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Ethiopia - Obtain a Commercial Pilot License

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Acquiring a commercial pilot's license (CPL) is definitely an essential requirement before you can work as a professional pilot but it is only the culminating event in a long series of procedures that you have to go through.

A commercial pilot may be compensated for flying. Training for the certificate focuses on a better understanding of aircraft systems and a higher standard of airmanship. The commercial certificate itself does not allow a pilot to fly in instrument meteorological conditions. For aircraft categories where an instrument rating is available, commercial pilots without an instrument rating are restricted to daytime flight within 50 nautical miles (93 km) when flying for hire,

A commercial airplane pilot must be able to operate a complex airplane, as a specific number of hours of complex (or turbine-powered) aircraft time are among the prerequisites, and at least a portion of the practical examination is performed in a complex aircraft.


To be-eligible for a commercial Pilot License, the applicant must:

a) Be at least 18 years of age

b) Be able to read, write and understand English. Meet ICAO English Language Proficiency level.

c) Pass the written examination given by ECAA on the subject area

d) Pass an oral and flight test given by ECAA Designated Flight Examiner

e) Hold a current Class 1 Medical Certificate

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  • Pilots can begin training at an age of 18 and can solo balloons and gliders at age 21 in Ethiopia.
  • A license will contain a number of sub-qualifications or ratings.
  • An ECAA-issued pilot certificate is evidence that an individual is duly authorized to exercise piloting privileges in Ethiopia.
  • An individual may hold only one pilot certificate at one time.
  • Most pilot certificates and ratings require the applicant to pass a knowledge test, also called the written test.
  • All pilots certificates and ratings require a practical test.

Required Information

  • Be at least 21 years old and a citizen of Ethiopian or Resident of Ethiopian.
  • Be able to read, speak, write and understand the English language.
  • Obtain at least a third class medical certificate from an Aviation Medical Examiner
  • Pass a computerized aeronautical knowledge test from Ethiopian Civil Aviation Authority,
  • Accumulate and log a specified amount of training and experience, including the following:
  • At least 40 hours of flight time, including 20 hours with an instructor and 10 hours of solo flight.
  • 5 hours of solo cross-country time including one flight of at least 150 nautical miles with full stop landings at a minimum of three points
  • Three solo takeoffs and landings to a full stop at an airport with an operating control tower.
  • 3 hours of night flight training and 10 takeoffs and landings to a full stop at an airport
  • 3 hours of instrument flying training
  • Pass an oral and flight test administered by an ECAA inspector or ECAA designated examiner.


Before you can submit an application or take the test to get your commercial pilot's license, you will first need to have completed the required number of hours of flight training, which is typically 250 hours in most countries.

In order to enroll for flight training, you have to secure a private pilot's license first, be in good physical shape and have excellent vision.

You should also be financially prepared because attending pilot training school can be a very expensive endeavor. On the average, you might have to spend as much as $50,000 to cover your schooling. This includes the instructor's fee, the hourly plane rentals, and other miscellaneous expenses that come in the form of instructional materials, and so on.

In order to be considered for the CPL, you'll need to have significant time logged actually in the air. 150 hours total time is the minimum required. That's quite a bit of flying time, though it does not all have to be as the pilot in command, so training time counts here. Obviously, holding a JAA PPL will put you closer to the requirement, though you will have to log additional hours regardless of the license that you hold.

You'll need to have at least 100 hours logged in the air as the Pilot in Command. That doesn't mean that you have to be the only one in the cockpit, but that you were the commanding pilot during the flight.

You will also have to have passed a wide range of ATPL examinations - there are 14 in total. You have to have a passing score in each of these areas or you will not be considered as an eligible candidate. Thankfully, you can re-sit examinations if you do not pass, though this will add time to your training.

You will have to obtain a qualifying cross-country flight of 300nm in order to earn your Commercial Pilot certificate/license as well.

All CPL applicants will have to undergo and pass a Class 1 medical examination. This can be done at any time, but be aware that you might have to retake the examination if it has been a long time since you underwent your original evaluation.

in addition to meeting all the qualifications listed above, you'll still need to take additional steps in order to earn your Commercial Pilot License. These steps consist of the theoretical examinations, as well as additional training. Once you pass this step then you can be given a commercial Pilot certificate.

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Required Documents

  • A computerized aeronautical knowledge test
  • Accumulate and log a specified amount of training and experience document.
  • A third class medical certificate.
  • A computerized aeronautical knowledge test
  • A Record of 40 hours of flight time
  • A record of Pass an oral test and flight test administered by an ECAA inspector.
  • A flight instructor certificate;
  • An instrument rating.
  • Preflight operations, including weight and balance determination, line inspection, and airplane servicing.
  • Airport and traffic pattern operations, including operations at controlled airports, radio communications, and collision avoidance precautions.
  • Flight maneuvering by reference to ground objects.
  • Flight at slow airspeeds with realistic distractions, and the recognition of and recovery from stalls entered from straight flight and from turns.
  • Normal and crosswind takeoffs and landings.
  • Control and maneuvering an airplane solely by reference to instruments, including descents and climbs using radio aids or radar directives.
  • Cross-country flying, using pilotage, dead reckoning, and radio aids.
  • Maximum performance takeoffs and landings.
  • Night flying, including takeoffs, landings, and VFR navigation.
  • Emergency operations, including simulated aircraft and equipment malfunction.


Explain the fees structure which is required for obtaining the certificate/document.


Valid for 1 year and then a renewal is required.

Documents to Use

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Sample Documents

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Processing Time

The processing takes 6 months

Office Locations & Contacts

Ethiopian Civil Aviation Authority
Director General Office

Tel: 251-11 665 0252

Mobile: 251-91-1201266

Fax: 251 11 665 0269



Aviation Regulation Directorate

Tel: 251 11 665 0256

Mobile: 251-91-1208053



Air Navigation Services Directorate

Tel: 251 11 665 0265

Mobile: 251-91-1201267



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Videos explaining the procedure or to fill the applications. 
Attach videos using the following tag <&video type="website">video ID|width|height<&/video&> from external websites.
Please remove the "&" inside the tags during implementation.
Website = allocine, blip, dailymotion, facebook, gametrailers, googlevideo, html5, metacafe, myspace, revver, 
sevenload, viddler, vimeo, youku, youtube
width = 560, height = 340, Video ID = Can be obtained from the URL of webpage where the video is displayed.
e.g In the following url "" Video ID is "Y0US7oR_t3M". 

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Other uses of the Document/Certificate

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e.g. Birth Certificate can be used as proof of identity.

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