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I recently became interested in becoming a commercial pilot after buying Flight Simulator X and a Saitek Yoke system. I'm still studying my GCSE's, and I am now debating between computer science and a career as a pilot.

I currently don't have the money to get my private pilot license, and very much doubt that I'll have the money for commercial training in the future. Therefore, I am curious as to whether or not some universities offer both PPL and commercial flight training as part of an aviation degree program.

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  • $\begingroup$ In the UK I am not sure, but in Australia some universities offer a Bachelor of Aviation including a flying component. But through a university is not the only way to become a pilot here. Are you only after UK-based answers, or would you consider studying overseas? $\endgroup$ – Ben Dec 26 '14 at 3:25
  • $\begingroup$ I'd prefer to study in the UK, but overseas could be considered, if I fail to find a placement in the UK. $\endgroup$ – Harry Kitchener Dec 31 '14 at 20:47
  • $\begingroup$ So are you looking for. UK answer? Or an answer for UK or US? $\endgroup$ – rbp Jan 3 '15 at 15:10
  • $\begingroup$ UK answer please @rbp $\endgroup$ – Harry Kitchener Jan 4 '15 at 13:01
  • $\begingroup$ Here an easy choice. If you LOVE flying, and aviation is your life then (and only then) become a pilot. If you want to earn a good wage, and dont mind sitting in an office for the next 50+ years do computer science. $\endgroup$ – Jamiec May 5 '16 at 9:56
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One UK list is here, it mentions several universities that include PPL and/or ATPL training in the degree course, but they appear to cover only the theory part of the courses with actual flight training being optional. Where a full PPL is included, they mention extra costs of around GBP 7000 on top of regular tuition.

If you look directly at the university sites they seem to confirm this: Leeds includes only 10 flight hours for the PPL; Brunel and Salford both include a UK NPPL but at extra cost.

You might be able to get a scholarship of some kind to cover all or part of your tuition, but that depends very heavily on your personal situation and what the individual university offers. Finally, you could consider the RAF as an alternative route to paid flight training but I have no idea if that's of any interest to you and I imagine that competition for cockpit places is very tough.

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  • $\begingroup$ would the £7000 be included in a student loan, or would I have to pay separately? $\endgroup$ – Harry Kitchener Dec 31 '14 at 20:42
  • $\begingroup$ @user3166976 I have no idea, you'd have to research that with the university or the student loan company. Your school might be able to help you with some general information about it. $\endgroup$ – Pondlife Jan 15 '15 at 17:23
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    $\begingroup$ My experience in the UK is that flight training is filled with lots of potentially exploitative corporations. The £7k would probably be out of your own pocket, and the NPPL is a limited form of the full PPL that you'd then need to acquire anyway. Your best bet for your education is to do a relevant subject you enjoy and are good at a University with an Air Squadron, and get the RAF to pay you to learn to fly! $\endgroup$ – Landak Mar 24 '15 at 10:01
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I don't know about if that is possible in the UK. However, in Spain it can be done at CESDA (at Reus airport LERS) which is linked to the URV (Universitat Rovira i Virgili), they accept students from all over Europe and they can be validate the corresponding high school exams for most of the countries (probably not all of them, but surely UK can).

If you want to see further information you can check out this link and read all the information but basically the most important features of the program are the following:

  • The aim of the Degree in Commercial Airline Pilot and Air Operations is to prepare future professionals to adapt more easily to the exacting demands of the labour market, obtaining the EASA European license for commercial pilots with all the qualifications required for the “Frozen ATPL”.
  • After graduation students will have completed a total of 285 flight hours, of which 171 are real flight hours, 54h on a basic simulator and 60h in the Multi Crew Cooperation (MCC) simulator.

I hope this helps, if you're considering studying outside of the UK.

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