We use necessary cookies to make our website work. We'd also like to use optional cookies to understand how you use it, and to help us improve it.

For more information, please read our cookie policy.



General requirements and privileges

The minimum age to get a CPL is 18 and you will need to hold a Part MED Class 1 Medical Certificate.

If you hold a CPL you can, on the appropriate aircraft category:

  • Exercise all the privileges of the holder of a PPL.
  • Act as pilot in command (PIC) or co-pilot of any aircraft operations other than commercial air transport.
  • Act as PIC in commercial air transport of any single-pilot aircraft, subject to some restrictions.
  • Act as co-pilot in commercial air transport subject to some restrictions.

Requirements

Training requirements differ depending on the aircraft category and training route you take. These are set out on this page.

However, in all cases, you must fulfil the class or type rating requirements for the aircraft you take your CPL skill test on. For example, if you are taking the skill test on a multi-engine piston aeroplane (MEP) class, you must have met the relevant flight training requirements.

You must successfully complete theoretical exams and flight instruction at an Approved Training Organisation.

Theoretical knowledge examinations

As part of the application for CPL, you will need to demonstrate that you have an appropriate level of theoretical knowledge by passing exams in the following subject areas:

  • Air law
  • Aircraft general knowledge - airframe/systems/powerplant
  • Aircraft general knowledge - instrumentation
  • Mass and balance
  • Performance
  • Flight planning and monitoring
  • Human performance
  • Meteorology
  • General navigation
  • Radio navigation
  • Operational procedures
  • Principles of flight
  • Visual flight rules (VFR) communications

You will also need to take ATPL and / or Instrument rating level theoretical knowledge examinations depending on the course of training you are taking.

Please refer to the specific course(s) you are taking for details. These are shown on this page.

Close Theoretical knowledge examinations

Skill test

At the end of training, and when all requirements for licence issue have been met, you will need to take a skill test with an examiner.

An applicant for a CPL must pass a skill test in accordance with Appendix 4 to this Part to demonstrate the ability to perform, as PIC of the appropriate aircraft category, the relevant procedures, and manoeuvres with the competency appropriate to the privileges granted.

For the issue of a rating the applicant must apply not later than six months after having succeeded at the skill test.

Please refer to Standards Documents 1A, 3, 7 and Appendices 4 and 7 of Part FCL for more details.

Close Skill test

Training



CPL(A) integrated training

Train for a CPL in a single course to the level required to fly commercially. This course does not include instrument rating training.

There are no pre-requisites for this training.

Close Training

Theoretical

Theoretical knowledge training

You will need to complete at least 350 hours of theoretical knowledge training.

This theoretical knowledge course will only be sufficient for attempting CPL (A) theoretical knowledge examinations.

If you wish to take theoretical knowledge examinations at ATPL (A) level or for an IR (A), you will need to complete additional study.

For more information please see the section on ATPL or IR(A) theoretical knowledge on this page.

Close Theoretical

Flying

Requirement Required number of hours Crediting for previous experience

Total flying training

At least 150 hours (not including type rating training) which includes all progress tests and up to 5 hours may be instrument ground time.

If you hold an ICAO compliant PPL(A) or PPL(H), 50% of the hours flown can be credited, up to a maximum of 40 hours, or 45 hours if you have an aeroplane night rating, of which up to 20 hours may count towards the requirement for dual instruction flight time.

The total flying training requirement (above) must include the following components:

Requirement Required number of hours

Dual instruction

80 hours, of which up to five hours may be instrument ground time.

PIC

70 hours

Cross-country flying

20 hours as PIC, including a VFR cross-country flight of at least 540 km (300 NM), which should also include full stop landings at two aerodromes different from that of departure.

Night flying

Five hours, comprising three hours of dual instruction and one hour of cross-country navigation and five solo take-offs and full stop landings

Instrument time

10 hours, of which up to five may be instrument ground time in a suitable simulator.

Aircraft certified for at least four persons, variable pitch propeller and retractable landing gear

Five hours.

If you have completed the basic instrument flight module

If you hold a course completion certificate for the basic instrument flight module you will be credited with up to 10 hours towards the required instrument instruction time. Hours done on a Basic Instrument Training Device (BITD) will not be credited.

Close Flying

Skill test

Your skill test must be taken after completing the course on either a single or multi-engine aeroplane.

Close Skill test

CPL modular



Train for a CPL to the level required to fly commercially. This does not include instrument rating training.

Close CPL modular

Pre-requisites

You will need to hold a PPL (A) issued in accordance with Annex 1 of the Chicago Convention by an ICAO contracting State.

Before you begin the course, you must have completed 150 hours flight time. If you are taking your skill test on a multi-engine aeroplane you must have completed the prerequisites for the issue of a class or type rating for multi-engine aeroplanes.

You must also hold current and valid theoretical knowledge examinations to at least CPL level.

You must complete your flight training in one continuous course at an ATO.

Close Pre-requisites

Theoretical

Theoretical knowledge training

Before you start a modular course you will need to have a valid pass in all CPL or ATPL aeroplane theoretical examinations.

Close Theoretical

Flying

To apply for a CPL you must complete at least 25 hours of dual flight instruction, including 10 hours of instrument instruction and 15 hours of visual flight instruction. Five hours of the instrument instruction can be taken in a simulator (BITD, Flight and Navigation Procedures Trainer (FNPT) I or II, and Flight Training Device (FTD) 2 or an Full Flight Simulator (FFS).

At least five hours of the flight instruction must be completed in a four-seat aeroplane with a variable pitch propeller and retractable landing gear.

You will also need to complete at least five hours of night flight instruction, comprising three hours of dual instruction, which will include at least one hour of cross-country navigation and five solo take-offs and five solo full stop landings.

If you already hold an IR

If you hold a valid IR (A) you will be fully credited up to 10 hours towards the instrument instruction time requirement. If you hold an IR (H) you will be credited with five hours. The remaining five hours must be completed in an aeroplane.

If you have completed the basic instrument flight module (BIFM)

You will be credited the 10 hours instrument instruction time requirement.

If you already hold a night rating (aeroplane)

You will not need to complete the additional night flight instruction if you already hold a night rating (aeroplane).

Close Flying

Experience requirements that must be met before the skill test

You must have at least 200 hours of flight time before conducting the skills test. This must include the following:

Pilot in Command (PIC) 100 hours as PIC, of which 20 hours of cross-country flight as PIC, which shall include a VFR cross-country flight of at least 540km (300 NM), in the course of which full stop landings at two aerodromes different from the aerodrome of departure must be made.
Night Five hours of flight time must be completed at night, comprising three hours of dual instruction which must include at least one hour of cross-country navigation and five solo take-offs and five solo full stop landings.
Instrument

10 hours of instrument flight instruction, of which up to five hours may be instrument ground time in an FNPT I, or FNPT II, or FFS.
If you hold a course completion certificate for the Basic Instrument Flight Module you will be credited with up to 10 hours towards the required instrument instruction time.

Hours done in a Basic Instrument Training Device (BITD) shall not be credited.

If a multi-engine aeroplane is used for the skill test, six hours of flight time shall be completed in a multi-engine aeroplane.

You may be able to count some other Pilot in Command (PIC) flying hours towards the 200 hours of flight time required.

These are detailed below:

  • 30 hours in helicopter, if you hold a PPL(H)
    or
  • 100 hours in helicopters, if you hold a CPL(H)
    or
  • 30 hours in TMGs or sailplanes
    or
  • 30 hours in airships, if you hold a PPL(As)
    or
  • 60 hours in airships, if you hold a CPL(As).

Flight experience amassed in aeroplanes classified as Microlight (Aeroplanes), cannot be counted towards meeting any of the above requirements.

Close Experience requirements that must be met before the skill test

Credits available

If you already hold a pilot’s licence or have flying experience you may be eligible for credits towards the theoretical knowledge training and the flying training for the issue of a licence or rating.

Theoretical

UK Military flight crew

The Military Accreditation Scheme sets out the credits for UK Military Flight Crew, so the scheme is only open to serving Members of HM UK Forces or people discharged from HM UK Forces.

The scheme is only open to people who can provide proof of UK Military service.

Qualified Military Pilot (QMP)(A)s do not need to complete a theoretical knowledge instruction course as set out in FCL.310 or FCL.515 and Appendix 3, before attempting the theoretical knowledge examinations for the CPL or ATPL(A).

Close UK Military flight crew

Holders of a UK issued Part FCL licence in another category

An applicant for a CPL holding a valid CPL in another category of aircraft must complete theoretical knowledge bridge instruction at an ATO according to the differences identified between the CPL syllabi for different aircraft categories.

The applicant must pass the following Part-FCL subjects in the appropriate aircraft category:

  • 021 - Aircraft General Knowledge: Airframe and Systems, Electrics, Powerplant, Emergency Equipment
  • 022 - Aircraft General Knowledge: Instrumentation
  • 032/034 - Performance Aeroplanes or Helicopters, as applicable
  • 070 - Operational Procedures
    and
  • 080 - Principles of Flight

The remainder of the CPL(A) examinations are credited.

Applicants holding an IR(A) endorsed on a Part-FCL PPL(A)

If you have already passed the aeroplane instrument rating theoretical knowledge exams and had issue of the IR(A), you are credited with Human Performance and Meteorology at CPL level.

You need to complete and pass the remaining CPL (A) theoretical examinations.

Close Holders of a UK issued Part FCL licence in another category

Flying Experience Credits



QMP(A)s with a minimum of 70 hours logged as PIC/P1 Capt or PICUS/1st Pilot Non-Capt do not need to complete a training course before completing the skill test for the issue of a CPL(A).

You must have met the experience requirements and pre-requisites for a CPL(A) shown on this page.

  • Basic Fast Jet Training (BFJT) (or legacy course) graduates must take the skill test in a single pilot single engine aeroplane.
  • Fast Jet Operational Conversion Unit (FJ OCU ) graduates may take the skill test in a single pilot single engine aeroplane, or in a multi-engine aeroplane provided that they complete an MEP course at an ATO prior to the CPL Skill test.
  • Multi Engine Pilot Training (MEPT) (or legacy course) graduates may take the skill test in a single engine or single pilot multi-engine aeroplane.

The aeroplane used for the skill test must meet the requirements for training aeroplanes and be certificated for the carriage of at least four persons, have a variable pitch propeller and retractable landing gear.

Close Flying Experience Credits

Skill test



The skill test must be conducted by the holder of a Type or Class Rating Examiner (TRE or CRE) Certificate for the aeroplane type, authorised to conduct an CPL skill test, issued under Part-FCL.

The skill test must be conducted in:

  • An appropriate class or type of military aeroplane on which you are or have been qualified to operate as a QMP, suitably equipped for the purpose, which has a UK Part 21 civilian equivalent

or

  • An appropriate class or type of civilian aeroplane provided you have completed the Part-FCL requirements for inclusion of that type or class in a Part-FCL licence except the type rating skill test.
Close Skill test

Holders of a UK issued Part-FCL licence for a different category



Hours as PIC of other categories of aircraft may count towards the 200 hours total flight time, in the following cases:

  • 30 hours in helicopter, if the applicant holds a PPL(H)
    or
  • 100 hours in helicopters, if the applicant holds a CPL(H)
    or
  • 30 hours in TMGs or sailplanes
    or
  • 30 hours in airships, if the applicant holds a PPL(As)
    or
  • 60 hours in airships, if the applicant holds a CPL(As)

The specific modular course requirements must be met. The credit only applies to the total flight time. These hours cannot be used towards the 100 hours PIC requirement.
Applicants holding a current and valid IR(H) can be credited up to five hours of the dual instrument instruction time, in which case at least five hours dual instrument instruction time must be given in an aeroplane.

Close Holders of a UK issued Part-FCL licence for a different category

Further information

Accessibility



If you require accessibility assistance with submitting your application online, please do not hesitate to contact our support team on 0330 022 1972 (Monday-Friday 08:30-16:30).

Close Accessibility

How do I apply?



There are two methods you can use to apply for a CPL licence issue:

or

If you have previously used e-Licensing, you must apply using this method.

Close How do I apply?

How much does it cost?



The cost of a licence is set out in the Scheme of Charges document and depends on the nature of the application.

Close How much does it cost?

What do I need to send with my application?



e-Licensing

If you choose to apply using e-Licensing, you will need to upload supporting documents as part of the application.

Applicants will be asked for different supporting documentation depending on the selections they have made during the application.

The table below lists the evidence you may be asked for and what you should upload in that section.

CPL modular application

Name in e-Licensing

Document required

Identification Document

Proof of your ID (This can be a certified copy of your valid passport/full UK photographic driving licence, or a close up photo of you holding your ID in which your face and ID are clearly visible)

CPL Skills Test

Examiner report form SRG2130

 

CPL Instrument Rating Course Completion Certificate

Form CAA5008

ATPL Theoretical Knowledge Course

Form CAA5004

Certified copy of licence for update rating(s)

Copy of ICAO pilot’s licence (if applicable)

CPL with military credits

Name in e-Licensing

Document required

Identification Document

Proof of your ID (This can be a certified copy of your valid passport/full UK photographic driving licence, or a close up photo of you holding your ID in which your face and ID are clearly visible)

CPL Skills Test

Examiner report form SRG2130

CPL Military Credits Course Completion Certificate

Form CAA5014

Military Accreditation Scheme

MAS Form SRG2133

Certified copy of licence for update rating(s)

Copy of licence (if one already held)

Please note that you cannot use e-Licensing to submit your application if you are using credits from a Third Country Licence. In this instance, you will need to submit the Online form SRG1183 instead along with the SRG2142 Online application for a Third Country Verification.

Close What do I need to send with my application?

What else do I need to know?



Online application form

You can submit your application using our online form SRG1183.

If you choose this method, you will need to upload the following supporting evidence:

  • CPL examiner report form SRG2130.
  • A copy of your licence (only required if one is already held).
  • Proof of your ID (This can be a certified copy of your valid passport/full UK photographic driving licence, or a close up photo of you holding your ID in which your face and ID are clearly visible).
  • A copy of your relevant logbook pages to confirm your hours and experience.
  • A copy of your course completion certificate (CAA5008 and CAA5004 if modular course, CAA5000 if integrated course) or Training Organisation equivalent.
  • A copy of Part-FCL theoretical knowledge exam results.
  • A copy of theoretical knowledge course completion certificate completed by the relevant authority (CAA5004 or Training Organisation equivalent).

If you do not have a UK issued RT licence:

  • A copy of your evidence of UK Examination and Test for Grant of FRTOL (CAA5003).

UK military pilots need to additionally submit completed Military Accreditation Scheme (MAS) form SRG2133, with copies of relevant pages of the military logbook.

Guidance on documentation

There is further information available for questions relating to paperwork, such as how to obtain certified copies of documents.

Regulation

Close What else do I need to know?

How long will it take for my application to be processed?



Our service levels are 10 working days for the assessment all application types. Where an application is pended, the working days to process the application will be counted from the date of receipt of the requested additional information.

For a small number of applications, a licensing officer may require additional guidance which requires a referral to be made to a technical officer. The technical officer will review the case within five working days, however if further advice is needed this will be reviewed at a bi-weekly complex case review session. In such cases therefore, the application will take longer to process than our standard turnaround times.

Our complaints process offers further guidance if you are dissatisfied by the service provided to you by us and you wish to raise a complaint.

Close How long will it take for my application to be processed?

What happens next?



Your application will undergo a desk-based assessment from a Flight Crew Licensing Officer. Following an acceptable assessment your licence will be processed, signed, and despatched.

We will contact you in writing if we have any queries regarding your application and may keep your application pending while the additional requirements are met.

Please note that applications will only be pended for 30 days before cancellation, where no response is received.

An assessment and fee may be charged if we reject your application for not meeting all requirements. This will also be applied if you choose to cancel your application. This is to cover the work undertaken by us to assess or handle your application. All underpaid postage fees are recovered before your new licence can be issued.

Close What happens next?

How long is it valid for?



The licence does not expire, the privileges within the licence are maintained by meeting the revalidation requirements, having the Certificate of Revalidation within the licence signed and maintaining medical fitness.

Close How long is it valid for?