lineflyer
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US Pilot to EU Pilot

Sun Jul 09, 2017 12:19 am

All,
I have difficulty finding information pertaining to becoming an airline pilot in the EU from the US. My background is a US military C-130 pilot with no prior civilian flying time. I'm currently still serving out my commitment to the military, but am seriously interested in moving abroad permanently to the EU and flying there. By the time I'm able to move, I will have my instrument rating, multi-engine land, and ATP licenses with about 2000-2500 practically all multi-engine. I understand that it can be difficult on the citizenship side and getting a work visa, but what I'm in the dark about is how my certifications will transfer over (if at all) and what would need to be done to make this a reality. I don't have a specific country in mind at the moment. Any help is very welcome and thank you in advance for the advice/info!
 
VSMUT
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Re: US Pilot to EU Pilot

Sun Jul 09, 2017 6:53 am

lineflyer wrote:
All,
I have difficulty finding information pertaining to becoming an airline pilot in the EU from the US. My background is a US military C-130 pilot with no prior civilian flying time. I'm currently still serving out my commitment to the military, but am seriously interested in moving abroad permanently to the EU and flying there. By the time I'm able to move, I will have my instrument rating, multi-engine land, and ATP licenses with about 2000-2500 practically all multi-engine. I understand that it can be difficult on the citizenship side and getting a work visa, but what I'm in the dark about is how my certifications will transfer over (if at all) and what would need to be done to make this a reality. I don't have a specific country in mind at the moment. Any help is very welcome and thank you in advance for the advice/info!


Hi,

In the EU you will need an EASA CPL(A)(with ATPL frozen) or ATPL license, which are valid in all EU countries. Unfortunately it isn't a simple matter of just transferring your license. From FAA/US license to EASA you will need to pass all 12 ATPL exams along plus a bunch of check rides. From experience, the ATPL exams aren't something to be sneezed at, they are quite nasty.
 
mmo
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Re: US Pilot to EU Pilot

Sun Jul 09, 2017 8:04 am

I have done it, but it was many years ago. I had the advantage of having dual citizenship with an EU country and the US. So, that solved the right to work issue. If I were you, I'd concentrate on how you will be able to work in the EU. Unless you have some ancestral right to citizenship with an EU country, it would be pretty difficult to live and work in the EU. I would sort that out before I did anything else.

I can't remember specifically, but I was exempt from several exams and only had to take human factors and performance. Once those were done, I did a type rating in the simulator and that was it. I think you will find getting an EASA ticket is easier than moving to the EU!!
If we weren't all crazy we'd all go insane!
 
CosmicCruiser
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Re: US Pilot to EU Pilot

Sun Jul 09, 2017 1:37 pm

I can't offer much short of a close friend of mine went from the US with an ATP and flew for Saudi Air then over to Cargo Lux and I don't remember him doing much of anything. Perhaps Cargo Lux did a lot for him. At Fedex we had a British fellow who had flown for the Royal Navy and had no civilian time so he did have to take the civilian checkrides to get his US licenses.
 
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Starlionblue
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Re: US Pilot to EU Pilot

Sun Jul 09, 2017 2:00 pm

All this from memory and it has been a few years.

"Back in the day" conversions were easier. However when I did my EASA ATPLs a few years ago there were a bunch of guys with FAA ATPs and thousands of hours of turbine command time who had to take all 14 exams because their company aircraft were registered in the EU.

Typically the EASA ATPL exams take half a year of full time study from start to finish. And that's if you hit the books hard and keep at it. As mentioned above, they're not a trivial undertaking. It is a lot of material to cover.

If memory serves you'll be exempt from the formal lesson requirements (four weeks of classroom work) for the exams but it is probably worth doing that anyway. Makes passing way easier. I recommend Bristol Ground School but there are other good ones.

You'll then have to take a CPL or ATPL checkride. Given your experience you most likely won't have to do any mandatory training flights but again, it will probably be worth doing at least some time with an instructor.
"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots." - John Ringo
 
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zeke
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Re: US Pilot to EU Pilot

Mon Jul 10, 2017 10:42 am

I would drop CAE Brussels a line, brussels-centre@cae.com they are an approved testing centre and have a C130 sim.

If you have the FAA ATP and then do a ATPL skills test on the C130 which you have more than 500 hrs on there is also the possibility of getting a temporary equivalence (12 months) without doing the theory course and just the skill test. This equivalence can be prolonged to 24 months if you can prove that you are working on the above full conversion in an EASA ATO.

Problem is these equivalence licences don't normally allow you to add type ratings onto.
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N353SK
Posts: 910
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Re: US Pilot to EU Pilot

Mon Jul 10, 2017 3:13 pm

As others have mentioned, gaining the right to work in the EU can be difficult. With your military experience, though, you may be a good candidate to apply at FedEx who has a pilot base in CGN (where you'd be able to live and fly with your US certificates).
 
VSMUT
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Re: US Pilot to EU Pilot

Wed Jul 12, 2017 9:10 am

Starlionblue wrote:
Typically the EASA ATPL exams take half a year of full time study from start to finish. And that's if you hit the books hard and keep at it. As mentioned above, they're not a trivial undertaking. It is a lot of material to cover.


Not to mention that upwards of a 3rd of all questions don't even test your theoretical knowledge, but rather your ability to read the question correctly. A significant amount of them were even completely wrong, or had multiple correct answers.

Starlionblue wrote:
However when I did my EASA ATPLs a few years ago there were a bunch of guys with FAA ATPs and thousands of hours of turbine command time who had to take all 14 exams because their company aircraft were registered in the EU.

If memory serves you'll be exempt from the formal lesson requirements (four weeks of classroom work) for the exams but it is probably worth doing that anyway. Makes passing way easier. I recommend Bristol Ground School but there are other good ones.


When I did them we also had a bunch of FAA ATPs doing their conversions, typically people who did the training in the US, and had been duped into thinking that the ATPL exams was only a trivial bit of paperwork that didn't require any preparation. They consistently failed the first attempts and ended up doing the full 6-9 month study anyway.
 
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Starlionblue
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Re: US Pilot to EU Pilot

Wed Jul 12, 2017 10:00 am

VSMUT wrote:
Starlionblue wrote:
Typically the EASA ATPL exams take half a year of full time study from start to finish. And that's if you hit the books hard and keep at it. As mentioned above, they're not a trivial undertaking. It is a lot of material to cover.


Not to mention that upwards of a 3rd of all questions don't even test your theoretical knowledge, but rather your ability to read the question correctly. A significant amount of them were even completely wrong, or had multiple correct answers.

As the saying goes, "RTFQ, and also RTFA..."
"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots." - John Ringo
 
lineflyer
Topic Author
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Re: US Pilot to EU Pilot

Mon Jul 17, 2017 1:48 am

Thanks for all the replies! It definitely seems that getting my citizenship/work visa is the more difficult hurdle.

Regarding the transfer of certifications, I didn't really see any mention of the need for check rides that need to be done, only that I would need to take a series of tests, am I interprating that correctly or did I miss something?
 
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Starlionblue
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Re: US Pilot to EU Pilot

Mon Jul 17, 2017 2:32 am

lineflyer wrote:
Thanks for all the replies! It definitely seems that getting my citizenship/work visa is the more difficult hurdle.

Regarding the transfer of certifications, I didn't really see any mention of the need for check rides that need to be done, only that I would need to take a series of tests, am I interprating that correctly or did I miss something?


As I mentioned, AFAIK you'll have to take at least one checkride, but you'll be exempt from the mandatory flight training bits the precede it. Naturally, though jumping into the checkride without having at least rehearsed it is probably not a good idea. ;)
"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots." - John Ringo

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