How to become a Pilot in Panama

Panama

The aviation industry supports over 45,000 jobs in Panama

Entry Requirements

At least 17 years old, High School Graduate, Able to write, read, and speak in English and Spanish Language, Pass Medical Examination

One of the many questions we received is How to become a Pilot in Panama. Hence, we've created this below Step by Step Guide to assist aspiring pilots wanting to do their pilot training in Panama.

Step by Step Guide on How to become a Pilot in Panama

 

Step 1. Research

Research the different options you have to become a Pilot in Panama. Start of by researching online through Aviationfly.com, Google, YouTube, Panama Civil Aeronautical Authority, Facebook Pilot Groups and others. The more research you do initially, the more you will know all your options and the process of how to become a pilot in Panama.

  • Different Pilot Training Options
    • Flight School: Take your flight training with a Flight School in Panama or abroad. If you are interested to take your flight training abroad, please send us a message.
    • Aviation related College Degree Program: This allows you to combine a college degree with flight training.
    • Airline Cadet Pilot Program: These are flight training programs which include guaranteed employment with the airline upon successful graduation (and some of these programs are sponsored by the airline).
    • Join the Military (Panama Air Force): Get your flight training sponsored by joining the Military - you will have to stay with the Military for around 12 years after completing your training before you are allowed to apply to commercial airlines.

 

Step 2. Basic Requirements

  • Age: The minimum age to start your pilot training is 17 years old and that is when you can receive a Student Pilot License (SPL) and the retirement age for airline pilots actively flying is 65 years old.
  • Medical Certificate: In order to start your pilot training, you will need to secure a Medical Certificate - in order to get this, it is best to speak with the Flight School you want to start with and they will help arrange it for you.
  • Educational requirement: It is important to note at this point that you can get a Student Pilot License, Private Pilot License, and Commercial Pilot License with a Secondary School Degree.
  • English Proficiency: The language of Aviation internationally is English and it is recommended to meet a Level 4 English standard before receiving your Commercial 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.
  • Spanish Proficiency: Read, speak, understand and write in Spanish language at the minimum required level by the Panama Civil Aeronautical Authority.

 

Step 3. Training Stages

  • Student Pilot License (SPL): Allows you to start your flight training. To get a Student Pilot Certificate, you should be:

(a) At least 17 years old;

(b) Have completed or be studying the studies corresponding to the middle or secondary education;

(c) Be in possession, at least, of an aeronautical medical certificate Class 2.

  • Private Pilot License (PPL): This license will allow you to fly solo or fly passengers or cargo but without receiving any money for it. To get a Private Pilot License, you must be:

(a) At least 18 years old;

(b) Read, speak and understand the Spanish language;

(c) Demonstrate proficiency in speaking and understanding the English language;

(d) Have completed high school or equivalent;

(e) Be in possession, at least, of a Class Aeronautical Medical Certificate 2;

(f) For Flight Experience in a:

Single-engine aircraft: A total of forty (40) hours of instruction and solo flight, which must include at least:

(i) Twenty (20) hours of instruction in dual command;

(ii) Ten (10) hours of flight only during the day on the appropriate aircraft for the class qualification to be obtained, including five (5) hours cross-country flight;

(iii) A cross-country flight of a minimum of one hundred (100) nautical miles [two hundred seventy (270) km] between two (2) airports, during the which two (2) complete landings will have been made in two (2) different aerodromes.

Multi-engine aircraft: A person applying for a private pilot license with a rating multi-engine, you must log at least forty (40) hours of flight time in category - Airplane, which include at least twenty (20) hours of flight training on a multi-engine with landing gear retractable, high lift and propellers with controllable or propelled pitch by turbine. Post-flight procedures shall include:

(i) Two (2) hours of instrument training on an airplane multi-engine;

(ii) A cross-country flight in a multi-engine aircraft of, a total distance in a straight line of more than one hundred (100) nautical miles [one hundred and eighty (180) km] from the original starting point;

(iii) One (1) hour of night maneuvers;

(iv) Three (3) hours of flight training in a multi-engine aircraft in preparation for the practical test within sixty (60) days prior to the date of said test;

(v) The twenty (20) hours of flight time in multi-engine aircraft can be reduced to ten (10) hours, if the holder of the license private pilot has accumulated a minimum of two hundred (200) total flight hours in category - airplane.

  • Commercial Pilot License (CPL): License will allow you to earn from flying and be a paid professional pilot. To get a Commercial Pilot License, you must be:

(a) At least 18 years old;

(b) Be able to read, speak and understand the Spanish language;

(c) Demonstrate proficiency in speaking and understanding the English language;

(d) Have completed high school or its equivalent;

(e) Possess a valid Class 1 aeronautical medical certificate;

(f) For Flight Experience in a:

Single-engine aircraft: A total of at least two hundred (200) flight hours as a pilot in plane. In the event that the applicant has accumulated said hours in an instructional course in an Aeronautical Educational Establishment, the total required is one hundred fifty (150) hours of flight. Total flight time as a pilot must include at a minimum:

(i) One hundred (100) hours of time as pilot in command or seventy (70) if a recognized course of instruction has been followed;

(ii) Twenty (20) hours of cross country flight as pilot-in-command, including a cross-country flight of a minimum of five hundred forty (540) kms [three hundred (300) nautical miles], during which he will have made complete landings at two (2) different aerodromes;

(iii) Ten (10) hours of instrument flight instruction, of which A maximum of five (5) hours can be of time on a device of instruction for flight simulation;

(iv) Five hours of night flight instruction, including:

A. A cross-country flight of more than fifty (50) nautical miles of total distance [one hundred and eighty (90) km];

B. Ten (10) takeoffs and ten (10) landings to a stop fully, each landing will involve a flight pattern of traffic in an airport;

C. The CAA will determine if the instruction received on a device Flight simulation instruction is acceptable as part of the total flight time. Credit for this experience is limited to a maximum of ten (10) hours.

Multi-engine aircraft: The applicant must have registered at least 200 flight hours or 150 hours if accumulated during a course of instruction recognized as Airplane Pilot in a certified Aeronautical Educational Establishment, and 10 hours of flight training in a multi-engine aircraft with retractable landing gear, hypersustainers and controllable pitch or turbine driven propellers. Post-flight procedures shall include:

(i) Five (5) hours of instrument training on a multi-engine aircraft;

(ii) Ten (10) hours of training in a multi-engine airplane that has a train retractable landing gear, high lift and pitch propellers controllable or turbine-powered;

(iii). A cross-country flight in a multi-engine aircraft of at least two (2) hours in duration, a total straight-line distance of more than 100 miles nautical from the original point of departure and that occurs in conditions Daytime VFR;

(iv) A cross-country flight in a multi-engine aircraft of at least two (2) hours in duration, a total straight-line distance of more than 100 miles nautical from the original point of departure that occurs in conditions Night VFR;

(v) Three (3) hours in a multi-engine aircraft in preparation for the practical test within 60 days prior to the date of said proof.

  • Instrument Rating: Being Instrument Rated means that you can fly the aircraft in any weather condition (example low or zero visibility) using just the instruments.
  • Multi-Engine Rating: License which allows you to fly multi-engine aircraft.
  • Airline Transport Pilot License (ATPL): 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 must be:

(a) At least 21 years old;

(b) Be able to read, speak and understand the Spanish language;

(c) Holds at least a commercial pilot license with flight rating for instrument;

(d) Demonstrate proficiency in speaking and understanding the English language;

(e) Have completed high school or equivalent;

(f) Possess a current Class 1 medical certificate;

(g) A total of at least one thousand five hundred (1,500) flight hours as a pilot aircraft, including:

(i) Five hundred (500) hours as pilot in command under supervision or two hundred fifty (250) flight hours either as pilot in command, or a minimum of one hundred (100) hours as pilot in command plus flight time additional necessary as a co-pilot performing, under the supervision of a pilot-in-command, his duties and functions, provided that the method employee supervision is satisfactory to the CAA;

(ii) Two hundred (200) cross country flight hours, of which a minimum of one hundred (100) hours as pilot in command under supervision;

(iii) One hundred (100) hours of night flight time, as pilot-in-command or co-pilot;

(iv) Seventy-five (75) hours of instrument flight time, of the which a maximum of thirty (30) hours can be performed in a training device for flight simulation.

 

If you have any questions so far, please do send us a message on the yellow TALK TO US button.

 

Step 4. Career Options

  • Airline Pilot for the 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

 
  • Decide on your pilot goals - what are your long-term aspirations in aviation? Do you want to become a pilot in your free time (Private Pilot License)? Do you want to fly in General Aviation (Commercial Pilot License)? Do you want to become an airline pilot (airline program)? If you want to become an airline pilot which airlines are hiring? What aircraft are the airlines receiving over the next few years? Which flight schools do the airlines usually hire from? These are critical questions you should list and get answers to when asking yourself "how will I become a Pilot".
 
  • Determine how much you can afford to spend - different schools have different costs (due to location, number of students, aircraft type and a number of other factors), find out the reasons for the price difference. Do programs have financial assistance/loan programs? Might a part time program work for you?
 
  • How much free time do you have - different schools have different 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 cost).
 
  • What equipment does the flight school use - this is important from a training but even more importantly from a safety aspect. Take into consideration as well the equipment preference of airlines which will want new pilots to have trained on certain equipment. Find out what the difference is between training aircraft (both from a training and cost perspective). 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? Safety features of the aircraft?