Fast Jet to CPL MEIR (fATPL)
Difference between a CPL MEIR and an ATPL is explained here.
There are plenty of ways to achieve your licence, but we have set out below what we believe is the easiest and most cost effective route. Due to Brexit and the UK leaving EASA, these credits are only available for UK CAA licences.
CAA Class 1 Medical - For a CPL (ATPL) you need a CLASS 1 medical. It is best to do this after your exams, unless you think you might encounter problems. Initial medical must be done by a CAA approved centre and there can be a long wait. CAA Medical Centres
ATPL Theory Exams - 13 exams in various subjects. You have 18 months from the first sitting to the last sitting to complete the exams. You have 6 sittings in total and you can take any 1 exam up to 4 times before having to start again.
As a military pilot you are exempt the 650hr study course, but are still required to pass the exams. UKFlying offer Padpilot direct for £439, which has all of the online study materials. You can then supplement this with ATPLQ which is the most current question bank and UKFlying have 15% discount codes off the price. If you want to attend classroom lessons, then we recommend Skyborne (£2400 plus study materials) and Bristol Ground School (£2693), who both run hybrid courses with online study and crammer weeks. These two companies are both ELCAS registered.
Use the contact form at the bottom of this page and we'll forward you more info on the ATPL theory options.
Once you've passed the ATPL theory exams you need a few more bits, a Class 1 medical, a multi-engine rating, CPL skills test and an Instrument Rating. You also need a APS MCC / MCC and A-UPRT certificate if you're going onto multi-pilot commercial aviation.
Multi Engine Piston (MEP) - Our advice here is simple. Use a school with a modern training aircraft like the DA-42. It doesn't have cowl flaps, carb heating, mixture control, rpm settings, 6 levers, turbo charger boost limits. It just has 2 power levers (1 for each engine), forward for fast and backwards for slow, the computer does the rest. Passing your MEP is all that matters, especially if you're going onto the airlines. These aircraft also have full glass cockpits with GPS, this makes it all so much easier. Use another ELCAS amount for this. Course is a minimum of 6hrs of which 3:30hrs must be flown as asymmetric instruction, before taking the MEP test.
CPL Skills test - As a military FJ pilot you are exempt the CPL course, but need to pass the CPL test on a SE or ME aircraft. The test costs approx £924 (to the CAA) plus the cost of the aircraft. This can be combined with the MEP test, this is the cheapest and best option. You now have a CPL and you can receive money for flying.
Instrument Rating (IR) - Training to a standard to pass an IR test, but must be at least 5hrs instruction in instrument flying in Multi-Engine aeroplanes, of which 3hrs may be in a sim. This test is also easier in an aircraft with a glass cockpit, GPS, self tuning nav aids and an autopilot, like the DA-42
The following companies run UKFlying military designed CPL MEP IR (fATPL) courses. These courses use all available CAA military credits and are designed to be as efficient as possible. UKFlying is a free to use service for military pilots. We'll ensure that you get the right course based on your military experience at the lowest price. You'll be linked to a Dropbox account with all of the pre-course reading material, including exam guides, DA-42 tech and examiners favourite test questions! This will make the conversion process much easier and reduces the time you need to be away from work. By booking through UKFlying you're enabling us to maintain the lowest course rates for military pilots.
Costs based on a FJ pilot with an unrestricted GREEN rating:
CPL + MEIR - Skyborne (Gloucester) - Skyborne operate DA-42s from modern facilities with good sims. They are one of the best options for military conversions. The cost is £10,631 (2023 price) for the MEP, CPL and IR depending on experience and they have a DA-42 sim. The price include aircraft and sim hire, instruction, approach fees, landing fees and aircraft hire for the 2 tests. CAA examiner fees are included which cost £924 for each of the 2 tests. You can use SLC and IRTC against this course along with ELCAS. No availability until July 24.
CPL + MEIR - ACS (Perth, Scotland) - ACS have modern DA-42 aircraft at their Perth airfield. They are a great option for pilots based in Scotland or at the Northern bases. They are ELCAS registered and keen to assist military pilots. Their FJ conversion course is £TBC for 2024. No availability until July 2024.
CPL + MEIR - Aeros (Various) - Aeros have availability to assist military pilots and their courses are ELCAS approved. £11,380 (2023 price), plus 2 CAA exam fees which are currently £924 per test.
CPL + MEIR - Blackbushe Aviation (Blackbushe Airport, near Farnborough) - Blackbushe have SE and MEP aircraft, including a DA-42. They use dedicated instructors to deliver the training in the shortest possible time. £10,750 plus 2 CAA exam fees of £924, all training completed in the DA-42. Up to 4 spaces for military personnel per month.
Blackbushe Aviation also offer a single-engine CPL and IR for £5130, plus 2 CAA exam fees. You can use this option if you don't plan to fly an airliner or business jet. This is a cheap option for military Red Air or instructional posts where you only require a CPL and IR. They use PA-28 and DA-40 aircraft. Up to 4 spaces for military personnel per month.
CPL + MEIR - Contrail Aviation (Sleap and Hawarden Airports) - Contrail have SE and MEP aircraft, including a DA-42. They use dedicated instructors to deliver the training in the shortest possible time. £12,852 plus 2 CAA exam fees of £924, all training completed in the DA-42. New company for 2024, don't yet have a simulator, hence all of the training is completed in the aircraft at present. Up to 4 spaces for military personnel per month.
CPL + MEIR - Aviation South West (Exeter) - Aviation South West are ELCAS approved and operate from Exeter airport. They use a BE76 Duchess for the ME training. £11,296 including fees.
Use the contact form below for more details on any of the companies above, along with a formal quote based on your military experience.
Once you have achieved the items above you will be issued with a UK CAA Part-FCL licence. If you want to fly a multi-pilot plane (airline / business jet) then you will also require an APS MCC / MCC and A-UPRT certificate.
Airline Pilots Standard Multi-Crew Co-operation Course (APS MCC) / (MCC) - Required before starting your first multi-pilot type ratings (airline, business jets, etc). The course is a mix of ground school and simulator time, learning how to operate large aircraft as a crew. We recommend choosing a provider with modern A320 or B737 simulators as this will assist with airline assessment and make the training more realistic. We work with multiple operators in this area, many who provide a discount for military personnel via UKFlying. Contact UKFlying for more details and the discount codes.
Which course do you require?
MCC is 2-weeks long, APS MCC is normally 3-weeks long and both are best completed in a B737 or A320 sim. The APS MCC has an extra 20hrs of sim training over the MCC, and is therefore more expensive.
One of the reasons for the APS is due to many cadets failing initial Type Ratings due to a lack of familiarity with Multi-Pilot (MP) operations. The extra week of training on the APS helps with this, but it passes the training cost onto the student.
Regulations state you only need a MCC and we haven’t heard of any military pilots struggle with a Type Rating, but a few major airlines have stated that an APS MCC is required to apply.
Only the MCC is credited for military ME and Rotary MP types, no APS credit.
Depending on what job you want to go to, you will have to choose between the courses, or pick a company that can upgrade your MCC to an APS if later required. Contact UKFlying if you want to discuss your options.
UKFlying recommended APS MCC companies:
Jet Masterclass use a modern B737-800 sim at Gatwick airport. Industry leading training with excellent feedback from previous military personnel. APS MCC £7194, MCC £4194. Discounts available via UKFlying.
VA Airline Academy use both B737 and A320 sims for their APS MCC and MCC courses. They are located at Duxford and Cambridge airport with modern training and briefing facility. APS MCC £6900, MCC £TBC. They offer discount codes for military personnel via UKFlying and are also ELCAS approved.
Skyborne offer the APS MCC on a new B737-MAX sim at Gloucester. APS MCC £6000
Advanced - Upset Prevention and Recovery Training (A-UPRT) - There is a requirement to complete an Advanced UPRT-Aeroplane course before starting an initial multi-crew type rating (Airlines, business jets). There is currently no military waiver against this requirement despite years of trying.
UKFlying recommends Ultimate High as the best option for military pilots. The instructors are either ex-CFS military or airline pilots with significant aerobatic experience. Their course is ELCAS approved, can be completed in a single day from Goodwood and uses Slingsby Firefly T67 and Extra 300 aircraft, which are great fun! They also offer a 15% discount via UKFlying for UK military personnel. More details here.
Once you've completed a Type Rating (TR) course for an airline you will get a frozen ATPL, which will unfreeze once you have 1500hrs total with 500hrs on multi-pilot aircraft.
If you're a QFI or QPI then you can also use military credits for the issue of a FI. The Flying Instructor rating is a useful and fun addition. You need a few sorties at the discretion of a Head of Training at an ATO to get you to a standard to pass the FI check. It no longer matters what grade of QFI you are, just need to be a QFI (CtoI, B2, B1, A2). More details here.
After spending the time and money on all of the items above you want to make sure you get a job as quickly as possible. You will need to create a professional CV and you need to be prepared for the airline or job selection process. It really is worth spending a few extra pounds getting this right as you might only get one shot with a major UK airline.
We strongly recommend you get in touch with Andrew at flightdeckwingman who is ex-Navy and now works for BA. Further details on flightdeckwingman can be found here, He offers a military discount via UKFlying, get in contact for more details.
If you want more details, quotes or advice on any of the courses or companies above, then please use the contact form below.