A: In order to gain your commercial pilot’s licence you must attend flight school, pass your Air Transport Pilot’s Licence exams (the ground theory) and accumulate sufficient flying hours (see the BALPA and GAPAN websites for a more in-depth discussion). This training is very expensive (normally over £60,000) and, unless you are very lucky, must be paid for by the student. Some airlines offer sponsorship, and some offer methods for borrowing and repaying this money that may be linked to starting salary. However, despite the cost of training, competition for training positions at flight schools is normally fierce. Accordingly, the best flight schools are in a position to select the best candidates for training positions.
We believe that in the future it is likely that, prior to applying for pilot training, education to degree level will become the norm. Hence this course has been set up by Brunel University to provide students with a degree targeted towards those students who wish to apply to flight schools following graduation. Accordingly, students will complete their basic flying training (up to A-Level that is considered desirable by flight schools) but also to cover some (but not all) of the ground theory required as part of the Air Transport Pilot’s Licence. Thus, we hope that those students undertaking this programme will be in a strong position to obtain places at good flight schools, and also to pass those technical exams required as part of commercial flying training.
Of course on graduation you may choose not to pursue a career as a pilot, so the course also offers a recognised academic qualification that may be used to find employment in other areas of the aviation industry, or even in the wider engineering field.