Pupil Pilots will be required to master ab initio side-by-side training prior to
the Basic Flying Phase.
The following subjects will be presented:
Pupil pilots will be required to master a side-by-side trainer and the Pilatus PC-7 Mk II, including:
Ground School and Flying Phase
Initial basic flying training has been outsourced to an external service provider, which conducts side-by-side pilot training. On completion of this phase, successful pupil pilots will qualify for a Private Pilots Licence (PPL) and continue with their training at the entral Flying School at Air Force Base Langebaanweg.
It is during this second stage that the pupil pilot is introduced to the Pilatus PC-7 Mk II Astra. Ground training includes every aspect of flight instruction and makes extensive use of computer based training. A Cockpit Procedural Trainer (CPT) is also used in conjunction with the PC-7 Mk II. Although some 'pupes' may already have a private pilot's license, all are treated as if they have had no previous experience.
The course has been based upon that conducted by the RAF with the Shorts Tucano, adjusted to suite South African conditions. Pupil pilots will be required to master the Pilatus PC7 MkII trainer.
The course is designed to lead the student through all aspects of flight operations, with ten sections to be mastered. These include formation, high, low level and night flying. The student/instructor ratio is 2:1 during the flying phase. In spite of the demanding syllabus, approximately 75% of the students selected graduate.
Pupil pilots qualify after a period of approximately 2 years and 7 months of training, of which approximately 65 flying hours are spent on side-by-side trainer aircraft and 110 flying hours on the PC-7 Mk II. Both pilot and navigator courses are completed at the same time when the Pupil Pilots and Learner Navigators receive their wings at the same time with due pomp and ceremony.
On completion of the flying phase, a selection board will be convened to determine in which line function a pilot will be utilised, namely: Combat line, Rotorary Wing line or Transport line (including maritime).
Criteria used for the allocation of pilots to various line functions:
Need of the Air Force
Results and achievements on course
Recommendation by flying instructor
Pilots will be transferred to one of the following Air Force institutions for further training in their line function, before being utilised at the various squadrons of the SA Air Force:
Fighter line - 85 Combat Flying School
Transport line - 41 Sqn
Helicopter line - Ab-initio training at a private contractor, then to 87 Helicopter Flying School.
Advanced Flying Training
After graduation, pilots selected for combat training are assigned to 85 Combat Flying School, AFB Hoedspruit, for the basic jet conversion course.
Pilots destined to fly helicopters or transports receive instruction with 87 Helicopter Flying School at AFB Bloemspruit (with basic helicopter training performed at Starlite Aviation in Durban) and 41 Squadron at AFB Waterkloof respectively.
The Fighter Orientation Course (FOC) lasts seven months during which the two-seat Hawk is used. Phase One and Two involves conversion to the Hawk, general, instrument, close formation, night flying and medium and low level navigation (three months and 38 hours).
Phase Three is the introduction to basic fighter flying and includes a tactical phase (battle formation, low and medium level tactical flying, pre-planned strike and photo reconnaissance), a weapons phase (bombs, 30mm cannon) and an air warfare phase (fighter manoeuvres and air-to-air firing) (three months and 35 hours).
On completion of this FOC, students will be re-assessed and then either be recommended for instructors course or to gain further experience and return for flight leaders course after 3 years as an instructor or to continue on the consolidation phase prior to the flight leaders course. After a period of 9 months, the selected candidates should be ready to start the next level of training.
Operational Training Course
The phase consists of a further 117 hours over a period of six months.
The phase consists of a further 200 hours over a period of twelve months.
Flight Leaders Course
During the three month (40 hour) flight leader's course, very little theory training is done and it is expected of the student to give lectures and briefings, on which leadership, squadron operation and management is assessed.
During the Tactical Phase, all aspects of tactical flying and weapons delivery are covered, concentrating on leadership aspects. All aspects of single and multiple air combat and leadership aspects are specifically emphasised and assessed during the Air Warfare Phase.
After this course, pilots are once again assessed for maturity and suitability and after another consolidation phase will be routed to a high speed fighter unit for further training or instructors course at the flying school.
Strike Leaders Course
This course consists of 20 hours over one month.
Instructor Qualified Pilots
These candidates follow the same route as above to the Flight Leaders consolidation phase. On completion of this phase, these candidates will do a basic fighter instructor course. This course runs in conjunction with an FOC on which these candidates will give instruction and lectures. The Instructos conversion course lasts 3 months and covers 38 hours.
After completion of this phase, the pilot will serve an instructional tour at 85 CFS of between 2 and 5 years.
Pilot Attack Instructors Course
This course consists of 25 hours over one month.
I am a newly licensed pilot; do you help pilots who are just starting out?
We help pilot's to achieve their career goals. PILOT CAREER CENTRE's Professional Pilot Services accommodate all levels of experience from the newly licensed commercial pilot to a highly experienced wide-body
Airline Captain. Our business is specialized – we help Pilots move forward in their careers. That's all we do. Our Pilot Resume Design Service, Effective Cover Letter Design, Company Specific Interview Prep, etc. will
benefit any individual who is planning a career as a Professional Pilot.
I'm having trouble landing my first flying job, any suggestions?
We hear this a lot. Securing that first flying job can be difficult – sometimes even demoralizing. We believe that attention to detail in your paperwork (see our Pilot Resume Design and Effective Cover Letter Service), a
positive attitude, along with regular road-trips can make a big difference. For example, does your resume effectively market you in our unique aviation industry? Resumes designed by generic Resume Firms or those designed
'standard business style' do not effectively market pilots. How did you design your aviation resume? Also, do you contact Chief Pilots prior to your visits with a professional yet brief cover letter? If not, we highly recommend
it. A Chief Pilot would rather talk with someone he/she is expecting than one who arrives unannounced.
Another suggestion would be to target a select number of companies and try to establish a professional rapport with them. A ramp or fueling job is an excellent way to acquire a good reputation within the industry. A
common mistake is to mail resumes to every company, and then expect one of them to call you without ever meeting you in person. Go on a road trip and meet some people - ensure that you follow up your mailed resumes
with a personal visit. Lastly, if you have a lead, a connection or a unique opportunity, make the best of it. If a prospective employer hints that they will be hiring soon, it is worth your while to pay them a visit. Make mention
that you are interested in working hard on the ramp in a non-flying capacity until a position becomes available.
I have been recently hired by one airline and have been called for an interview with another, what should I do?
A tough decision, but one that we cannot make for you – definitely a personal decision. Having said that, we encourage our clients to go with the sure thing – the actual job offer. If someone offers you a job that you
interviewed for, take the opportunity. If for some reason you are unsuccessful at the other interview, you still have a good job. Take the job, and attend the subsequent interview if you so desire. If you are lucky enough to
receive a second job offer, you now have options. By saying "no" to the company that offered you the initial job, and then failing with the second company, you end up without an airline job and very few options.
No luck yet in my job search, do you think I should get my Instructor Rating?
An Instructor Rating is an excellent career and an important part of aviation. Many current airline pilots have started out flight instructing. In fact, Airline Check Pilots (Instructors) are often part of the interview panel. The
airlines view an instructional background as good experience. We recommend that if you are going to go with the instructor route to get to the airlines, it is beneficial to work at a flight school that provides Multi-Engine IFR
Instrument Training. Basically - Get into the IFR/IR department, since this is the area of Flight Instruction that will score the most points for you with respect to landing an airline job. Airlines normally require additional
experience as well such as Two-Crew Multi-Engine Turbine time. An ideal candidate for the airlines might have Multi-Engine IFR Instructing experience, along with Two-Crew Multi-Engine Turbine time – flying cargo,
charters, medevacs etc.
Is there really a shortage of pilots?
The industry is currently experiencing a significant amount of growth with some companies like Westjet, Easyjet, Ryanair, Emirates, jetBlue, and all of the Regional Jet Operators in the US. Generally the major airlines,
especially in North America, and those who depend upon North Atlantic US traffic, are in a major slump as revenues are way down. On a positive note though, these major airlines are coming up on an unprecedented level
of attrition due to retirements over the next 8 - 10 years. Air Canada's retirements will peak over the next eight years - reaching an astounding 270 retirements in 2007 alone. In the next seven years there will be over 850
retirements. The Canadian Industry does not have the extreme shortage that you see in Europe and the USA. However, with a global pilot shortage, the growth of air travel, and the impending pilot retirements, there will be
many opportunities for pilots for years to come all over the world.
What should I bring to the interview?
The airline will tell you what they expect you to bring. If they don't, it is probably an oversight on their part – call them and verify what you need to bring. Standard things include your Pilot License Documents (License,
Medical, Radio License, and Dangerous Goods Training Card if you have one), your logbook, 5 copies of your resume, and any reference letters you may have.
TIP: How is your logbook? Is it very neat, professional, up-to-date, and certified? It should be. Many clients of ours have gone back and completely re-done their logbooks prior to their interviews to ensure neatness and
accuracy. One note of caution; you must get all of your times certified all over again if you re-do the entire logbook. Remember that a neat and professional logbook will indicate that your paperwork at the airline will be of
the same high standard - points scored!
TIP: In the remarks section of each entry in your logbook, ensure there is nothing written that might work against you. For example... the words 'Failed Ride' etc. would not be good. If you've failed some rides and want to
write something there, simply use the word 'Training' or something neutral. A lot of pilots simply write in the airports they fly from and to in the remarks area. Others include unique info on that particular flight - ie. 'RVR2600
Take Off', 'NDB Approach RWY16 to Minimums', 'Eng2 FX on T/O, returned to YYZ'. All of these types of things are good to have in your logbook provided you can remember them in detail. The recruitment personnel
will ask you about these things if you include them in your logbook. Therefore, if these questions are answered professionally and in detail, they will score points.
What kind of research into the airline do I need to do?
It is absolutely critical to know your audience, specifically the airline you are interviewing with. A great deal of research should go into the company prior to the interview. The company website generally provides some
valuable information about the airline. Unfortunately almost every candidate will have done the same thing. Therefore it is very important to know a great deal more about the company. PILOT CAREER CENTRE's
Interview Prep service will provide you with the proper information that will give you the competitive edge in this challenging recruitment market.
Aren't most interviews at the airlines pretty much the same?
No. Although the various airline-recruiting processes appear to be similar, each airline is unique. Each airline has it's own corporate culture and looks for different qualities in their pilot candidates. It is extremely important to
know the airline and understand what they are looking for in their recruiting process. A response to a simple question at one airline may be markedly different than a response at another airline. PILOT CAREER CENTRE
specializes in preparing you for the airline-specific interview process.
Are there any books you recommend for interviews?
Books can provide valuable information into the interview process and standard interview questions. Unfortunately, we have found that the minute the book is printed, it is outdated. That is one of the reasons we designed
our website, and business for that matter, in the way we did. Our information is updated all of the time. Our Interview Prep service is constantly evolving and therefore always up to date with the various hiring processes.
Interview questions are constantly changing. Books are therefore unable to meet this demand on a timely basis. At PILOT CAREER CENTRE we pride ourselves on our ability to stay current with the industry hiring
What is appropriate dress for female pilots at the interview?
In our opinion, female pilots should wear professional, conservative business-like attire. With respect to females with long hair, we believe you should wear you hair up in a bun. Go to a major airport and you will often see
female airline pilots with their hair up in this manner. The airlines have strict policies with respect to hair and personal image. When attending an interview, it is important that you meet these requirements. Remember when
you are attending the interview, the recruitment personnel are looking at you to see if you fit in with their airline. You certainly would not want to be over looked for your dream job because you did not meet their dress and
What is your opinion on suits for airline and corporate pilot interviews?
While dealing with the airline or corporate flight dept., remember that they are looking closely at you to see if you will fit into their operation. If they are looking at you with this strategy, why not look as if you already work
for their company? With this in mind, if their pilot uniform is dark blue, The PILOT CAREER CENTRE recommends wearing a dark blue suit. Do not, however wear a uniform or pilot shirt with epaulettes. You want to
look similar to their pilots, but you also want to display a professional ‘business like' image. If the airline does not wear a suit like uniform, you still need to maintain the suit and tie professional image. With the suit, wear a
white collared shirt with a conservative yet professional looking tie. If you have problems tying a tie, don't fake it. You are competing against some sharp candidates and need to look your very best. Get someone to tie your
tie for you if need be.
TIP: Shoes are a very important part of your suit. Shine your black leather shoes, or if need be, buy some brand new ones. Like they say, shoes say a lot about a person. You should feel as though you look the best you
ever have when you go to your interview. New shoes, new suit and tie can often make you feel that way. A small investment to potentially help you land a rewarding airline career.
TIP: Your suit will not look as sharp once you've driven to, and then walked into the building where your interview is to take place. Go to the washroom as soon as you get there and ensure everything looks just right -
tighten your tie, tuck in your shirt again etc.
Do I need a degree to get on at the airlines?
No, not normally. At the current time, no airlines (other than US Majors) require a degree as a minimum hiring requirement. Some US Majors do require a degree, and most European carriers have a good look through your
A Levels. Remember this though......Education is a valuable asset and holding a degree does give you a small competitive edge on other candidates.
Do you sell Interview Question Packages for the various airlines?
Unfortunately not. We tried this at one time, but found that airline recruitment people we're trying to purchase the packages as much as the pilots. We could have sold them at that time, but maintained our vision of giving our
pilot clients a competitive edge at the interview. Selling our packages to recruitment people, in our opinion, would not be in the best interest of our clients. We believe that knowing the questions ahead of time is only 1/10 of
the battle. Answering these questions professionally to score the most points can make or break your career. This is where we get the most positive feedback on our Interview Prep Service – clients who already knew most
of the questions, but who we're impressed with our knowledge, insight, and direction in answering the questions.
TIP: If you have an upcoming interview, talk to as many people as you can who might know what they are currently asking their applicants. Write the questions out and figure out what you might say if they ask you the same
thing. If you're unsure of anything, or simply want to do well, think of using our Airline Interview Prep Service. Our clients' success record is excellent, and we take pride in being up-to-date with the airlines and their