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How to become a commercial pilot if you are based in the UK

Learn to fly – UK

How to become a commercial pilot if you are based in the UK

Stage 1: Research
Browse our open career programs stating where you hold the right to work and your career goal. Many of our trainee pilots say the blog posts from current and alumni cadets helped them get a feel for L3 Airline Academy.
Read the website information on each course, checking you meet the criteria. It is important you have planned how to fund your training before you apply for your course. L3 Airline Academy cannot give any finance recommendations but you may find this page regarding Optimum Credit Pilot Finance useful.

Stage 2: Application
Apply for your chosen program online. We advise you to take your time and read the Application & Selection documents carefully before submitting your application.

Stage 3: Selection
If successful, we will invite you to a selection day. We have information on what to expect and how to prepare.

Stage 4: Ground school
Congratulations! You have passed selection and will now embark on the initial phase of flight training known as ground school. You will meet your fellow coursemates, settle into your accommodation at either our Coventry or Southampton locations and complete your classroom and computer-based theoretical knowledge training. This phase takes approximately 26 weeks.

Read Ground School 101 by Charlie Barclay and Back to School by Olly Sartain Berry for our cadet’s perspective on ground school.

Stage 5: Foundation flight training
You will take to the skies, learning to fly single engine piston aircraft at one of our global training centers. The exact aircraft, location and duration of this phase will depend on your course but takes approximately 24 weeks.

Stage 6: Commercial and Instrument flight training
The content of this training will depend on the course you have chosen, but will involve single and multi-engine aircraft and assessments in our full flight simulators. This takes approximately 18 weeks.

Stage 7: Intermediate Training
If you are on an MPL route, this will involve aircraft type-specific training on the plane you will be flying with that particular airline. On our ATPL route you will take our world-renowned Airline Qualification Course (AQC).

Stage 8: (ATPL students only) Airline Placement
You will be placed in our graduate placement pool where our team will work to secure you employment with our global partner airlines. Find out more about graduate placement.

Stage 9: Advanced Training
You will undertake aircraft type-specific training to prepare you to fly for your airline. You will also complete Line Orientated Experience (LOE) and Line Check with your Airline employer as well as Safety, Emergency and Procedures training.


Stage 10: Junior First Officer
Congratulations! You are now employed as a Junior First Officer, sitting in the right hand seat of the cockpit flying passengers on commercial aircraft.

L3 Commercial Training Solutions can provide all the further training you need to progress your career up to the rank of Captain as well as other airline training courses. Please see our Airline Training page for more information.