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Learning to fly

To be employed as a commercial pilot locally one will need five Caribbean Examination Council (CXC) passes, including Mathematics and English in addition to a commercial pilot's license.
Getting the pilot's license requires no subjects at all but a degree in common sense, states Captain Errol Stewart of the Caribbean Aviation Training Centre (CATC) and Cessna Pilot centre which is based in Kingston .
The private pilot license costs US$14,000 or J$1,26 million and involves a training programme of eight months. The commercial pilots license costs US$34,000 or J$3.2 million and the programmes runs for 18 months or two years. The costs, the captain states are related to the training inputs such as books, craft and maintenance which are high. Each flight incurs a US$55 expenditure for aviation fuel.
The training centre - which in 2007 collected the award for the best Cessna centre among 300 worldwide - also currently offers a degree programme in association with Mountain State University in the United States. Students will earn course credits towards the completion of the degree at this institution.
Captain Stewart notes that while commercial industry has been suffering since 9/11 and more so since the escalation in oil prices, the business of private aircraft flying has increased by some 80 percent since September 2001. The long delays at airports caused by new regulations have resulted in businessmen and companies investing in the purchase of their own craft for as an alternative. In Jamaica, some 15 new craft have been brought into the island by business owners since 2005. the Captain states.


The Flight Academy offers training for the following:

**Private Pilot License (PPL)
**Instrument Rating
**Commercial Pilot Licence (CPL)
**Multi-Engine Rating
**Simulator Training
**Airline Transport Pilot License (ATPL)
**Written Preparation

Dual training is available for those students who wish to acquire ratings under the Jamaica Civil Aviation Authority (JCAA) Regulations and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

Currently, all FAA training including written exams may be done locally in Jamaica at CATC ONLY. However, the FAA requires that the actual flight examination be done in the USA at an approved testing centre. The Academy will assist students in making these arrangements.

Instrument training is much more demanding than the Private Pilot Licence. On completion of the instrument course, you will be capable of operating an aircraft solely by reference to your aircraft instruments. This requires a disciplined pilot, a combination of specialised instructors, consistent scheduling and the appropriate equipment. This course opens the door to high altitude operations.

Commercial Pilot Course

For Pilots who wish to fly for compensation, the commercial pilot course is the correct choice. One will receive training on more complex aircraft and learn more advanced manoeuvres in preparation for the exam. On completion of this course, you will be ready for hire.

The Multi-Engine rating is one of the most desirable ratings in aviation. The multi engine course opens the door to higher paying jobs. One will be able to fly more complex aircraft which require more advanced pilot skills.

Captain Stewart states that the academy utilises the latest methods of flight instruction. "This provides for a higher retention rate and immense cost savings to the student. With the availability of the ELITE Simulator System, students may perfect their procedures prior to even entering the aircraft, thus saving time, money and effort."

The simulator programmes will allow a student to practice approaches at just about any airport in the world. Students pursuing an FAA licence may perfect their procedures at the designated airport prior to doing the flight exam in the USA.

*Contact: Caribbean Aviation Training Centre, Tinson Pen Aerodrome, Marcus Garvey Drive, Kingston. Tel: 876.757.0211 Fax: 876.901.7341. Email:
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