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California Flight Schools with European rating training OR knowledge?
Hello. I am currently trying to organize my flight training, and although I have searched for a lot of information I still seem to either get outdated info (from a number of years ago) or not enough info (hard to find useful info). So, since this forum seems so useful in the type of information I seek-I thought I would just make my own post on here specific to what I am looking for!
I am a *US citizen*, I have already done some (FAA) PPL and will complete that before I start additional training. But I definitely want to train through CPL and possibly ATPL, in order to work as a pilot, and I also definitely want to get the European ratings as well (formerly JAA, now EASA).
I am open to the idea of either European-specific license training (focusing only/specifically on that training), OR to do FAA licenses with European conversion (either simultaneously OR a later conversion after FAA training is completed). I would like to find a flight school in the US that either does the European training OR that does the FAA but still at least has the option of adding/tailoring their information towards the European training as well (in preparation for eventually converting from FAA to European licenses).
I know that most of the European-specific flight schools are in Florida, but I REALLY do NOT want to need to go to Florida, for many reasons. I would very much love to be able to do my training within California, for many reasons. And if possible, somewhere in reasonable distance to the L.A. area (Los Angeles, Long beach, Van Nuys, etc)--although I would consider other areas of California as well.
So, my question is if anyone has any experience or recommendations for possible flight schools to consider, that have the European training OR knowledge of the European ratings (and that offer to add some focus onto that, for you)???
Some schools that I have heard/seen named already in my searching (but would still like more info about, if anyone has any!) are:
UK Flight Training, www.ukft.com (I haven't heard good things about them, so I am not really considering them)
American Aviation Academy, www.flyaaa.com (They are all the way in San Diego, but yeah... I also have heard mixed reviews about them, I also don't get the best feeling about them from emails I've had with them, and they also currently don't have a ME rated CFI!)
Accelerated Flight Training Center, www.aftcenter.com (The person I phoned and emailed with was VERY nice and helpful, but I haven't found much info about them online (other than their own website) and it also didn't sound like they were the most organized when it comes to anything European related?)
Aviation Pacific, www.aviationpacific.info (Their website doesn't give much info, which sucks! And it's hard to find much info on them, either)
Angel City Flyers, www.angelcityflyers.com (This one sounds the most organized, known, & respectable in the area, so far...)
I am in need of any information that anyone might have on any of the above flight schools, in regards to their training in general, or their European-related training/knowledge, or the ease of transition between any of these flight schools and getting the European rating conversion.... I am also looking for any possible information/suggestions on OTHER flight schools in California that might be of interest to me!
Please let me know any information you can offer, here or by private message!
Although I am a US citizen and I don't need to be concerned with the TSA and visa requirements to go to the US schools, I would additionally be interested in info and perspectives about factors related to foreigners going to these schools, as well, to give info to a European friend of mine that is also interested in going to a California flight school!
well structured post, and it sounds like you have done a good share of research - one quick counter question before you continue this (maybe i missed it) - why do you also want the JAA license? do you also happen to hold EU citzenship besides your US citizenship?
if you do, thats great, probably helps a bit to answer what routes may be sensible...
RedBullGaveMeWings--That was already my most likely plan. However, it would be nice if the place I go to for my FAA licenses has decent knowledge of the European licenses/training, so that they can also inform me of information particular to my future European training--even if they don't do the European training for me themselves. Hence the short list of places I mentioned (those are the few I've found so far that either offer European training OR talk about European training knowledge), rather than a longer list of general area flight schools.
Another--I do NOT have any European citizenship, at the moment, unfortunately. I DID live in Germany for 2.5 years (I just returned to the US in April 2012), and I would love to try to get citizenship somehow, but I am pretty sure it isn't possible until after I've lived in Europe longer (I will still check if there is any option, with the local German consulate, but I'm not getting my hopes up!). My reason for wanting to do the European training as well is because 1)it gives me more job options, and 2)I have always loved Europe and I am determined to live there long-term in the future. I'm not anti-US, I just know that I would much rather live in Europe (for many reasons). It's something I've wanted to do for many years (hence having lived there previously--I returned only because my residence permit couldn't be renewed at the moment (issues with the job I had at the time), and because I wanted to finally finish my flight training (and more easily/cheaper than it would be in Europe)!). And, knowing that the European training takes so much time and effort to complete, given the Ground School hour requirements and extensive testing, I know it is best for me to start all of that ASAP, as well as plan it all out in advance so I know exactly what to do, when to do it, how to do it, etc.
And as I briefly mentioned in my post, as well--I also additionally ask about flight schools with connection to the European training because a European friend of mine is also currently trying to figure out his training options (Europe vs. USA & Florida vs. California), and he would also prefer California rather than Florida, if he can find somewhere that he has enough reason to pick over his most likely Florida option (EFT). He is from Spain, he has his European PPL already, he also has ALL of the European Ground School and testing done (through ATP), and just today he completed a month of some major time building in the US (he now has over 100 hours--probably closer to 150. I haven't heard the final totals yet!). He isn't really concerned with getting FAA licenses, but he wouldn't object to getting them in the process of his training if the costs aren't much different than EFT training would be.
Plus, I know at least one or two other Europeans that have considered US flight training, that would be interested in any information I find out, too. ;-)
I would say to go just to a normal FAA school and then convert your licences
Don't agree, this is exactly where a lot of people go wrong. A 'normal' FAA school, despite all the best intentions, would not know what to do and how to do it as far as training to meet European specific requirements or standards even as far as Radio communications are concerned. This could make for unpleasant surprises and a more expensive conversion.
FAA training alone is fine, excellent even, just go to a school that has the knowledge and experience with European students to amke sure its a seamless conversion.
@girlmeant2fly... just out of curiosity, why do you want a European license?
Here is my take on your situation (without knowing the full details). 1. There are very very few jobs in Europe, and they will go to EU citizens first. If you only have right to work, the chances of getting a job are even more reduced. But when I say few jobs, I mean that most guys I know aren't finding jobs.
3. Keeping a European license current is much more costly than keeping an FAA license current. Keep that in mind.
My advice would be to put the idea of a European license on tAhe back burner for now. If I were you, I would build up my time and experience to get hired at a regional airline in the US. After gaining an ATP and 500 hours on a multicrew aircraft, a conversion will be less costly and you will get your EASA license when you need it, and not many years before.
Last edited by zondaracer; 21st Dec 2012 at 12:36.
I completely understand the OP; I didn't tell her to forget about Europe, but rather to keep it as a longer term goal and refocus her short term plans. I am also an American and I also moved to Europe and I prefer European living over American living. In the US, I've witnessed shootings in my neighborhood, seen the police helicopter with the search light in my yard, had neighbors repeatedly robbed, seen a kid whip out a gun at my high school, known people affected by a high school massacre, had my high school on lock down due to bomb threats on the same day as said massacre (which happened only 8 miles away), and even had an elderly neighbor murdered by a shooting. But the point of my thread wasn't about politics, social healthcare, or guns, but strictly from a pilot career point of view. (by the way, Switzerland has the highest gun ownership per capita)
Having said that, as an American who has done the JAA conversion and holds both licenses, the OP is better off choosing either a pilot career or living in Europe, because for a non-Euro passport holder starting a pilot career from scratch, the idea of building a European pilot career is a romantic idea but not very viable.
I was merely offering my view point from a similar point of view. To reiterate: OP should get her FAA ratings and work her way up to a regional. Build up some time on an aircraft with a relevant type such as EMB 170/190. Then if she gets residency to work in Europe and the job situation turns around here, knock out the 14 exams, convert directly to an ATPL with a type rating. This will give her a much better chance at finding a job in Europe than starting out with no experience and 250 hrs, competing against all the Europeans who have been looking for a job for the past couple years and have little or no experience, and the conversion will have been easier and perhaps even less costly. Keep in mind that most airlines in Europe are currently asking for unrestricted European passports, not just right to work.
Last edited by zondaracer; 23rd Dec 2012 at 22:34.
GirlMeant2Fly seems to have thought this one out well, I've often wondered myself why such a route, other than via integrated European linked training schools (which are way overpriced) are not available.
If there are any EASA approved 'modular training schools' in California, she's onto a real winner as this route is likely to reduce her training costs for a European license by tens of thousands of euros. As for the ground school she could complete the requirements via distance learning, albeit a trip to Europe to sit the 14 exams might be necessary.
I'd be interested to hear how her idea pans out, and as far as obtaining a FAA and EASA licence is concerned, what a great idea. I for one wish her good luck with her quest!
@girlmeant2fly... just out of curiosity, how fare are you with finding training facility in california. I am from denmark. I have a ppl-a fix ving. Like to take ppl-h in us this summer. I need to find school that have EASA. I have som family in LA area. Hope to hear an update. Last time I was in us I fly with STAR helicopters,( very nice people ) but they didn´t now anything about EASA.