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Completing a UK CAA fATPL in the USA- is it possible?

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Completing a UK CAA fATPL in the USA- is it possible?

Old 16th Jun 2023, 11:18
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Talking Completing a UK CAA fATPL in the USA- is it possible?

Hi all,

Iím in my late 20s and recently Ďcaught the bugí and have been looking into the idea of becoming a pilot. Iíve wanted to fly since I was young, but always thought of it as a hobby Iíd get into once I was older and wealthier. A friend who flies for fun took me on a joyride last year and I decided it was something I wanted to get into, and had the idea recently of flying professionally. I have a degree but my job isnt really a career job and Iím not interested in my industry anymore.

About me, I am a dual US/Canadian citizen, with family ties to the UK and Europe. I am eligible for the right to work in the UK via a UK Ancestry visa which gives me the unrestricted right to work in the UK for 5 years, after which I can apply for indefinite leave to remain. I am also eligible for a passport of an EU country, however obtaining it will be lengthy and expensive process, so I am not counting on it just yet.

Iíve been living the expat life around the world for the last 7 years, about half of which was in the UK. I am very keen to continue living overseas rather than return to the US or Canada in a permanent capacity, and as such I am considering getting a UK CAA fATPL and looking for a pilot job in the UK. I know for many, this sounds insane as the pilot shortage is much more intense in the US and salaries are much higher, but for the sake of this post I kindly ask you to assume I have my reasons for not wanting to return to the US long term. I would also much prefer to go straight into an airline after getting my fATPL rather than working as a CFI for 2 years.

I will be returning home soon for the summer (after a 6 month stint in SE Asia, love it here!) and plan on getting my PPL to test the waters and see if a path in aviation is right for me. If so, I plan on then looking into my options for a UK CAA fATPL.

My questions for you are:

1. Is it possible to complete a modular UK CAA fATPL entirely in the USA? The reason I ask is because it seems the USA is the cheapest place to fly and learn, and obviously has better weather. It will also take me around a year to get all the documents I need for the UK ancestry visa, whereas I could start learning and flying in the USA right away. Since I will be going modular, Iíd also like to work while Iím learning to help with the costs. If I went to the UK on a student visa, my understanding is I would be limited in how much Iím allowed to work (Iíve been on a student visa there before, it was 20 hours and many employers wouldnít hire me because of this limit).

2. Will my Ancestry visa hold me back when applying for jobs in the UK? Even though the visa more or less grants me permanent residency, so long as I continue to live in the UK for 4/5 years, I would imagine an airline would prefer somebody who is either already a UK national or has a more Ďconcreteí visa situation. Iíve also read that the pilot shortage is much, much smaller in the UK and the job market is already competitive enough.

3. Should I look into a hybrid UK CAA/EASA fATPL if I know Iíll have an EU passport eventually? Or should I hold off on the EASA part until I have the passport and know I can use it? I would probably prefer to live somewhere in the EU one day than in the UK, and from what Iíve read the ceiling seems to be a bit higher for captain pay in the EU than the UK.

If you made it this far, thanks for reading! Look forward to reading everyoneís feedback.
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Old 16th Jun 2023, 12:18
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Not to go too negative but can I complete an FAA ATP in the UK. Not easily at all.
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Old 16th Jun 2023, 12:36
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Originally Posted by ahwalk01
Not to go too negative but can I complete an FAA ATP in the UK. Not easily at all.

Thatís totally fair. Iíve just seen a lot of schools (usually in Florida) which cover the flying part for a lot of UKCAA / EASA schools. I was just curious if it was possible to also do ground school as well. Iím fairly new to this all so I can completely understand if itís dumb question to begin with.

I asked a similar question on Reddit and one of the replies told me it would be much wiser to just finish my FAA ATPL (minus the 1500 hours) and then take all the UKCAA APTL exams and (convert?) my license over that way. It sounds like this could be the best option for me.
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Old 16th Jun 2023, 19:30
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You can do everything except the last part of the IR in the US. A number of US schools have UK CAA approval. CPL can be done in the US. You will just have to do 15 hours of IR training in the UK and the initial IR test in UK airspace. It is exactly what L3, Skyborne and CAE do with the Integrated courses, all SEP phases and multi cpl in US fair weather training bases with IR finished in the UK.

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Old 16th Jun 2023, 20:01
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Originally Posted by SmuntCasher
...one of the replies told me it would be much wiser to just finish my FAA ATPL (minus the 1500 hours)... It sounds like this could be the best option for me.
Perhaps I've misunderstood your comment. How can you finish your FAA ATPL without the 1500 hours ? I assume you're not eligible for the hours reductions from US university programs or the US military ?
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Old 5th Dec 2023, 20:19
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Folks, trying to get a definitive answer to this: I am a UK PPL with an FAA piggyback Certificate with IR. I have c. 1,000 hrs mostly IFR airways. I have just completed the UK ATPL exams and want to do the CAA CPL. I can of course do it here but given the time of year there are a lot of no fly days and the four hr round trip to the airfield doesn't help.

So my question is, is anyone aware of a US school that can do the UK CAA CPL and would tailor one so that it could be done in a condensed timescale?
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Old 5th Dec 2023, 22:11
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Originally Posted by brentford77
Folks, trying to get a definitive answer to this: I am a UK PPL with an FAA piggyback Certificate with IR. I have c. 1,000 hrs mostly IFR airways. I have just completed the UK ATPL exams and want to do the CAA CPL. I can of course do it here but given the time of year there are a lot of no fly days and the four hr round trip to the airfield doesn't help.

So my question is, is anyone aware of a US school that can do the UK CAA CPL and would tailor one so that it could be done in a condensed timescale?
Why are you hijacking someone elseís thread?
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Old 6th Dec 2023, 05:23
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Originally Posted by brentford77
Folks, trying to get a definitive answer to this: I am a UK PPL with an FAA piggyback Certificate with IR. I have c. 1,000 hrs mostly IFR airways. I have just completed the UK ATPL exams and want to do the CAA CPL. I can of course do it here but given the time of year there are a lot of no fly days and the four hr round trip to the airfield doesn't help.

So my question is, is anyone aware of a US school that can do the UK CAA CPL and would tailor one so that it could be done in a condensed timescale?
Yes there are a few schools in the US where you can do the CPL. But I would suggest your get your IR first. If you're proficient then you can just sit the test via the 50 hour CBIR route. It'll knock your CPL down from 25 hours to 15 hours.
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Old 6th Dec 2023, 13:04
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Originally Posted by B2N2
Why are you hijacking someone elseís thread?
For goodness sake, get a life
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Old 6th Dec 2023, 13:06
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Originally Posted by rudestuff
Yes there are a few schools in the US where you can do the CPL. But I would suggest your get your IR first. If you're proficient then you can just sit the test via the 50 hour CBIR route. It'll knock your CPL down from 25 hours to 15 hours.
Thanks for that. I am doing my IR conversion to CAA next week, so assuming that goes ok (training indicates it will) that bridge will be crossed. Any particular schools you could recommend that have a flexible approach?
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Old 6th Dec 2023, 13:19
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The only problem with doing the ground school in the US is taking the exams, as most schools do the consolidation on line these days, assuming you are doing distance learning. The CAA International website should be able to tell you if you can take the exams there but since they use the same mechanism for delivering the questions it may be possible for you to use an EASA approved exam centre. Best ask them, though.
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