How do you become a pilot in Kenya? With all the vast array of options, it is a wonder that even I did not think you could get all your flying licenses in Kenya! Historically, it has been assumed that one needed to study in other countries such as South Africa and USA. As well, to answer the question that every aspirant has – “Is Geography a requirement to become a pilot?” No, Geography is not a requirement to become a pilot. It makes it easier thats for sure, however, it is not mandatory. For the sake of reducing repetition, I will shorten the Private Pilot License to PPL.
I got my PPL license in 2020 and on my first attempt! I will share my tips on how I was able to achieve this near impossible feat! But first, lets get out all the technical bits down!
Requirements for a PPL
For the most up to date requirements check the KCAA guidelines. Here’s a quick summary:
- Be at least 17 years of age
- Be in possession of a valid Class 2 Medical Certificate. To find out more about this click here. You will also get a list of doctors who are licensed to issue this certificate.
- Learn the aeronautical knowledge (Ground School) at an authorised institution
- Subsequently pass the knowledge test. (8 tests done over two days plus an English proficiency test)
- Gain flying experience/training – Usually 45 hours total.
- Pass your practical test (GFT)
I started my Private Pilot Licensing journey in the States. A direct comparison of cost between the two countries revealed that, it is in fact cheaper to get your Private Pilot License in Kenya than USA. This mainly boils down to the cost of living between the two countries. In Kenya, you are looking at spending approximately KES 1.2 million. Kenya school flying has a very transparent breakdown of how this cost is calculated. The good thing is that one can pay as they learn and take breaks when the need rather than paying everything upfront.
It takes 4 to 6 months to complete the PPL course if done consistently. However aspects such as taking breaks, extreme weather and the current Covid-19 situation could affect the actual duration.
How I did it quicker (and passed on my first attempt)
- Have the funds ready – If your goal is to get your PPL as fast as possible, I would highly recommend that you have all the funds ready.
- Pick a school with enough aircrafts – I cannot emphasise how important this is. Part of the requirement involves roughly 45 flight hours and this can take much longer if the school you are studying at does not have a good student to aircraft ratio.
- Pick a school with a good base – A good base with ensure more flying time for two reasons. 1. A base located at Wilson Airport might not be the best for building hours as the airspace is extremely busy however a base such as Orly Airpark (Kenya School of Flying) definitely maximises your time up in the air due to less air traffic in the area. 2. Weather – A base located in Malindi would definitely propel your time-frame as the weather is almost always perfect for flying.
- Study! Study! for your knowledge test – As compared to the practical test, the knowledge test was far more challenging. Put in extra hours off the class room to study for this test. I did this and it paid off.
- Get as much flying hours as you can – If you do aim to eventually venture off to get your Commercial Pilot License, you will need all the hours you can get for this.
- Bonus tip for choosing a school to do your CPL: Choose a school with a flight simulator – You could build some of your flight hours on the simulator. Simulator flying is cheaper than flying an aircraft.
If you have any questions, contact me here. From time to time, I offer tutoring lessons for the knowledge test, if this is something you would be interested in, please do not hesitate to reach out at lj[at]scribbledsafari[dot]com
Till next time, Happy flying! I look forward to meeting you in the skies.