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FAA IR as stepping stone to EASA IR for private pilots - options today

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FAA IR as stepping stone to EASA IR for private pilots - options today

Old 11th Sep 2015, 15:18
  #1 (permalink)  
fdl
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Join Date: Sep 2015
Location: UK
Posts: 2
FAA IR as stepping stone to EASA IR for private pilots - options today

Dear forum members,

As a passionate EASA SEP PPL (incl NVFR) and FAA 61.75 PPL pilot I’d like to seek your advice regarding a possible way to getting an EASA (CAA) IR rating via the FAA IR rating. I am aware and have read many of the forum posts on the subject but still wanted to see if you had any advice to offer on my plan which is becoming more and more concrete.

Notably, I plan the following:
1) Pass the audiogram required for the EASA IR from a medical perspective
2) Go to the US, do a full FAA IR course and pass the tests (with all the visa red-tape involved etc)
3) Obtain the CAA UK IR(R) rating I believe I can get right away on the basis of the FAA IR
4) Fly some (5 hours?) with an instructor to learn UK GA IR practices/differences
5) Using the IR(R) rating, fly the 10 hours IR as PIC in European Airspace, which is likely going to be required under BASA to qualify for the EASA IR conversion
6) Fly some more (5 hours?) with an instructor to get to the standard for the IR “renewal” required for the EASA IR conversion
7) Pass the IR “renewal” required for the EASA IR conversion
8) Obtain EASA IR rating in the mail from the CAA

Perceived benefits compared to going for the EASA IR right away
1) 2 standalone ratings, including the FAA IR with more relaxed lapsing rules
2) Train in the US where GA IR is more common (and also cheaper) – I have flown in the US VFR before and am somewhat familiar with the airspaces and practices etc
3) Possibility to train for the FAA IR in a “condensed” and focused manner (i.e. many structured FAA IR courses with 2-3 week duration are offered) fits my lifestyle better
4) No reasonably priced EASA IR course offered (yet?) in close proximity to London (where I live) which would be an alternative
5) More fun and sense of achievement if I manage to do it that way
6) I love flying in the US and will likely do so a lot during vacations going forward, so having the full US IR rating is beneficial

Perceived risks/downsides
1) Will I be able to obtain the FAA IR rating on the basis of the FAA 61.75 PPL-A? It seems so
2) Will I be able to obtain the IR(R) rating on the basis of the FAA IR? It seems so
3) Will I be able to fly the 10 hours IR as PIC in European (i.e. UK) airspace using the IR(R) rating? It seems so (albeit outside class A/Eurocontrol)
4) Probably it is anyone’s guess when the BASA will come and what exact contents it will have. I would hope though that I could alternatively fly N-Regs until the BASA comes into force, so that might keep me covered in some form anyhow
5) I’d probably go for a “condensed” 2 week FAA IR, which is possibly a challenge to pass; even more so as I am not familiar with how practical tests are done in the US (extended oral exam on the day of the flight test etc.)
6) Getting up to the EASA “renewal” IR standard quickly enough once back from the US

From your experiences do you think the above could work? Am I overlooking any major roadblocks or taking stupid risks?

Thanks a lot!
fdl is offline  
Old 12th Sep 2015, 08:38
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Join Date: Sep 2004
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7) Pass the IR “renewal” required for the EASA IR conversion
At the moment, you'll need 50 hours PIC IFR to do the conversion without a formal course plus it's not a renewal that's required, it's an initial IR Skill Test. Have a look at Appendix 6 to Part-FCL (CAP 804, Section 4, Part L, page 37).

There is due to be a change (no firm date yet) where you will be able convert a current ICAO IR to EASA IR by completing training as required plus a IR Proficiency Check with an EASA examiner as/when the BASA agreement is implemented.

ifitaint...
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Old 14th Sep 2015, 15:14
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Join Date: Jun 2005
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At the moment, you'll need 50 hours PIC IFR to do the conversion without a formal course plus it's not a renewal that's required, it's an initial IR Skill Test. Have a look at Appendix 6 to Part-FCL (CAP 804, Section 4, Part L, page 37).

There is due to be a change (no firm date yet) where you will be able convert a current ICAO IR to EASA IR by completing training as required plus a IR Proficiency Check with an EASA examiner as/when the BASA agreement is implemented.
When you say "50 hours PIC IFR" do you mean PIC on flights conducted under instrument flight rules, or 50 hours actual IMC?
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Old 14th Sep 2015, 17:17
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Join Date: Nov 2005
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Firstly, respect for your initiative in seeking an alternative route. In the end I suspect if there isn't a real regulatory flaw in the plan some jobsworth will find an excuse to scupper it anyway, but best of luck. FWIW I have a couple of observations:
2) Go to the US, do a full FAA IR course and pass the tests (with all the visa red-tape involved etc)
If you are a UK citizen you don't need a visa for such a short course. Last year I travelled out on an ESTA and completed TSA checks after arriving at my flt school. It takes 3 days or so (you can do the checks before going if you wish but my school advised against this in case I cocked it up).

3) Possibility to train for the FAA IR in a “condensed” and focused manner (i.e. many structured FAA IR courses with 2-3 week duration are offered) fits my lifestyle better
Well, focused is definitely good but imo that's a bit tight, so I would suggest you schedule a good buffer in case of delay, and a flexible return ticket is worth the extra expense. You don't need to be stressing about running out of time. If you get it all wrapped up as quickly as advertised then bonus.
oggers is offline  
Old 14th Sep 2015, 17:59
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Join Date: Jul 2005
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If you are a UK citizen you don't need a visa for such a short course. Last year I travelled out on an ESTA and completed TSA checks after arriving at my flt school. It takes 3 days or so (you can do the checks before going if you wish but my school advised against this in case I cocked it up).
Which school was this..? Presumably SEVIS approved, or you're a US citizen or legal permanent resident?
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Old 15th Sep 2015, 15:00
  #6 (permalink)  
fdl
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Join Date: Sep 2015
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Thank you very much for your replies so far, this is extremely helpful (although probably not what I hoped to hear).

Additional hours to get EASA IR test ready: Meldex, I am surprised that you seem to believe more than 10 hours instruction (+10 hours solo IR(R)) would be required for an average pilot to go from FAA IR test standard to EASA IR test standard. What do you think is realistic? 20 hours instruction on average?

Regaring the currently required 50 hours PIC for an IR conversion: It seems that some schools in the US allow you to log PIC time during (dual) IR instruction for FAA purposes (e.g. relevant if you don’t have 25 hours cross country PIC aparently which are a prerequisite for many of the FAA IR courses offered). This would mean just having done the 40 hours IR course at minimum you’d already have 80% of it done anyhow. However, I guess this would not be acceptable in the same way to the CAA?

On condensed IR courses: How much time do people think an FAA IR rating will take at the minimum if you really push it (just the flight training, assuming you have done all the theory exams upfront)? Compared to that how much time would an EASA IR rating take at the minimum realistically? How weather-dependent is IR training, I'd guess a bit less so than basic PPL training? Looking at how short it took me to get the EASA PPL I might be a relatively fast learner but then IR training might be a different animal all together...


Thanks again!
fdl is offline  
Old 15th Sep 2015, 15:20
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Join Date: Nov 2005
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Which school was this..? Presumably SEVIS approved, or you're a US citizen or legal permanent resident?
I'm not a US citizen or legal permanent resident there. I am a bog standard UK citizen born and bred. The school is a small but long established operation that has had scores (possibly hundreds) of foreign students, and specialises in ex-mil pilots such as myself. I've no idea if they are SEVIS approved. What I do know is this: I travelled on an ESTA, told immigration exactly what I was doing and was allowed in, exactly as my flt school said I would be
oggers is offline  
Old 16th Sep 2015, 06:58
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Join Date: May 2009
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I did a condensed (2-week) IR as part of a (very) condensed 6-week PPL / IR / CPL / Multi course.

A few thoughts:

Doing an IR in 2 weeks was very, very tough. It would be much more do-able if you have some previous experience (eg an IR(R)). You will need to allow some extra time in your schedule in case of weather or the aircraft going tech. If I was to do it again I wouldn't aim for two weeks .....

Under FAA rules if you are qualified to fly the aircraft (ie you have an FAA Airman Certificate) and the flight is done under flight rules you are qualified to fly under (eg VFR in this case) and you are flying the aircraft then you can log PIC for the flight - so in other words your dual IR flight training, if flown VFR, can be logged as PIC. However this time would count as "dual" from an EASA point of view so wouldn't count towards P1 requirements for your EASA rating.

My very limited experience of IR training in the US vs IR training in Europe (I've only done one FAA IR and one EASA IR!) is that IR training in the US was very much geared towards private pilots flying clapped-out old aircraft around the place under IFR, whereas EASA training was geared more towards commercial pilots, so the emphasis was very different. 10 hours instrument training would typically be only 3 or 4 flights - there are plenty of experienced FAA Instrument pilots around who have done the existing EASA IR conversion route who took way more than the required 15 hours to convert. I'm sure there are schools around in Europe who offer courses more geared towards private pilots.
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Old 22nd Nov 2019, 09:38
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Join Date: Jul 2018
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The topic is kinda old, but I'm writing for those who want to try this way since I recently did it myself.

With EASA SEP PPL (Czech CAA) and FAA 61.75 PPL it's perfectly legal and possible to get the FAA IR. I did mine in about 1 month (including waiting for a checkride) - from my point of view, it was more difficult than in Czechia due to traffic, precision maneuvers and different phraseology. It was considerably less expensive though.

But then I was not able to apply for an EASA IR right away: the requirement is 50 hours PIC under IFR. The other option is 15 hours as a PIC under IFR and 25 hours with EASA FI (some schools in Florida are ready to provide the one for you), that can include 10 hours in ATO, but I didn't like that way. FAA dual hours do not count since in the EASA world dual even with FAA PIC hours means non-PIC. I keep two separate columns for EASA PIC and FAA PIC time: EASA PIC means that I don't have an instructor in the airplane at all, FAA PIC usually means that I'm on the controls regardless who's in the right seat.

Since I wanted to do my CPL as well, those 50 hours can count as my timebuilding, so why not to fly them under IFR? And US flight hours are much less expensive, especially in an IFR-equipped aircraft.

Then I went to Europe again and enrolled into CB-IR course. By that time I had all EASA ATPL subjects passed, so I did not require any theoretical skills assessments. Basically I could even directly contact the CAA for the exam, but I considered that it's better for fly in the EU airspace in an ATO to get familiar with the procedures and learn differences. It took about 10 flight hours (my ATO's policies required that amount). That was enough for a successful practical skill test and a standalone IR+PBN. Not a restricted one but a 'normal' EASA IR.

So there are only 2 ways for a FAA IR holder: one is 50 hours PIC IFR (hours during FAA IR training do no count), the other is 15 hours PIC IFR, 10 hours in an ATO, 15 hours with an EASA FI (can be in ATO as well). Of course I'm talking about the minimum requirements.

After that you can have a EASA PPL with IR and a FAA IR based on a 'piggyback' 61.75 FAA PPL and at least 120 flight hours (probably up to 150). But it's worth to mention that FAA IR rules are not 'more relaxing': you need approaches in actual IMC or 'under the hood', and if you don't have them, you have to undertake almost the same procedure as EASA IR revalidation/renewal. But I totally agree with all other mentioned benefits.

Talking about the risks - you have to maintain your 'piggyback' FAA PPL and revalidate it every year. I solved this problem by obtaining a standalone FAA CPL. Anyway the most expensive part (but also the most exciting) is gaining a flight time, and doing it mostly in the US seemed much better for me.
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