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Maintaining your Competency in South Africa

DID YOU KNOW that you do not have to go through a flight school to renew your PPL?

Any current Grade II (or higher license) Instructor can do your PPL renewal flight test so long as he/she is rated as an instructor on the aircraft you will be testing in.

What's the catch?

Your license must still be valid.

You can also do your PPL flight test renewal on a three-axis ultralight aircraft if this is what you are used to flying. Provided, of course, the instructor is appropriately rated.

It goes without saying that, if you do not own your own aircraft, then you will most likely renew your license through a flight school, and things will probably run a lot smoother if you go though one as licensing is part of the culture of a flight school. You will find instructors at flight schools will be up to date on all the relevant requirements, making your renewal a pleasure rather than a trial.


As of 30 July 2013, you no longer have an "automatic" SPL if your PPL lapses.  You now are no longer licensed! You can call CAA and ask for a 30 day extension if you have a good reason, (other than being "slapgat"). 

REMEMBER, you may renew your license up to 90 days BEFORE your license expiry date, and it will be renewed from the day after your license lapses, for another year.

Be proactive. Reduce stress. Use this.

Your PPL Renewals (after your first two flight tests), are alternately annual submissions to the CAA, and PPL flight tests. Click the relevant link below for the information you need and reminders on what will be expected of you:

The PPL Flight Test


Annual pilot submissions to CAA

Click here for how and where to submit your license.  You will receive an SMS when it is ready for collection, and have to book a time to collect your license, or ask Aviation Assist to handle that for you for a very worthwhile small fee. They courier it back to you directly.

You may not fly without your actual valid, signed license in your possession, and on board your aircraft.


It can take quite long to get your license processed. I have experienced it taking from between two to six weeks, sometimes longer.

TAKE NOTE: Timeline for PPL Renewals


Your first PPL Renewal to maintain competency:

The big day has come and gone, and you are now the proud owner of a very sexy little brown book... the book that makes it legal for you to load another person, who is not your instructor, into your aircraft, and take them for a flight.

It is almost the same rush that you got from your first solo flight!

Within one year (12 months), you will have to do another PPL flight test, this time without the Navigation section, to keep your license current, (air law calls this "maintaining competency").

After this, you only renew with a flight test every second year.

You may do your flight test up to 90 days before the date of your current license's expiry. Your license will then continue from the day after the expiry of your current license for another full year.(Note: 90 days, not 3 months! The difference is a few days). eg. Your PPL license expires on 30 November 2011, you re-test on 2 September 2011. Your license will then be renewed from 1 December 2011 to 30 November 2012.

If you do your license 91 or more days before your current expiry, then your license will be renewed till the end of the month in which you tested, in the following year. eg. As above your license expires on 30 November 2011. You test on 1 September 2011, (91 days before expiry), your license will now be renewed until 30 September 2012.

Subsequent PPL Renewals to maintain competency:

After your initial PPL test and first follow-up flight test 12 months later, you do not have to re-test annually again, but only every second year. You do not get off that easy though! CAA still expects an update on your annual status, (for every alternate year that you do not need to do a flight test, you must follow these steps), and then they will send you your renewed license.

Things to check in your PPL license booklet:

1. License expiry date
2. Medical expiry date
3. English Proficiency expiry


Grade II Flight Instructor can renew your PPL independently of a Flight Training School !! This can be especially convenient for pilots who own their own aircraft.

An initial PPL License must, however, still be done through an approved flight school.


Get Started



Keeping current to carry passengers

Expired PPL

What to do to renew your license

PPL Flight Test

Getting it right BEFORE the flight

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