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... before you start

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Flying is awesome.

It's exciting, interesting, it means freedom and a little bit of adventure. But there is a lot of information on how, where and when you can become a pilot, and a lot of aviation terms, with many abbreviations related to pilot trainings.


That's why we want to give you a guideline - to make it easier to find your way through a jungle of terms and rules.

Just follow the menu:

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Before thinking about any training, you should clarify your physical suitability (to evaluate  a medical certificate or 'Medical').


Who can perform these initial examinations ?

Aero Medical Centres ( AeMC) or

Aero Medical Experts ( AME Aero Medical Examiner ) or Aero Medical specialists in the fields of ENT and eyes, as well as aviation psychologists.


Medical Class I :  required for CPL, ATPL and MPL -> so professional flying -> AeMC

Medical Class II : required for PPL and LAPL -> so flying as a leisure activity -> AME (or AeMC)

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PPL (A)  Private Pilot License (more info )

LAPL (A)  Light aircraft pilot license

CPL (A)  Commercial Pilot License (more info )

ATPL (A) Airline Transport Pilot License (more info)


MPL (A) Multi Pilot License

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With a PPL (A) you are well in the race to fly single-engine aircraft (SEP Single Engine Piston, an aircraft with one piston engine plus propeller) in VMC visual meteorological conditions (under VFR Visual Flight Rules, means: 'good' weather within certain limits).

You can do a flip with friends, family or loved ones when the weather is nice, have a coffee at another airfield or an airport, but of course also spend some days somewhere in another country (e.g. a sightseeing-roundtrip).  


And in case you feel the need for getting more or higher qualifications over time, for example:

IR instrument rating (for SEP), 

a ClassRating for MEP Multi Engine Piston (an aircraft with 2 piston engines and propellers)

or strive for the secret dream of working professionally in a cockpit - then you have created a good, solid basis with your private pilot license.

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The difference between PPL and LAPL lies in the amount of practical hours. While theory and radio telephone certificate instructions are exactly the same, the PPL contains solidly 45 hours of training, but the LAPL only contains 30 hours of practical experience. After your LAPL is issued, you are restricted for the first 10 hours of practical experience: you need to fly these hours solo (means: fly around without passengers). After that you are allowed to let other persons embark.

At first glance, a LAPL looks cheaper, but keep in mind: you have to have all the content clean within only 2/3 of the training time available - a very challenging task!


In our experience, no student can get by with the required 30 minimum hours (but still has 'only' a LAPL), so we clearly recommend the PPL training... after all, you are traveling in 3D, using the same airspace as other aircraft and maybe also have family members and/or friends with you.

In our opinion, LAPL is intended more as an “exit scenario” and less as an entry-level license into aviation.


Another aspect: you can build up additional modules (such as Night, IR, ME, etc.) only on a PPL and therefor gain more privileges. With only a LAPL, no further license endorsements are possible.


From LAPL to PPL: is basically possible, but ultimately more effort than striving directly for a PPL. After a LAPL training, you would first have to fly at least 5 hours solo - without any passengers - (cost factor for renting an aircraft including landing fees) and complete further training at a flightschool (cost factor 10 flight hours with a flight instructor and skill test with a flight examiner including landing fees).

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To work as a pilot, i.e. to be paid for flying, you need a CPL, ATPL or MPL. The differences between these licenses lie in the training as well as in the exercise of the privileges.


In the history of civil aviation there were 'only' individual steps for PPL, IR, ME (according to weight class), CPL and 'copilot' / ATPL theory courses. With implementing JAR-FCL (Joint Aviation Regulation for Flight Crew Licensing) in 2006 and EASA (European Aviation Safety Agency) Part-FCL in 2011 a uniform specification for the integrated airline pilot training was established.


Nowadays, future employers in aviation want at least a "frozen ATPL" (= CPL IR ME with license entries Night, aUPRT, MCC, ATPL theory, Radio Telephone Certificate, Language Proficiency) and ideally JOT / JOC Jet Orientation Training or Jet Orientation Course for their cockpit personnel. "Frozen ATPL" stands for a commercial pilot license with the option of converting it to a (higher-qualified) airline transport pilot license (with a minimum of 1,500 hours flight experience, automatically collected on the job as a co-pilot), with all qualifications to fly a single-engine and multi-engine aircraft under visual and instrument flight rules, Night flying qualification, multi crew coordination training in a cockpit with 2 pilots and the recovery to a normal - after an unusual flight condition and optionally a basic instruction in jet flying.


With a "frozen ATPL" you can start working for airlines or business aviation companies (private jets) as a co-pilot - also known as "first officer" or "second officer" (according to the specifications of the respective company) - and pursue a career as a pilot.

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Here it makes sense to have a closer look on the work of a commercial pilot, in order to get the right view of the daily requirements in a cockpit. Pilots wear uniforms in the cockpit of a commercial flight company. fly by day, night, bright or grumpy weather conditions, and (almost exclusively) according to instrument flight rules.


To 'live the dream' and achieve the desired co-pilots seat every pilot needs to pass an application process ("assessment" or "selection"), including also theoretical (various tests) and practical parts (simulator session). Any future employer - regardless of whether it is a (major) airline or a business aviation/corporate/charter company - seeks for a candidate with above-average skills/abilities in instrument flying (IFR) in order to offer the open position on flight deck.


Let's retrograde another step: how do I get this level of professionalism and proper skills? 

There are 2 training paths (modular and integrated), which are mainly offered, but differ significantly in the content of the IFR training:


The focus in modular training is clearly in visual flight hours VFR .

All individual modules PPL, Night, a good 90 hours of "time building" (as a prerequisite for IR and CPL), as well as the CPL training itself are flown as visual flight hours VFR. These VFR hours are mostly without a supervising or correcting flight instructor present.


The instrument training modular consists of  35 hours simulator- and  15 hours aircraft-training.


The training path of integrated puts clearly more emphasis on IFR instrument flight lessons.

At the very beginning, the contents of a private pilot's license are taught (you have to “learn to fly” in general), followed by a supervised/controlled solo visual flight phase - this comprises 40 hours.

However, the focus is on the long, intense IFR-training phase, in which your IFR flying skills are truly mastered.


The instrument training integrated consists of  40 hours simulator- and  60 hours aircraft-training (with flight instructor).



The details show, that significantly more IFR training hours are flown with a flight instructor in the integrated training. This is an essential, if not decisive, advantage during the selection process when you need to prove proper skills on the simulator.  


So when it comes to competitiveness and job opportunities after training, we clearly recommend the integrated way to meet the other candidates on a level playing field!


It's like in sports: whatever you train more intensely and more often, you can just do better.

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The phrase “ ATPL ab initio ”, which is used over and over again, does not automatically mean that the training is “integrated” - it simply means that the future student pilot has no flight experience at all at the beginning of the training.

In the official list of AustroControl ("List of Approved Training Organizations ... Airplane") you can quickly find flightschools currently offering ATPL integrated ab initio training.

The few flightschools (ATO Approved Training Organization) that are allowed to train 'integrated' must meet much higher restrictive criteria.

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A word about budget planning (please take into account):

If you compare offers from different flightschools, please note that modular training steps usually do not include the numerous required, above-mentioned VFR flight hours for time building before taking further steps towards IR and CPL.


Regardless of whether you purchase a charter hour package or join a flight club: these costs (aircraft rental and landing fees, possible club membership costs) should also be included in your budget planning when it comes to a financial comparison between modular and integrated.

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We would like to clear away the fairy tale telling airlines have ever paid for pilot training. All candidates have paid for their training by themselves - it is always just a kind of pre-financing: the training costs are paid off / worked in again after completion with a so-called "bonding" over many years and a reduced salary.


Of course, it is a certain relief, if you don't have to finance your pilot training by a privately taken loan. However, take into account that your obligation to the company lasts for several years and thus you can't move freely in the market. Especially unforeseen events such as pandemics, 9/11, economic crisis etc. have shown that flexibility through self-financing can be an advantage in order to be able to react / swiftly adapt to the industry's demand.

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In general: a passed higher school diploma ("Matura"/"Abitur"), secondary school diploma including completed vocational training, subject-related university entrance qualification) is an advantage for pilot training, but no prerequisite.

As a flightschool we screen our future student pilots during an entry test, whether they have sufficient basic knowledge in English/Mathematics/Physics as a proper base to build up a pilot training.


Heading towards ATPL: large airlines often prefer applicants with a higher school diploma (university entrance qualification examination or technical college entrance qualification is not sufficient) - however, quite a few graduates without holding a higher school diploma have graduated their pilot training with flying colors, realized their cockpit dreamjob with our support and thus proved airline standard right away.

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Pursuing a job and completing a pilot training course is challenging, but feasible.  


Most of our students have shown that an integrated ATPL training can be completed, even having an employment in a full-time job. It is up to the flightschool how lectures and flight training are organized and adapted to the needs of the students.

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PPL : the license can be issued on the 17th birthday (training therefore can start well before)

CPL : the license can be issued on the 18th birthday (training therefore can start well before)

ATPL : the license can be issued on the 21st birthday (depending on the achievement of 1,500 hours of flying experience)

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Endorsements in flight licenses must be revalidated at regular intervals. Some annually, some every 2 years with a flight examiner or flight instructor. There's no need in minimum flight hours for any revalidation, so the fun of flying is not spoiled.


In case you don't have the opportunity to practice your aviation hobby regularly, you can gain necessary skills again with a freshup-practice (with flight instructor), in order to confidently master afterwards the proficiency check with a flight examiner. The running costs after the training (keyword “keep your qualification”) are therefore manageable. 

- Explanation of terms for an easier understanding

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A = Aeroplane (fixed wing aircraft)

H = Helicopter

S = Sailplane (gliders)

B = Baloon (hot air baloons)

As = Airships ("Zeppelin")

land ... classic chassis with wheels

sea ... instead of wheels, so-called "floats" are mounted


We train for civil aircraft (A), you are not allowed to fly a helicopter (H) - but there are shortened training paths to another aircraft category.

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in Austria a distinction is made between:

BFZ - purely German language, for VFR flights in/to German-speaking countries

EFZ - in German and English language, for VFR flights

AFZ - in German and English language , for VFR and IFR flights


for only English speaking students:

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A check of the general language skills of English language, seasoned with aviation terms - we therefore recommend that you do this check AFTER the radio telephone certificate is issued.


achievable levels / levels:

Level 4 : basic knowledge, valid for 4 years

Level 5 : advanced knowledge, valid for 6 years

Level 6 : expert knowledge/mother tongue level, unlimited


German: sufficient language skills checked and signed by the flight examiner at the skill test


English: done via a test procedure at a LTB (Language Testing Body) or via a LPE (Language Proficiency Examiner) together with a LPLE (Language Proficiency Linguistic Expert)  


General information from AustroControl here: Language Proficiency

More questions? Drop a message !

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welche Lizenz
privates Fliegen
beruliches Fliegen
modular vs integriert
welche Flugschule integrated
Erhalt Lizenz
Language Proficiency
Job + Pilotenausbildung
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