Embarking on a career as a commercial pilot in Australia can be a thrilling and gratifying decision for those with a fervour for aviation. The critical prerequisite to soar commercially is an Airline Transport Pilot License (ATPL). Acquiring an ATPL in Australia is an indispensable step to ascending to the captain’s throne in a commercial airliner.
How to Become a Commercial Pilot in Australia?
Here are the steps to obtain an ATPL in Australia:
- Procure a PPL
The first stride is to obtain a Private Pilot License (PPL). To do so, you must be at least 17 years old, possess a valid medical certificate, and surpass a series of written and practical assessments. The PPL authorises you to fly single-engine aircraft during daylight hours, but it won’t suffice to fly commercially.
- Acquire a CPL
The ensuing move is to procure a Commercial Pilot License (CPL). To qualify for this, you must have a flight time of at least 200 hours, including 100 hours as pilot-in-command. Furthermore, you must complete a series of advanced flight training and pass a written and practical exam.
- Obtain a MECIR
The next step is to acquire a Multi-Engine Command Instrument Rating (MECIR). The MECIR allows you to fly multi-engine aircraft and operate under instrument flight rules (IFR), which are vital for commercial airline operations.
To earn a MECIR, you must have a flight time of at least 150 hours and complete a series of advanced flight training and pass a written and practical exam.
- Required Flight Hours
Thereafter, you can commence aggregating the 1500 hours of flight time required to obtain an ATPL. There are several ways to build flight time, such as flight instruction, aerial surveying, or aerial fire fighting. Many aspiring pilots also opt to work as first officers for a regional airline to gain experience and build flight time.
- The ATPL Examination
The ATPL exam is a challenging test of a pilot’s knowledge and skills, encompassing a wide range of aviation topics, such as aircraft systems, navigation, weather, and regulations. The exam is conducted by the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA), comprising both written and practical components.
Costs and Financing for Flight Training in Australia
The cost of flight training varies depending on the flight school and aircraft employed, ranging from $100,000 to $200,000. Nonetheless, many flight schools provide financing options, and aspiring pilots can benefit from scholarships and government funding.
How to Maintain Your ATPL?
Pilots must have valid medical certificates, issued by Designated Aviation Medical Examiner (DAME), and renewed regularly. In addition, pilots must also undergo recurrent training and pass regular proficiency checks to maintain their licenses. Hence, obtaining an ATPL in Australia is an outstanding achievement and a crucial step to becoming a commercial airline pilot. The process demands a substantial investment of time and money, but it can be a fulfilling career choice for those with a passion for aviation.