Military ME pilot to CPL MEIR or ATPL
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 - Now it's time to start ATPL ground school. 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 you can take any 1 exam up to 4 times before having to start again. You can use ELCAS for this if you're registered. We recommend Bristol Ground School (BGS), Skyborne, or Path2Pilot. 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 online course with weekly online lessons, a useful option if you're posted overseas. Their course is run by mainly ex-RAF instructors and they offer a discount via UKFlying.
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 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 may also need an APS MCC / MCC and A-UPRT certificate if you're going onto multi-pilot commercial aviation.
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, providing you've met the ATPL issue requirements. More details on this route in the military questions pages.
Multi Engine Piston rating - 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 £850 (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, like the DA-42. 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 Garmin 1000 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:
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 £8768 (Jun 2023 price) 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 £TBC for 2023 and they have extremely limited availability for the remainder of the year. Use the contact form below for more details.
CPL + MEIR - Aeros (Various) - Aeros have availability to assist military pilots and their courses are ELCAS approved. £10110 (2023 price), plus 2 CAA exam fees which are currently £850 per test.
ATPL or CPL - To get the ATPL you need the hours and to have a rating on a civilian multi-pilot type. If for example you fly the C17 then you will get a CPL MEIR (frozen ATPL) until you get a civilian type rating, which will convert it to an 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.
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. If you fly a military Multi-pilot aircraft then you are credited the MCC course, but may require the APS MCC to apply to certain airlines.
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.