Available in Benson (E95) and Sierra Vista (FHU)

Whether its for pleasure or profit there are few feelings like taking the controls of an aircraft.

Learning to fly can be both challenging and rewarding

With sunshine almost every day, but temperatures much cooler than the Phoenix area, there are no better places to learn to fly than in Benson or Sierra Vista, Arizona.

Benson airport is a small friendly GA airport conveniently situated about 30 minutes East of Tucson (by road) and within easy reach of almost any type of airspace. No matter where you end up flying you can get the experience you’ll need from Benson:

  • Tucson International (Class C): 30nm
  • Sierra Vista Municipal (Restricted): 25nm
  • Ryan Airport (Class D): 40nm
  • Phoenix (Class B): 100nm

Qualifying as a pilot

Before commencing training for a Commercial Pilot Licence, you should hold a Private Pilot Licence, a Class One medical certificate. Additionally you must have a valid pass in all of the required theoretical exams and have logged a minimum of 150 hours flight time, of which 100 will have been as pilot in command.

Training Requirements

If you elect to take the Commercial Pilot Licence Skill Test in a single engine aircraft, the JAR syllabus calls for a minimum of 25 hours dual flight instruction to include 10 hours instrument flight. This may be extended by an additional 5 hours if you do not already hold a night qualification. At least 5 hours of the training must be flown in a complex type aircraft (retractable undercarriage and variable pitch propeller). This is followed by the Commercial Pilot Skill Test, taken with a CAA Approved Flight Examiner. Alternatively, you may elect to take the Commercial Pilot Licence Skill Test in a multi-engine aircraft. For this the JAR syllabus requires a minimum of 28 hours dual flight instruction, of which 10 hours will be instrument flight and a minimum of 8 hours must be in a multi-engine aircraft.

Your Objectives

Training for the Commercial Pilot Licence builds on your PPL training, and additionally practices much of the knowledge gained during your theoretical studies. As such, in the CPL Skill Test you will be expected to demonstrate a very high level of piloting skill, particularly in flight planning, navigation, instrument flying, aircraft handling and especially airmanship. In our experience, students who work hard to reach a high standard at the CPL level, find that training for the Instrument Rating which generally follows is a much more pleasurable experience.


Although a simple (fixed pitch propeller and fixed undercarriage) aircraft can be used for up to 20 hours of the training, at Cotswold Aviation Services we aim to graduate our students to a level of skill well above that required to simply pass the Commercial Pilot Licence Skill Test and, therefore, we typically use the Piper Arrow for all of the CPL single engine training, and the Piper Seneca for the multi-engine training.

Training Syllabus

Although the JAR FCL syllabus does not require specific theoretical studies, we have tailored our course to include classroom sessions covering airmanship, aircraft and engine systems, instrument flying, radio navigation, visual navigation, weight, balance and performance and JAR-OPS. These sessions, along with the mandatory 22 flight exercises, will build on your existing knowledge gained from the theoretical examinations, by applying it to commercial flight operations.

  • In addition supported and assessed self-study will be integral to our course

Train at your own pace as your budget allows. There is no need to pay for all your training up front, be suspicious of anyone that tells you otherwise. A more intensive training schedule may save you money in the long term because the more often you fly the less you’ll forget between lessons. To make real progress it is recommend that you try to fly more than once a week.

The types and amounts of financing/credit available for flight training is currently limited, but some options do still exist. Please see our financing page for more information.