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Military ME pilot to CPL MEIR or ATPL


Difference between a CPL MEIR and a ATPL is explained here.


There are plenty of ways to achieve your licence but we have set out below what I 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.


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, in which case check you can pass your medical first before investing. Initial medical must be done by a CAA approved centre and there can be a long wait.

Exams - Now it's time to start ATPL groundschool. 14 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 can take any 1 exam up to 4 times before having to start again. You can use ELCAS for this if you're registered for them. I recommend Bristol Ground School (BGS), Path2Pilot or Skyborne. They supply the books, exam materials and online material. As a military FJ pilot you don't need to complete the course, just pass the exams. The best way is to use their courseware, crammer sessions and 14000 actual questions. Break this down into 3 or 4 exam sittings and it's easily manageable. BGS run a mix of online self-study and crammer sessions. Path2Pilot are a good option for pilots based in Scotland and want to attend their crammer sessions near Edinburgh. Skyborne offer a 100% online course with weekly online lessons, a useful option if you're posted overseas. 

With the recent change to ATPL theory exams post Brexit (UK CAA / EASA / Both), we recommend you speak to us regarding your options before booking any ATPL theory courses. Use the contact form at the bottom of this page, we can then explain your options.

Once you've passed the exams you need a few more bits, a Multi-engine rating, CPL skills test and an Instrument Rating. This is a backwards step from your FL type but a mandated hoop that must be jumped through. The balance here is to do the minimal training but still pass the tests first time. You are credited all of the course but still need to pass the tests. If you fly a FL type (Voyager, Phenom etc) that has a civilian equivalent and you have access to a CAA TRE (examiner) then you might be able to skip the CPL MEIR and open your licence on your FL type. More details on this route in the military questions pages.

MEP - My advice here is simple, use a school with 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. You can fly a combined CPL MEP test, this will save you a lot of money on examiners and aircraft hire.


CPL Skills test - As a military ME pilot you are exempt both the MEP and CPL courses, but you are required to pass the tests with CAA examiners. The test costs £826 (to the CAA) plus the cost of the aircraft. The CPL test 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.


IR - Training to a standard to pass an IR test. This test is also easier in an aircraft with a glass cockpit, GPS, self tuning nav aids and an autopilot. As a military ME pilot with an Unrestricted GREEN IRT you are credited the IR course, but need to pass the Single-Pilot Multi-engine test with a CAA examiner. You will require a short IR course to get used to the civilian techniques and procedures, along with gaining familiarity with the G1000 aircraft.

The following companies run UKFlying military designed 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 Military Multi-engine pilot with an unrestricted GREEN rating:

07 Aug 22 - Update. Due to the recent increase in fuel and operating costs the prices below are no longer correct. We have asked the schools to provide updated prices and will add these once we have them. We work with 6 flying schools depending on what course is required, contact us to discuss your options and costs.

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 £5895 for the MEP, CPL and IR depending on experience and they have a DA-42 sim. The price includes aircraft and sim hire, instruction, landing fees, approach fees and aircraft hire for the 2 CAA tests. The CAA examiner fees are not included which cost £827 for each of the 2 tests. You can use SLC and IRTC against this course along with ELCAS. Use the contact form below for more details.

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 ME conversion course is £8720, which includes all fees. Use the contact form below for more details.

CPL + MEIR - Booker Aviation (Wycombe Air Park) - Booker have limited availability to assist military pilots and their courses are not fixed price and they don't have ELCAS approval. The ME conversion course is approximately £7706, depending on approaches, landings etc. Use the contact form below for more details.

ATPL or CPL - To get the ATPL you need the hours and to have a rating on a civilian type. If for example you fly the C17 then you will get a CPL MEIR until you get a civilian type rating, which will convert it to a ATPL. You need 500hrs on a ME multi-pilot aircraft to gain the credit against a MCC course. For a full ATPL you need 1500hrs total, 500hrs ME multi-pilot, MCC or waiver and a type rating.


MCC / APS MCC - You are exempt the MCC requirement based on being a FL ME pilot. There are a few types which don't qualify and we can inform you if this course is required. 

UPRTThere will a requirement to complete an Advanced UPRT-Aeroplane course before starting an initial multi-crew Type Rating (Airliner) for all TRs that start on or after 20th Dec 19. There is currently no military waiver against this requirement.

After researching UPRT-Aeroplane providers we believe CRM Aviation is the best option for military pilots. They have been providing the course since 2013, the instructors are either ex-CFS military or airline pilots with significant aerobatic experience. More details can be found here: UPRT


Once you have achieved the items above, take all of the paperwork to the CAA, wait for a bit, give them lots of money and receive your CPL MEIR or ATPL. Now you can get a job flying airlines.

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.


I 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, 

You can practice the airline simulator profiles before an airline simulator assessment. Skyborne have a new B737-MAX simulator you can hire with an instructor to practice the profiles in a multi-pilot CRM cockpit.


If you're a QFI 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.

If you want more details, quotes or advice on any of the courses or companies above, then please use the contact form below.

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