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Speedbird Pilot Academy Preparation

Your Speedbird Pilot Academy application

We’re delighted that you’re thinking about a career with British Airways.

While we’re not currently recruiting for the Speedbird Pilot Academy scheme, you can register for job alerts to be notified once the next application window opens. Applications are currently planned to open again in 2025.

In the meantime, you can read our preparation materials, including some useful resources to help you prepare your future application.

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Preparation Materials

Click below to see our guide to applying for the Speedbird Pilot Academy, including an overview of our assessment process, practice exercises, and links to external training resources. 

Download here

Start your ascent

What do I need to join the Speedbird Pilot Academy?

  • You'll be 17-55 years of age to apply and 18 years of age to start training
  • Six GCSEs grade A-C or 5-9, including Maths, English and a Science or equivalent qualifications
  • Fluent in English (and, if applicable, have achieved ICAO Level 6 on completion of training). For non-native English speakers, you will need a certificate proving you have achieved International English Language Testing System (IELTS) Level 5.5 overall, with no less than 5.5 in any individual area (Reading, Writing, Listening and Speaking). This must be the Academic test, not General Training
  • A valid passport which permits unrestricted worldwide travel
  • Your height must be between 1.57m (5'2") and 1.90m (6'3"). If you’re taller than 1.90m, you may submit an application, but may be required to undergo a functionality check
  • Able to obtain and hold a UK CAA Class 1 medical with no restrictions and meet British Airways medical criteria
  • Before training starts, you must have completed referencing and pre-employment checks to the satisfactory standard and supply satisfactory UK and international Criminal Record Checks
  • Have the right to live and work in the UK without sponsorship

What will my training involve?

Here's a rundown of Flight Training, from Ground School to qualified Pilot:

  • Ground School (6 to 8 months) – You’ll be completing 13 pilot exams
  • Basic Flight Training (6 months) – This takes you from having never flown an aircraft before to being competent at flying solo
  • Advanced Flight Training (4 to 6 months) – You will move onto twin-engine aircraft and begin learning to fly off instruments, as well as simulating flying through clouds and bad weather
  • Upset Recovery Training (3 flights) – During this stage, you will fly aerobatics and be taught how to recover from a high-nose or low-nose flight
  • APS MCC (3 to 4 weeks) – This is learning how to fly in a multi-crew environment. Most schools use A320 or 737 simulators for this phase

Benefits on offer

  • Training to obtain a frozen Airline Transport Pilot Licence (fATPL)
  • Accommodation
  • Food (FTEJerez) or food allowance (Skyborne)
  • Subsistence allowance
  • Financial support to obtain your Class 1 medical and relevant Class 2
  • Dynamic career path
  • Varied roster patterns
  • Company pension scheme (up to 15% employer contribution)
  • Life insurance benefits
  • Great family leave benefits
  • Includes British Airways employee benefits as soon as you join

To help you prepare further

Below are some useful links to help you prepare for the upcoming applications to complement our Preparation Materials found at the top of this page.

Have a question? Please view our Speedbird Pilot Academy FAQs

Flight schools:

At the application stage you will be asked to give a preference of what flight school you would like to attend. Please visit their sites for more information.

FTEJerez - FTEJerez | Flight Training Europe

Skyborne - British Airways | Skyborne Airline Academy UK

Useful links:

CAA Class 1 Medical information - Apply for a Class 1 medical certificate | Civil Aviation Authority (

Interview preparation - Interview advice | National Careers Service

Qualification equivalents: Home Page (

Learn more about us:

Working at British Airways

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