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 we believe is the easiest and cheapest route.


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) or Path2Pilot. They supply the books, exam materials and online material. As a military 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. More details here: Path2Pilot or BGS

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 pain and a backwards step from your FL type. 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, Sentinel 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 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. This training covers the items required for the CPL test and you can fly a combined CPL MEP test, this will save you a lot of money on examiners and aircraft hire.


CPL Skills test - You will need at least a pre-ride and a test. The test costs £826 (to the CAA) plus the cost of the aircraft. This can be combined with the MEP test if appropriate training was conducted during the MEP course, 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.

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. Deposits are refundable, which is an essential requirement of a UKFlying recommended company. This means that you don't have to worry about your plans changing and being out of pocket. 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.

CPL + MEIR - Skyborne (Gloucester) - Skyborne operate DA-42s from modern facilities with good sims. They are probably the cheapest option for military conversions. The cost is around £7037 for the MEP, CPL and IR depending on experience and they have a DA-42 sim. The prices include the CAA test fees which are approximately £1546 for the two tests. You can use SLC and IRTC against this course along with ELCAS once they are approved (estimated Aug 20). More details here: Skyborne

CPL+MEIR - ACS (Perth, Scotland) - ACS have modern DA-42 aircraft at their Perth airfield. They are very busy in 2019 and only have limited spaces which will be offered to military pilots local to the airfield. Once they have more availability then the slots will be opened to all military pilots. They are ELCAS registered. Courses prices and more details can be found here.

CPL + MEIR - Booker Aviation (Wycombe Air Park) - Details on Booker courses can be found here. Booker 

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 this. You might want to consider the APS course which is the new EASA pre-type rating course for airlines.  Jet Masterclass are a new company at Gatwick airport with a B737 sim. Jet Masterclass are military friendly and offer reduced price courses for military pilots. They also have useful contacts within the airlines.

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, but a military credit request is in with 22Gp and the CAA for all military pilots. We hope to have an answer soon (Jan - Feb 2020). 

After researching UPRT-Aeroplane providers we believe CRM Aviation, ELCAS registered, 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 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. We currently recommend Flight Simulators Midlands for B747, B737 and A320 airline sim profiles. We have had great feedback from military pilots who have used FSM and they offer very competitive prices. View their details here: Flight Simulators Midlands.


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 addition, especially later in life (training Capt). 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).