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Work in Africa with SA CPL vs FAA

African Aviation Regional issues that affect the numerous pilots who work in this area of the world.

Work in Africa with SA CPL vs FAA

Old 27th Jun 2013, 14:32
  #1 (permalink)  
Thread Starter
Join Date: Mar 2013
Location: North
Age: 30
Posts: 14
Work in Africa with SA CPL vs FAA

I'm still trying to figure out which training path would suit me best and right now after a pretty extensive research I narrowed my options down to the US and South Africa. The thing is that I'm not a US citizen, so if I go the US route and finish the training there I will be holding an FAA license with no right to work on N-reg aircraft. After reading through almost every topic in this sub-forum I figured fresh foreign pilots with some 250 hours actually do have a chance at scoring some work "north of Limpopo". From what I've read, it most likely will be a C210 job or something even smaller, but what typically happens next? How many hours am I gonna need to make a transition to say B1900 given that I want to get as much multi engine time during the training as possible? I understand it massively depends on luck and current situation but give me at least an approximate figure...

So with all this in mind, getting an FAA license doesn't make much sense right? I mean If there ain't gonna be any jobs available for me in the US and I would have to come to Africa in search of a job anyway it's better to get training closer to it?

And how are those hours flown in Africa usually seen outside? I mean my current job involves communicating with all sorts of pilots, mostly Russian, a lot of them have decades of experience flying things like AN-12 in Africa, some of them say they don't even list their African time in their resumes now, why? I mean I kinda see why, hearing their stories about flying humanitarian cargo with muzzles sticking out of the crates, but how valuable time earned in Africa will actually be when I eventually start looking for work somewhere else? Does anyone have this kind of experience?

And do you think I'm onto something here or should I just go get an FI rating and instruct like everyone else? Any advice is appreciated... Thanks
Marshall300 is offline  
Old 27th Jun 2013, 15:10
  #2 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Land and air
Posts: 60
It is true you may have hard luck finding a paid for-flying job in USA with fresh CPL. Having SOUTH african CPL or USA does not make any difference to your career path. However, South African CPL may land you a job in Africa since majority of African companies are South African registered. BUT then again, you must still have compound luck to get a job on SA registered aircraft with little experience-that is to say SA CPL, if you are not south african citizen.
There are a lot of south african pilots without job, and you find them through out Africa. Once they have enough experience, some join their regional airlines.

IF you come from a country where aviation is large and active, say Nigeria, Kenya or Ghana, well, you can choose any country to train from. Both USA and South Africa are competitive in cost of flying training-USA being slightly cheaper depending on the school.
BUT, if you require visa to goto USA for flight training, it can be a bit tedious experience to get the visa, and can be lengthy procedure. That said, South Africa remain your best option....south african student visa is straight forward, that is if you also require south african visa.

About 'many flying hours' on multi engine-well that my friend will depend on your pocket. it is possible, but it can easily tripple the cost of your flight cost. And what multi engine are you talking about? Beech 1900, or Boeing? then that could be worth while---that is if you can foot the expense, say 5000USD and hour---and since you want many hours, say you are talking of 50 hours on it and above? Normally 100-500 hours on type, to be considered for employment on type..... well you do the maths.
OK sarcasm aside,a multi engine rating will help you have multi engine cpl licence. But many multi engine hours on a piston aircraft may not help you much in the job market once you complete. Very few(none) company will employ you fresh from school with 300 hours and give you their shining piston seneca to fly solo and take tourist to their dreams....because you have many multi engine hours.

So in general: You can goto USA, or south africa. No big deal. If your plan is to fly in your country, you will have to convert the licence anyway.

Hmmm...once you a pilot, some day when fly in Africa.... you may have a chance to share airspace with some of your russians friends who claim they do not log african hours. You will then judge the super pilot in them.....
digitalsoul is offline  
Old 27th Jun 2013, 17:35
  #3 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Africa
Age: 39
Posts: 11
The thing is that I'm not a US citizen, so if I go the US route and finish the training there I will be holding an FAA license with no right to work on N-reg aircraft.
Not true. You won't be able to work in US but not being an US citizen does not prevent you from flying N-reg somewhere else in the world.

I can understand the way you think because I was in your shoes few years back. I'm neither American nor South African. I've got my CPL initially from South Africa. SA CPL hasn't helped me much in regards to getting a job so I converted SA CPL to FAA CPL which got me a job on N-reg in Africa. Its all gonna be about luck and lot of networking after you finish your training regardless of license you gonna posses. So I guess you won't make a mistake either way you go. If you want to concentrate on African market after getting your CPL, maybe doing your training in South Africa would be a better choice and as Digitalsoul said, much easier in regards to student visa and other formalities. Also the aviation in SA is great and quality of flight training is excellent.
After that, you can always go to US and get an FAA license. It took me a week to get FAA CPL.
BgVlad is offline  
Old 27th Jun 2013, 20:10
  #4 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Land and air
Posts: 60
Exactly as VgVlad put it. In most cases it is even easier to get a job on N-reg aircraft if the aircraft is based in Africa or somewhere else other than USA, for instance middle east.... cheers and all the best
digitalsoul is offline  
Old 28th Jun 2013, 07:37
  #5 (permalink)  
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Been around the block
Posts: 549
Don't forget too, that it's pretty easy to convert an FAA to Transport Canada license too. It takes a few weeks, but pretty straight forward for an ATP
4runner is offline  
Old 28th Jun 2013, 10:50
  #6 (permalink)  
Thread Starter
Join Date: Mar 2013
Location: North
Age: 30
Posts: 14
Thank you guys for your responses. To set things straight I come from Russia, but there's no way I can work here because of the local medical which wants you to be almost an astronaut to hold a commercial license. That's why I ended up with the Africa plan as there's nowhere else I can go looking for a job as a low-timer... For the past few years I'd been living in the US on a student visa which was indeed a big hassle to get, so if you guys say it wouldn't make much of a difference which license I'm gonna get, I'd prefer to go with South Africa.

BgVlad, can you please elaborate on converting to FAA. I heard it was easy to convert from foreign CPL to FAA PPL, but converting to FAA CPL required sitting through all of their exams and checkrides which meant another couple of months in the school and decent amount of money. Was this recently changed? Can you describe the whole process?

Oh, and sure I wasn't talking about the 737 multi engine time, I was just saying I'd like to put more effort into multi engine rating on whichever aircraft my potential school might have. Which brings me to the next question... I'm looking for a school with somewhat relaxed atmosphere, you know without uniforms and such, that's why I had to cross off the schools like 43, FTC and so far I stopped on Virginia flight school in Durban, although they still haven't replied me back with the quotes on expenses. Some old PPRuNe posts dating back to 2010 state this was a very good school with great personnel but I couldn't find any up-to-date information on it. What do you guys think about this school as of now?
Marshall300 is offline  

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