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The decision regarding choice of flight training school for a career as a professional pilot is extremely important and we offer some advice to consider.
All career pilot training will commence with a course leading to the Commercial Pilot Licence and usually an Instrument Rating (Multi-engine); the CPL/ IR (ME). You need to find the best flight training school available to be sure you attain the level of proficiency necessary for future development.
It is not a good idea to do a single-engine course because you will ultimately need the multi-engine qualification and to do this as an add-on makes the total investment much greater.
Progress Flight Academy has developed the best flight training course in South Africa for the CPL/ IR (ME); our Premium Professional Pilot Integrated Course.
We make this claim because we are the only Aviation Training Organisation with a long unbroken record of success in our graduates achieving immediate transition to medium jet airliner type rating.
An excellent route to a career as a Pilot is the Premium Integrated Course offered by Progress Flight Academy enhanced by a period as Flight Instructor at the Academy. This pilot career opportunity is available to South African residents. Flight instruction is a very satisfying profession and the experience gained is a distinct advantage for an airline pilot career because all airlines need Training Captains so the flight instructor rating can improve promotion prospects.
As a Flight Instructor at Progress you will achieve many hours multi-engine flight instruction which will have a high proportion of instrument and night time. This is because our students receive as many multi-engine dual flight instruction hours as single engine.
Progress Flight Academy is expanding the Flight Instructor team to cater for planned growth. We employ only flight instructors who trained with us.
The January 2016 course is being promoted as a special for South African residents who are interested in a pilot career. This Premium Professional Pilot Integrated Course is one year duration with graduation scheduled for December. The ground school is ATP (Airline Transport Pilot) syllabus and the ATP examinations should be passed during the course.
Progress Flight Academy employs Flight Instructors who have graduated from the Professional Pilot course. All our Flight Instructors hold a Commercial Pilot Licence with valid Instrument Rating (multi-engine).
The attributes we seek in Flight Instructor candidates are a sound theoretical knowledge, a high standard of flying skill, a temperament suited to instruction, and a pleasant personality. The candidate must agree to a three year commitment as Flight Instructor.
The Flight Instructor course is four months duration. Candidate instructors will initially be trained in lecturing techniques and will then prepare and present Private Pilot Standard theory lectures to students. The course includes instruction in flight briefing and twenty hours of flight training in the Piper Warrior single-engine aeroplane. This is followed by a Flight Instructor test conducted by an external South African Civil Aviation Authority Designated Flight Examiner.
The Flight Instructor training is done by our most senior instructors to ensure the excellent standard that we expect in all our training.
Once qualified the first eighteen months will be flight instruction of ab-initio students in the Piper Warrior at our Somerset East base. During this period the TCI (Test and Check Instructor) endorsement will be obtained.
The IRI (Instrument Rating Instructor) and MEI (Multi Engine Instructor) endorsements will then be achieved and the remaining eighteen months will be spent giving advanced flight instruction for the multi-engine stage at Progress aerodrome. This is a really interesting and valuable experience and much flying time is logged in instrument weather conditions and at night.
The experience gained during the three years should meet the flight time requirements for the Airline Transport Pilot Licence. Progress Flight Academy will assist you to achieve this licence which opens many doors.
About four and a half years after starting your training you will have all the qualifications and experience you need for appointment as First Officer, except the aeroplane type rating. The employer normally assists with this training under a bond.
Most of our flight instructors achieve their initial pilot job as co-pilot (First Officer) on the Beechcraft 1900 multi-engine turboprop with a contracts company; and with their excellent flight instruction experience they often attain fairly rapid promotion to Captain.
The Beech 1900 time provides the turbine experience that airlines in South Africa require for appointment to the position of First Officer on medium jet airliners.
Some pilots enjoy the contract flying so much that they continue for many years.
Opportunities are available at some foreign airlines for immediate transition to First Officer on aeroplanes such as Boeing 737 and Airbus A320.
Progress Flight Academy has entered an alliance with Comair Training Centre to provide Boeing 737 jet pilot training leading to a type rating on the Boeing 737-800 NG (Next Generation) or the Boeing 737-3/4/500 (Classic) series. Comair is the airline operating the British Airways and kulula.com franchises in South Africa. The training is achieved in a Boeing 737-800 NG or Boeing 737 Classic full motion flight simulator certified Level “D”. The graduate is qualified for appointment as First Officer on completion of the Route Training at the airline.
We have a ten year track record of success in candidate airline pilot training for Kenya Airways. In this period we have graduated 78 career pilots for Kenya Airways all of whom proceeded to Comair Training Centre for jet pilot training; many of these career pilots also completed the Boeing 737 type rating at Comair, and many of the others completed the Embraer 190 type rating at Flight Safety International Academy in Amsterdam, Netherlands.
Before privately financing training as specialised as this, you need to confirm with a specific airline HR manager that you will be eligible for employment as flight crew with the qualifications and flight time you will have.
South African students need to research their employment prospects very carefully as airlines in South Africa usually have very stringent requirements for the employment of flight crew which include flight time in turbine aeroplanes and preferably the Airline Transport Pilot Licence (ATPL) issued.
The ATPL qualification further validates the benefits of starting your flying career as an instructor.
Many of our international students are able to gain immediate appointment to an airline in their own state having completed the Premium Professional Pilot Integrated Course and the Comair Jet Pilot Programme for the Boeing 737 type rating. If the airline operates Boeing 737s then this Jet Pilot Programme may be the perfect solution.
For jet pilot training for other aircraft types the Crew Resource Management (CRM), Multi-crew Co-operation (MCC) and Jet Orientation Course (JOC) certificates can be obtained from Comair and the type rating completed at another facility. This is the procedure in place for Kenya Airways cadets.
We can advise you on the type rating training; for example the Airbus A320 type rating is best achieved at the Airbus Académie in Toulouse, France.
When considering Boeing 737 training in South Africa you need to be sure that the course will result in a type rating being issued on completion. A type rating qualification can only be achieved from training on a full motion flight simulator such as those at Comair Training Centre.
Premium Integrated Course
Progress Flight Academy leads the South African flight training industry.
In 2009 we obtained South African Civil Aviation Authority approval for the first Integrated Professional Pilot Course in South Africa. This increased training quality and reduced cost and became the industry leading best flight training course in South Africa for the CPL/ IR (ME).
Our new ‘Premium’ CPL/ IR (ME) Integrated Course further enhances the operational capability of graduates. This achieves a superlative standard for graduates entering general aviation, and enhances the transition to First Officer training for airline pilot candidates.
The record of successful First Officer qualification of our graduates is outstanding.
The premium quality Italian engineered Vulcanair P68R aeroplane has been selected as the new multi-engine training aeroplane at Progress Flight Academy.
This six seat cabin class aeroplane has the feel, stability and handling of a larger aeroplane which we consider better prepares students for jet transition.
The P68 was designed as a multi-engine aeroplane; it is not an adaption of a single engine design as are most twin engine training aeroplanes. The P68R is the new retractable landing gear version and Progress Flight Academy is the launch Aviation Training Organisation for this aeroplane.
Two new simulators (Flight and Navigation Procedures Trainer level II) are under construction at Simuflight in Centurion. These devices are based on actual aeroplane fuselage front sections manufactured by Vulcanair S.p.A. and will precisely replicate the aeroplane flight deck. This equipment has credit for up to forty hours instrument training on the integrated course.
This investment allows Progress Flight Academy to raise the bar on our already excellent standard of pilot training.
Graduates of the integrated course have a superb operational capability which is necessary for the immediate transition to training for a medium jet airliner type rating. Progress graduates have an outstanding success rate on achieving the type rating for aeroplanes such as Airbus A320, Boeing 737, Embraer 190 and ATR 72.
I started the training towards my CPL/ IR (ME) in January 2013 straight after finishing high school. The first six weeks of this intense but hugely rewarding training was completed at the academy’s fair weather base, then in Graaff- Reinet. Despite the challenges, I still have very fond memories of waking up very early, driving to the airfield and watching the last stages of the sunrise while we were flying over that beautiful part of the country.
I soon flew solo for the first time (two weeks before my 18th birthday) and began to understand the weight of the career I had chosen: the duties I would hold in terms of ensuring the safe flight of an aircraft exclusively under my control.
That led me to experience the later stages of the training – the smoothness of night flying; the tiredness I felt after returning from a long solo navigation exercise to George; the thrill of spending an hour ‘under the hood’ and then seeing the runway perfectly in front of me for landing; taking my parents for a flight along the coast; and how my leg muscles ached after practising engine failures in the multi-engine aircraft.
After graduating in February 2014 I decided to stay with Progress Flight Academy as an instructor. I’ve found instructing to be a worthwhile and deeply satisfying career. For instance, I just landed from a night flying exercise in Port Elizabeth and seeing the city’s lights spread below me reminds me constantly of how lucky I am to view the world from a perspective most will never see.”