Trying to keep track of and understand the different rules and regulations about pilot licensing can be quite difficult.

So I’ve written up some notes on my understanding of some common issues in the hope that this will be of help to others.

The usual disclaimers apply – do your own research and don’t rely on anything written here as accurate, up-to-date or complete.

UK Pilot licences

US Pilot certificates (based on a UK one)

The FAA issues Airman’s Certificates rather than Licences, but you can get one on the basis of a valid EASA PPL, add US ratings to it (e.g. Seaplane) or EASA ones (e.g. IR)

UK Aircraft Avionic Requirements

And for those who own or share aircraft, some upcoming changes over the next few years



  1. Hi David,

    Nice blog. I’ll definitely read through some of the blog entries (I just need to find the time). I’ve got a question which I thought maybe you have the answer to… I recently got my EASA PPL and I want to get my IR (full IR) rating soon. The thing is, IR courses are quite expensive :). So I was thinking the following… I would do about 40 hours of IR training in the US and then do the rest of the hours + the skills test over here in the UK. Is that even an option? Do you know if the IR training hours flown in the US are valid hours towards a certification in the UK?



    1. Yes, good IR training is expensive. The USA can be good value (lower hourly rates, no approach fees etc.) but do bear in mind the costs of instruction (charged for all time spent with an instructor, including on the ground pre/post briefings), travel and accommodation etc. too. It is possible to convert an FAA IR into an EASA IR by taking the skills test (part of the new Competency Based IR scheme), but you should expect to need at least 10 hours at an EASA ATO first because what they look for in the EASA IR skills test is quite different from what’s needed in the USA. This would mean taking the full FAA IR course, theory exam and skill test, not just a number of hours. I would look seriously at the new CB-IR scheme here in Europe which can be done in stages, including some outside the ATO environment. Here in the UK, you can do your IR(R) first, then fly 15 hours IFR yourself, then 10 hours in an ATO (or more) until up to skills test standard. Read my separate posts on the IR training I did here

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