Aeroplane Pilot



OFO No: 315303





What is an Aeroplane Pilot? 

An Aeroplane Pilot flies aeroplanes and helicopters from place to place. Some pilots carry passengers and cargo, while others specialise as a:

  • Fighter Pilot 
  • Aerial Spraying Contractor 
  • Aerial Topdressing Contractor 
  • Military Transport Pilot
  • Helicopter Pilot
  • Attack Helicopter Pilot

These specialised pilots will need extra training and qualifications.

The safety of passengers and crew, as well of the cargo and the aircraft, is extremely important. Pilots have to undergo a lot of training before they are granted a license to fly. They have to be fit and have excellent vision and hearing. Regular medical tests and random alcohol and drug tests are part of a pilot’s life. In addition they need to be psychologically stable .

Pilots have to love learning new things because aircraft and regulations change all the time.

Some pilots work for commercial companies, transporting passenger and cargo and fly with a second pilot.

Some pilots work for security industries: SAPS, SA Airforce, SANDF.

The job involves working shifts – sometimes several days on and then a few days off.

Other names for Aeroplane Pilots OFO No 315303:

  • Aeroplane Pilot
  • Aerial Spraying Contractor
  • Aerial Topdressing Contractor
  • Aircraft Captain
  • Airline Captain
  • Fighter Pilot
  • Military Transport Pilot

Other names for Pilots OFO No 315305:

  • Helicopter Pilot
  • Attack Helicopter Pilot
  • Chopper Pilot

What does an Aeroplane Pilot do?

  • checks all information for the flight: route, weather, passengers, type of cargo etc
  • creates a flight plan which details the altitude for the flight, route to be taken and amount of fuel required
  • ensures the fuel levels are correct and supervises the loading and fuelling of the aircraft
  • ensures all safety systems are working properly
  • briefs any crew before the flight and maintains regular contact throughout the flight
  • carries out pre-flight checks on the navigation and operating systems
  • communicates with air traffic control before take-off and during flight and landing
  • ensures that noise regulations are followed during take off and landing
  • interprets data from instruments and controls
  • communicates with any passengers using the public address system
  • reacts quickly and appropriately to environmental changes and emergencies
  • updates the aircraft logbook and writes a report at the end of the flight

Are you . . .?

  • responsible?
  • calm under pressure?
  • observant?
  • conscientious?
  • dependable?
  • intelligent?
  • emotionally stable?

How do I become an Aeroplane Pilot?

  • SACAA (South African Civil Aviation Authority)

All pilots are licenced by the South African Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA)

Licencing requirements:


All pilots have to pass exams in:

  • Air Law
  • Meteorology
  • Navigation
  • Principles of Flight
  • Human Performance
  • Flight planning
  • Aircraft Technical & General
  • Radiotelephony



Apart from mastering the technical requirements, students must:

  • complete a number of flying hours in an aeroplane or helicopter to be granted a licence.
  • hold a Medical Certificate
  • have English language proficiency

Student Pilot’s Licence (SPL)


  • be not less than 16 years of age

Private Pilot’s Licence (PPL)


  • 17 years of age
  • Certificate of proficiency in radiotelephony (aeronautical)
  • Student Pilot’s licence


Commercial Pilot’s Licence (CPL)

  • 18 years of age
  • General certificate of proficiency in radiotelephony (aeronautical)
  • Pilot’s Licence (aeroplane) issued by the contracting state, or a  South  African  Air  Force  pilot’s  qualification or a valid Student Pilot’s Licence (where the applicant has  completed  an  integrated  training course approved by the authority
  • Pass in appropriate theoretical knowledge examination
  • CPL skills  test (aeroplane)
  • A valid night rating
  • Instrument rating (if applicable)


  • SAA (South African Airways)

SAA have a Cadet Programme


  • Matric Certificate/Grade 12 results/N3 or relevant tertiary qualifications (SAQA accredited)
  • Compulsory subjects include: Mathematics or Statistics 101, Physical Science or equivalent and English. Subjects are to be Passed with D symbol on Higher Grade, C symbol on Standard Grade or Level 5
  • Pass a security competency assessment
  • Be a South African citizen
  • Be willing to relocate for approximately 54 weeks
  • Sign a training bond
  • Be able to pass a rigorous selection and evaluation process

Airline Transport Pilot’s Licence

  • 21 years of age
  • Pilot’s licence (aeroplane) issued by the contracting state South  African Air  Force  pilot’s  qualification or  recreational  pilot.
  • General radio certificate of proficiency in radiotelephony (aeronautical)
  • Pass in appropriate theoretical knowledge examination ATPL skills  test
  • Instrument rating



  • SANDF (waiting for info)
  • SAPS



OTHER CAREERS TO CONSIDER: Air Traffic Controller or Cabin Attendant

Is becoming an Aeroplane Pilot the right career choice for me?