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FAA License Conversion Advice: Regionals or I Pay by myself??

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FAA License Conversion Advice: Regionals or I Pay by myself??

Old 28th Aug 2019, 15:23
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FAA License Conversion Advice: Regionals or I Pay by myself??

Hi Everyone,

I am new to this forum. My apologies if you have already discussed this topic; my wife has also posted some things in this forum, concerning my situation.
I am currently flying with A330 with an Easa ATPL and I have accumulated more than 2000 hours in total.
I am holding a green card and my wife and I want to immigrate to the USA if I can find a competitive offer from one of the legacy airlines such as American or United etc.

As far as I understand there are two options available for me to do that.

1) I can start with a regional airline, which would force me to change my type rating. On the other hand, some of these regional airlines will pay the cost of my license conversion and other training stuff. Of course, this means that I will have to fly with a regional airline for a couple of years and then (hopefully) move on to the legacies.

2) I can go to a flight school and convert my licenses and everything by myself, paying between $10,000-$15,000 upfront. This option provides me with the opportunity to apply to the legacies. As I have read in this forum, the possibility of getting a job offer from a legacy is not guaranteed, due to my lack of flight experience in the USA.

I would really appreciate honest advice here. I am struggling with this decision. Which option makes more sense?
-Do I start with a regional airline and let them pay the license conversion costs, change my type rating, fly with them for a couple of years, build hours in the USA and then try to apply to the legacies changing my type rating again? Or

-Do I pay the conversion costs upfront and apply to the legacies, risking not getting a job offer and forced to apply to a regional airline anyway?
The second option is a big financial risk on my part, but it gives me that opportunity for a possible job offer from one of the legacies.

Thank you to everyone for all of your answers.
amonghtus is offline  
Old 28th Aug 2019, 18:42
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Join Date: Apr 2003
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Honestly with only 2000 ish hours you’re not even close to getting a call from a legacy. If you don’t have any FAA part 121 time, you’re going to have to get a track record on that front first.

in the USA airlines don’t really care about types flown like they do in other countries.
havick is offline  
Old 28th Aug 2019, 18:43
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Difficult question here. If your total time is 2000 hours you will NOT be competitive at the legacy level even with your A330 type. So do you have 2000 hours A330 and a couple of thousand hours more total time? That would change things. Though not necessarily required, but the legacies like to see 1000 hours of jet/turbine PIC time. Even if you get hired by a legacy you will absolutely not fly the A 330, as you’re at the bottom of the seniority list expect 737/320. Because of your low total time you might have to go to a Regional. Not ideal but on the other hand you get part 121 time and can upgrade after have flown 1000 hours in the US. Then you can start building jet 121 pic time. That will increase your chances at a legacy job.
Another option would be to convert your license on your own and apply to the LCC like JetBlue, Spirit, Allegiant or Frontier. Those jobs offer way better QOL and also better pay than the Regionals. That might be an option to wait for a legacy call while building your total time and experience in the US.
I hope I could be of help, feel free to ask more...
Best of luck!
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Old 28th Aug 2019, 20:19
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amonghtus,

I can appreciate the difficulty of your decision. What I can say is the competition at the career-destination, legacy level in the USA is beyond fierce; things are apparently done with a difference focus than other parts of the world. Just getting an interview is almost a miracle and each carrier seems to have its own peculiar emphasis. Your A330 time will be a positive but your total time appears to be a bit low.

It's not what you want to hear but your best path is probably a regional for a few years to get some FAA Part 121 experience...and...get an FAA ATPL without parting with $10+K to do it. I'm not sure all regionals will take you straight in without an FAA license. It requires a different process than the typical US applicant and most regionals just aren't inclined or set up to do it.

aviator35 has some posts on here and is in circumstances very similar to yours. He hasn't posted in a while so I don't know what he decided to do. His experience would be instructive.

Best of luck...keep us posted on your decision.
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Old 28th Aug 2019, 22:44
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Join Date: Apr 2003
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Originally Posted by bafanguy View Post
amonghtus,

I can appreciate the difficulty of your decision. What I can say is the competition at the career-destination, legacy level in the USA is beyond fierce; things are apparently done with a difference focus than other parts of the world. Just getting an interview is almost a miracle and each carrier seems to have its own peculiar emphasis. Your A330 time will be a positive but your total time appears to be a bit low.

It's not what you want to hear but your best path is probably a regional for a few years to get some FAA Part 121 experience...and...get an FAA ATPL without parting with $10+K to do it. I'm not sure all regionals will take you straight in without an FAA license. It requires a different process than the typical US applicant and most regionals just aren't inclined or set up to do it.

aviator35 has some posts on here and is in circumstances very similar to yours. He hasn't posted in a while so I don't know what he decided to do. His experience would be instructive.

Best of luck...keep us posted on your decision.
there’s no difference not having an FAA certificate so long as the applicant has an ICAO license and meets the part 61 mins and has a letter of validation that not expired going in to the type rating test. There’s literally no difference in training or paperwork as far as the regional airline is concerned.
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Old 29th Aug 2019, 07:27
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havick,

That makes things easier for amonghtus. Other than those regionals taking E3 visa holders, are there any other Part 121 operators known to be taking people straight in without FAA tickets ? Air Wisconsin appears to have taken an H1B or two but I'm unaware of what the license status of those pilots was.
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Old 29th Aug 2019, 10:52
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Originally Posted by bafanguy View Post
havick,

That makes things easier for amonghtus. Other than those regionals taking E3 visa holders, are there any other Part 121 operators known to be taking people straight in without FAA tickets ? Air Wisconsin appears to have taken an H1B or two but I'm unaware of what the license status of those pilots was.
no idea, but the FAA process is the same from any icao country as far as licensing goes. Right to work in the USA is a different can of worms entirely.
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Old 29th Aug 2019, 11:31
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Originally Posted by havick View Post
Right to work in the USA is a different can of worms entirely.
For sure. I have no idea how many expat pilots aiming at the USA already have Green Cards or dual citizenship but if they do, they sure have a leg up on things.

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Old 29th Aug 2019, 12:12
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Don't spend your money on the conversion. If you don't have more total time, and some PIC, especially TPIC time, preferably 121 TPIC time, you're not competitive for a legacy job. Some lower time people get in but that's not normal and often times they have some connections. In the U.S. experience matters but specific experience doesn't. What that means is they like seeing experience in various types of flying, and aircraft, but the major airlines aren't looking for specific qualifications (ie 330, 777, 787, etc). And having a resume primarily on long haul aircraft, with fewer sectors and landings, isn't a positive. We don't gain that much experience in cruise. Going to Spirit, Jet Blue, etc, might pay more initially but it will delay acquiring TPIC or 121 TPIC time. What is your long term goal? If you're older I'd recommend applying at the non legacy carriers. If you're younger, and your heart is set on doing the long haul international flying, I'd recommend going the regional route and gaining experience in the U.S. domestic system, getting 1-2 more type ratings and showing you're ability to learn while gaining additional experience. The typical civilian new hire at a legacy has 5-7K hrs TT, several thousand hours TPIC, and often 1,000+ 121 TPIC. If the legacies are your goal build your resume in a manner that achieves those numbers as quickly as possible. That's the regional path with a 3-5 yr projection. That would be a resume bump of 2-4K hrs and 500-2,000 hrs TPIC. If you don't necessarily want a job at a legacy I'd apply to the non legacy airlines as soon as you finish training at the regional and you have your FAA licenses. Training failures might be hard to overcome. It's a competitive market. Additional training, which occurs at about 10% of the time at my company, isn't a bust. It's just additional training. A 'bust' occurs when you take a check ride and don't pass.
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Old 30th Aug 2019, 09:18
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College degree

I believe a four-year college degree is almost a must-have for the legacies. And yes, 2000 hours total and no turbine PIC won't cut it, I'm afraid.
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Old 30th Aug 2019, 10:05
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Thank you to everyone for your responses. From my recent research I noticed that Allegient and Frontier are also hiring. Obviously I would need to convert (out-of-pocket) all of my licenses per FAA regulations. However, both Frontier and Allegient have airbus fleets. So no need to change my type-rating. It looks like I fulfill all of their requirements on their hiring webpage. Is Allegient and Frontier at the same level as the legacies? Do they also require 121 TPIC flying hours, or would they accept my TPIC flying hours? I have accrued more than 1,000 TPIC hours under my EASA license?

Btw, I have 770 hours of Airbus A320 family fleet, 1020 hours of Airbus A330 family fleet, 220 hours of prop. Total PIC Jet is 1000 hours and I am still building more hours everyday. And also I have 4 years bachelor degree in business administration.
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Old 30th Aug 2019, 11:10
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As Havick said, it's just a box ticking exercise to convert while doing your sim checks. To do it yourself is a total waste of money.

Spirit is said to be hiring 60 per month now. Sign up for a meet the chiefs event, take a trip to Florida for that and see how you go from there.

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Old 30th Aug 2019, 11:21
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Originally Posted by amonghtus View Post
Thank you to everyone for your responses. From my recent research I noticed that Allegient and Frontier are also hiring. Obviously I would need to convert (out-of-pocket) all of my licenses per FAA regulations. However, both Frontier and Allegient have airbus fleets. So no need to change my type-rating. It looks like I fulfill all of their requirements on their hiring webpage. Is Allegient and Frontier at the same level as the legacies? Do they also require 121 TPIC flying hours, or would they accept my TPIC flying hours? I have accrued more than 1,000 TPIC hours under my EASA license?

Btw, I have 770 hours of Airbus A320 family fleet, 1020 hours of Airbus A330 family fleet, 220 hours of prop. Total PIC Jet is 1000 hours and I am still building more hours everyday. And also I have 4 years bachelor degree in business administration.
I'm confused. You have 2000 hours total time. Is that correct? If so, how can you have 1000 hours jet PIC as well? Do you mean proper PIC or PICUS (PIC under supervision). The latter won't count as PIC I'm afraid.
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Old 30th Aug 2019, 11:32
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Originally Posted by 733driver View Post
I'm confused. You have 2000 hours total time. Is that correct? If so, how can you have 1000 hours jet PIC as well? Do you mean proper PIC or PICUS (PIC under supervision). The latter won't count as PIC I'm afraid.
Actually we call it PIC but it is PICUS. Because even when I am PF (Pilot flying) commander is supervising me. Maybe this is different in USA I am not so sure. We log this hours to our logbooks as PIC.
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Old 30th Aug 2019, 13:16
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Originally Posted by amonghtus View Post
Actually we call it PIC but it is PICUS. Because even when I am PF (Pilot flying) commander is supervising me. Maybe this is different in USA I am not so sure. We log this hours to our logbooks as PIC.
PIC is when you are legally in command. Nothing to do with PF or PNF/PM.

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Old 30th Aug 2019, 13:46
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Originally Posted by 733driver View Post
PIC is when you are legally in command. Nothing to do with PF or PNF/PM.
Ok then, which means I can start to build my PIC time only when I am upgraded to captain (commander). Right? So, I am a little confused how F/O in the US can accrue PIC hours. By flying with single engine prop aircraft in flight schools or something?
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Old 30th Aug 2019, 14:11
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If you try and say PICUS time is PIC on your resume, or in an interview, in the U.S. it won't be accepted. It might be a bad idea. Your resume and log book time needs to reflect the standards for the country or company where you are applying.
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Old 30th Aug 2019, 14:14
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Allegiant and Spirit aren't considered to be at the same level that the U.S. legacies are. The primary difference, ignoring past contract differences, is the ability to fly wide body international flying. It can be a very good deal in the U.S. Actually sitting reserve on w/b fleets is one of the most desired jobs in the U.S. The larger planes pay more and you work less on reserve. Non-commuters drool at that option.
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Old 30th Aug 2019, 14:39
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Just to clear things up:

Sole manipulator of the controls, you can log PIC for the purposes of FAA certification if you are certified and rated in the aircraft. You can make a column such as “FAA Sole Manipulator PIC” so that when you show it to a DPE/ADP, they can accurately assess if you qualify for the rating or not.

This does NOT mean that you can put it down as PIC on your résumé/CV. *In the US, you are expected to only put PIC time if you were the commander that signed for*the aircraft.

I made a digital logbook and after a category for FAA PIC for the purposes of certification. *Once I got my FAA ATP, I no longer maintained this column. *I also had a column for EASA PIC, since EASA rules varied. It is important to know what the regulation says and also what is expected by potential employers.
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Old 30th Aug 2019, 16:40
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Originally Posted by amonghtus View Post
Btw, I have 770 hours of Airbus A320 family fleet, 1020 hours of Airbus A330 family fleet, 220 hours of prop. Total PIC Jet is 1000 hours and I am still building more hours everyday. And also I have 4 years bachelor degree in business administration.
This guy sounds like a dreamer. Under EASA you cannot command an Airbus without at the very least an ATPL and in most cases at least 3000 hours. So to claim 1000 hours PIC with 2000 total is obviously nonsense. Under EASA all of those jet hours should be logged as P2 so if he's trying to pass off pilot flying time as P1 he'll be laughed out of his next job interview.

Last edited by rudestuff; 30th Aug 2019 at 20:28.
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