FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
COMMERCIAL PILOT LICENCE
Q: How much does it cost to complete the training for the Commercial Pilot Licence (CPL)?
A: Based on Transport Canada minimum requirements, the cost is approximately $10,555 CAD (see our CPL information sheet here for a detailed breakdown of training costs)
Q: How long will it take to complete the training for the Commercial Pilot Licence (CPL)?
A: It depends on how often you are able to fly - our best estimates are as follows:
- 4 Months if you are able to fly at least 3 flights each week (Full Time)
- 12 Months if you are able to fly at least 1 flight each week (Part Time)
Q: At what age can I begin training for the Commercial Pilot Licence (CPL)?
A: You can be issued your Student Pilot Permit (SPP) at the age of 14 years to fly solo under supervision from your flight instructor, but you must be at least 18 years of age to be issued your Commercial Pilot Licence (CPL) in Canada.
Q: I wear glasses – do I need perfect vision to fly as a commercial pilot?
A: No, your vision must be correctable to at least 20/30 vision (for further information, please refer to the aviation medical standards here). We recommend that you contact your local civil aviation medical examiner (CAME) for more details should you have any specific concerns.
Q: Am I too old to begin my Commercial Pilot Licence (CPL) training?
A: If you are under 65 years of age then you are not too old, but the older you are when you start your training the more limited your employment options may be and the less money you can expect in return over the course of your career. Initial aircraft and pilot training on aircraft used by commercial air operators is a very expensive cost of their business.
Q: Should I go to college or university prior to beginning my commercial pilot training course?
A: We strongly recommend that you have some form of post-secondary school education if you want to be considered by any airline in Canada. You can do your flight training at the same time that you are going to school, but you will need to balance your workload accordingly.
Q: How many hours do professional pilots work per year/week/month?
A: Airline pilots are limited to fly 900 hours a year. The number of hours you actually fly will depend on which company you join. Short haul pilots will typically fly between 700-900 hours a year whereas long-haul pilots would expect 400-750 hours a year. Cargo and business jet pilots tend to fly much less, usually between 300-400 hours a year. Pilots can work approximately a maximum of 35 hours a week and 100 hours per month.
Q: How long does it take to train as a commercial pilot?
A: This depends on how you choose to go about your training. There are two different types of training - integrated and modular. With integrated training, you complete all of your training in one full-time, intensive course. From having no flying experience to holding a Commercial Pilot Licence (CPL) it typically takes the average student 18 months. The Commercial Pilot Licence (CPL) would allow you to apply to a commercial air operator as a First Officer, but you would typically want to add a multi-engine instrument rating to be competitive. With the modular training, you complete your training at your own pace, flying when you can afford it and building your experience levels gradually. This could take you 2-5 years or more - it’s up to you.
Q: How many days do commercial pilots stay away from home per week/month?
A: This is completely dependent upon the company and it’s type of operation. At low cost or charter short haul airlines you can expect very few night stops and will typically be home most nights. At legacy short haul carriers, tours are common where you might spend 3 – 4 nights away per week. At long haul airlines the length of tours vary, but you can be away for as many as 10 days at a time on a long tour.