Getting to know…CPL

The CPL (Commercial Pilots Licence) is the licence that allows someone to be a co-pilot in commercial aircraft, pilot-in-command in commercial aircraft or pilot-in-command or co-pilot of aircraft flying for reasons other than commercial.

The CPL course consists of 25 hours of flight training as well as ground classes and is completed with a flight test. 
The course and examinations must be completed in a complex aircraft with retractable landing gear and variable pitch propeller. 

The CPL skills examination must also be carried out in a multi engine aircraft if you are intending on flying a multi engine aircraft. 

In order to commence the CPL course, a pilot must be 18 years old or more, have a class 1 medical, ATPL theory and 100 hours of solo flying (including the qualifying 300nm flight). You must also have a type rating for the aircraft you will be using to take the examination. 

It’s advisable to take the medical examination before beginning the CPL course. 
This needs to be renewed every 12 months and as a pilot, it will be your responsibility to make sure your medical certifications are up to date.

The examination process for the CPL is similar to the ATPL. The topics are: Air Law, Ops, Meteorology, General Navigation, Radio Navigation, VFR Communications, Aircraft General Knowledge, Instrumentation, Human Performance, Mass and Balance, Flight Planning, Performance and Principles of Flight. 

Depending on the course you choose, 
you may also be required to take ATPL or Instrument rating level examination. 

To be able to take the CPL examinations, you must have 70 hours behind you as pilot in command (under supervision or otherwise) and have carried out a cross-country qualifier (solo flight of 300+ nautical miles, landing at two airfields different from your departure point). 

In addition to relevant medical certificates and qualifications, pilots must also have flying logbooks that are completed by instructors. 

On the practical side of things, trainee pilots will have already gained much of the practice they need from qualifying for the PPL. The CPL will refine these skills and the build knowledge to move on from solo flying to thinking more commercially. 

The final practical exam will test that all the procedures and manoeuvres you’ve learnt can be carried out as pilot in command. 

Course requirements and options can vary between schools, so check out as many options as you can before you commit to a course. 
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