I've thought about the idea of flying in Texas and do the theory here as well, but isn't it necessary to do some theory before going solo?
The FAA mandates a very simple pre-solo written exam which is nowhere near as complicated as the actual PPL exams. It's just 18 or so basic questions on emergency procedures, airport procedures, airspace surrounding the place where you train and so on. Furthermore, your instructor has to sign you out each time you go out on your own, and will verify your navigation plan and other things to make sure you return safely.
JAA does not mandate anything before solo or x-country solo. There is a "suggestion" somewhere that the instructor should check the theoretical knowledge of the solo candidate but there is no set exam. Some schools have made their own FAA-style pre-solo exam specifically for this purpose.
On the other hand, a lot of schools think it's a good idea to let you study the theory and do the written exams while you are actually doing flying training, and if you think about it, it makes sense. To make sure you actually progress with the theory, a lot of schools require that you do air law before first solo, and nav before first x-country solo. But it's not a legal requirement anywhere, as far as I know, and if you have a good reason not to do those exams (for instance because you're going to do them, or have already done them, in another country) I'm sure that the flight school will understand and come up with something else, a la FAA.
Daphne, you also have a PM (Private Message)
Last edited by BackPacker; 30th Mar 2008 at 16:09.
Very intresting to read this guide. I know a instructor in the US, but im from Norway. I really want to take the FAA PPL, then convert when im home. I have been in contact with the embassy with things i need to do before i leave, but do i need a flight school to full out the form I-20? Does it need to be a flight school, since I just know a instructor?
Explore, if you intend to do a full-time course (which is 18 hours or more of practical work per week) you are not allowed into the US under the visa waiver program. So you need an M-1 visa for which you need the I-20 form plus some other paperwork
The visa needs to be "sponsored" by a flight school and for this to work the flight school needs to be SEVIS approved. There are two types of schools: part 61 and part 141 (or something like that) and only one of those types is SEVIS approved by default.
Theoretically you can wiggle your way out of this if the course is part-time and not the main objective of your stay in the US. But that's a rare situation and most officials (including the friendly INS official that decides whether you're admitted into the US or not) will expect you to have an M-1. So it's probably you who will have to explain/prove that you don't need a visa for what you're attempting.
In addition to this, I understand that the TSA (which needs to approve things in your case anyway) checks for the M-1 visa and will ask questions if you don't have one.
Sooo.... Good luck! Let me know if things worked out as planned.
Theoretically you can wiggle your way out of this if the course is part-time and not the main objective of your stay in the US.
To do a private certificate, IR or multi, you would need to go through the TSA process which require visa details. So while in theory a part time can get you under the wire as far as a visa is concerned it wont with the TSA.
Moral is dont play fast and loose with the rules, get the visa, do the TSA and go fly.
To do a private certificate, IR or multi, you would need to go through the TSA process which require visa details.
It's been discussed here on PPRuNe before and the general consensus of the population here was that it's not the TSAs job to verify you have a visa. In fact, if you look at the original ruling on the TSA process (a very dense PDF file on the TSA website) you'll find that the word "visa" is only mentioned twice or so, in a completely different context.
It is true that the TSA, as part of the information gathering on you, ask for your passport number and visa details. But as far as I know, the site allows you to specify "no visa". (Mind you, it was three years ago that I went through this process and this is something that I don't remember clearly, plus the site has been changed in the meantime.)
But if the TSA *requires* you to have a visa somehow you can point them to their own regulations and say they're wrong. Particularly if you can prove that you do not need a visa according to the INS for whatever you are going to do.
All we need is a brave soul to test out this theory though.
To add, I just browsed the AFSP website, and here's what the website itself has to say about this on the pages where you submit your personal information:
U.S. Visa: If you have a U.S. Visa, please enter this information. Do not list visas from non-U.S. sources.
* AFSP may cancel an applicant's flight training request if AFSP becomes aware the candidate is intending to take flight training without the appropriate immigration status. If you have questions about a cancelled request, you may call AFSP at XXX
So it looks like the TSA simply follows INS rules on whether a visa is required or not. There doesn't seem to be a blanket visa requirement for all cases.
Well, the only reasonable advise is to get a visa. You dont want to be blacked by the Immigration service or the TSA. Think of your next TSA application when one has been withdrawn for an immigration violation.
Might keep you out of the country even if you are only going to Disney with the kids.
All we need is a brave soul to test out this theory though
I agree the need for a visa is based on the primary reason for your visit to the US. I did not bother with it last time I went to the US on business. Particularly as the expense and hassle of an 800 mile round trip and a day lost for the visa interview did not appeal.
From experience the TSA don't ask for any visa details but they do want to know who you are from your passport.
They can cancel the training permission if they find out that you are there without the necessary visa - but then you would have to argue necessary etc. as discussed above.
As above the visa requirement is down to the primary reason for your visit and not the flying which you may or may not do on the side. It helps I guess to do the TSA paperwork after you arrive to avoid any argument and in my case it only took three days.
I vaguely recall, SoCal, that this 18hrs thing was done here before, and it is contained within the primary U.S. Visa legislation. I can probably dig out some references you could follow up.
The reason why the TSA etc don't refer to it is because they don't create law; they are just writing their own interpretations of it because they like to feel they can.
The bottom line is however purely practical - I doubt any school (except maybe some very small ones) in the USA will touch the candidate with a 20ft bargepole unless he comes with the gold plated paperwork...
My experience of people involved in the FAA training business (including some in the UK) is that most are simply not interested in reading the regs. Not just the security regs but also stuff like eligibility of previous training. I spent 2005 trying to do the IR here in the UK but gave up after just about everybody claimed that all eligible previous training had to be done with FAA instructors These are the real problems in this game.
Allow for c0ckups like the I-20 form going to the wrong address... U.S. schools are sometimes less than great when it comes to working out how to address a package to a "foreign" country. My I-20 got lost because they sent it to a UK instructor who was acting as their agent over here, and he was not around to sign for the package. Actually that caused me a lot of hassle because that school could not be used, and they resulted in a 'training not completed' entry on the US Immigration computer, and now anytime I enter the USA I get treated like a terrorist, with special interrogation.
This is one of the most informative threads about flying in the us, iv looked at a lot of sites and I think that flyOFT,flyoba, naplesair,all look very impressive and seem to cater for the foreign student. There are also a lot of others such as taildraggesect.com which can claim to get you a ppl within 2 weeks. To be honest I am a bit confused for which one I should go for. Has anyone any bad experiences and do many people fail the test or have to take over 60hours to get it?
Well, those schools are not JAA schools so they cannot give you a JAA PPL directly. As the audience in here is predominantly (though not exclusively) a European audience, you might want to try one of the more US-centric forums to ask your question.
As for a PPL in two weeks: yet is it is possible provided that:
- You have studied all the theory beforehand and preferably done all the theory exams beforehand.
- You lose no days because of bureaucratic issues like TSA fingerprinting, doctor visits for your medical etc.
- You have excellent weather throughout.
- You are able to cope with three flights per day, every day, an hour or more each, plus preparation, brief, debrief.
- You are prepared to have no life whatsoever outside the flight school for two weeks straight.
- 45 flight hours are enough to prepare you for the skills test - in other words you've got to have normal aptitude and not overrun the 45 hours requirement.
- You pass the skills test first time
- There are no aircraft going tech
- There's excellent instructor availability and examiner availability
I met virtually all of these requirements, and yet found it challenging to finish in 21 days.
But hey, why not enroll on a 14-day course but simultaneously make sure your financial, vacation, accommodation and travel arrangements and so forth are all flexible so that you can overrun to 21 days or more? Who knows, it might just work out.
I dont mind about having no time outside of the course but Id rather go where people went previously and have given positive feedback form the experience such as Orlando Flight Training which is the one I think you went to.
You are right it isnt a JAA school that does it in two weeks and i think id be better of going to a JAA. You have answered my question. What are the JAA schools with the best reputations for getting the PPL within 3 weeks and possibly an instrument rating after that.