View Full Version : Overseas for flight training?
16th Feb 2012, 18:25
I've got both my Canadian and EU passports and am currently working on my PPL in Canada. I'm looking at heading to Europe for my fATPL, but haven't dismissed the option of finishing my CPL in Canada and either building time flying up north, or completing a JAA license conversion once my CPL is completed.
Have anyone of you trained in Europe? Have you gone through the integrated/modular training at OAA, CTC, etc.?
If so, can you give me and pros/cons?
19th Feb 2012, 00:16
Hi BB - I can provide a bit of info based on the experience of my son "Orville".
He did his Can. PPL just outside Toronto, enjoyed it and decided he wanted to become a professional pilot. So the question was - where to train? Like you, he has a Ca. and EU Passport.
This was in 2007/8, the employment prospects were not great, so we looked at it "backwards" - after he'd trained, where were the jobs likely to be?
That was pretty easy - if you want to fly the big shiny jets, Canada has 2 main airlines, who don't often advertise vacancies, Transat , Porter with Q400's and a bunch of smaller players.
However, if you want to move up to jets from a Q400 or small piston.turboprop, many airlines will not be interested because you don't have jet experience or experience in a heavy aircraft. So there really isn't much prospect of getting onto a big airplane for a long time.
In Europe, on the other hand, there's loads of airlines and several, like Ryanair, are constantly recruiting. Yes I know FR are the dregs, but if you want to get jet time, they are an option.
So once we'd decided on Europe, the question was - which is the best school? After a bit of investigation, we came down to the Integrated course at Oxford. Yes, it's expensive, but their training is first rate and their reputation second to none. Don't forget, at some time, the Chief Pilot will review your qualifications before he offers you that job - M. Mouse Flight Training can't really compare to Oxford in terms of reputation.
So that's the way we went - yes, I know there are other schools but we selected Oxford and were very happy, to say the least, with the way they worked.
After 18 months and an "above average grade", he walked out of Oxford, with 250 hours, CPL and IR and fATPL- straight into the right seat of an Airbus A319 based in a stunning capital City in Continental Europe.
That was 3 years ago - he's now done over 2,500 hours jet time and the juices are stirring for a move to something wider.
This is all very expensive, of course, but as in many things in life, you get what you pay for. Yes you can work your way up - and maybe become a t.v. star at Buffalo - or you can just go for the big time in one leap.
Some, who will probably post on here, will say that 250 hours is not enough to go into a jet. But that's the way it works in Europe, and I've not noticed that Europe is any more dangerous than Canada.
So that's what we found - Airbus 320's into CDG, FCO, VIE, DME, FRA, BCN - or maybe Barons into Brandon? The choice is yours - all it costs is money.
19th Feb 2012, 06:35
... Money, good timing, and luck. Three years ago was a much brighter situation in Europe. Oxford does not even have their agreement with Ryanair anymore (that's not to say that Ryanair doesn't take Oxford students anymore). But if money is no object, Oxford is an excellent choice.
21st Feb 2012, 10:23
Thanks for the first hand account - this is something I've been looking for. As it stands right now, I can do Oxford modular training and come out debt free, but the integrated will start me off in some debt - something I'm having a difficult time with. I don't like the thought of being in debt with no job. However, if it is truly a superior option, I will take a serious look at it and see how else I can conjure up more money.
Did you look at the modular training as an option with your son?
Your comparison of the difference in views between Brandon vs. Europe is something I've thought of quite a bit, haha.
22nd Feb 2012, 23:25
Butters - pleased to help out.
Yes, we did look at Modular, and it would have been cheaper. But we came to the conclusion that there is a hell of a lot of stuff to get through - was it 14 exams in the written section, before you get near anything with wings?
So it seemed to us that to penny pinch by going modular could save a few bucks, but the size of the hill to climb just to get to Goodyear (only possible if you have passed the written) was such that it was better just to blast through it on a full time course - i.e. integrated.
I have great admiration for the guys doing modular, but we decided for my son, it was better to go integrated and get that consistent, week in and week out training.
You are correct about having a concern about finishing with debt. But I think you have to retain a sense of perspective about this. You are going through a training course for a profession - in the same way that lawyers, accountants, doctors, dentists do. They all finish off with quite big debts when they qualify - it doesn't seem to worry them as they know their training will bump them up to a much higher "snack bracket" when they should be able to repay their loans.
Pilots are exactly the same - yes, you'll have debts, but you'll earn more as a FO in Europe an a LoCo than you will as a rampie in Saskatoon!
In the case of commercial aviation, you also have to understand that, much as you will hear endless bitching about the unfairness of it on here, in the great majority of cases it is the norm that you will have to also pay for a type rating - check out the Interviews, Jobs and Sponsorships forum.
There are some who steadfastly refuse - and since they post so frequently online, I guess they have the time to do it as they presumably are not working. For our part, we were always prepared to pay for the TR - so on finishing, he went straight into a SSTR course with a decent, well respected LoCost airline.
I'm not sure that many airlines offering SSTR courses do so just to take your money (as the cynics on here say - maybe FR is an exception) - and they really do want to find F/O's who they have trained so know their SOP's etc. So if you get on an SSTR course, it really is a form or "probation" - just knuckle down and do your best and you'll normally find that the right seat on a big shiny jet is possible.
23rd Feb 2012, 14:29
Thanks again OD, your posts are very insightful and I sincerely appreciate them.
It can be tricky to weed through a lot of the catty remarks on various forums, simply to find both positive and negative experiences.
If you've got any other tips to share, I'm all ears.