CPL Training Questions

Pro Member Trainee
seadogs Trainee

Hello to everyone

I have been doing some checking on obtaining my CPL in South Africa. Would airlines accept you on just a CPL or do you need an ATPL? How does one get an ATPL? Also, would it be best to get a degree, such as mechanical engineering or of any other kind?

Thanks in advance.

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Pro Member First Officer
Luke (warlord40) First Officer

My father, although retired recently had flown for over 30 years, biggest thing they will be looking at will be flight hours and on what aircraft/aircrafts, and of course flight training and at what level and with what company/company's (Australia /NZ anyway), everything else is secondary

Pro Member Chief Captain
Jonathan (99jolegg) Chief Captain

An airline won't accept you with a CPL, 99% will want CPL/IR MCC i.e. a frozen ATPL. You get the frozen ATPL by doing the CPL/IR MCC and ME.

Degrees aren't essential, you'd spend a lot of money on it and probably wouldn't use it again if you had a career in aviation.

Pro Member First Officer
Tartanaviation First Officer

One of the big factors airlines and most companies are looking for today is work experience. A degree does not tell you much about a person. Alot of people coming out of universities etc can not get a job because they have no practical work experience and lack people skills.

If you do gain a CPL+IR+MCC+ME and have passed all the ATPL theory exams,without having gone through a training institution that has good contacts with airlines, people in such a situation tend to turn towards instructing. With low hours airlines are more than likely to turn you away. Instructing is the way forward in this situation until you at least have a good 1500 Hours, although people would mabye dispute that figure. Then there is the downside you need an instructor rating. If modular I would seriously suggest the CPL course to you, then getting the instructor rating. Then using the money from the teaching to get more licences.

Pro Member Trainee
seadogs Trainee

Thanks for the info. 😀 But what does MCC stand for?


Pro Member First Officer
Tartanaviation First Officer

Its a Multi-Crew Co-ordination course. Effectively its a course to help you transfer from small, simple cockpits to the complex cockpit of an airliner.

Last edited by Tartanaviation on Sun Jul 20, 2008 10:01 pm, edited 1 time in total
Pro Member Chief Captain
Jonathan (99jolegg) Chief Captain

As TA says, it's Multi Crew Coordination but a lot of places call it Multi Crew Cooperation - same thing. This course isn't essential for the airlines, but they like it, and at roughly £2500 in the UK, it's worthwhile doing.

Specifically, it involves teamwork and cooperation in a multi crew environment where as previous flying experiences will have been single pilot. The transition to multi crew requires some gentle nudging to get all members singing from the same hymn sheet - especailly useful for non-standard operations. It's on the same branch as CRM (Crew Resource Management) which is also crucial in multi-pilot operations.

Bottom line for going for the airlines is make yourself as attractive to them as possible.

Pro Member Trainee
seadogs Trainee

Thanks for that

Pro Member Captain
Ian Stephens (ianstephens) Captain
Ian Stephens is an expert on this topic. Read his bio here.

Hello there,

I'm happy to help you with your questions regarding obtaining a CPL and the potential need for an ATPL or a degree for entering the aviation industry.

In general, a CPL (Commercial Pilot License) allows you to operate as a paid pilot, while an ATPL (Airline Transport Pilot License) is necessary if you want to act as a Captain or First Officer on larger, multi-crew aircraft. Airlines might accept you with just a CPL, but that would usually be for smaller regional carriers or entry-level positions like flight instructors or cargo pilots. For most major airlines, an ATPL is a prerequisite.

How to obtain an ATPL
To obtain an ATPL, you'll first need to acquire a CPL and accumulate a certain amount of flight experience (typically around 1,500 flight hours). Once you have met the minimum flight hour requirements, you can apply for an ATPL. You will need to pass a series of written exams and a flight test. The process can vary slightly depending on the country's aviation regulations, but this is a general outline of the steps involved.

  • Obtain a CPL
  • Accumulate flight hours (usually around 1,500)
  • Pass written exams
  • Complete a flight test

Degree considerations
While a degree is not mandatory to become a pilot, it can be an asset in your career. Many airlines, especially larger ones, prefer candidates with a degree. A degree in a field like mechanical engineering, aerospace engineering, or a related field can be advantageous as it demonstrates your understanding of the technical aspects of aviation. However, any degree can be beneficial, as it shows commitment and the ability to learn and succeed academically.

In summary, if you're aiming to work for major airlines, obtaining an ATPL and a degree in a relevant field would significantly increase your chances of being hired. A CPL alone might be suitable for entry-level positions or smaller carriers, but it's essential to consider your long-term career goals when making this decision.

If you're looking for more information on training programs and requirements in South Africa, I recommend checking out the South African Civil Aviation Authority website for detailed guidelines and resources.

Good luck with your career in aviation, and I hope this information has been helpful!

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