How to become a pilot

Decide what you want to fly.

Rules differ for getting a pilot's license depending on the type of aircraft you fly. You can choose among airplanes, , helicopters, sailplanes (gliders), balloons, or airships. 
You should also think about what type of flying you want to do. There are several different levels of pilot licenses, from private pilot all the way up to airline transport pilot.
If you wish to make a living as a pilot then you will need to hold a commercial level license.
The current license levels available in Greece are:
Private Pilot License (PPL) -  for private use only – cannot be used for hire or reward
Commercial Pilot License (CPL) - for commercial use – can be used for hire or reward
Airline Transport Pilot License (ATPL) - for commercial use – required for command positions
Licenses are currently issued in accordance with European regulation and where necessary, national legislation.

PART-FCL licenses are issued in accordance with the requirements of Regulation (EU) 1178/2011 as amended.

In general, becoming a pilot consists of 5 main elements:

1.    Meeting a prescribed medical standard,

  •  Normally a Class 1 Medical certificate is needed for commercial use while a Class 2 will suffice for private use. The current standards to be met are outlined in PART-MED
  • Conditions such as asthma, diabetes and color vision deficiencies are some of the areas that lead to failure to meet a required medical standard.
  • You should confirm that you meet the required medical standard prior to committing to flight training.
  • The removal of a medical certificate for whatever reason (e.g. decrease in medical fitness) will invalidate your pilot license and the privileges of that license.


2.    Meeting theoretical knowledge requirements

  •  This consists of completion a ground school element and passing a prescribed number of exams (The number varies depending on the level of license e.g. 13 exams are required for an ATPL)


3.    Completion of flight training

  • Commercial training is provided by an approved Approved Training Organization (ATO)
  • Private Pilot training can be accomplished at a Declared Training Organization (DTO).

4.    Sufficient logged flight experience

  • This varies significantly from one license level to another and ranges from 30 hours for a microlight private license to 200 hours for a commercial pilot license.


5.    Satisfactory completion of a flight examination.

Applicants must also have an acceptable assessed level of English language proficiency.

The specific requirements of each of the items vary from license to license.

Training courses also vary. At commercial level there are two main types of course delivery; integrated and modular.

  • The Integrated Course is a highly structured and focused course where a student goes from zero flying experience to completion (Frozen ATPL) in typically 14 to 18 months. To be eligible for this course the candidate must first pass an assessment to ensure that he/she is capable of completing in such a short period of time. Then he/she must be able to commit to training every day, 5 days per week, and adhere to a strict training regime. This course is not always suitable for everyone.
  • The Modular Course is designed for individuals who do not wish to undertake a full-time course of study. The course can be completed in several modules over a period of time which is more suited to the trainee. People who have other commitments and cannot train 5 days every week find this method more suitable.

It is important that training is performed by organizations duly authorized or declared to provide it. If you have any doubts about the qualifications of a training organization or instructor, please confirm before you commence any training. Flight Training is expensive, and you should satisfy yourself that you fully understand what options are included in your investment.

Minimum Age 17 18 21
Medical Standard Required Class 2 Class 1 Class 1
Privileges The privileges of the holder of a PPL are to act, but not for remuneration, as pilot-in-command or co-pilot of any aeroplane (or helicopter as appropriate) engaged in non-revenue flights.

The privileges of the holder of a CPL are to:

Exercise all the privileges of the holder of a PPL

Act as pilot-in-command or co-pilot of any aeroplane (or helicopter as appropriate)  engaged in operations other than commercial air transportation

Act as pilot-in-command in commercial air transportation of any single-pilot aeroplane (or helicopter as appropriate)

Act as co-pilot in commercial air transportation

The privileges of the holder of an ATPL are to:
Exercise all the privileges of the holder of a PPL, and CPL
Act as pilot-in-command or co-pilot in aeroplanes (or helicopters as appropriate) engaged in commercial air transportation
Training At an DTO or ATO At an ATO At an ATO
Language English Language Assessment English Language Assessment English Language Assessment
Logged Flight Experience* 45

200 (modular)

150 (integrated)

Theoretical Exams** 9 13 13
Flight Exam Yes Yes Yes

*  Hours quoted are overall hours – Other minimum hours criteria must also be satisfied in conjunction with this overall figure.

 **Theoretical Knowledge Examinations 

Private Pilot
Commercial Pilot
Airline Transport Pilot
010 Air Law Air Law Air Law
020 Human Performance & Limitations   Aircraft General Knowledge Airframe/Systems/Powerplant
020 -- Instrumentation Instrumentation
030 -- Mass & Balance Mass & Balance
030 Meteorology Performance Performance
030 -- Flight Planning & Monitoring Flight Planning & Monitoring
040 Communication Human Performance   Human Performance  
050 Principles of Flight Meteorology Meteorology
060 Operational Procedures General Navigation General Navigation
060 -- Radio Navigation Radio Navigation
070 Flight Performance & Planning  Operational Procedures Operational Procedures
080 Aircraft General Knowledge Principles of Flight Principles of Flight
090 Navigation Communication Communication


*** An additional Type specific exam is also required to have been passed prior to the issue of a helicopter PPL. These tests are performed by the training organization directly.

The above information should be considered as guidance only. Please refer to the specific requirements relevant for the type of flying you wish to undertake before you commence. It is recommended that you discuss your options with several training providers.