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Home > Blog > Commercial Flight Training School

Commercial Flight Training School

Posted 19 Jan 2023

Commercial Flight Training School

Let’s begin with one of the most popular career paths in aviation: Commercial pilot training, and how joining a commercial flight training school can help.

In the world of aviation, there are mainly two types of pilots – ones that fly commercially and others that fly recreationally as a hobby. While these two types have the same objective, i.e., flying an aircraft, there are a lot of differences that set them apart.

Commercial flight training schools are designed to produce capable pilots that go on to pilot big airliners full of passengers from one destination to another. These pilots are more focused on building a career in aviation than just flying aircraft as a hobby.

On the other hand, a Private Pilot Licence (PPL) is geared towards pilots that want to experience the thrills of aviation by piloting smaller aircraft as either a pastime activity or as a means to learn more about aircraft without developing a career.

If you are looking to step into the world of aviation then this guide will help you choose a path by listing the differences, benefits, and important details of both these pilot programs.

Let’s begin with one of the most popular career paths in aviation: Commercial pilot training, and how joining a commercial flight training school can help.


Commercial pilots are a different breed. They are a product of extreme hard work, dedication, focus, and training. The candidates from this program that go on to receive a Commercial Pilot Licence (CPL) usually command big passenger aircraft for prestigious airliners.

As mentioned, CPLs are designed for pilots that want to build a strong career in aviation and the only way to get started in this field is through an aviation school that specialises in commercial flight training.

The journey of a CPL candidate begins at the ground level where would-be pilots have to learn and master various subjects in order to obtain practical knowledge about aircraft.

Commercial schools, like Sherburn, hire experienced commercial pilots with vast experience to teach candidates about topics such as:

  • Aircraft Systems and Aerodynamics, which focuses on everything related to the principles of flight and all the onboard systems that are essential in the operation of an aircraft.

  • Meteorology, which focuses on weather forecasts and the importance of interpreting them to ensure a smooth flight.

  • Regulations and Procedures and all other essential Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) that are mandatory to operate an aircraft.

There are many other topics related to navigation, aircraft limitations, pre-flight preparation, communication, and more, that commercial pilots are required to master before they even step into the cockpit.


Apart from developing a theoretical understanding, the real training of pilots happens on the tarmac. 

Commercial pilots are subject to intense hands-on training that is essential in developing reflexes, intuition, and an understanding of multi-engine aircraft in different scenarios.

To be eligible for a CPL, pilots must show a flight time of at least 200 hours, of which 100 hours have to be spent as a Pilot in Command (PIC) with the rest of the hours being completed with dual instructions via a Certified Flight Instructor (CFI).

Simulation training is also a big part of commercial pilot programs where pilots have to prove their understanding and skill in advanced flight simulators that are designed to test the pilot's instincts, skills, and knowledge in various scenarios.

Most flight schools also offer simulation training as part of the CPL program where pilots are tested using CAA-certified devices. Simulators are an excellent and cost-effective way to learn the operations and manoeuvres of aircraft.

Commercial pilots are required to complete more simulation hours and their progress is closely monitored by capable CFIs that conduct their training.

Commercial pilots are also subject to in-depth medical screenings where they are evaluated by a CAA-certified examiner to determine the overall fitness of the pilots.

In many cases, pilots will have to either meet or exceed the standards set by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) to obtain a valid Class 1 Medical Certificate. Thorough medical examinations are key in keeping the skies safe for everyone and ensuring that the pilots are operating at their best. If the pilot shows signs of an ailment, then the CAA usually inspects the case individually and ascertains whether to disqualify or restrict the pilot’s duties.

Training Curriculum

Commercial pilots have a broader training curriculum which includes various training modules related to multi-engine flight, instrument rating, and also night operations.

Multi-engine flights focus on larger aircraft like Airbus A330/A320 or Boeing 777/747 that commercial pilots will operate. These aircraft have multiple engines, and pilots will learn the various technical aspects of these engines and their operations in different scenarios.

Instrument flights are focused on developing a pilot’s intuition and understanding of flying large commercial aircraft only using the instruments on board. This type of training is essential in piloting in bad weather conditions or in scenarios where visibility is low.

Night operations are focused on helping pilots obtain a Night Rating in addition to their CPL which prepares them to fly after dark.


Commercial pilots are subject to stricter regulations than other types of pilots. The CAA outlines a long list of important guidelines that are expected to be followed by all pilots holding a valid CPL.

These regulations cover everything from aircraft operation to training guides, medical evaluations, and even pilot conduct. Pilots with a CPL may also be heavily scrutinised if they deviate from these regulations and the CAA could also revoke the pilot's flight privileges in the case of serious offences.

It is important to note that apart from the policies set by the CAA, most commercial pilots must also adhere to the policies set by their employers.


As mentioned, commercial pilots are more focused on climbing the career ladder than private pilots. Most successful commercial pilots get to experience more career opportunities with much better earning potential.

Great commercial pilots are usually always snatched up by big airliners and are not only paid handsomely but also taken care of by the airliner. Commercial pilots may also get other opportunities related to charter companies and various other for-hire jobs.

Apart from tangible benefits, there is also a certain prestige that is tied to a career in aviation. Not only do pilots get to enjoy the thrills of flying large and complicated aircraft, but they also enjoy the many perks of being a professional airline pilot.

An aviation career is one of the most respectable and high-ranking jobs in the world and people who go on to become successful pilots get to join a long lineage of highly respected individuals that are valued across the world.


Pilots who want to enjoy the thrill of aviation through a Private Pilot Licence (PPL) aren’t subject to as much training as is required for a CPL, but they are still required to complete a rigorous PPL program that prepares them for flying smaller aircraft.

Private pilots are required to learn the same theoretical material as part of Ground School Instruction that is required for CPL candidates where they will need to master multiple topics related to aircraft operations and aerodynamics, regulations, air law, navigation, communication, and more.

However, when it comes to practical training, PPL candidates don’t require as many training hours as CPL. For example, instead of the 200 hours required for a CPL, private pilots will only need to complete 45 hours of total flight training to be eligible for a licence.

Of the total minimum 45 hours, PPL candidates will need to fulfil the requirement of at least 17 hours of solo flight and 5 hours of solo cross-country flight. Private pilots will also need to pass a flight test known as a “check ride” with an examiner before they are awarded a PPL.

In the context of medical check-ups, private pilots require a Class 2 valid medical certificate that confirms that they are physically and mentally fit to fly an aircraft. PPL candidates are periodically screened every 5 years (or as required) instead of the regular check-ups required for a CPL.

The medical certificate is awarded via a Designated Medical Examiner (DME) who assesses the pilot’s general health history, physical health, vision, and hearing.


By now, it will be clear that PPL is not for people who are looking to build a career in aviation. Instead, it's targeted towards pilots that want to pursue flying as a hobby.

Having a PPL doesn’t lead to any serious career opportunities related to flying since this licence type does not fulfil the requirements for operating commercial aircraft. However, it is a great way to introduce people to the world of aviation!

Once a pilot obtains a PPL, they can continue to hone their expertise by flying smaller single-engine piston-powered aircraft which may further develop their interest in pursuing a CPL.

Some of the most popular types of aircraft that PPL holders get to fly are Cessna 172 and Piper PA-28. These lightweight aircraft are designed to be flown at lower altitudes of around 14,000 to 15,000 feet depending on several factors.

In comparison, pilots with a CPL operate aircraft that are designed for cruising altitudes of about 35,000 to 45,000 feet. While career opportunities are limited for pilots with a PPL, they can take on additional training to fly larger aircraft or even become respected flight instructors. PPL holders may also engage in supporting roles and get opportunities in Air Traffic Control or even as Aerial Survey Pilots. It is important to note, however, that private pilots are more likely to engage in recreational flying than anything else.


Although private pilots are expected to operate at a high level of proficiency just like commercial pilots, they are on a fast track to explore the skies, albeit on a smaller scale with lightweight aircraft.

The main benefit of PPL is that it is less intensive than other full-fledged pilot programs and people curious about aviation can get to learn a lot about it at their own pace.

Furthermore, private pilots have the freedom to explore their path in aviation by either committing to further training or by pursuing aviation as a part-time hobby. Some private pilots may also purchase their own aircraft and get full control over how and when they fly.

Most people who seek thrill and fulfilment will find a private pilot licence to be a great source of joy. Flying is an excellent activity that challenges the mind and pushes people to hone their skills.


Private pilots train can train in the same flight schools that offer CPL training.

For example, Sherburn Aeroclub is equipped to train pilots for both CPL and PPL. The only difference between the two pilot programs is their requirements which are set according to the CAA.

It is important to note that PPL training is just as meticulous as CPL where pilots are expected to perform at their best when operating any type of aircraft. The CAA has strict standards that dictate the level of professionalism and care required to operate aircraft in any type of training program. Private pilots learn using more or less the same course material available for CPL candidates but with the exception of a few topics related to multi-engine aircraft, aircraft systems, and instrument flying.

Unlike the CPL program, which focuses on in-depth knowledge and proficiency of complex aircraft and related topics, private pilots will only learn the basics of navigation, flying, and meteorology. Once private pilots pass all the written and practical tests and complete all the program requirements set by the CAA, they are awarded a PPL which will allow them to fly smaller aircraft recreationally.

In many cases, private pilots either tend to go for further training to prepare for a CPL, or they may continue to explore their hobby by investing more time in additional PPL training. Needless to say, once you obtain a PPL, the sky truly is the limit to what you can achieve going forward in the world of aviation.


If you wish to begin your career in aviation or wish to take to the skies as a hobby, Sherburn’s flight training school offers private and commercial licences, along with pilot medicals to ensure a smooth journey going forward.

Sherburn Aero Club, which has been operational since 1964, is the ideal place for most of your training and flying needs. It is one of the largest flying clubs in the North of England and also one of the largest in the country.

With a large fleet of new aircraft and an airfield refurbishment with new runways, hangars, and an extended clubhouse, we cater to brand-new flyers who have just started their journey to the skies, as well as seasoned flyers who have been operating aircraft for decades.

Sherburn offers a dedicated day-long Flight Radiotelephony Operator’s Licence (FRTOL) course for those wishing to get the certification, running the first Sunday of every month. For those who wish to experience the thrill of a flight for fun or to help fuel their aviation dreams, Sherburn offers experience flights for the newbie, as well as the veteran. The flight experience option is also available for people who wish to take to the skies for special occasions, even if they aren’t into aviation in the long run.

In addition to that, if you are looking for a hangarage for your own aircraft, need servicing or repairs, want to buy a new aircraft or aviation equipment, or are just looking to enjoy and watch the aircraft, Sherburn Aero Club is the place to be.

Call us on 01977 682 674​​​, email us at flightdesk@sherburnaeroclub.com, or message us via our online contact form for more information on commercial flight training!

Photo by Suhyeon Choi on Unsplash 



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