The aviation industry in South Africa is facing a severe skill shortage which makes pilots, engineers, and maintenance staff in high demand. You can use this to your advantage by training as a pilot in the country and getting employed faster. This post presents you with a list of flight training schools in South Africa you can choose from to begin your training and entry into the aviation industry.
Globally, there is a high demand for pilots, not just in South Africa alone, and this presents an advantage for you to enter a high-paying career with lesser competition compared to other sectors like a business. Many people believe being a pilot is hard and demanding and they are not wrong but there are people like you that do it, besides, it is not rocket science, you will be trained to master the art.
This is why there are flight training schools and aviation colleges to train and educate future pilots on how to fly an airplane. Whether you want to fly as a private pilot, commercial pilot, work with an airline, or simply for recreational purposes, these schools will train you to fully master the mechanics and control behind an aircraft. You will also earn your license for any of the training you want to go for.
Now, if you are in South Africa or any other part of the world and want to be a pilot, of course, you will need to attend a flight training school, curated in this blog post are some of the flight schools in South Africa that you can choose from. Details about each of the schools are also provided so that you can learn about them, how they operate, and also compare each of the schools to find one that suits you best.
To broaden your option of places, as well as schools to train as a pilot, we have articles on flight training schools in Germany and other on flight schools in the Philippines that you can use as guides to find more aviation schools.
You can test the waters before entering a flight school by taking some free online courses on aviation and you will get a certification when you complete any of the courses. This increases your chances of entering a flight school in South Africa because you have some experience.
But if you want to become a flight attendant, there are training programs you can take for free and get your certification. Remember I mentioned earlier that there is also a decline of engineers in the aviation sector in South Africa, if you want to get into that, that is, study as an aerospace engineer, there are varieties of school options for you to get into the career.
There are aerospace engineering schools in Canada, India, and Texas which are all expensive but a good investment for your future. There are free online aerospace engineering courses that you can take from the comfort of your home and gain some basic knowledge before going into the real thing.
With that out of the way, we can now get back to the main topic but before that, I’d like to point you towards other interesting articles we have published that you will find useful.
If you want to learn online for free, you will find our post on free online courses in South Africa incredibly useful. Looking to enter the healthcare field, you should start by picking a medical school in South Africa, they also accept international students.
Without any further ado, let’s continue…
Differences Between Flight Schools And Aviation College
I think I mentioned flight school and aviation college somewhere above as two separate or different entities and this might leave you confused and begin to think about whether they are different. Flight schools and aviation colleges bear very little difference, they both do the same thing or rather help you attain the same goal which is to train you to become a professional pilot and earn your license.
The clear difference between them is that a flight school is an approved center or institution where individuals are trained and equipped with practical knowledge of how to fly a plane.
When you complete your flight training at a flight school, you will get your license. However, an aviation college is a full-blown university or college that offers aviation degree programs and courses.
So, in an aviation college, you will graduate with a degree and still take typical flight training lessons at a flight training school. Unlike a flight school, when you graduate from aviation college, you earn both a degree and your license, killing two birds with one stone.
In the professional world, most airlines don’t employ pilots using degrees rather, they use your license and experience. But there are some airlines, especially major ones that want their employees to have a four-year degree in aviation from a recognized university.
The only difference between flight school and aviation college is the degree, graduates from any of them have the same level of knowledge, expertise, and license in piloting an aircraft.
Is South Africa A Good Place for Flight Training?
South Africa is among the premier International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) contracting states and is also a member of the 36 ICAO governing council, the country issues a Commercial Pilot License that is accepted anywhere in the world. Also, the license conversion is a stress-free process.
South Africa also has all-year-round sunny weather which is the most favorable flying weather, this means that there will rarely be cancellation of training due to bad weather.
With these, you should be able to deduce on your own whether South Africa is a good place for flight training or not.
Average Cost of Flight Schools in South Africa
To become a pilot in South Africa, expect to spend between 22,000 ZAR and 550,000 ZAR depending on the training center, location, and the license you want to acquire.
Requirements for Flight Schools in South Africa
The following are basic requirements for aviation schools in South Africa:
- You must have earned your high school diploma, GED, or an equivalent
- Be at least 16 years old
- Hold a class 1 or 2 medical certificate
- Two or more passport photos
- Be physically fit without any disability or illness
- Proof of English language proficiency
There may be more requirements, check in with your preferred flight training school to get full details.
How To Become A Pilot In South Africa
The guide below are steps to becoming a pilot in South Africa:
· Choose a Flight Training School in South Africa
The statement above also encompasses aviation colleges. To kick start your journey into the aviation industry as a pilot, you will need to find a suitable flight school or aviation college if you want a degree. An easy way to go about this is to put together a list of these schools, there are so many in South Africa but you can just curate a list of about 10 schools and proceed from there to select a school.
You can then begin by comparing the schools with each other and take into account factors such as location, tuition, instructors, recognition whether it is approved, admission process and entry requirements, the employment success rate of past graduates, and flight instructor-to-student ratio.
When you use these metrics to judge the schools, at the end of the day, you will be left with about 2 or 3 suitable flight schools to make a final choice.
Searching on the internet for aviation schools in South Africa and their details can be exhausting. I have curated a list of 10 flight schools from South Africa further below. You can use their details to compare them until you land a suitable one.
· Choose A Flight Training Option
There are different flight training programs, which are:
- Private Pilot License
- Commercial Pilot License
- Airline Transport Pilot License
While choosing a flight school in South Africa to attend, you will also need to pick a flight training program from the list above whose license you want to earn.
Note that each of these licenses comes with different requirements that you must satisfy to be accepted into the respective program and graduate.
· Meet Flight School Requirements
I mentioned earlier that there are different flight schools with different requirements and procedures. These requirements are used to evaluate students and accept or reject them. I have already provided a list of the basic requirements but I’d advise you to contact your preferred flight school or aviation college in South Africa to learn about specific entry requirements.
· Satisfy License Requirements
You see the pilot licenses I mentioned above have different flight hours, tests, exams, and other requirements that you must complete in order to obtain the specific license. So, if for example, you want to get the CPL, you must complete its own flight training hours and other requirements specific to the license.
When you complete your training and earn your license, you are now a professional pilot and can begin flying airplanes.
These are the steps to getting into a flight school or aviation college in South Africa and becoming a pilot in the country. Further below is a curated list of details of some of the flight schools in South Africa, from the discussed list, you can easily compare and contrast which of the flight training school you will be attending and save yourself the stress of compiling the list.
10 Flight Schools in South Africa & Their Fees
Here are the list and details of some of the flight schools in South Africa that you can choose from:
- Johannesburg School of Flying
- Central Flying Academy (CFA)
- Eagle Air
- Aeronav Academy
- Virginia Flight School
- Blue Chip Flight School
- Africa Aviation Academy
- Cranfield Aviation Training
- Skyhawk Aviation
- Cape Town Flight Training Center
1. Johannesburg School of Flying
If you want a flight training school in South Africa that has been around for a long time then you should consider the Johannesburg School of Flying. It has been training pilots since 1981 and is one the oldest in SA and the biggest in Gauteng. Whether you want to become a pilot for recreational or career purposes, this school is here to serve you with its 15 fleets of aircraft and expert instructors.
Also, the flying school is approved by the South African Civil Aviation Authority which is ICAO compliant, if you remember what I discussed about this earlier you’d see more reasons to choose Johannesburg School of Flying.
The training courses offered are Private Pilot License (PPL), Instrument Rating (IR), Commercial Pilot License (CPL), Airline Transport Pilot License (ATPL), Ground School Lectures, English Language Proficiency Tests, Simulator Training, Aircraft Hiring, Foreign License Validation, and many more.
The cost of each of these course offerings and services varies, you will need to contact the school to get a specific cost.
2. Central Flying Academy (CFA)
Central Flying Academy or CFA prides itself as one of the largest flying schools in SA. The flying academy also provides a wide range of training ranging from ab-initio flight training to CPL, ATPL, IR, and all related theoretical courses. It is also specialized in training international students.
You can get a Student Pilot License here at 15 years which will enable you to go solo but you have to be at least 17 years old for the Private Pilot License (PPL).
3. Eagle Air
Eagle Air is a flight training academy in SA that trains future pilots from any part of the world. Applicants must be, at least, 17 years old and be eligible to live in the country. International students are required to have a study visa and all students must have a valid ID or passport, pass an aviation medical exam, and be proficient in the English language.
Courses offered are PPL, Night Rating, IR, CPL, Multi-Engine Rating, Flight Instructors Rating, Airline Transport Pilot License (ATPL), Radio License, and Jet Rating.
4. Aeronav Academy
Aeronav Academy is a popular flight training school based at Lanseria International Airport, North of Johannesburg. The academy strives to train students to become a best in the industry. Courses offered are Private Pilot License, Commercial Pilot License, Airline Transport Pilot License, and other services like Ground School and Foreign License Conversion.
5. Virginia Flight School
This is a Fixed-Wing flight training organization located on the Durban Coastline at Virginia Airport in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. Programs offered include Private Pilot License, Commercial Pilot License, Instrument Rating, Airline Transport Pilot License, and other training.
Virginia Flight School is also another old flight training school in SA, founded in 1989 and operating ever since. This shows that the school will have deep experience in training pilots. It just might be the place for you.
6. Blue Chip Flight School
Blue Chip Flight School takes pride in training and developing world-class pilots who have gone on to work with major airlines within and outside South Africa. It has been operating as a flight training academy for more than 25 years and is still training world-class pilots to date.
The school is located in Wonderboom Airport in Pretoria, SA, and is equipped with the facilities and tech to make you a professional pilot. Courses offered include PPL, CPL, and ATPL.
7. Africa Aviation Academy
Africa Aviation Academy is an aviation training school in South Africa designed for those aspiring to become pilots and those already in the field but looking to become advanced. There are pilot training courses such as CPL, PPL, and ATPL for the new pilots and advanced training such as Night Rating, Instructor Rating, Multi-Engine Ratings, TCAS, EDTO, etc. for professional pilots.
Africa Aviation Academy also offers pilot cabin crew safety courses and cabin crew training.
8. Cranfield Aviation Training
Cranfield Aviation Training is an aviation training school in SA registered and accredited by the South African Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA) since 1999. It is located in Fourways, Johannesburg. The school offers a wide range of courses to flight deck personnel, cabin crew, and other personnel in the aviation sector.
One of the perks of Cranfield is the online courses they offer allowing you to take aviation training courses from the comfort of your home and still gain the same amount of skillset and experience as those who learn physically. Also, all the courses offered are approved by ICAO.
9. Skyhawk Aviation
Skyhawk Aviation is one of the aviation schools in South Africa that boasts of providing the highest standard of pilot training. Whether you want to become a pilot for personal goals or career purposes, Skyhawk offers courses and pieces of training that will help you achieve your aim.
This flying academy in SA offers courses in CPL, PPL, and training for recreational flying. It has been operating for more than 15 years and international students are welcome to apply.
10. Cape Town Flight Training Center
And last but not least is the Cape Town Flight Training Center located in Durbanville, Western Cape, SA. Training and courses are offered in PPL, CPL, Ground School, Ratings, Hour Building, and Hire and Fly. Whether you want to become a professional or private pilot, CTFTC has courses and training designed for you.
This academy is also accredited by SACAA and approved by ICAO.
These are 10 flight training schools and academies in South Africa that you can choose from and begin putting together a list of where you will be going for your pilot training and pave the way for a successful entry into the industry.
Flight Schools in South Africa – FAQs
What are the cheapest aviation schools in SA?
Among the cheapest aviation schools n South Africa are Aeronav Academy, Cape Town Flight Training Center, Durban Aviation Center, and Avcon Jet Africa.
How much do pilots in South Africa make?
According to Zarecruitment.com the average salary of pilots in South Africa is 312,000 ZAR per year.
How long is a flight school in South Africa?
The duration of flight school in South Africa depends on the license you want to go for. A commercial pilot license training in SA takes 1-3 years to complete while a private pilot license takes 3-6 months to obtain.
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Thaddaeus is a lead content creator at SAN with over 5 years of experience in the field of professional content creation. He has written several helpful articles for Blockchain projects in the past and even recently but since 2020, he has been more active in creating guides for students who want to study abroad.
When he's not writing, he's either watching anime, making a delicious meal, or definitely swimming.