Hi there, future Pilot! Your interest in becoming a pilot must have brought you to this page. You might be wondering how to become a Pilot in Switzerland after 12th Grade? Is becoming a Pilot your dream or are you simply just curious about how to become a Pilot in Switzerland? If you answer yes to one of these, then this “How to become a Pilot in Switzerland in 2021” Guide is for you!
You probably have a multitude of questions when it comes to qualifications, duration, and requirements necessary for pilot training in Switzerland. Fret not, as we, at Aviationfly, have compiled the most basic things you need to know when planning to take your pilot course/program in Switzerland.
Aviationfly has helped many aspiring pilots just like you become a pilot with this “How to become a Pilot in Switzerland in 2021” Guide. On this page, we will walk you through all the steps that you need to take into consideration when pursuing your dream of becoming either a private pilot, commercial pilot, or airline transport pilot.
Step 1. Do research on the available flight training options in Switzerland
You need to know what pilot training programs are being offered in the country and which among those is the most suitable for you. This is where you should take into account what is your aviation goal. Do you want to obtain a Private Pilot License (PPL) or a Commercial Pilot License (CPL)? Are you seeking to work for an airline? If yes, then an Airline Transport Pilot License (ATPL) is for you. Do you aim to attain a college degree at the same time too? Or do you see yourself joining the military, particularly the Air Force?
Did we lose you? Don’t panic! If you’re not familiar with the terms or can’t choose which license is right for you, you can send in your questions and our team will be happy to help you out.
Here are your options:
- Flight School
There are approximately 60 flight schools in Switzerland that offer different pilot training programs that you can choose from. It is important that you create a list of your preferred flight school/s so you can compare which is fitting for you. Each school has its own procedures, enrollment requirements, and depending on which pilot training courses you decide to take, the tuition fee also varies.
- Aviation-related college degree program
However, if you’re interested in obtaining a college degree accompanied with flight training, you should consider aviation-related college degree programs. These programs allow students to combine a college degree with flight training. With this kind of program, you will earn a college degree together with a pilot license such as Commercial Pilot License (CPL) in most cases. This will give you the opportunity to have the best of both worlds.
- Airline cadet pilot program
Meanwhile, if your greatest childhood dream is to become an airline pilot, you should consider airline cadet pilot programs. Airlines often sponsor these programs and students are guaranteed employment upon course completion. In this pilot program, you will obtain an Airline Transport Pilot License (ATPL). You can reach out to us to get an insight into the options currently available.
- Join the military
Finally, if you’re interested in serving your country, you can join the Swiss Air Force. The Government will sponsor your flight training but you will have to stay with the military for around 12 years after completion before you can apply to commercial airlines.
Step 2. Look up the Basic Requirements
- What is the minimum age to become a pilot in Switzerland
You need to be at least 16 years old to start your pilot training in Switzerland.
- What do I need to start pilot training in Switzerland?
In order to start your pilot training, you will need to secure a medical certificate. The best way to do this is to speak with the flight school you would like to enroll in and they will help arrange it for you.
- What are the minimum educational requirements to become a pilot in Switzerland?
Potential students must be at least a high school graduate.
- What level of English do I need to become a pilot in Switzerland?
Since the language of aviation internationally is English, it is recommended to have at least a level 4 English standard before receiving your pilot license. If you are looking to improve your English, you can send us a message and we will give you tips on what courses to take.
- What is the maximum age for airline pilots in Switzerland?
The retirement age for airline pilots is 65 years old.
Step 3. Decide on which training stages you will have to undergo
In general, there are six (6) different pilot training stages in which students need to complete depending on what their goal is. The stages of pilot training are as follows:
Student Pilot License (SPL)
The first pilot license you will need to obtain is a student pilot license. This license allows you to start your flight training.
Private Pilot License (PPL)
The private pilot license will allow you to fly solo, passengers, or cargo but without monetary compensation. To get a Private Pilot License, you should:
(a) be at least 17 years old;
(b) shall have completed at least 45 hours of flight instruction in aeroplanes or TMGs, 5 of which may have been completed in an FSTD, including at least:
(i) 25 hours of dual flight instruction; and
(ii) 10 hours of supervised solo flight time, including at least 5 hours of solo cross-country flight time with at least 1 cross-country flight of at least 270 km (150 NM), during which full stop landings at 2 aerodromes different from the aerodrome of departure shall be made.
Commercial Pilot License (CPL)
To start earning from flying, you will need to obtain a commercial pilot license. This license allows you to become a paid professional pilot. To get a Commercial Pilot License, you should:
(a) be at least 18 years old;
(b) comprise a total of at least 150 hours, to include all progress tests, of which up to 5 hours for the entire course may be instrument ground time. Within the total of 150 hours, applicants shall complete at least:
(i) 80 hours of dual instruction, of which up to 5 hours may be instrument ground time;
(ii) 70 hours as PIC, of which up to 55 hours may be as SPIC;
(iii) 20 hours of cross-country flight as PIC, including a VFR cross-country flight of at least 540 km (300 NM), in the course of which full stop landings at two aerodromes different from the aerodrome of departure shall be made;
(iv) 5 hours flight time shall be completed at night, comprising 3 hours of dual instruction, which shall include at least 1 hour of cross-country navigation and 5 solo take-offs and 5 solo full stop landings;
(v) 10 hours of instrument flight instruction, of which up to 5 hours may be instrument ground time in an FNPT I, FTD 2, FNPT II or FFS. An applicant holding a course completion certificate for the Basic Instrument Flight Module shall be credited with up to 10 hours towards the required instrument instruction time. Hours done in a BITD shall not be credited;
(vi) 5 hours to be carried out in an aeroplane certificated for the carriage of at least four persons that has a variable pitch propeller and retractable landing gear.
Both Instrument Rating and Multi-Engine Rating are add-ons to your pilot license…
Instrument Rating (IR)
Being instrument-rated means that you can fly the aircraft in any weather condition (for example low or zero visibility) using just the instruments. Flight schools offer Instrument Rating along with their commercial pilot training. But this can also be obtained separately.
Multi-Engine Rating (MER)
The multi-engine rating will allow you to fly multi-engine aircraft. Flight schools offer Multi-Engine Rating along with their private pilot training and commercial pilot training. But this can also be obtained separately.
Airline Transport Pilot License (ATPL)
ATPL is the highest level of Aircraft Pilot Certificate that allows you to act as a pilot in command on scheduled air carriers. This is the highest level of Aircraft Pilot Certificate that allows you to act as pilot in command on scheduled air carriers. To get an Airline Transport Pilot License, you should:
(a) be at least 21 years old;
(b) hold an MPL or a CPL(A) and a multi-engine IR for aeroplanes;
(c) have completed a minimum of 1 500 hours of flight time in aeroplanes, including at least:
(ii) 500 hours in multi-pilot operations on aeroplanes;
(ii) 500 hours as PIC under supervision; or 250 hours as PIC; or 250 hours, including at least 70 hours as PIC, and the remaining as PIC under supervision;
(iii) 200 hours of cross-country flight time of which at least 100 hours shall be as PIC or as PIC under supervision;
(iv) 75 hours of instrument time of which not more than 30 hours may be instrument ground time; and
(v) 100 hours of night flight as PIC or co-pilot.
*Of the 1500 hours of flight time, up to 100 hours of flight time may have been completed in an FFS and FNPT. Of these 100 hours, only a maximum of 25 hours may be completed in an FNPT.
If you have any questions so far, feel free to use chat messenger to send us a message.
Step 4. Choose a flight school
After doing your research on the type of license you would like to obtain, the next step is to choose which flight school is the most suitable for your budget.
So, how much does pilot training cost?
It is important to note that becoming a pilot requires a certain budget. Your flight training cost depends on the country you do your training, the flight school you pick, and a number of other factors.
If you decide to do your flight training within the country, there are approximately 60 flight schools in Switzerland for you to choose from. You can find a list of flight training institutes in Switzerland by registering with us on Aviationfly.com. Our flight school directory has a list of all the latest active flight schools in Switzerland including their brief background, pilot training courses being offered, the school’s fleet details, what they can offer to you, and other information.
On the other hand, if you decide to do your flight training abroad, you must note is that after your training you will have to convert your license to the Federal Office of Civil Aviation (FOCA).
As mentioned above, another alternative is to enroll in an airline pilot program. Once you have successfully passed your pilot training, you will be employed by the airlines that have set up the program.
Step 5. Consider your Career Options
Many aspiring pilots have a defined career path they would like to pursue, while others don’t.
Below is a list of options for what you can potentially do with a pilot license.
- Airline pilot for large airlines or smaller regional ones
- Corporate or business aviation pilot
- Cargo pilot
- Charter / Air taxi pilot
- Flight instructor
- Medical/ Air ambulance pilots
- Agricultural pilot and many more options
Tips for Picking a Flight School
Tip 1. Decide on your pilot goals
Firstly, ask yourself – what are your long-term aspirations in aviation? Do you want to become a pilot in your free time (Private Pilot License)? Or do you want to fly in General Aviation (Commercial Pilot License)? Do you want to become an airline pilot through an airline pilot cadet program? Additionally, which airlines are currently hiring? What type of aircraft will be utilized by airlines in the next few years? Which flight schools do the airlines usually hire from? Best to ask flight schools if they have partnerships with airlines. These are critical questions you should list and get answers to when asking yourself “how will I become a Pilot”.
Tip 2. Determine how much you can afford to spend
Secondly, different flight schools have different costs (due to location, number of students, aircraft type and several other factors), find out the reasons for the price difference. Moreover, do these programs have financial assistance/loan programs? Might a part-time program work for you?
Tip 3. Determine how much free time you have
Each flight training school has its own training schedules with some offering flexibility while others want the cadets to train full time and on campus. Note that delaying flight training usually increases your training costs.
Tip 4. Find out what type of aircraft the flight school uses and information about its aircraft maintenance center
This is important from a training point of view, but even more importantly, from a safety aspect. Furthermore, you should also take into consideration the equipment preference of airlines. Aircraft age does not always relate to safety, this is dependent on the aircraft maintenance – ask the flight school in detail about their aircraft maintenance department and safety features of the aircraft.
Tip 5. Visit your shortlist of flight schools
Finally, when possible, speak to the instructors and flight school management teams to learn about the training, safety policies, history, and graduates of the flight school.
Do you still have questions? Send us a message!
You can also check out How to become a Pilot in other countries by navigating on our platform or simply just reach out to our team through chat.
Good luck, future Pilot!