How does one Become an Airline Pilot? A Cantor Air Guide


A complete course suitable for all needs

In order to become an airline pilot, one must have completed, and thus be in possession of, the necessary certification (or various modules) that go into various areas of training, both practical and theoretical, required by current regulations.

Cantor Air flight school includes a wide range of courses in its educational programs. By choosing the modular ATPL "Full Immersion" course offered by ATO, the student will be able to obtain all the necessary licenses to become a Professional Pilot, followed on his path by the best experts in the field. 

Should the student already hold certain licenses, Cantor Air will find the most suitable solution for him, shaping his training ad HOC, respecting his needs and always maintaining the very high standard that distinguishes the ATO.

What are the modules to become an Airline Pilot?

The complete course at Cantor Air to become an airline pilot: THE STEPS


One of the prerequisites to be able to start working as a PROFESSIONAL PILOT is undoubtedly the Eligibility for Psychophysical Medical Examination, which every aspiring Pilot must undergo before enrolling in the courses. This medical examination, which differs from the usual ones you have already heard about, must be issued by a licensed aviation physician from the Military Aviation Medical Legal Institute, as stipulated in the ENAC medical regulations.


Medical examinations can be of two types: first or second class. 

  • CLASS I medical certificate: this is the certificate that allows the performance of professional activities (thus associated with commercial and airline licenses);

    Find out here what the first medical class consists of to become an airline pilot 

  • CLASS II medical certificate: is the certificate that allows only the activity of flying for private purposes (thus associated with a PPL license).

In Italy, AeMC authorized institutions for issuing medical certificates to refer to are:

Via Del Gregge, 100 21015 Lonate Pozzolo (VA)
Phone: 0331 116 0008
Hours: Monday to Friday from 9:00 AM to 1:00 PM and from 2:00 PM to 6:30 PM
Air Force Institute of Forensic Medicine "A. Mosso"
Viale dell'Aviazione, 1 - 20138 Milan | 
Hours: 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Monday through Friday
A.M. Rome Institute of Aerospace Medicine "A. Di Loreto"
Viale Pietro Gobetti, 2 - 00185 Rome |
Phone: 06/4986 6751 - 6752 - 3006
Hours: 9 a.m. to noon Monday through Friday

Bari Psychophysiological Aeromedical Center
Via G. D'Annunzio, 1 - 70128 Bari-Palese Military Airport | Tel 080/5839400

IMPORTANT: Cantor Air's advice is to take the first class examination right from the PPL course if the goal is to obtain a commercial or line license.

2 STEP: PPL License A (PPL - Pilot Private License)


  • Have completed compulsory schooling;

  • To start the theory course you must be at least 16 years of age;

  • At the time of taking the practical exams you must be 17 years old;

  • Have a Psycho-physical fitness certificate Class I or Class II issued by a medical specialist in aviation medicine (AME) or at an AMO EASA medical center (Cantor Air's advice is to take the first-class examination right from the PPL course if the goal is to obtain a commercial or airline license)

The path in Cantor Air starts with the PPL (Private Pilot License), and includes 119 hours of mandatory theory and 45 hours of flight time on Cessna 152 or Tecnam P2008JC. The choice of aircraft type is decided by the school. 

The theory part is carried out continuously, conducting mandatory afternoon classes from Monday to Friday, plus Saturday (morning or afternoon).  The subjects covered are:


for the duration of 119 hours

The flight part, on the other hand, is carried out according to the availability of the aspiring pilots. Part of the practical training is carried out in "Dual Command," thus with instructor on board, and part as "PIC" (Pilot in Command), thus solo.

This module, which in Cantor Air starts twice a year (March and September each year), is completed in 3 to 6 months and allows obtaining the PPL License following a theoretical and practical exam with ENAC. The Pilot Private Licence (PPL) is the first step needed to start flying an aircraft from scratch and will allow proceeding to the next modules of the modular program to pursue a career as a Pilot.

Learn more about PPL licence

3 STEP: ATPL Theory: (Airline Pilot License and Transportation) and AREA 100 KSA course.


  • Be at least 18 years of age;

  • Have a Psychophysical fitness Class I certificate issued by a medical specialist in aviation medicine (AME); 

  • High school diploma of any field of study (requirement imposed by ATO CANTOR AIR);

  • Be a holder of a PPL(A) license;

  • Possess sufficient knowledge of mathematics and physics to facilitate understanding of the course,

  • Be in possession of a fair knowledge of the English language

Once the first license (PPL) is obtained, the student is placed in the ATPL THEORY course, which, in the Cantor Air program, includes 650 hours of theoretical lessons, divided into the 13 examination subjects required by ENAC/EASA. This module, which in Cantor Air begins twice a year (May and November of each year), allows holders of the newly obtained PPL License to continue directly without interruption.

The ATPL theoretical part takes place continuously, conducting morning classes with mandatory attendance from Monday to Saturday, for a total of about 6 months of classes.  The subjects covered are:


for the duration of 650 hours

Upon completion of the ATPL THEORY, students undergo the 13 theoretical ATPL exams with ENAC, one for each subject studied in the theory course and to be completed in academic timelines dictated by current regulations. 

Concurrent with the ATPL theory, the AREA 100 KSA course will be held (learn more about the area 100 ksa course). A course made mandatory equal to 15 theoretical hours that translates into Knowledge, Skills, Attitude: the combination of three fundamental elements in the formation of a pilot with a capital "P."

Admission to the 13 ATPL theoretical examinations (held by ENAC at either ROME or MILAN MALPENSA), is subject to the following conditions:

  • having completed the entire ATPL course,
  • having completed and passed the AREA 100 KSA course exams
  • having passed the pre-examination test, under the supervision of the ATO’s personnel with a score, on all subjects, of not less than 85%.

PLEASE NOTE: Cantor Air flight school also offers the ATPL THEORY course in "Distance Learning" mode, should the candidate be unable to attend the daily classes, thanks to the multimedia platform provided by the ATO.

Learn more about the ATPL THEORY course

In conjunction with the ATPL module, the Learner will continue flying, conducting fill-in hours (hours building) and other flight courses, which we will see in the next step.


As soon as the PPL course is completed (including final exams) and the PPL (A) license is obtained, the Cantor Air student starts the filling hours phase, better known as Hours Building

The Hours Buildings, performed as a PIC (Pilot in Command), which are carried out from the conclusion of the PPL until the beginning of the CPL phase, are a mandatory requirement in order to proceed with the following modules. In fact, before the start of the CPL phase for example, the Trainee must have achieved a total experience of at least 100 hours as PIC.

This module represents a very important phase for each student, in which he/she will be able to try his/her hand at so-called CROSS-COUNTRY flight missions (navigations over different airports), which will allow to increase the piloting experience, carrying out flights even outside national borders (e.g. France, Austria, Croatia, Slovenia, etc.).

At the conclusion of each PPL course, the student will have the opportunity to perform the MACHINE PASSAGE on the type of aircraft he/she did not use during the practical PPL course (P2008 or C152) so that he/she will be qualified to pilot both machines made available by ATO Cantor Air for filling hours: CESSNA C152 and TECNAM P2008.

Given the importance of the topic of SAFETY for Cantor Air school and given the HOURS BUILDING phase conducted independently by the Student Pilots, SEMESTRAL CHECK was introduced in the HOURS BUILDINGS phase in which, each student on a semi-annual basis, must confirm to the instructor in charge, the suitability for PIC flight, through a "check" flight.

5 STEP: Intermediate stages and other ratings: VP RU, NIGHT VFR 

In conjunction with the conduct of the ATPL Theory course and the conduct of the HOURS BUILDINGS, the Student Pilot will proceed with the acquisition of additional ratings. 

The first qualification in Cantor Air's modular ATPL "Full Immersion" program is the VP RU (Variable Pitch-Retractable Undercarriage) qualification, through which the Student Pilot is trained in the use of the retractable undercarriage and variable pitch propeller. This rating is necessary to take over the next NIGHT RATING module, which allows the student to fly an aircraft from dusk to dawn, then train in night take off, navigation and landing practices. In this phase, the student flies Cessna 182 and Piper PA28R aircraft. 

6 STEP: Ratings by class: IFR and MEP IR

Then begins the IR SEP (Instrument Rating) module in which the student is qualified in the functions of a responsible pilot, on single-engine or multi-engine aircraft in instrument flight conditions (IMC) and under the Instrument Flight Rules (IFR), i.e., using only onboard instrumentation. This module initially involves the extensive use of the FNPT II ALSIM ALX simulator, which turns out to be a perfect platform for this phase, and then transitions to the use of PA28R aircraft while maintaining the same mission profiles used previously in the simulator. The practical part involves instrument missions on domestic and international airports to perform ILS procedures, VOR NDB, and especially to the new concept of PBN (Performance Based Navigation) procedures. Highly used are the airports of Bergamo, Linate, Montichiari, Verona, Parma, Malpensa, Turin, and Genova. The total number of hours provided in this module are as many as 50, following which there is a new practical exam with an external ENAC inspector, which will lead to obtaining the IR Rating.
Learn more about the IR SEP course 

Once qualified in IR, the student progresses further by taking a new "transition" module but this time on even more complex machines: bimotors, i.e., multi-engine aircraft. The purpose of this phase is to acquire the MEP (MULTI ENGINE PISTON) rating, which enables the Student Pilot to handle regular and emergency flight procedures (e.g., with an engine out of service) on multi-engine aircraft using on-board instrumentation for radio assistance. The aircraft used by Cantor Air for this module are Piper PA34s, complex machines that, because of this very characteristic, allow the Student Pilot, the acquisition and achievement of exceptional skills. The student in this phase is trained through 11 hours of flight time in both the basic and IR parts of instrument flying. The MEP and IR-ME rating is, once again, awarded following the passing of an additional practical examination on PIPER PA34 aircraft with an external ENAC Inspector, which will lead to the attainment of the MEP and IR ME rating.

Learn more about the MEP IR course


At this point, the student has reached the final milestone of Cantor Air's ATPL "Full Immersion" modular program, that of the CPL (Commercial Pilot License) module. This "commercial" phase is conducted on SEP COMPLEX airplanes for a total of 15 hours. In this module, the Student Pilot is subjected to flight missions that simulate those of commercial traffic, leading him/her to have to solve complex and emergency situations, to better develop the decision-making skills that must be present in professionals working in this field. The CPL(A) license allows one to operate in a Captain’s capacity on single-pilot, single-crew aircraft used in commercial air transport operations under visual flight rules. By passing the final CPL exam conducted with an external ENAC inspector, the student obtains the commercial license, which will enable him/her to work in the aviation field.
Find out more details about the CPL course


The A-UPRT (Upset Prevention and Recovery Training) course, introduced and made mandatory from 2019 by EASA regulation FCL.745.A, is a necessary requirement for all CPL License holders who intend to access Type Ratings.

The expression is derived from the English 'upset' meaning a situation of turbulence, capsizing or overturning to which the aircraft may go, and from 'recovery' meaning the subsequent action of recovery (of control) by recovering and/or ascending the craft. 

In a nutshell, A-U.P.R.T represents that set of techniques for putting the aircraft back in the right trajectory from the 'unusual' (i.e., abnormal) attitudes in which the pilot may find himself, training the Student Pilot to become more confident in abnormal and/or emergency flight situations. 

This module of the program has no theoretical or practical exams. In the final flight mission, the Student will be required to demonstrate competence and the ability to recover from a disruptive or potential LOCI (loss of control in flight) situation.

Find out more details about the U.P.R.T. course.


Having completed Cantor Air's modular program and thus obtained the CPL license with ATPL Frozen, the Trainee proceeds with the last course, which is also an essential requirement for the pilot demanded from the airlines: the Multi-Crew Co-Operation (MCC) course. 

The MCC course prepares pilots to work in multi-crew operations in an airline or on any type of operation requiring multiple crews and is enhanced by the JOC module in which the fundamental skills and knowledge of an airline pilot are developed.

The simulator used is the ALSIM ALX FNPT II / MCC, which allows the course to be conducted on Turbo-Prop, KING AIR-based aircraft, or JET with CITATION platform.

This course enables the student to train in communicating and performing MULTICREW tasks on complex airplanes. In other words, the student is trained in communication and management standards within a cockpit, learning how to operate with the correct 'TEAMWORK' as a crew, under normal and emergency conditions.

Learn more details about the MCC course


Having reached this point, the student is ready to enter airline selections. 

Of course, the way pilots are selected changes from company to company.

Some airlines, call candidates after receiving the CV for an initial interview with a recruiter team to move to the next phase only after passing it successfully, which is the simulator test and psychological evaluation. On other occasions, however, very challenging specific tests will have to be taken even before the initial interviews. 

Whatever the type of assessment planned, the Trainee will still have to possess exceptional theoretical and practical skills, to enable him or her to pass any selection, whether more or less difficult, in a safe and straightforward manner. Preparation that can only be given by attending a high-quality Flight School, that aims at training First Officers with distinctive elements, such as CANTOR AIR.


The modular ATPL "Full Immersion" course offered by the Cantor Air flight school, consisting of all modules to become an airline pilot (from the beginning of the PPL course until obtaining the CPL License with ATPL Frozen) has a duration of 2 years.

By taking Cantor Air's course, the student, after only 24 months, will be ready to start working with the best European airlines and, after acquiring 1500 hours of airline flying, will be able to unlock his CPL License with ATPL Frozen, in Full ATPL License and thus aspire to become an Airline Captain.

Factors that may affect the duration of the individual course may be conditioned by the time used by the student to take the ATPL theoretical exams and/or the cyclicality with which the same flies weekly since, while the theoretical lessons are scheduled and made mandatory by the ATO, the flight part is provided exclusively by the student, according to personal availability. However, a minimum of 18 months is required to complete the whole process.


Cantor Air has developed the ATPL "Full Immersion" modular course to create an alternative to the solutions offered to date, creating ad Hoc a modular course but with the timelines of an integrated course, keeping 18 months as the minimum required for its completion.

The Cantor Air program is rigid and undoubtedly demanding that aims to train Officers first and excellent pilots second; it is based on techniques from the Military Aviation combined with the Commercial Aviation, creating a complete mix. The student who comes out of Cantor Air is in fact an all-round trained Pilot: competent, professional and with above-average theoretical and practical training.

The School's theoretical and practical teachers are selected for their human skills and experience. 

The result of this training makes it possible to complete the course by obtaining an excellent product, which our students are, with solid knowledge and superb skills.

Today the average of Cantor Air flight school students who pass the ATPL exams on their first attempt is 93.7 percent. Of these, the average results on all subjects are 92% against the required EASA sufficiency of 75%. 

90% of the Pilots who graduated from Cantor Air found immediate placement in airlines within 6 months of completing their courses.

This represents our strongest motivation, because Cantor Air's main goals are the same as those of its Students. 

If you are committed, willing, passionate, and determined that this will be YOUR career, Cantor Air Flight School will be the right means to achieve your dream of becoming a PILOT!


Want to Know More?

The Cantor Air team is ready to answer any questions regarding our services and offers.