The Integrated Course
This route enables you to complete the course full-time, from zero experience of flying to gaining your fATPL. The course provider will start you off with the single-engine piston flying, possibly abroad, before hours building, ATPL theory exams, the CPL MEIR flying course and finally the MCC course. These courses are explained on the previous Become a Pilot page.
Choosing a training provider depends on a few factors:
Cost: What can you afford? The integrated courses can be expensive and a big commitment. It is not uncommon for an Integrated course to cost between £95000-£120000 for an airline licence.
Aircraft used for the course: Modern glass cockpit GPS aircraft are easier to fly and more realistic to airline cockpits. The best aircraft are twins, like the Diamond DA-42 Twinstar. It doesn’t matter too much for the PPL or for hours building, this is more about learning to fly rather than using technology. However, you do want a good aircraft for the MEP CPL MEIR elements of your training.
Location: A lot of schools will complete the PPL and hours building abroad, where the weather is better and the cost of aviation is lower. Good flying continuity is beneficial whilst learning to fly, which can be tricky with the UK weather. The Multi-engine Instrument Rating phase will usually be completed in the UK.
Reputation and links to airlines: Being taught well by a reputable school is essential, but very few have direct links to the airlines. Visiting the school and meeting the instructors and students will give you a feel of the standards being taught.
Duration: Average is around 18 months from starting to finishing, but aircraft serviceability issues or weather can often make the course last around 2 years. You need to visit the school and ask current students how long the course is taking.
UKFlying recommends various companies for each phase of your training. These companies are chosen based on student feedback, facilities, aircraft, cost, etc. For more info, visit the COMPANIES page where we have detailed the best options for each stage of gaining employment as a commercial pilot.
CV and Interview Prep – Having spent the money on gaining a licence, you now need to get a job. I would strongly recommend you contact Flightdeckwingman. They have links to the airlines and will be able to prepare you for interview with one of their courses. Worth the money.
Airline Simulator Prep - You can also practice the airline simulator profiles, usually conducted in B747, B737 or A320 sims. Practicing the profile first and being taught how the companies expect you to fly the aircraft as multi-crew can be very beneficial. Skyborne have a new B737-MAX simulator you can hire with an instructor to practice the profiles in a multi-pilot CRM cockpit.
We recommend you view the Pilot-Network website which has hundreds of reviews from most of the European flight schools. This will give you real student feedback on each of the training establishments and will help you to make an informed decision.