How to Become a Pilot in the Philippines?

Do you wanna be a pilot? What are the requirements? Make your dreams come true. Soar higher. Become a licensed pilot in the Philippines. A pilot job is one of the most rewarding aviation careers and professions in the world. There are different ways on how become a licensed and registered pilot in the country and I’m gonna lay out the ways in this page.

Due to insistent public demand and lots of inquiries from my Best Flight Schools in the Philippines article, I’m here to discuss the ways on how to become a pilot in the Philippines. Many are still asking me questions like, what course should I take to be a pilot? How can I become a pilot in the Philippines? Do I need a degree to be working as a pilot? And many more related questions. So here are the ways:

How to Become a Pilot in the Philippines

To become a pilot and to work as a pilot, one must have a license and certificate from the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) and pass the Aviation Training Organization (ATO) requirements to hold a certificate. Either you want to become a licensed Private Pilot or a licensed Commercial Pilot.

how to become pilot in the philippines

Private Pilot vs Commercial Pilot – What’s the Difference?

Private Pilot – if you are a licensed private pilot, you are allowed to operate and fly an aircraft for private and enjoyment purposes. You may carry passengers or rent an aircraft, a private plane but you may not be compensated for the services as a pilot. There are limitations though compared when you are a commercial pilot. In short, a private pilot cannot really work for hire.

Commercial Pilot – you can’t become a licensed commercial pilot unless you are a licensed private pilot. Once you’re a commercial pilot, you are allowed to be paid for flying an aircraft to carry cargo and passengers. You can become a flight instructor, charter pilot or cargo pilot, too. This is the start for a real career in aviation. You’ll have more potential to work in a big airline company once you have gone for Multi-Engine Ratings, other modern flight instruments and equipments and have gained longer hours of flights.

How to become a Private Pilot? What are the requirements?

To become a licensed private pilot and have all the benefits of being one, you must undergo and pass the Private Pilot Training Course also known as, PPL course which is usually up to six months. In order to have a license you must become certified as a fully-fledged Private Pilot by the ATO. The requirements for having the license are listed below. You must successfully complete and pass the general exam and actual flight exam/ checkride.

  • Minimum of 17 years of age
  • Fluent in English, oral and written
  • Hold at least a current 3rd Class Medical Certificate
  • Pass the ATO Knowledge (General) Test
  • Pass the ATO Practical Flight Test and Oral Examination (Checkride)

From the PPL training, there are also some documents required from its flight school. Usually, they are the same as those that are required from entering secondary schooling. The PPL course usually covers subjects such as theory of flight, civil air regulations, basic aircraft instrument and power plant, air traffic control and communications, basic aircraft performance, basic weight and balance, basic meteorology, aviation physiology, basic air navigation, basic radio navigation and basic flight planning.

You must also complete the required flight training time which is a minimum of 40 hours of widespread flight training which includes dual and solo instruction for basic airman-ship, cross-country navigation, and emergency procedures. This 40 hours of flight time consists of at least 20 hours of Dual flight instruction, at least 10 hours of Solo flight ( 5 hours of Solo local flight and 5 hours of Solo cross-country), and 10 hours of which can be Solo flights or Dual.

How to become a Commercial Pilot? What are the requirements?

As I mentioned, an important requirement to become a licensed commercial pilot is a private pilot certificate. Meaning, you can’t become a Commercial Pilot if you don’t have a Private Pilot license. Just like the requirements in the PPL, you must pass a general knowledge exam and actual flight exam in order to become a commercial pilot and enjoy the benefits and compensations you can have in the aviation profession.

A commercial pilot training course CPL course can prepare and help you pass the test. To sum up the requirements, here they are:

  • Must be at least 18 years of age
  • Hold a Private Pilot Certificate or meet requirements
  • Fluent in English both oral and written
  • Must hold a valid 1 st Class Medical Certificate
  • Pass the ATO Knowledge (General) Test
  • Pass the ATO Practical Flight Test and Oral Examination (Check ride)

You have to undergo a CPL course to prepare you to excel and pass the CPL requirements. It’s also usually in a period of 6 months. Flight schools cover the course to advanced subjects mentioned in the PPL training. In addition, you must complete a minimum of 150 logged hours of flight time which includes advanced commercial maneuvers and emergency procedure.

Bachelors Degree in Aviation Major in Flying

This is another option to become a licensed pilot in the Philippines. It’s a four-year-degree-course that covers aviation curriculum and covers both PPL course and CPL course. It will really prepare you to your dream aviation and pilot career.

A Bachelors Degree would be more impressive to airline companies and employers though expertise is always the most priority. There are another aviation degrees that could make you a pilot, you just have to choose what suits your major and preference.

Related article:

Interview with an Aeronautic Engineer

About Fehl Dungo

Licensed Career Service Professional, tech investor, founder of Philpad, and published author of a poetry book at Barnes&Noble.

758 thoughts on “How to Become a Pilot in the Philippines?”

  1. Dear Cian,

    Getting a Bachelor’s degree (any 4-year course) will make you qualified to apply to become an airline pilot, but will not guarantee your employment since there are others also vying for the position.

    That being said, to become a pilot, an applicant has to be at least 16 years old and enroll in any Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines-accredited flight school as a Student Pilot, where you will enter Ground School or classroom instruction regarding the principles behind flight, weather, flight rules, mechanism of an aircraft, etc. and after passing the subject exams, proceed to Flight School or actual sit-in-the-aircraft-and-operate-the-controls flight instruction with a Flight Instructor beside you in the right seat. You will be flying the aircraft.

    After the requisite number of flight hours, apply for your Private Pilot License with CAAP, pass the tests (written exam and practical exam), get your PPL and gain required flight hours and instruction needed for Commercial Pilot License. Get your Instrument Rating, maybe a Multi-Engine Aircraft Rating, then apply for CPL with CAAP, pass the….. etc., etc.

    Takes time and money, both in large amounts. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and even God needed 6 days to make the world.

    Eyes on the prize, child. Eyes on the prize.

  2. Dear Gian Piolo,

    After graduating and getting your degree in AMT, you can go straight to Ground School and learn the academic aspect of flying, before proceeding to Flight School for the actual flight instruction. Having an AMT license helps you get familiar with the process of getting a pilot’s license, and aside from that, you will be fully qualified to fix the very same airplane you will fly, thus guaranteeing that in the highly unlikely event of an uncontrolled landing, it won’t be a mechanical problem that caused the crash. He he he.

    In all seriousness, you don’t need a bachelor’s degree to become a pilot unless your goal is really to aim for the airlines, because everyone thinks that having a very big fat salary as an airline pilot is the best, without realizing that the airline pilots are paid a large amount because they give up a lot in return.

    Remember, there are many pilot jobs available, and some pilot jobs are more relaxed than working for the airlines. Some pilot jobs may not pay as big a salary as the airlines, but you only work for a few hours a day, whereas other jobs may pay larger than the airlines but you only work for a few days a month. Airline pilots often give up holidays, anniversaries, and other significant events in their family lives because of their work schedule.

    Find the balance that fits your life and realize what is more valuable: time or money. But remember this, money comes and goes, but time is fleeting.

  3. Hi Capt. I’m going to be a first year college this school year and I take 2 years course of Aircraft Maintenance Technology, after that when I graduated, can I go or can I enroll in other school to take bachelor of science in aviation major in flying? Please help me what am I supposed to do to make my dream come true to becoming a pilot?

    • Dear Jagm,

      You will not find in the government regulations any stipulation for height requirements for a commercial pilot (or any kind of pilot, for that matter).

      Some airline companies may list a minimum height requirement, but I know of many pilots who are just 5 feet tall. And the military has even more stringent body dimensions
      for their fighter aircraft pilot-trainees, but that has more to do with the cramped space inside those cockpits.

      As for the commercial airlines, I guess because tall people in uniform simply look better?

      But to reiterate, there is no minimum height requirement for pilots. In fact, astronauts (who start out as pilots) have to be of small stature due to medical requirements and weight constraints.

  4. Hi Cap! How are you doing?

    Due to the current pandemic, most colleges/universities are not opening yet and we’ve been getting so much free time. And it doesn’t look like they are opening or holding physical classes anytime soon.

    So I thought, why not take advantage of all this free time to start my journey in flying little by little?

    So this is my situation:
    (I hope you don’t mind a long story)

    I’m a fresh graduate of Senior High.

    I’m planning to take BS Comp Sci in a really good university in Metro Manila. But the school has mentioned that due to the current events, it is very unlikely that the school will open its classroom doors for a while this year. Thus, we will have online classes from wherever we are in the country. (I am from Iloilo City)

    I messaged my local flying school and surprisingly they are still open. So I thought it would be a good idea to take my PPL course in my city while waiting for college, and continue on to CPL and instrument ratings in another flying school, in another time, and in another city where my university is located. Would this be a good idea? And is it okay to get a PPL in one school and the rest from another school?

    Also, additional question: I’ve been told that a PPL is valid for 24 months (2 years). If I can’t get my CPL within that 24 months, what is the process of renewing my PPL? Do I have to pay the giant fees again for renewal?

    Any questions, clarifications, suggestions, or violent reactions? I’m open to all. Thank you in advance!

    • Dear Daniel,

      Getting a pilot’s license during this period is the best time since there’s really nothing else to do! Lots of days to fly and gain the needed flight time for each license.

      As to getting a PPL from one school then the CPL from another school, that’s up to you. Don’t be pressured to finish getting a CPL just so you could start applying for the pilot job you’re hoping for. Everything comes in its own time. Enjoy flying first, then when you have enough skill and experience, go for the CPL. It’s like going to college, except a lot harder.

      You’ll also have to take written and practical exams with the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines to get your PPL. When you pass, then you can start working on getting your CPL, which means ground instruction again, flight instruction again, simulator training, actual flight time for the CPL requirement, etc. then exams with CAAP again.

      When your PPL expires, just get it renewed. Get the medical requirements, then get checked by the Aviation Medical Examiner of CAAP, then pay the fees for renewal. Reminder: flight time requirements also have to be met prior to license renewal.

      Giant fees for renewal? I don’t understand. Renewal fees are minimal. Flight time may be expensive, maybe that’s what they’re talking about. You need a certain number of flight hours prior to license renewal, to make sure you still remember how to fly airplanes.

      I hope this clarifies some issues. Question? Do you plan to become an airline pilot? Clarification? You plan to take up BS CompSci for the documentary requirement for airline pilots or as a back-up in case you can’t become a pilot? Suggestion? Love flying. Enjoy it. Don’t focus too much on fulfilling requirements to become an airline pilot to get the salary to get back the investment you paid for learning to fly.

      Violent reaction? Don’t become a pilot if your goal is to make money! Flying is a profession and a responsibility. You should make sure you return the plane in good condition after take-off. Your passengers will appreciate it.

      • Thank you so much for your insights sir. I will do my best!

        Also, do you have the pdf list of all the CAAP registered flight schools in the country? I’ve looked around their website but I believe they might have deleted it recently.

        • Dear Daniel,

          When you view the CAAP website, scroll down to find tab that says AMOs, Flying and Maintenance Schools, AMT/AMS Skill Test Facility, Maintenance Examiner, AOC, RPAS, and ATOs.

          Right below is a clickable link that says List of Flying Maintenance Schools as of Dec. 13, 2019. It is a pdf file which you have to download and can view online with an online pdf viewer. And remember, red is dead. If the flight school listed is red in color, it’s not advisable to learn flying from them since they have no CAAP accreditation.

          You can also check out the website which has different filters to help you narrow your search for flight schools based on location, courses offered, costs of flight lessons, etc.

          • Hi, I’ve graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Marketing Management and I am currently 21 yrs old and wanted to be a Commercial Pilot someday. What steps can you suggest, for me to pursue this?

            Do I need to take the 4-year course in BS Aviation or are there other courses to be offered for me to learn more about flying. Also, If I’ll be taking the 4-year course in aviation, will some of the courses/subjects that I took for my bachelor’s degree be credited? If there would be like same subjects.

            I’m hoping to be more enlightened about this since I really wanted to be a Pilot. Thank you and stay safe, Capt.!

  5. Hello Capts.!

    I am a graduate of the STEM Strand at Senior High School. I currently am planning to take BS in Aviation Major in Flying at ALIAC (Which is at Manila, while I live in Pampanga). I would like to ask whether it is worth it or not (considering the distance, the expenses and etc.). Is taking a flight school near me (which is at Clark) but does not have BS degree be worth it? What do you suggest, Capt.?

    Will taking BSAF give me a better standing compared to the other applicants of a major airline? Will I be able to become a pilot that flies for a company already? Do I have to still build my flight hours after taking BSAF? If yes, how? (considering that I can no longer pay for additional flight hours) After BSAF, will I be able to apply as an entry-level pilot for a company already?
    Will the investment be worth it? Will I be able to return my investment after a few years as an airline pilot for a major airline (estimated, how many years?)?

    I apologize for having a handful of questions. 😀

    Deeply, thank you, thank you, very much!

    • Dear Rik,

      I can see from your questions that you are at a crossroads of a major decision. And if I can’t answer carefully, you’ll be left with even more confusing choices. Thereby I will endeavor to clear the confusion in your mind regarding the options available to you in your present predicament, and hopefully provide a clearer understanding of the necessary path to achieve your goals.

      The airlines are mandated by government to accept applicants who have a Bachelor’s degree in ANY course, be it Nursing, Engineering, Biology, Architecture, Fine Arts, etc.

      BS Aviation major in Flying is also a baccalaureate degree, but will you be able to have the minimum number of flight hours for a Commercial Pilot License upon graduation, or will you still have to fly the hours after getting your degree? Ask the school about this.

      Take into account the expense of travel or renting an apartment, daily meals, laundry services, other additional unforeseen expenses, and then consider the intangibles: being away from home for long periods, missing important family events (birthdays, anniversaries, graduations, weddings, funerals, etc.), having to care for yourself if you get sick (headache, stomach aches, colds, coughs, fever, etc.), and not seeing your family for long periods of time (especially difficult for the parents). And then consider the current pandemic. Can you survive being alone and restricted from travel, or worse, being a carrier of the disease?

      When you get your Commercial Pilot License, you are now legally qualified to apply as an entry-level pilot for flight schools, or a cargo company, or for the airlines but fly countrywide only, as First Officer. Sadly, having a BSAF does not make you any better qualified than other applicants. It probably limits your options since you have no fallback course to rely on for a job, but then again, it means you will work your ass off to become a pilot, which means a good return on investment.

      To get the really good airline pilot salaries, you have to be flying the international routes, and foreign companies have better pay. And not just because of the exchange rate; they have higher pay and better benefits because the pilots and/or the government demands it. But you will be living in a foreign land away from your family, with the same issues as taking a course in Manila instead of Clark. Working locally means you will take a longer time to get your money back, but think about the emotional returns also. When was the last time you saw a happy OFW working abroad? OFW is different from migrant Filipinos, mind you.

      Actually, if you work with dedication regarding anything, you will become a success. Period.

      To recap:
      Where to go to school? Go where you can get a Commercial Pilot License.
      Do you need a bachelor’s degree for the airlines? Yes.
      Will it give me an advantage? No.
      Can I work for money as a pilot? Only with a CPL.
      How do I get my CPL? Pass the written and practical exams given by the Civil Aviation Authority.
      What is the process of becoming a pilot-for-hire? Get a Student Pilot License and Class 2 Medical Certificate, fly the plane for many hours, pass the Private Pilot License exam, fly many hours, get an Instrument Rating from a flight school, pass the Commercial Pilot License exam.
      How do I pay for my flight hours? With hard-earned money, whether your own or somebody else’s.

      Will the investment be worth it? Yes, because not many people can fly airplanes. Most drive cars or boats only. The money spent is money well-invested. I’m a dentist by profession, and fly on occasion. It is worth it.

  6. Hi capt, is having a college degree really required to become an airline pilot? I want to become an airline pilot, but i am currently studying as an amt, which is a 2 year course. My school offers a 1 year avionic course (which was a 2 year course) to those who finished their AMT course.
    Will adding my 2 year amt with another 1 year of avionics help me to be “qualified”? If not, what should I do?

    • Dear Lanz,

      You most likely will still not be qualified to be an airline pilot as it is documentary requirement to have a bachelor’s degree.

      However, it does not mean you cannot be a commercial pilot! In fact, you have better chances of getting hired as you will also have an AMT license aside from your CPL. Meaning, you can fix the plane you fly, which in my opinion is the safest plane around. My wife often says that the mechanic should fly with the pilot to make sure the pilot comes home safely.

      Of course, getting an AMT license does not mean you can now fly planes. You still have to go through Pilot Ground School, Pilot Flight School, and accumulate the needed hours for the Private Pilot License, then get an Instrument Rating, then work on getting your Commercial Pilot License. If you already have your Aviation Maintenance Technician License then you already know how the exams work.

      And when you get your CPL, you can then start working for a flight school, maybe become an instructor, or work for a cargo company. Sure, not as big a salary as airline pilots, but less risk of killing passengers also.

      Think about it.

  7. Hi, I’m an incoming grade 12 student and I’m considering taking BS Air Transportation in PhilSCA. I’ve read that the BSAT program offers free flying in 3rd yr and 4th yr college, they guarantee 200 flying hours (if there are any PhilSCAns here, is this true and did you really complete 200 hrs of flight?). Upon graduation, they said that you will be receiving the PPL and CPL. But, if you’re an aspiring airline pilot where they accept CPL holders with instrument and multi-engine ratings, IR and ME isn’t covered in the BSAT program in PhilSCA. Well, this is what I’ve read so far. So my question is, where can I get my IR & ME if I want to fly an airbus or any other passenger aircraft? How much money will I spend if I am to get the IR & ME. Thank you very much!! :))

    • Dear DAN,

      Get your Instrument Rating and Multi-Engine Rating from a flight school. Along with the requisite 1,500 flight hours to get your Airline Transport Pilot License, which is what you will need to apply for with the airlines. Some local airlines will most likely in all probability accept an applicant with a CPL and IR/ME ratings, since more pilots are needed as more air routes are opened up, thanks to new airports being developed.

      Let’s say you already have a CPL and need money. Work as an instructor in the flight school where you’re getting your IR/ME. Be a good instructor, and it will help you when you apply for the airlines. The money you spend is an investment for your future, and not a gift to yourself. Meaning, spend money now while learning, and earn it back when working! Good luck, my young padawan.

    • Hello captain!
      Is it necessary to have a college to become a pilot? Is it ok if take Avionics or a 2-year-course?
      What is the best flight school in the philippines you can suggest for me?

      • Dear Jomon,

        You don’t need a college degree to become a pilot. You just have to be at least 16 years old. A bachelor’s degree (any at least 4-year course) is required to become an airline pilot.

        And the best flight school in the Philippines is………..

        the one closest to your residence. Because if you have to rent an apartment to be near the flight school, then that is just added expenses, aside from meals, laundry, etc. All flight schools that are accredited by the Civil Aviation Authority are good enough. It depends on how comfortable you feel with your flight instructor, really. If you feel terrified by your instructor, then you won’t learn a thing because trying to fly the plane is terrifying already for a first-time aviator.

        Eventually you will understand the process of safe manipulation of the aircraft and you begin to enjoy flying at the controls, or your whole dream of being a pilot will come crashing down and that will be the end of that.

        Keep going, young padawan.

    • Hi, a student from BSAT here which you mentioned, I can guarantee that what you said is officially true and proved by the board of the school. Along with it, your claim on IR and ME not being included in the package is, somehow, not true. Our program has IR and ME included in it. I am a student myself in the said course (BSAT) and I am currently in the 3rd year as of enrollment this coming school year 2020-2021. To give you another more information, We will be taking up the flight training during the introduction of our 3rd year Second sem up to the year we are able to finish the said flight training. This is now free because of the law passed during the start of Duterte’s administration. It roughly needed 2 to 3 years to complete the said training. Hope you would do well in the next moment!

      • Dear Niño,

        Thank you for the clarification! I stand corrected.

        So you see, dear readers, information changes so stay updated by actually asking questions from the agencies or flight schools concerned. Don’t give too much credence to information retrieved from the internet, as that info can be outdated, misspelled, mistaken or downright wrong.

        Then again, info found on the internet points you in the right direction, but you have to travel the journey yourself. And if other students from other courses have experience or information that is different from what they read, I highly encourage them to share what they know.

        Doveryai, no proveryai. – Russian proverb

        p.s. Niño, always remember that the 3 most useless things to a pilot are:

        Altitude above you, runway behind you, and fuel in the truck. See you in the skies!

    • Dear Rist,

      Only an Aviation Medical Examiner can determine if you are not qualified to be a pilot because of your mild hearing loss. Then again, as the name suggests, MILD. Meaning not serious, not severe, not harsh.

      I’m an old person. I need reading glasses, and have mild hearing loss (too much loud music in my teens) but I’m also a pilot. I can still hear clearly radio communications between pilots and airport towers, so no problems there. The cockpit instruments are still visible, albeit a little fuzzy without the glasses, but then again, most of the time is spent looking at the actual horizon instead of the artificial horizon anyway, and looking out for other aircraft, so I’m good there. I’m farsighted, so that is a bonus.

      So what does it all mean? Get checked out by the AME. Worst thing that could happen is another medical condition will kill your dream to be an aviator. Poor eyesight and being slightly deaf are not big hindrances. High blood pressure, neurological conditions, bad lungs, those will definitely keep you on the ground.

      Physical requirements for pilots these days are more strict with regards to those issues since the industry has noticed that pilots who are close to retirement age are more fit than pilots who are new hires, with heart attack being a number one reason for grounding a new pilot. Ironic, considering new airline pilots are around 25 to 30 years old, whereas soon-to-retire pilots are 67!

      Exercise and proper diet, avoid drinking to excess and no smoking!

      • Good day, Captain! I would just like to ask if there is a height requirement to be an airline pilot? I am only 5 ft tall female and I’m thinking of going to flying school but I’m afraid that I will just waste money because I won’t get a job in the end. Hoping for you response. Thank you, Captain!

        • Dear Alyssa,

          Nowhere in the government regulations will you find a height requirement for pilots, male or female. None.

          However, you will find that a lot of airline companies require their pilot-applicants to be at least 5’4″ to 6’4″ in height. And they have to have a “pleasing personality,” which is a euphemism for good-looking. Now, if you were good-looking and with that height, why would you want to be a pilot? It seems strange, doesn’t it? I would be a model and making money already!

          Anyway, just to be clear, the worst that an airline company can do is reject you for another applicant. Doesn’t mean the end of the world, there are other airline companies, or cargo companies, and other jobs for pilots, such as flight instructors, tour flights, search-and-rescue, etc.

          The real issue here is reach. Are you sitting tall enough in the seat that you can see over the instrument panel and look at the actual horizon outside the window? Are your legs long enough to fully deflect the rudder pedals? Can you reach all the buttons, levers, switches, and knobs from your seated position? If so, then you’ll get hired.

          I’ve met short pilots, and I’ve met short, ugly-looking pilots. In fact, I’m one of those, except I’m tall.

          • Hi Capt

            I’m a a grade 12 graduate and will be taking BS mechanical engineering as my course in college. I would like to ask if it is possible to become a pilot after finish my BS mech eng and if it is possible, may I know the procedure?

            I don’t know how to view my comment and replies cause im new here so I would really appreciate if you email me at my back up gmail thank you

    • Dear Renan,

      Philippine State College of Aeronautics is funded by the Philippine government and as such, offers scholarships for those aspiring to be pilots. I honestly don’t know if this is a full or partial scholarship, never having gone to this school. I do hope one of our contributors can reply regarding this datum?

      At any rate, you can inquire directly from the school, or go to to search for a pilot school near your location.

      On a side note, ladies and gentlemen, learning to fly is not that expensive! The high cost comes from renting the airplane to gain the needed flight hours for upgrading your license.

      However, according to a relative who has a friend whose child took up aviation and is now flying for one of the local airline companies, their return-on-investment took only a year. Meaning, a large initial cash outlay will be recovered within a limited time frame.

      In plain English, your total annual salary will be enough to pay for whatever you spent to get hired by the airlines. In plainer English: Borrow money. Fly. Get hired. Pay loan, one year only. Simple!

      “Aviation is proof that given the will, we have the capacity to achieve the impossible.” – Edward Vernon Rickenbacker

  8. hi. i have a friend who want to be a pilot but he doesnt know what courses to take in college. care to suggest??and what school have aviation courses? Thank you

    • Dear Cindy,

      There is no specific course to take up in college to become a pilot. It’s similar to learning to drive a car: the student learns the fundamentals in a lecture (with the requisite exams to determine understanding of the subject discussed) and the practical instruction where the student sits in the vehicle and demonstrates the proper control of said vehicle.

      However, if your friend’s goal is to achieve the Airline Transport Pilot License (where a 4-year bachelor’s degree in any college course is required) and he wants to put all his eggs in one basket, then taking up Bachelor of Science in Aviation major in flying is the way to go. Your friend will get to spend a lot of money, time and effort in eventually getting the chance to become an airline pilot.


      Your friend could take up any other course in college that is at least 4 years long, graduate, and then maybe get a part-time job and then take up flying during his free time or the weekends. Learning to fly does not have to adhere to a strict schedule. You can make arrangements with the instructors and the flight school or Fixed Base Operator regarding scheduling of classes and flight lessons. Most aero schools actually don’t offer flying, but instead, aviation-related courses! True flight schools usually can be found at the airports, on the civil aviation side, not the regular airport side of the runway. Most folks are aware of the regular airport side, and just wonder about the small airplanes parked nearby or across the runway. That’s the civil aviation area. Now you know. Tell your friend good luck!

      • May I ask what school in the Philippines offers Bachelor of Science in Aviation major in flying thanks and what bs should I take in college to be a pilot.

        • Dear Julian,

          Any at least 4-year college degree is acceptable for the airlines if you want to eventually become an airline pilot. But becoming a pilot does not require a degree, just lots of time and money and determination.

          It’s not easy to become an aviator. And you’ll only understand once you are one yourself.

      • Hi Capt. I’m going to be a first year college this school year and I’m taking BS mechanical engineering. May I ask if I can become a pilot after completing my 4 year course and what is the procedure to become one? If possible, how will it take me to get my PPL and CPL?

    • To my knowledge, most likely the possible answer is a relatively definite maybe not.

      Aeronautical engineers deal with aircraft design, or the performance of the aircraft in flight. They do not actually fly the aircraft. The Ishihara Eye Test is needed to determine a person’s ability to discern a pattern in differently colored dots, ergo you are not color-blind, since glass cockpits tend to cram so much information into a small video display by using different colors and symbols, and that data has to be processed in seconds by the pilot flying.

      • thank you for answering captain, does that mean even a person with color deficiency can become an aeronautical engineer?…if so, why are some Aeronautical schools like Philsca also need the ishihara test results(negative of Colorblind) for students who will take Aeronautical Engineering?

        • Dear axel,

          Why do some aeronautical schools require a negative colorblind test result for aeronautical engineers?

          I don’t want to make assumptions, because assumption is the mother of all fuckups, so I will simply offer my opinion of what I have understood from careful analysis of many years of experience.

          Because that’s the way the government works. Simple red tape. Bureaucracy. Why? Because nobody told the ones making the regulations that this simple test procedure is not necessary since aeronautical engineers do not fly airplanes; they design them. But since the colorblindness test is aviation-related, and aero engineering is aviation-related, ergo this test must be necessary also for aero engineers!

          If you wish to have this exam removed from the aeronautical engineering admission requirements, kindly file a protest, long bond paper, single spaced, three copies each page, have it notarized, file it with the Department of Education, the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines, the Office of the Ombudsman, the Office of the President, the Philippine Information Agency, the Department of Transportation, the…… (Get the point?)

          Let’s say you failed the colorblind test. Ask the school’s dean if that prevents you from becoming an aeronautical engineer, or can you be excused. Worse that could happen is they will refuse to enroll you. Make a good argument for your position, as some pilots may be colorblind due to advancing age, but depending on the severity of the disability, are still allowed to fly commercial. I don’t think failing this exam is an automatic barrier to being accepted as a student. Even asthmatics can be athletes. Just try and find out. If at first you don’t succeed, find another way. Never give up the dream till the last breath and the last drop of blood.

    • Hi Captain, i’m just wondering that if becoming a pilot requires not being colorblind, does that also apply for Aeronautical Engineer?

      • Dear Axel,

        I checked the CAAP Licensing Regulations, and I cannot find anything that deals with Aeronautical Engineers.

        As a matter of practicality, are you really colorblind? I mean have you been medically examined and legally declared to be color vision deficient?

        So you can’t differentiate certain colors from each other under normal lighting conditions. Just means you cannot be a pilot, firefighter, automobile driver, electrician, painter, doctor, flower arranger, landscape artist, fashion designer, photographer, astronaut, air traffic controller, web designer, graphic artist, chemical engineer….

        I don’t know if being an aeronautical engineer requires the ability to see clearly different colors. But to the limited scope of my knowledge and experience, I can only say, ask the other aeronautical engineers. They’re the persons best able to answer your question since they have actual real-world experience. Hope this clarifies the issue for you.

  9. Hi, I’m a 16 year old Senior High School student and I’m planning to continue my dream of becoming a pilot. My one problem is my eyesight. I’ve read that people with astigmatism could still go on to become pilots but in the worst case, I’m planning to get eye surgery to fix my eyesight as I do not know if I do meet the minimum requirements. Could I still go on to become a pilot after the surgery? I would really love to know what are my possible options. Thank you.

    • Dear Jymjy,

      Let’s break this down. You have a dream to be a pilot. You have astigmatism. You have read that people with astigmatism can still become pilots. What was the problem again?

      If you were already planning to undergo surgery to fix your eyesight, then have the procedure done. If you haven’t decided on the operation and was just worried if you’d fail the medical exam, then get checked out by the Aviation Medical Examiner first. No, this is not the same as an optometrist or even an ophthalmologist. The AME specializes on aviation-related medical matters. The AME will approve or disapprove your application for a Medical Certificate for eligibility to become a pilot. If you pass all the medical requirements, then your only hindrance to becoming a pilot will be financial.

      Regarding financial difficulties, potential pilots must realize that there is no rush to finish your flight instruction. If you don’t have the money to complete your flight hours in the shortest possible time, then take your time! Save your allowance, or work part time, or sell something you no longer use, need or want, or ask an adult to take out a loan for you. If there’s a will, there’s a way. If you graduate and find a job before finishing your flight training, save your salary. If it takes you a few years to become a captain, so be it. It took me 30 years, but I am now a pilot. As I said, financial difficulties. I thought that dream had died, until I realized that I now had the money, the maturity, and the time to pursue my desire to become a pilot, so I went for it and grabbed the chance. Bucket list item checked off!

      Nothing should prevent you from becoming one of the awesome.

      • Hi captain!

        I’m an 18 year old senior high school student who wants to become a pilot. I would just like to know if it is required to be a graduate from a “pre-course” (let’s say aero engineering) to be able to take BS Aviation Major in Flying? Or can I take BS Aviation Major in Flying right after senior high school?

        • Dear Darryl,

          No pre-course is needed to become a pilot. As long as you are at least 16 years old, you can begin learning to become an aviator.

          If your ultimate goal is to apply for the airlines, then getting a BS Av Major in Flying can serve as hitting two birds with one stone, in that you get the needed 4-year degree AND become a pilot at the same time, minimizing the amount of time and expense required, since you’re still in senior high.

          However, to clarify, for those already in other courses and wishing to become pilots, any 4-year bachelor’s degree will do. You’ll just have to study flying either during weekends, semestral break, Christmas break or upon graduation. Learning to fly can be done on an individual basis, depending on your free time and clear weather availability.

  10. Hi Captain!

    Licensed Mech Engg na ako and want to become a pilot. Kakatapos lang nung study now pay later ng Cebu Pac late ko na rin nalaman. Are there other options similar sa gantong program na pwede ko itry?

    • Dear Bly,

      Apply in any nearby flight school! Better if you pay your own way to becoming a pilot so that as soon as you get your Commercial Pilot License, you can then apply for any entry-level pilot job. Don’t let the salary fool you; airline pilots are paid a lot because they carry a lot of responsibilities and duties. Other pilot jobs may not pay the high salary, but you also have a lot of free time to pursue other things, like time with your family.

    • You know, a Ceb Pac captain once said that their cadet program is a scam.. maybe because of the 10yr contract with cadets to recover costs of training. As aspirant in my late 30s i applied from batch 1-8 and was rejected in my true information. To test the waters, batch 6 and 7, i applied using false information like 24 as my age, Ateneo as my school and 98-99-99 for my grades in math, physics and English respectively and i received a CALL from FTA.

      Now, can anyone here tell me about their opinion on how CEB/FTA conduct their screening process?

      Siguro much better if they are specific in the requirements right?

      I hope Air Asia Philippines will do their screening on a fair and transparent manner. How could they able to do such monkey survey to eliminate the applicants? that’s funny!

      • I guess my gut feeling was right. They filter out “overaged” or “not so intelligent” aspirants LOL~
        Early 30s here, and also applied for the 5J FTA thing.

        Although I’m still waiting for the Air Asia guidelines, somehow I’m no longer hopeful for that one too.

        I guess I’ll just follow Capt. Enrique’s advice and fund my own Flying Lessons.
        Afterwards, apply to the local airlines without those legal mumbo jumbos if ever.
        The problem is no funds, so it may just be a pipe dream for me.

        Although yeah, I’m curious as to how the cadet program is a scam?

        • Dear aviadorkly,

          I guess applicants are disappointed that the dream that was within reach has become just a dream again because they appear to be disqualified. But that is not the end, ladies and gentlemen. Funds a problem? Take out a loan, or work and save your salary, or sell something you own, like a kidney. Just kidding about the kidney.

          Don’t be pressured to finish your flight training in the shortest possible amount of time. So you’re no longer 25. How much time do you think you’ll need to recover the investment? 50 years? Don’t focus on the salary; look at the benefits. Living out your dream of flying an airplane is priceless. And if you enjoy your job, then you’ll never work a day in your life.

          Besides, according to the regulations, Student Pilots should be at least 16 years old, and the mandatory retirement age for pilots is 67, meaning after this birthday, your license reverts back to a Private Pilot License, able to fly but not paid to fly. Never give up your dream just because somebody else says you can’t.

          “Always with you what cannot be done. Hear you nothing that I say?…You must unlearn what you have learned…Try not. Do. Or do not. There is no try.” – Yoda

      • Dear Marco (and everyone else who reads these comments, and shout out to babe Fehl D. for making this website),

        As a contributor to this site, I must warn everyone that I can only comment based on my personal experiences, anecdotes, fellow pilot stories, internet research and observations. If you find them informative, my job is done. If I made mistakes, then mea maxima culpa.

        The best piece of advice I could give those aspiring to become airline pilots is caveat emptor. Buyer beware. Read the fine print. If it seems to good to be true, it usually is. If it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, it must be a duck. You get what you pay for, and always be wary of anything given for free, including advice!

        Now, Marco, you have to remember, if they do a monkey survey, they must be looking for monkeys, right? Just kidding. If Ceb Pac does things that way, it may be shrewd business practice, or they could be pushing an unfair disadvantage on an unsuspecting applicant. Either way, if you don’t like it, don’t buy it, right? There are always other options.

        Being an airline pilot is the Holy Grail for aviators since they command the highest salaries. What most people don’t realize is the responsibility and the hardships that these professionals face. Airline pilots have to do their best to get their passengers to their destinations safely and on time, ever mindful that weather, equipment failure, congested runways, and screaming passengers can cause costly delays. In any controlled-flight-into-terrain incident, the pilot is always blamed. It doesn’t matter if it was equipment failure, or an explosion destroyed the aircraft, or the weather, at the end of the day, it was the Captain’s fault. They have to blame somebody, and dead people can’t complain.

        That’s the responsibility, while the hardship is having an irregular work schedule, missing important family events such as birthdays, anniversaries, weddings, baptisms, burials, reunions, etc. because of work. You will learn to appreciate quality time since you have no quantity time. Vacations can be cut short since the other pilot fell ill and you’re the only other one available. If you fly international, it’s worse. You will never know what time it is. You’ll measure time by the length of the flight, and it will be boring. But then again, for pilots, boring flights are always better than an exciting flight.

        You can always live your dream of becoming a pilot without having to fly for the airlines. When you find a pilot job, then you can start earning money to get back your investment in learning to fly. Agricultural spray pilots may earn on average 500,000 pesos annually. It’s not as high an airline pilot’s salary which is on average 700,000 pesos a year. Is the salary difference worth it? Think it through. There are other pilot jobs available. And they all pay a good salary. Find the balance. Don’t limit your options. Patience you must have, my young padawan.

    • Dear Rico,

      As long as you are not certified to be legally blind, you still have the opportunity to become a pilot.

      Actually, people in general will experience some vision loss upon reaching 40 years of age. It’s called presbyopia, and it will happen no matter what you do to avoid it. Part of aging. So airline pilots will require eyeglasses, contact lenses or corrective eye surgery long before they retire at 67.

      In your case, your Medical Certificate will probably read “Needs corrective lenses” which means you wear eyeglasses while flying. If you finally get to your training flights, I suggest getting eyeglasses that are photochromic or light-adaptive or variable tint, and non-polarized. You’ll be spending a lot of time in sunlight, and the light reflection from clouds or glare from the sea is intense, while polarized lenses will block your view of the glass cockpit’s instrument readings, which can become a dangerous situation. Aviator sunglasses are always non-polarized.

      Or, inquire about corrective eye surgery. It’s one eye, and eyeglasses are a hassle. My niece who works for Air Traffic Control had it done, on the defective eye, and she said it was worth it. Her vision is now 20/20 from 20/50. Something to consider.

      • Hi Captain! I’m already 31 y/o and I’ve thought a lot about it and decided that becoming a pilot may be the profession for me and I’m really interested in attending a flight school. Is there any age limit in joining a flight training course? Also, is there a possibility of any school offering a scholarship program to help me with the tuition funds?

        • Dear Jamie,

          There is no age limit for attending a flight school. I started flight school at the tender age of 47.

          However, according to the Civil Aviation Regulations, no pilot can serve as pilot-in-command or as co-pilot on a Philippine-registered civil aircraft engaged in international commercial air transport if that person has reached 65 years of age, nor may they serve as same on Philippine-registered civil aircraft engaged in domestic commercial air transport if that person has reached 67 years of age. However, you are still allowed to fly small aircraft for private use.

          As for flight scholarship programs, try inquiring with Airworks Aviation Academy. Or if that school isn’t available in your location, try searching online with Aviationfly, an aviation school search engine website.

          Or you could save as much of your salary as you can and fund your own flight training so you don’t owe anyone anything, and they can’t tell you that you’re just wasting your time and money.

          “Your wings already exist; all you have to do is fly.” – Unknown

  11. Hi, I am an incoming college student planning to take up computer science. I plan on going to flight school after college but I have an autoimmune disease called SLE & psoriasis. My question is, will my illness hinder me from passing the physical examination to become a pilot?

    • Philippine Civil Aviation Regulations

      Part 2 Personnel Licensing

      2.10.2 Medical Requirements Requirements for Medical Certificates General

      An applicant for a Medical Certificate issued in accordance with this Part, shall undergo a medical examination based on the following requirements:

      (a) physical and mental;
      (b) visual and color perception; and
      (c) hearing. Physical and Mental Requirements:

      An applicant for any class of Medical Assessment shall be required to be free from:

      (a) any abnormality, congenital or acquired; or
      (b) any active, latent, or chronic disability; or
      (c) any wound, injury or sequelae from operation; or
      (d) any effect or side-effect of any prescribed or non-prescribed therapeutic medication taken; such as would entail a degree of functional incapacity which is likely to interfere with the safe operation of the aircraft or with the safe performance of duties.

      Since I’m a dentist who is learning to fly, I cannot determine whether you are or are not qualified to become a pilot. However, I am of the belief that you won’t be allowed to fly since you have SLE. Pilots are advised to fly using fingers only on the controls, relying on tactile and visual feedback to maneuver the airplane safely. Can you guarantee that your condition will not affect your tactile sense? More to the point, will you risk your life, along with those of your passengers?

      Then again, maybe if you only get a Private Pilot License, and ALWAYS fly with a safety pilot beside you, MAYBE the CAAP will allow you to become a pilot! You have to talk this over with the Aviation Medical Examiner to be sure.

      There is a rule for everything, and there is always an exception to the rule.

    • Dear JAA,

      Your condition is an immediate hindrance to your passing the medical exam. You might experience stiffness in your limbs, hindering manipulation of the flight controls.Sudden shortness of breath and chest pain when added to the the high-stress environment of landing might be dangerous. And pilots are exposed to sunlight A LOT! Your skin’s sensitivity to sunlight might be a factor to consider. And if you experience headaches, confusion and memory loss while in the cockpit, what then?

      However, all of these things are just my opinion based on the information I have. The final authority to clear your medical condition is the Aviation Medical Examiner of the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines. Maybe if you only flew as a Private Pilot, with a safety pilot onboard, then you might be allowed to fly the aircraft.

      There’s a rule for everything, and there’s always an exception the to the rule.

  12. Good day capt.
    I am an incoming college student and planning to take bsat major in flying. Will this course really help me pursue my dream to become a pilot? or take another non-aviation related courses and then pursue my dream to become a pilot? How about the expenses? Which is expensive to enroll in an aviation school or just go to normal school?

    • Dear Marie,

      You don’t realize how difficult it is to answer your questions.

      Not because the answers are complicated; more of, does she have the aptitude and fortitude to pursue this dream in spite of all the hardships and challenges? And even if she does, is she medically qualified? Taking all that into consideration, here’s the answer tailored specifically to your situation:

      Don’t put all your eggs in one basket.

      It is not a requirement that pilots take up aviation-related courses. Learning to fly is simply that, learning to fly, in much the same way as learning to drive a car. You don’t need a college degree in flying to do it; you just do it.

      The Ground Lessons are fairly simple, straightforward, and absolutely difficult to comprehend completely since you haven’t started flying yet. Once those lessons are done and you’ve passed the exams for each subject, you’ll be checked out by the Aviation Medical Examiner for your Student Pilot License and Class 2 Medical Certificate. When those two cards arrive you begin Flight Lessons. It will be exciting and equally terrifying when you begin flying. And when you get comfortable enough handling the flight controls with your Flight Instructor seated beside you, you’ll be given your Pre-Solo Exam and you’ll be scheduled for your Solo Flight, with the FI just waiting on the runway as you do one take-off and landing all by yourself.

      All this can be easily achieved in a few weeks or a few years, depending on your budget and time and the weather.

      Whereas, if you took up some aviation-related course and later found out you are not medically qualified to fly airplanes, what then? Crash and burn.

      Get a college degree in a course which you feel you might be competent in, and take up flying during semester breaks or vacation periods. It’s not going to go anywhere; aviation will still be there when you graduate from college, and if you wish to become an airline pilot, a job will be waiting for you, since airline travel is here to stay, with supply unable to keep up with demand. And if you are medically disqualified, then you continue in the degree you’ve chosen.

      Everything is expensive if you look at it from a point of negativity, but neither is it a good idea to be haphazard with your finances! Choose carefully, and pursue the dream. I became a dentist because I couldn’t afford flight school back then. I have the money now, ergo I am learning to fly.

      “If you were born without wings, do nothing to prevent them from growing.” – Gabrielle Bonheur “Coco” Chanel, French fashion designer and businesswoman


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