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Spanish government declares ATPL as equivalent to a University degree

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Spanish government declares ATPL as equivalent to a University degree

Old 17th Feb 2018, 14:52
  #21 (permalink)  
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Location: Near Stuttgart, Germany
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I have read a little more in the meantime and I don't think it is so much about the "difficulty" and time required between getting a university degree or an ATPL. It is more about social ranking, for example in the case of getting unemployed.

I really only know the situaton in Germany, but I guess it is not much different in Spain. If a pilot loses his medical here, he is left with a license that has become obsolete and which officially counts nothing once he has stepped out of his aeroplane. He can join the unemployment queue at the very end and doesn't need to apply for anything other than taxi driver or waiter because he is nothing but an unskilled laborer. Drastically spoken. He can apply for a qualification course but again at the level of an unskilled laborer. If he is young enough to consider studiying at university he can start there from day one.

The situation would change drastically if an ATPL would be regarded like a lower university degree (bachelor) or higher professional education (in Germany again, I have no comparison, a bacelor from university is equivalent to a "Meister" or master of crafts - which I think comes closer to what we pilots do because it is a combination of theretical knowledge and practical skill and experience). In case of loss of license one would be eligible for a high-level qualification program or given credit for a year or to at university. Which would not be a bad thing in my eyes.
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Old 17th Feb 2018, 15:25
  #22 (permalink)  
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I studied and passe all ATPL exams in 9 months while working a full time job. I spent 3 years 40 hours a week in lectures and struggled to gain a diploma in Engineering years earlier.
Something not right about this.

So, do you not give any credit to the improvement in your mind by your previous work?

I left school at 14 with not so much as an 11+. I studied TV repair and that, and eyes that focussed at 8", made me a wizz with the sliderule. However, that CPL was quite a slog in the 50's and 60's and if I'd not already spent the money on flying there were dark days when I could well have given up. By the time I took the ALTP (ATPL) 5 years later, the exams were a breeze despite being more in-depth. Knowledge seemed to flow in at that age - providing the subject was interesting.

This is precisely why I don't think it wise to cram a lot of irrelevant stuff into student's brains. Especially doctors. Science covers and ever-widening part of the learning spectrum, and there simply is not time in the modern world for the dross.

The ATP still required quite a bit of refreshing, though I finished in one hour. The one question they docked, I'd written a long spiel about, but the computer didn't want to talk to me. The flying test was however much more demanding. The FAA bod asked questions I didn't know but seemed okay with my off-the-cuff answers. One I recall was how long before reaching a beacon must your speed be stabilized? Having spent years coming off BPK for Luton with the speed clacker going, I just said, 3 minutes. He just nodded. Most odd. All the more so because the night before my flight test someone had spread my Seneca down a Texas runway. I took the test in a 172.

But I'll tell you what, you get to know an aircraft when you get told to make a tight 180 not above 500' . . . and then get told to tighten the turn. My skipper looked at me and grinned. 'You loved doing that, didn't you?'

Lady Zia Wernher was not so amused. (just looked. Gosh Luton Hoo has got some history!)
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Old 17th Feb 2018, 16:06
  #23 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by Bonway View Post
I have a Master of Science degree in Aeronautics. At the age of 40 years, I studied and sat the 14 JAA ATPL(A) theory subjects in order to convert a non-JAA license. Those subjects were a lot more work than anything I'd studied at University up until then.

Good on the Spanish, if it's true.
I somewhat agree.I've got MB ChB PhD BSc and the hardest part of my academic life was getting four A levels to get into university. The MB ChB is a memory slog, the PhD just 40000 words for a thesis that no one is remotely interested in, the BSc (Hons) quite manageable and not too difficult. I found studying for my PPL theory exams quite challenging. I've seen the ATPL theory papers that my son took some years ago, and those also looked quite challenging I would rate them around 2:1/2:2 degree in terms of study content, so yes I would concur with the Spanish. Of course, it all depends on the discipline, I did medicine and clinical biochemistry. Probably just a tad more difficult than a BA in embroidery
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Old 17th Feb 2018, 16:22
  #24 (permalink)  
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Got my Master, after which I did my ATPL. I never had to work as hard as when doing the ATPL Integrated. Mind you, that was 18 years ago, maybe things have changed.

ATPL deserves Level 6and Level 7 for Captain. If you are a pilot and disagree, you are out of your bloody mind as this will HELP you and is a recognition for your Profession.
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Old 17th Feb 2018, 18:06
  #25 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by Icelanta View Post
as this will HELP you and is a recognition for your Profession.
Mixing apples with oranges here, me thinks.

I've never said our profession is not one that deserves the greatest respect. If anything, I've implied that is not one in which to reach profficiency solely by studying is possible. You can't study experience, teach it or pass it in an box, and that is why we are still above the market - downhill, but above average still - in terms of salary and benefits.

The day you can make a Captain by teaching 5 years of subjects we'll find ourselves in the same pit as the rest of professions. Experience still counts, statistics are there.
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Old 17th Feb 2018, 18:45
  #26 (permalink)  
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Are you sure you where at university? at my university I had 15 hours a week tops of Lectures. Another 6 or 7 of seminars. Plenty of hours at the student union bar though.... I was studying economics. Those studying politics had half that and 8 1/2 week terms.

In any case as others have pointed out this is to do with pensions, unemployment, etc and not the level of difficulty.
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Old 17th Feb 2018, 19:41
  #27 (permalink)  
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I have a Master of Science degree in computing and all I can say is that a degree and the ATPL are so different, that they can't be compared directly. When studying for my degree, I had to solve problems several orders of magnitude more difficult than anything required for the ATPL. It was a completely different level! On the other hand the volume of the ATPL material is huge, several times more than everything I had to learn during the 5 years spent at the university put together.
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Old 17th Feb 2018, 20:00
  #28 (permalink)  
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I was indeed. I was given class on different subjects and I was expected to be able to put all those bits of information together to build up a global and comprehensive view that would allow me to approach a problem from different points of view to create a new solution to it, all by myself, using my own resources and deductive skills.

After college I went to flight school where my class hours were higher but my grey matter usage was almost nil. No bigger picture, no global view, no scenarios, no putting together all that information to build up a criteria, just pass the mark and off you go. I even remember asking questions in the subjects I liked the most and being blasted by my colleagues there because it didn't help the exam. I know that OAA, CTC and a couple more produce some switched on young guys that are very capable, but sadly everywhere else is as I just described.

I am pulling my hairs in the cockpit with the kids I am flying with. They only know tiny bites of things and they throw it to you at the worse times possible because they don't know how to put it together. Can't blame them as they haven't been asked more than that but the worde of it is the total lack of curiosity when I give them a hint of a page in the book they may have not turned yet. They follow what I say as if I were an annoyance - and that is exactly what I am for them - just to pass the day. Guess what is happening once these guys are getting the upgrade!

Call me old school, but what if we get the reputation of the industry where it was by rising the bar, watching over the quality of teaching and avoiding zero hours at the controls of a medium jet - like the americans- instead of giving away master degree certificates with the kid's meal at BK?
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Old 17th Feb 2018, 20:30
  #29 (permalink)  
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Elephant and Castle.

Similar in my case. Compare just the numbers: We were 250 students in my year on day one. 40 of us got their diploma after 6 or 7 years. Not only because it was difficult but because it meant working real hard for long hours for many years. In my ATPL course we were 12. All 12 got their license.
During my university study I spent one full year doing practicums in the aerospace industry (where I was tasked with almost everything from shoveling sand into molds at the foundry - one of the most valuable experiences in my life because it taught me what real work looks like and why things made by humans need to be treated with respect - to computing the center of gravity of research satellites). This alone is more learning time and professional experience than many students will get for an integrated ATPL course.

Still, as I already wrote above, the pilot profession needs an official recognition above Uber-taxi-driver or french fries fryer (as it is now). Therefore I hope that the Spanish approach to that subject will be adopted throughout the EU.
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Old 17th Feb 2018, 22:04
  #30 (permalink)  
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Comparing "f"ATPL or ATPL with a University Degree?

In my recollection having done the ATPL theory 10 years ago now (BGS DL, revision in Cheddar, exams at CAA Gatwick), there was nothing in it above early perhaps mid secondary school level. Hard work, but for just a couple of months and nothing really hard compared to serious studying for several years for a solid university engineering degree.

By contrast I find that during flight training and further flying, whether professionally or privately, you never stop learning, e.g. about how weather works.

Source (in Spanish)
I believe the full ATP Licence is declared equivalent to a university degree (in Spain), and not just a pass in those 14 subjects.
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Old 18th Feb 2018, 06:55
  #31 (permalink)  
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To clarify

Just for clarification, you will get the degree only when you have the ATPL unfrozen (1500TT including 500 multicrew ops + ATPL check).
This is not about going to the flight school and getting your degree in 18 months.
Safe flights.
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Old 18th Feb 2018, 07:42
  #32 (permalink)  
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If my memory is correct, France is giving an equivalent also for an ATPL with 1500 hours
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Old 18th Feb 2018, 10:55
  #33 (permalink)  
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Does anyone know what will be the process of getting the actual degree issued?
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Old 18th Feb 2018, 11:00
  #34 (permalink)  
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Volume of information to learn, does not a degree make. The difficulty level of the ATPL course content is no higher than GCSE. There is a lot of information to learn so I’m not saying it is equivalent to just one GCSE qualification, but doing 15 GCSEs still does not mean you should be awarded a degree.
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Old 18th Feb 2018, 11:12
  #35 (permalink)  
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We shouldn’t even be paid for flying since it’s our passion.
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Old 18th Feb 2018, 11:20
  #36 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by lear999wa View Post
Does anyone know what will be the process of getting the actual degree issued?
There won't be one. What they are saying is that in certain contexts (mainly do do with unemployment and social security) the unfrozen ATPL will be deemed to be equivalent to a basic BA. They aren't going to issue a parchment and have a graduation ceremony with cap & gown - that would make a complete mockery of academic achievement.
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Old 18th Feb 2018, 11:34
  #37 (permalink)  
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I think you don't know the Spanish government
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Old 18th Feb 2018, 11:40
  #38 (permalink)  
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People are equating the passing of 14 ATPL exams with the passing of a degree course and concluding they're not the same. Well yes, but if you study the subjects properly and in depth, without any feedback questions, 14 ATPL subjects are hard work with way more time and effort involved than a degree. The difference is that degree courses are followed by more unpredictable examination styles and questions whereas to pass 14 ATPL exams is easy thanks to multiple choice and thousands of sample questions from the question banks.

Both have one thing in common though. You will study pointless and out of date topics that have little resemblance to modernity.
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Old 18th Feb 2018, 13:29
  #39 (permalink)  
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With four years to go to retirement I don’t really have a dog in this fight but my passing comment would be that those in academia usualy have lots of time to make their decisions be that before or after qualifying. Pilotage requires high class decisions in a dynamic environment and is without more demanding than some of the Micky mouse degrees offered in some U.K. universities but it won’t come close to an engineering or science degree at a top class university.
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Old 18th Feb 2018, 16:05
  #40 (permalink)  
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I'll add my 2 pence worth.

I have a BA (Hons) degree in Geography from a good UK university and the equivalent in Law, together with the professional examinations required to become a solicitor; and passed the ATPL with ease about 10 years ago.

Firstly, university degrees vary in difficulty. A first class degree from an average university is seen as the equivalent of an Oxbridge 2-1. Pretty much anybody can get a 2-1 from one of the new universities - my ex-sister-in-law did and she struggles to speak in sentences.

Second, a degree in humanities subjects is as much about 'learning how to learn' than actually gaining knowledge. It's about absorbing ideas from the more educated and learning how to articulate thoughts of your own. I can vaguely remember what my dissertation was about but haven't a clue whether I still retain anything else in my brain from those 3 years on the Strand. I suspect the same is true of most people who look back on their degree subject. It's wrong to compare the value of a degree with the tick-box approach to the ATPL.

Third, I guess science based degrees are the most comparable with the ATPL. Yet those studying, researching and writing essays on technical matters are surely becoming more learned than an enthusiastic budding pilot who is simply reading a book of notes specifically prepared by a company familiar with the bank of multiple choice questions? As most graduates from the ATPL examinations in the past ten years obtained averages over the 14 subjects of over 90% one has to question the value of that qualification.
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