able to read maps is an essential part of being a pilot.

Pilot Requirements Subjects In South Africa

The pilot requirements subjects in South Africa are:

  • Mathematics (Maths) at grade 12 level
  • English language or equivalent to NQF level 2 or 4, with a minimum of 70% in all papers. In addition, you need to submit an application letter and motivation letter outlining the reason for your application and explaining why you want to pursue a career as a pilot.
  • Mathematics A-level or equivalent (e.g., Mathematics N2 or Advanced Level Maths)
  • Physics (either one of these: Physics N1, Grade 12 Physics or O level physics) OR Computer Science N4, Grade 12 Computer Science, Grade 11 Computing Studies/ICT and Applied Maths at an FET College Level 4 Academic Courses.
  • You must also pass a class 2 medical examination.
  • You must be 18 years old.
  • You must be a South African citizen or permanent resident.
  • You must have a valid driver’s license and pass an Aviation Medical Examination with the South African Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA).
  • If you are not a resident, but want to work for an airline company in South Africa, then you will also need to apply for the appropriate permit from SACAA. This may take up to 90 days from date of application submission by your employer before approval is granted.

This is to make sure that you are physically fit, healthy and don’t have any physical limitations which could affect your ability to fly a plane.

You must be able to see properly with both eyes without glasses, contact lenses or an aid (such as monocular). You must also have at least 6/12 vision in each eye, with or without correction.

Your hearing must also be good enough for you to hear sounds inside the aircraft when it is noisy outside – this means that you can hear voices from within the cockpit when speaking at normal volumes (without shouting).

Make sure you’re ready to fly by doing well on these important subjects.

  • Flight theory examination
  • Flight practical examination
  • Flight test



We hope that this article has been of help in understanding the requirements to become a pilot. There are many things to consider when undertaking this career and it is not an easy one. However, it is still possible for anyone who wants to do so!

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