Military licence questions


Whats the difference between a CPL and an ATPL and what will I initially get?

You will initially get a CPL MEIR. You then need a MCC certificate. Once you complete your first type rating course you'll get a frozen ATPL. This is  un-Frozen once you have 1500hrs, including 500hrs multi-pilot aircraft and a type rating. You get your first airline job with a CPL MEIR but it means the employer will need to give you a base trainer sortie, which is 6 take-offs and landings in the actual aircraft without passengers (this costs them a bit more). If you have a full ATPL then your type rating can be purely sim based. Once you have the hours and rating then you can convert your licence.

Can I use my military FL type to open my licence?

It depends on what type you fly. If the plane has an EASA equivalent, you follow the EASA test profile and you have an EASA examiner (TRE) then it can be used, either in the simulator or the aircraft. You will require a Class 1 medical and must have passed the 14 ATPL theory exams before the test. The test is called a LST (Licence Skills Test) and follows a mandatory CAA test schedule. This is usually conducted in the sim as the final check. You will gain an ATPL if you already have 1500hrs and 500hrs on Multi-pilot aircraft from a previous type, or a CPL if it's your first military ME type. 

If you complete the 14 ATPL exams after your military LST then you will need another LST to open the licence. This is usually conducted in the simulator as the test requires single-engine work which can't be replicated in most aircraft. If you are scheduled for a LPC/OPC in 'civilian fit' with a civilian TRE then you should be able to conduct the extra items and open your licence on this test, calling it an LST for civilian purposes. This is a fairly simple process for Voyager and Sentinel pilots, maybe A400M pilots in the future. If you don't have access to a 'civilian fit' simulator then get in touch and we can recommend companies you can use to hire a simulator. Any other questions then please get in touch or if you know of other types that can be used then please let us know.

Once I've gained my commercial licence and IR how long is it valid for?

CPL - Valid for life, phew.

MEP, annual rating. Details here on how to keep it current, if required.

IR, annual rating. This is the one that you might want to keep current. The ATPL exams expire 7 years after your last IR expiry, don't go longer than 7 years or you'll have to take the theory exams again. Alternate years can be renewed in a simulator which is much cheaper than the aircraft. For renewals you don't need a CAA central examiner which saves you money, most schools have their own examiners that charge around £250 for the test. Cheaper than the £785 that the CAA charges.


Do I need to complete the ground school course for the ATPL exams (FJ and ME)?

No, just pass the CAA exams (this changed with EASA). Easiest way is to use a question bank which explains the answers when you get them wrong. Bristol Ground School is probably best for this. The revision weeks are useful but not essential, all depends on how much study time you have. Make sure your ELCAS course is at least £2500, so you can claim the full £2000 back. Training schools will be able to advise you which course is best.


I'm currently in a ground tour and want to gain a CPL MEIR and don't hold an unrestricted military green rating, does that matter?

No, providing you held one at some point in your career. If you didn't and held a restricted rating or lower than green IRT then you need a bit more training (according to the CAA). Check CAP 804, section O, military credits and read the section relevant to the IRT you hold/held.


What's the difference between military IF and civilian IFR?

Military IF is flying in clouds. Civilian IFR is flying with sole reference to instruments. You can count military logged IF and simulated hours.


Where is the rule that military IF can be multiplied by 4 to give IFR?

It has been removed, use the method above.


Do I add taxi time to my military hours?

Most of the military credits forms ask for military flight time, not including taxi time. If you need to add taxi time, say to a CV, then it is accepted that you can add 10mins pre-takeoff and 5mins after landing.

Are there credits for the IR(R) / IMC rating?

Firstly it is called an IR(R) on a EASA licence and a IMC rating on a UK licence, same thing. This does allow you to fly down to 500ft for a precision approach and 600ft for a non-precision approach and down to 1500m vis. If you hold a military fixed wing unrestricted green instrument rating then you are fully credited the rating. It now becomes a paperwork exercise (plus CAA charges) to get it added to your PPL or CPL.


If you have a Green IRT on a helicopter then this is what the regulation says:


The holder of a valid ICAO IR(H) or military IR(H) who wishes to add a IMC Rating to a pilot licence (aeroplanes) is required to:

  1. a) have not less than 50 hours as a pilot of aeroplanes, including 15 hours as PIC;

  2. b) have received dual instruction in instrument flying in aeroplanes including not less than 5 hours flight time by sole reference to instruments gained in aeroplanes since the grant of a PPL(A);

  3. c) pass the initial IMC Rating / IR (Restricted) SkillTest in aeroplanes.

The IR(R) allows you to fly in IMC, IFR (not class A). Valid for 25 months and you need to complete the CAA paperwork to revalidate the rating for a further 25 months if you still have a fixed wing military unrestricted green rating.

If you have a white or amber rating then there are other credits, along with not having a valid military IRT.


Get in touch for more details.

What military Grob Tutor or Firefly hours can I use towards a rotary conversion?

Numbers you need to know: 200hrs total for CPL ISSUE, you are credited 100hrs PIC against this as a QSP(H) and you will gain more hours on your CPL MEIR course. The requirement you get no credits against is the EASA requirement for 70hrs PIC on aeroplanes before starting the MEP course. This is usually what rotary pilots need to hours build for. On the 7th Nov 17 I organised a meeting with 22Gp and the CAA policy team, and this is what was agreed:

Any hours gained on EFT can be used towards a PPL as per CAP804.

Any hours gained on a Tutor / Firefly  (UAS, EFT, AEF) post the issue of a PPL can be counted. If you didn't have a PPL then these hours won't be counted by the CAA.

If you completed BFJT before being re-streamed rotary then you can claim the full credit towards a CPL course. These interpretations of the rules are a little complex and I have the minutes from the CAA meeting as evidence of what is allowed.