Do you have what it takes to become a pilot?
The sky is the limit with South African Airways' Pilot Training Programme...
As part of our transformation process; South African Airways is in the process of recruiting young people to join its commercial pilot training programme.
Every year South African Airways embarks on a search for new recruits to enter the Cadet Pilot Training Programme. While the group of cadets will be wholly representative of South Africa's diverse population, the main focus is to open doors to a career that was historically closed to previously disadvantaged individuals.
SAA pilots, both new and qualified, have a reputation of being among the best trained in the world. New pilots would be expected to uphold the stringent standards that have made South African Airways one of the safest airlines in the world.
It is for this reason that the applicants go through a thorough scientific selection process. The aim of the selection process is to select candidates for the training programme who will be efficient and safe pilots for South African Airways and can be eligible for Flight Operations' management positions.
South African Airways is selecting the cream of the crop in our endeavour to go above and beyond.
Some basic requirements must be met before the selection and training programme can commence. Acceptance into the programme will depend on the following 11 factors:
- Matric Certificate/Grade 12/N3 or relevant qualification (SAQA accredited)
- Compulsory Mathematics or Statistics 101 and English, coupled with one of the following: Physical Science or Computer Science (D symbol on higher grade or C symbol on standard grade)
- South African citizen
- Preferably up to 25 years of age
- At least 1.60 metres tall
- Medically fit
- Prepared to undergo vigorous training (free of charge) for up to two years
- Prepared to sign a training bond
- Pass a security check
- Previous flying experience is not a pre-requisite. If you have flying experience, you should not have more than 60 flying hours
- Should you have made 3 unsuccessful applications before, your current application will not be considered
Applicants will go through a selection process, consisting of seven phases:
- Pre-screening on application
- Psychometric testing
- Flight Grading
- Medical examination
- Assessment and Clinical Interview
- Panel interview
The training programme is totally free of charge, but all cadets will have to sign a training bond. The training programme entails the following:
This part of the course takes place over months. It consists of modules, comprising:
- Technical Training
- Aviation Medicine
Exams will be written on all modules and the pass mark is 75% for all exams. Cadets will also be assessed individually in terms of their leadership and motivation after each module. The cadets are accommodated at appropriate venues conducive to training. Each cadet has his/her own bedroom. All transport, meals, accommodation and study material are provided as required, and recreational activities are provided over certain weekends.
- Commercial and Airline Transport Pilot's Licence theory and exams.
- Additional courses in airline flight operations, airline-orientated management, training in leadership and judgement, crew resource management, social and flight-deck etiquette and technical report writing.
- Aviation related research projects, 2 per cadet.
The flight-training phase will cover 210 hours in aircraft and 60 hours of flight simulator.
- Each cadet will fly a single-engine basic training airplane, progress to more advanced, single-engine airplanes for instrument flight and navigation.
- Each cadet will also do 5 hours of aerobatic training.
- Finally the last 45 hours of instrument training will be done on a twin-engine airplane, followed by a skill test.
- The cadet will then move to a generic simulator, to learn airline-type operating procedures.
- This section will encompass 15 lessons of 4 hours each.
The cadet will then become familiar with the duties of the co-pilot, as well as checklist philosophy and crew coordination. After 18 months of flight training, the cadet will graduate with a South African Commercial Pilot's Licence, with Instrument Rating and Frozen Airline Transport Pilot's Licence.
Trophies will be awarded to cadets who excel in flying as well as in theory.
While in training, the cadets are accommodated on the college campus, and are required to remain on campus at all times, including weekends.
To facilitate an easier transition onto the South African Airways aircraft, South African Airways has entered into an agreement with SA Airlink, SA Express and Solenta Aviation. The cadets will fly the J41, Dash 8, B1900, ATR 42, C208 and Twin Otters, as cadet first officers at these airlines, for a minimum of 24 months, whereafter they may be eligible to join South African Airways with a total of ± 1500 flying hours. The J41 is a 29-seater mini-airliner and the crew consists of a captain, co-pilot and air hostess. SA Express is also a partner airline flying the De Havilland Dash 8, which is a 40-50 seater airplane and consists of a captain, co-pilot and 2 cabin attendants. The B1900 is a mini-airliner and seats 19 people. The ATR 42 falls in the same class as the Dash 8 whilst the Cessna 208 is a smaller aircraft being utilized on scheduled freight services by Solenta.
South African Airways
After completing the Internship Phase, all successful cadets will be subject to a selection board once again. Those found suitable will be offered a position as first officers (co-pilots) with South African Airways. If a cadet pilot is turned down by South African Airways at this stage, he/she is under no obligation to pay back any of the training costs. This cadet is then free to approach other airlines for a job if so desired. However, the cadet will have to pay back the training costs if he/she is offered a position with South African Airways and turns it down.
The cadets will start with South African Airways as fully-fledged second officers.
The typical career path will be as follows:
- second officers on the long-haul fleet,
- first officers on the short-haul fleet,
- senior first officers on the long-haul fleet,
- captain on the short-haul fleet,
- and eventually captain on the long-haul fleet,
- Pilots can also move into training captain and managerial positions whilst still flying actively. Candidates for training captain and managerial appointments are selected from applicants for these various positions.
The airline pilot has numerous benefits, such as:
- good medical benefits
- international travel
- additional exciting job opportunities.
The airline pilot enjoys a demanding but challenging career in a professional environment. A high degree of job satisfaction is experienced commensurate with a high level of remuneration and a comfortable lifestyle.