Cost of Pilot Training in South Africa 2023/2024

How Much Should I Pay For Pilot Training?

If you’re thinking of becoming a commercial airline pilot, you’re probably wondering how much it will cost. Beginning your career as a pilot isn’t cheap, but it’s not prohibitively expensive either.

The total cost of training to become a pilot can range from R300,000 to R450,000, depending on whether you go to a flight school, an aviation university, or a community college. The first thing you need to know is that pilot training is broken down into two main components:

  1. Flight training
  2. Ground training.

Flight training involves learning to fly an airplane. Ground training involves becoming familiar with the instruments and controls of an aircraft and learning about aerodynamics, navigation, weather, and other key concepts.

Pilot training is notoriously expensive in South Africa. The reason for this is that there are few training academies in the country, and these are usually operated by the airlines themselves. Operating a plane – particularly a commercial plane – is extremely complex, and a lot can go wrong. As a result, pilots need to be trained very thoroughly to be able to handle any situation they may encounter. As is usually the case with anything involving flying, there is a fairly steep learning curve to become a pilot, making pilot training all the more expensive.

Once you are aware of the costs, you will know how much money you need to invest in order to become a pilot. In addition, you will know how much money you will have to pay back to the training school or the government if you are signed up for government funding.


The cost of pilot training in South Africa starts at around R300,000. This is the cost of the theoretical training that you will get to study during your career as a pilot. The theoretical training is not only for learning how to fly a plane but also for how to safely land a plane.

How much does it cost to get a Private Pilot license in South Africa?

Obtaining a basic Private Pilot Licence (PPL) requires one to, first of all, obtain a Student Pilot Licence (SPL). The individual should not be less than 17 years of age, hold a class 1 or 2 medical certificate, hold an ICAO language proficiency certificate, hold a restricted or general radiotelephony certificate, hold a valid Student Pilot License, 45 hours total flight time by the end of the course, the 45 hours must include: ≥ 25 dual hours with an instructor, ≥ 15 solo hours as PIC, ≥ 5 hours cross country PIC before applying for the Private Pilot License.

The individual must pass the following exams: Principles of Flight, Air Law, Navigation, Human Performance, Flight Planning, Meteorology, Aircraft Technical and General, and Radiotelephony

Below are the costs:

15 Solo hours on PA28-161R1950.00 per hour – Training
25 Dual hours on PA28-161R2290.00 per hour – Training
Grand Total for PPL CourseR110,451.50

Additional costs include:

Pilot excess insurance – AnnualR 2,280.00
English proficiency examR 800.00
Medical Class IIR 2,000.00
CAA fees (SPL and PPL)R 990.00

Miscellaneous costs include:

Exams (7 x R190) with Radio exam (R490)R 1,830.00
3 Dual hours on PA28-161 @ R2290 – Flight TestR 6,870.00
2 Hours @ R450 – Ground Evaluation / TestR 6,670.00
15 Hours @ R450 (minimum by law) – BriefingR 6,750.00
2 Hours @ R450 – Ground Evaluation / TestR 900.00
PPL Kit including all PPL notes (without Headsets)R 7,601.50

How much does it cost to get a Commercial Pilot Licence in South Africa?

The advanced Commercial Pilot License is the rating that permits an individual to enter the commercial and airline world of aviation. It requires about 18 months and costs about R760,000 or more to obtain a CPL in South Africa. Further training and certificates will also be needed to get a job in an airline, such as instrument rating and type rating. Type rating on its own would cost R760,000.

What are the requirements?

The first requirement you need for pilot training is a strong passion for flying and airplanes. Other requirements include the subjects you do at school and some medical requirements.

Though there are no compulsory subject requirements in South Africa or minimum mark requirements to start training as a pilot, It is suitable that you do maths, science, English, and geography at the highest possible level. Do take this into consideration. You will need to undergo an English proficiency test to show your ability to speak and comprehend English if you are from another Country.

About the medical requirements, a Class 2 medical certificate is the minimum required to obtain PPL and a Class 1 for CPL. You will be required to tender a chest x-ray. After that, you need to book an appointment with the Designated Aviation Medical Examiner (DAME).


Best Aviation Schools in South Africa

Blue Chip Flying SchoolPretoria
Skyhawk AviationJohannesburg
43 Air SchoolPort Alfred
AAA 4 PilotsDurban
Progress Flight AcademyPort Elizabeth
Eagle Air Flight SchoolPretoria
Cape Town Flight Training CentreDurbanville
Virginia Flight SchoolDurban North
Morningstar Flight AcademyCape Town
Algoa Flight CentrePort Elizabeth
Aeronav AcademyGauteng
Johannesburg Flying SchoolJohannesburg
Heidelberg Flight SchoolHeidelberg
Cranfield Aviation TrainingJohannesburg
Cape Town Flight Training CentreDurbanville
Afrika Union Aviation AcademyMafikeng


If you want to achieve that goal and ambition of becoming a pilot and you want to have the training in South Africa, you should choose the top aviation schools in South Africa to provide you with the necessary hands-on practice professional pilots lookout for during training. Listed above are the best aviation schools in South Africa that will provide you a firm training and equip you for the big challenges pilots encounter while flying.

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