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FAA and EASA CPL or conversion howto

Old 14th Feb 2020, 09:15
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FAA and EASA CPL or conversion howto

After one of my answers in another thread I am keeping receiving questions about FAA to EASA license and IR conversion for low-time pilots which I made recently, so I decided to write a detailed post about it, probably it can be useful for someone.

The first case - FAA to EASA conversion

Let's assume that you already have a FAA CPL, and your TT is under 1500h.
First of all, you have to pass 14 ATPL subjects. It's hard, but doable and not very expensive compared to the rest: from about 1000 to 3000 eur (depends on a school).

I assume that with that FAA license you already have above 200h TT and a 300nm+ solo XC. Most probably all other EASA requirements are already met if you accurately logged all your hours, better in an EASA FCL complied logbook (my case).

1) If you don't have an EASA PPL, you need a validation (easy, no min hours).
2) NVFR: 5 hours training in a single-engine (SE) airplane, can be C152 or similar, from 2 days. No practical skill test.
3) IR/SE conversion:
3.1) if you have 50h PIC IFR (not FAA PIC though - it should be without a CFI in the airplane, it MUST NOT be dual received time), no min hours requirement. Just some training in the EU airspace to prepare for a skill test, and a skill test itself. From 1 week.
3.2) if you do NOT have 50 PIC IFR hours, you have to undergo 10 hours training in an ATO, and additionally 15 hours dual received with an EASA FI (can be in ATO as well, but it is not a requirement). Then a skill test.
It's also better to ask your ATO to add a PBN, it can take some additional ground and flight hours and an approved airplane, especially if you did not have 50 PIC IFR hours - that can be incorporated in those 10 training hours.
4) ME: 6 hours training in an ATO and a skill test. From 2 days.
5) ME/IR: 5 hours training in an ATO and a skill test. From 2 days.
6) CPL: 10 hours training in an ATO in any airplane (can be C152 or similar), 5 hours training in an ATO in a complex airplane (retractable gear, VP prop) and a skill test in a complex airplane.

Total price highly depends on flight hours. ME hour price is very high in Europe, and even those 11 hours mean a lot of money (hour price is from about 400 eur). SE hour price is from about 150 eur. In overall it will be about 10-15k euro.

That's it for piston airplane ratings. After all of this it will be unrestricted EASA license with SEP/IR and MEP/IR, most probably with PBN.

The second case - you have a FAA or EASA PPL, and want to get both FAA and EASA licenses

All can be done in 250 hours TT, but for that you have to plan ahead and know both FAR and FCL requirements very well. Seriously, if you want to go that way, sit and study them.

Again, 14 ATPL subjects are required as well. There is no way to avoid them.

1. If you have an EASA PPL, the best thing is obtaining a verification letter from a FSDO where you're going to fly, and then get a validation (FAR 61.75). Sometimes you even don't need a practical test for that.
2. FAA IR: you can add the US IR to your foreign-based license, even under part 141 training. That can be done in 35 flight training hours (at least), and after that process you will have a standalone FAA IR in your piggyback 61.75 license. The flight hour price in the US is very attractive compared to Europe - you can have zero sim IR hours (i. e. all in airplane) cheaper than European IR with 25 sim hours. You will have zero EASA PIC hours though.
3. The best thing you can do now is filing IFR and flying alone, and log EASA PIC hours. They will not count towards FAA simulated instrument time though. Or you can have a safety pilot (can be a CFI, but he MUST NOT log his dual given hours, i. e. you should ACT as a PIC in FAA terms), file an IFR and fly 'under the hood' - in that case you can log both IFR and simulated instrument time.
4. As soon as you have 25 EASA PIC IFR hours, you have the option to count them as experience and use 3.2 route from the previous case (25 hours of IR training in Europe). Or you can continue flying, get 50 EASA PIC IFR hours, then go back to Europe and get your EASA IR (see 3.1 from the previous case). I suggest to fly 50 hours - IFR-equipped airplanes are much less expensive in the US.
5. Now you will have 150+ hours total time, and it's time to follow the route described in the previous case (NVFR, SE-IR-PBN skill test, ME, ME-IR, CPL). By that time I assume that you already passed your EASA ATPL subjects. Finally you will have 200+ hours, EASA CPL/ME/IR/PBN and additionally FAA IR and a lot of IFR hours. During this route it's better to check FAR and plan your training so that you can meet both EASA and FAA requirements (for example, FAA requires long XC to have a 250 nm leg, EASA does not).
6. If you still need a FAA CPL (probably you don't), you can go back to the US and follow part 61 route for CPL. You will need 15 hours with a CFI, some instrument hours, probably additional time to meet 250h requirement, study maneuvers which you probably haven't heard about in Europe. Finally you should pass a written test and a practical test. After that you can add AMEL rating in zero hours (skill test only), but most probably you will need some training. Probably you will not need the AMEL at all in your FAA license (I suppose that it's almost useless if you're not going to take a part 135 job in a ME airplane, for which you need at least 500 hours, or you're not going to become a MEI).

Of course, there is no guarantee that you can accomplish it in minimum required time - probably you will finish with 300h TT or more, but the key is planning ahead. You have to know the requirements. And, of course, it takes much more effort and self-discipline than undergoing some existing flight training program in a single ATO. But from my opinion it's more rewarding at least because of variety of experience.

Last edited by avtomaton; 14th Feb 2020 at 09:39. Reason: spelling
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Old 14th Feb 2020, 10:03
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Join Date: Dec 2005
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Are you offering advice or asking?

To convert an FAA CPL to EASA you don't need to validate anything: your FAA CPL can be converted with a check ride and your IR tagged into that. Similarly you don't need to do a night rating - you already have enough night hours.
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Old 14th Feb 2020, 10:20
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I am offering an advice how to get 2 independent licenses and credit flight hours. I haven't found any way to convert a FAA CPL to the EASA one just with a check ride. Probably you're talking about a validation? In that case the license will be valid for 1 year only, and you will have to keep your currency for both. I don't know how it works in UK, but for full unrestricted lifetime EASA license I don't know any other way than studying and passing theoretical subjects and undergoing required minimum amount of training. At least according to EASA FCL.

Even for a validation, it cannot be done so easily (at least according to the EASA regulations: https://www.easa.europa.eu/faq/19185).

If you know how to do it more easily, please describe it, a lot of FAA-certified pilots willing to obtain an EASA license will highly appreciate it since they are currently undergoing the process I described above. And so did I.
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Old 14th Feb 2020, 12:33
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Have a look at Cap 804 as a reference, it's all in there. FAA to EASA is a very well trodden path so there shouldn't be any confusion. In a nutshell: take the exams, training as required by an ATO, then take the test. You don't need to validate anything or do a night rating.
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Old 14th Feb 2020, 13:17
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First of all, Cap 804 is for UK only. Moreover, it's marked as a 'reference only' since 2015. Secondly, the funny thing is that you mentioned "take the exams and receive required training".

Do you know pilots who got EASA license with 'just a checkride'? If you do, please share that experience, I suppose it will be useful. I shared mine after studying the docs and consulting with a person from Czech CAA, not from 'something I've heard about', and I did it myself. Probably there is a faster and easier way, but I do not know about it, I was describing my experience.
Probably you do, or you're talking about ATP pilots with 1500+ hours. In that case it can all be different, but I specially mentioned it.

And regarding the rest of your post:
"take the exams" - for IR and CPL you need IR and CPL exams (or ATPL), and you cannot take it without theoretical training in an ATO (unless you have 1500+ hours, at least according to EASA FCL). Show me the authority which will allow you to sit the exams without a document of completion of a theoretical training (as I know, the very min is 400h). I suppose that it makes more sense to take ATPL exams - they're good for both IR and CPL.

"training as required by an ATO" - I described what exactly is required according to EASA FCL https://www.easa.europa.eu/sites/def...u/Part-FCL.pdf (subpart D, section 2, subpart G, subpart H and the appendixes) for issuing the license and ratings.
And here're those requirements:
- NVFR rating (which requires 5 hours training, FCL.810);
- CB-IR (if you don't have 50 h IFR PIC, you need 25 hours of training, FCL.615);
- CPL (15 hours of training, FCL.315 and the appendix);
- ME (6 hours of training, FCL.725);
- ME-IR (5 hours of training).

You can do your CPL training in a MEP aircraft, of course, and eliminate SE-IR part, but I believe that it can be even more expensive.

You need a night rating if you want to fly at night under your EASA license, it's again in the Part.FCL (probably you don't for a local UK license, I don't know). Or, if you don't have a night rating, you need not 15 but 25 hours of training for issuing your CPL (again, it's mentioned in the FCL). 5 hours for NVFR seem better than additional 10 hours for CPL.

So from my understanding it is not 'just a checkride'.
It's a theoretical training (at least 400h, most probably 650h) and practical training (at least 36h of training plus skill tests). I described it in details. Correct me if I'm wrong or there's an easier way, some ATO can provide 'training as required' below EASA FCL minimums, and the UK CAA can issue UK license, which can be easily converted to EASA. If there's such route, it can probably help a lot of people not wasting time and money undergoing the process which I've recently completed.

Last edited by avtomaton; 14th Feb 2020 at 13:43. Reason: updated info about Cap 804
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Old 14th Feb 2020, 15:24
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Originally Posted by rudestuff View Post
Have a look at Cap 804 as a reference, it's all in there. FAA to EASA is a very well trodden path so there shouldn't be any confusion. In a nutshell: take the exams, training as required by an ATO, then take the test. You don't need to validate anything or do a night rating.

It is a well trodden path ( which I utilised a number of years ago ) but sometimes things change.

If using the UK CAA as SOL then I wouldn’t place much faith on CAP 804 as a reference nowadays as it hasn’t been updated for a number of years now.

Always best to reference the actual legislation.

However, as an aside, the UK CAA does issue some general guidance on their website regarding the requirements for the conversion of an ICAO licence / ratings to an EASA equivalent.

https://www.caa.co.uk/Commercial-ind...into-Part-FCL/

Worth a read if your are going or looking to go down that route.....

VFR
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Old 15th Feb 2020, 00:30
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I'm curious - what are "IFR hours?" Is that flight time on an IFR flight plan or actually in instrument conditions? There's a huge difference between 50 hours on IFR flight plans and 50 hours in the clouds; I have a lot more "flight plan hours" than "in the cloud hours." Probably true of most.
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Old 15th Feb 2020, 08:36
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Originally Posted by LTCTerry View Post
I'm curious - what are "IFR hours?" Is that flight time on an IFR flight plan or actually in instrument conditions? There's a huge difference between 50 hours on IFR flight plans and 50 hours in the clouds; I have a lot more "flight plan hours" than "in the cloud hours." Probably true of most.
"IFR hours" in the most of the EASA world (according to part FCL) means flight hours under IFR regardless whether you fly in VMC, IMC or simulated IMC.
"Instrument hours" (as I know, there is no such thing for the EASA, but there is for FAA) means either IMC time ("actual instrument") or "with a view limiting device" ("simulated instrument"). To be pedantic, the definition is just "flying only by reference to the instruments", but everybody in the FAA world uses view limiting device since there is a solid proof that you did not use visual cues.

If you need just IFR hours for your EASA license, you can file IFR and fly in VMC, that's perfectly legal to log IFR time under those circumstances. I am not totally sure about UK (it seems they have their own vision of the EASA regulations), but for other member states which I know about (Czech Republic, Poland, Latvia, Lithuania, Germany, Netherlands) that's correct.
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Old 15th Feb 2020, 09:21
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Originally Posted by avtomaton View Post
First of all, Cap 804 is for UK only. Moreover, it's marked as a 'reference only' since 2015. Secondly, the funny thing is that you mentioned "take the exams and receive required training".

Do you know pilots who got EASA license with 'just a checkride'? If you do, please share that experience, I suppose it will be useful. I shared mine after studying the docs and consulting with a person from Czech CAA, not from 'something I've heard about', and I did it myself. Probably there is a faster and easier way, but I do not know about it, I was describing my experience.
Probably you do, or you're talking about ATP pilots with 1500+ hours. In that case it can all be different, but I specially mentioned it.

And regarding the rest of your post:
"take the exams" - for IR and CPL you need IR and CPL exams (or ATPL), and you cannot take it without theoretical training in an ATO (unless you have 1500+ hours, at least according to EASA FCL). Show me the authority which will allow you to sit the exams without a document of completion of a theoretical training (as I know, the very min is 400h). I suppose that it makes more sense to take ATPL exams - they're good for both IR and CPL.

"training as required by an ATO" - I described what exactly is required according to EASA FCL https://www.easa.europa.eu/sites/def...u/Part-FCL.pdf (subpart D, section 2, subpart G, subpart H and the appendixes) for issuing the license and ratings.
And here're those requirements:
- NVFR rating (which requires 5 hours training, FCL.810);
- CB-IR (if you don't have 50 h IFR PIC, you need 25 hours of training, FCL.615);
- CPL (15 hours of training, FCL.315 and the appendix);
- ME (6 hours of training, FCL.725);
- ME-IR (5 hours of training).

You can do your CPL training in a MEP aircraft, of course, and eliminate SE-IR part, but I believe that it can be even more expensive.

You need a night rating if you want to fly at night under your EASA license, it's again in the Part.FCL (probably you don't for a local UK license, I don't know). Or, if you don't have a night rating, you need not 15 but 25 hours of training for issuing your CPL (again, it's mentioned in the FCL). 5 hours for NVFR seem better than additional 10 hours for CPL.

So from my understanding it is not 'just a checkride'.
It's a theoretical training (at least 400h, most probably 650h) and practical training (at least 36h of training plus skill tests). I described it in details. Correct me if I'm wrong or there's an easier way, some ATO can provide 'training as required' below EASA FCL minimums, and the UK CAA can issue UK license, which can be easily converted to EASA. If there's such route, it can probably help a lot of people not wasting time and money undergoing the process which I've recently completed.
I'm from the UK, still an EASA member so I use their interpretation of things. Other EASA members are available. As VFR Seek and Destroy posted - the CAA website has most of the info. Cap804 whilst a reference only document, is still the go-to document for the CAA for want of anything better.

I certainly didn't say you could get a CPL with *JUST* a checkride. The fact that you need to pass all required exams should really be a given - I thought everyone knew that!

The thread (your thread) is about converting between FAA and EASA, so don't get confused between the requirements for initial issue and conversion, they are different.

To convert you must already have a CPL - so the requirement for theoretical training now rests with the head of training. There is no requirement to complete a full course of theoretical training as long as the equivalent ICAO licence is held. So in your original case an FAA CPL holder could do theoretical training as required for a CPL but would have to do a full course for ATPL - which is the only logical choice of you want to fly multi crew aircraft. So in most cases there is no way to avoid the cost of an ATPL course, but you can avoid actually doing the course by going distance learning because you essentially self certify that you have studied the prerequisite number of hours!

Having passed the required exams, an FAA CPL holder would need to do flight training as required by the head of training at an ATO. The CAA publish guidelines on this which can be reduced further on application. Don't get confused by FCL.315 and appendix 3 which refer to initial training courses, not conversions, which means there is no requirement for a Night Rating (An FAA CPL holder already has more than 5 night hours)
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Old 15th Feb 2020, 20:46
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Originally Posted by rudestuff View Post
I'm from the UK, still an EASA member so I use their interpretation of things. Other EASA members are available. As VFR Seek and Destroy posted - the CAA website has most of the info. Cap804 whilst a reference only document, is still the go-to document for the CAA for want of anything better.

I certainly didn't say you could get a CPL with *JUST* a checkride. The fact that you need to pass all required exams should really be a given - I thought everyone knew that!

The thread (your thread) is about converting between FAA and EASA, so don't get confused between the requirements for initial issue and conversion, they are different.

To convert you must already have a CPL - so the requirement for theoretical training now rests with the head of training. There is no requirement to complete a full course of theoretical training as long as the equivalent ICAO licence is held. So in your original case an FAA CPL holder could do theoretical training as required for a CPL but would have to do a full course for ATPL - which is the only logical choice of you want to fly multi crew aircraft. So in most cases there is no way to avoid the cost of an ATPL course, but you can avoid actually doing the course by going distance learning because you essentially self certify that you have studied the prerequisite number of hours!

Having passed the required exams, an FAA CPL holder would need to do flight training as required by the head of training at an ATO. The CAA publish guidelines on this which can be reduced further on application. Don't get confused by FCL.315 and appendix 3 which refer to initial training courses, not conversions, which means there is no requirement for a Night Rating (An FAA CPL holder already has more than 5 night hours)
I don't think that I described the ONLY way to do it. The described route is proven to work by myself, it is based on part FCL requirements, it leads to unrestricted standalone EASA CPL with SEP/MEP/IR/PBN, and looking at the UK CAA conversion requirements for low-timers I suppose that that way can be even less expensive than a conversion with UK CAA. But that's questionable, of course.

FCL clearly states the conditions for issuing an EASA license, not its initial issue. There is no such thing as a conversion in the document. Probably UK has a different point of view (it seems they certainly do), but even in the document that you posted before (https://www.caa.co.uk/Commercial-ind...into-Part-FCL/) the minimums for conversion training are pretty close to those mentioned in the part FCL. At least for pilots with less than 1000h under their belt. So my post is probably not so relevant for UK but for most of other states it is - the authorities use primarily part FCL as a reference.

Originally Posted by rudestuff View Post
I certainly didn't say you could get a CPL with *JUST* a checkride. The fact that you need to pass all required exams should really be a given - I thought everyone knew that!
The thread (your thread) is about converting between FAA and EASA, so don't get confused between the requirements for initial issue and conversion, they are different.
Thank you for posting the requirements for the UK, probably they will help someone. I did not find them for other EASA members though, and they use part FCL for that purpose.
Could you please also clarify about "all required exams" - what are you talking about, and what everyone knows about it? I did not know, even after some research. According to part FCL it's all clear, but for the conversion process it is not. I suppose you're an experienced pilot or instructor, and YOU know the requirements. An average wannabe does not and has to make some research.

It seems that it makes sense to undergo a conversion process in UK than in austrocontrol or similar for FAA CPL holders with AMEL and IR. But I suppose that in that case all cpl training hours should be in the ME airplane. But it can be wrong, I simply don't know the details.

Anyway, I suppose the community will appreciate detailed feedback from someone who recently completed conversion FAA CPL/ASEL/AMEL/IR -> EASA CPL/SEP/MEP/IR/PBN with UK CAA, especially if it's a well trodden path which I struggled to find any info about in the web. I did it with Czech CAA for a reasonable amount of time and money taking into account flight hour price in the US and in Europe, and shared the detailed howto. Probably someone can find it useful. And probably thank to that post someone will share the detailed 'true' conversion experience - I will not be unhappy if there's an easier way, I've already done it somehow

Last edited by avtomaton; 15th Feb 2020 at 21:38.
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Old 27th Feb 2020, 13:57
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Join Date: Jan 2008
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Does anyone think there may come a day where the ‘conversion’ process to EASA may become like most other parts of the world ie a couple of exams and sim ride?

I’ve certainly considered it but the time and money required for me, plus the lack of motivation to study exams that I have essentially done before stop me from pursuing a ‘conversion’ 🤷‍♂️
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