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Do you dream of joining one of the branches to become an airline pilot? Are you simply curious about the different access channels and possibilities of this discipline?

Our team of experts in private aviation and air transport will provide you with advice and a comparative analysis of the best aviation schools in France.

The job of a pilot: rigour, passion and stamina

Responsible for transporting passengers from point A to point B, the pilot is what is known as a flight crew (FT). Their missions are cross-functional and follow a long and complex path: they take place before, during and even after the flight.

Before the flight

Before each flight, a briefing is necessary to understand the technical aspect of the aircraft: radio, communication means, geolocation, navigation instruments… A very precise check list must be checked, its tasks are divided between the pilots. In general, one of them is in charge of the “pre-flight visit“, i.e. the external aspect of the aircraft. He has to make sure that no major problem surfaces: a fluid flow, a suspicious smell, an impact on the fuselage… The other pilot goes directly inside the aircraft to configure it and prepare the flight plan. This preparation phase is essential and must be carefully carried out, especially when calculating the required amount of fuel and studying the weather conditions.

During the flight

As the sole master on board, he must show discernment, reactivity and composure to deal with the various hazards. This is why, in addition to a great sense of responsibility and analysis, the technical crew must be in excellent health and have physical and nervous stamina. On this subject, the possession of a medical certificate or not raises many questions. A so-called class 1 PNT visit to an aeronautical medical centre will be required. During this medical visit, several elements will be examined:

  • eyesight;
  • hearing;
  • the presence of neurological problems;
  • the presence of cardiac problems…

In the cockpit, the pilot acts on several levels: he controls all the parameters, monitors the on-board computers and remains in constant contact with air traffic control. Flying is becoming increasingly automated, but remains a complex discipline which requires a certain amount of know-how and a good knowledge of navigation systems. As the person responsible for the flight crew and passengers, two additional cords must be added to the aeroplane pilot’s bow: a sense of anticipation and an impeccable command of English.

After the flight

The pilot’s mission ends a few hours after landing. He must report on the flight, i.e. communicate and pass on his remarks. These may concern aircraft maintenance, the aim being to improve flight safety and anticipate any incident on future flights.


A pilot’s career plan

A career as a pilot offers many possibilities and opportunities to progress through the different levels. Usually, one starts as an Airline Transport Pilot Officer on short and medium-haul routes, then on long haul routes. After about ten years of experience, you become an On-board Commander on short and medium-haul flights, and finally as an On-board Commander on long-haul flights. Obtaining the position of Captain Instructor on a particular type of aircraft represents the culmination, the apogee of a pilot’s career.

Before reaching this stage, a number of training and qualifications are obviously required. Here we explain the basics of studying to become an airline pilot and private pilot…


Aeronautical training: how to become a pilot?

Becoming a pilot requires a long apprenticeship phase and solid ground training. Whether you take the so-called “royal” state route of the “grandes écoles” or parallel courses (paid qualifications, the army), learning to fly takes a long time. The studies are particularly selective, with around 30 candidates taken at the ENAC (National Civil Aviation School) each year.

Several state branches are possible, and are accessible at several levels:

  • Postbac
  • 2 years of higher education in science
  • PPL (Private Pilot Licence), CPL (Commercial Pilot Licence) and theoretical ATPL (Airline Transport Pilot Licence).

There are many different diplomas at the end of these studies and they represent an investment of money and time. This is why it is necessary to choose the right branch, adapted to its objectives and chances of success. At the end of these courses, the gross monthly salary for a beginner is around €2000. However, this amount varies according to airline companies, the type of aircraft, the distances travelled, etc.

A representative sample of 6 French aviation schools: the comparison

We provide you with our comparative report of the 6 best aviation schools in France according to the following criteria:

  • ranking among the best engineering schools in France
  • panel of theoretical training courses (bachelors/masters) in aviation and aeronautics offered
  • practical driving training programmes taught
  • facilities and equipment available
  • cost per year of study
  • duration of training



  • row: 4
  • number of programmes: 14
  • pilot programme: aeronautical engineering diploma
  • facilities: fleet of nine aircraft, autonomous system platform for micro-UAVs and robots, flight simulators and neuroergonomics platform, wind tunnels, aeroacoustic wind tunnel, turbofan test bench, software-controlled radio room, ground station for satellite tracking and operation, satellite command and control centre
  • cost per year of study (French student): €4,800
  • Duration of training: 24 months full time



  • row: 8
  • number of programmes: 8
  • flying programme: aeronautical engineering (master) and airline pilot training
  • facilities: simulators, research laboratories, wind tunnels
  • cost per year of study (French student): 7 990 €.
  • Duration of training: 12 months full time


École Centrale de Nantes

  • row: 15
  • number of programmes: 2
  • piloting programme: N/A
  • facilities: wind tunnels, dynamic and static test centre, rapid production platform, etc.
  • cost per year of study (French student): €2,500
  • Duration of training: 36 months full time


Polytechnic Institute of Advanced Sciences (IPSA)

  • row: 36
  • number of programmes: 2
  • pilot programme: aerospace engineer (master’s degree)
  • facilities: wind tunnels, research laboratories, intelligent computers
  • cost per year of study (French student): €5,500
  • Duration of training: 36 months full time

National Higher School of Mechanics and Aerotechnics (ISAE – ENSMA)

  • row: 53
  • number of programmes: 2
  • piloting programme: aeronautical mechanics and energy (master’s degree)
  • facilities: research laboratories
  • cost per year of study (French student): €7,300
  • Duration of training: 24 months full time



  • row: 65
  • number of programmes: 12
  • pilot programme: airline pilot diploma (only for graduates or students in preparatory courses)
  • facilities: fleet of 121 aircraft, specific flight simulators, advanced air traffic control simulators, aerodynamic, electronic, IT and linguistic infrastructures, four research laboratories
  • cost per year of study (French student): 1 300 €.
  • Duration of training: 36 months full time


And whatever the chosen curriculum, the professional pilot remains above all a man or a woman of passion.

Our air experts are at your service 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for your private flight on +33 (0) 1 44 09 91 82. Do not hesitate to go to our online quote to obtain a price estimate for your private flight.