Real Answers from Real Pilots

Career Change should I go EASA fATPL or FAA ATP

I am now 39 and effectively had enough of the whole IT work thing, and as I always wanted to go into the aviation field I have been looking into going to school to get my ATP license.

I have read all of the threads on here about age and career transition and overall it seems positive and assuming I have the ability I should be able to make a go of it for the next 20 years.

But my main questions this:

As I am a UK and US passport holder, I can legally train in any US or EU locality without issues and can get either license. So from what I have read the FAA requires 1500 hours for FO status, while the EU currently does not and there are plenty of examples of low cost carriers hiring EASA fATPL license holders with as little as 300 to 500 hours for FO positions on either 737 or A319/A320s. So for me it seems like a much quicker path to a turbine right seat over a US FAA license.

Does anyone have any experience either way?

For flight schools I am considering ATP and their 0 to ATP program and for EASA I am looking at Bartolini air for their integrated ATPL program. Both are priced similarly and seem to offer a similar timeframe for a person with 0 hours.

I have seen plenty of info on here about ATP and want to know if anyone has any experience with Bartolini (Though I have found quite a few EU based sites that seem overall very positive.)

Eric,

It really depends on which country you want to live and work in. If you want to work in the EU, get your training there, if you want to work in the US, do your training here. I wouldn’t give it much thought beyond that.

Chris

Eric,

Don’t know where you’re currently residing but if you’re in the US and would like to train here but want to fly in Europe ATP does offer an International Program with EASA Conversion. I don’t know anything about Bartolini but I’ve heard many Europe students come to the US due to the high cost of training there. Just something you might want to investigate. https://atpflightschool.com/international/airline-career-pilot-easa.html

Adam

Hey Adam i am new to this forum and have tons of questions lol hoping you have the time to answer some of them on your spare time! My name is Wilton and i am an aviation enthusiast. I’v been wanting to become a professional pilot for a while now but i get a little discouraged at times as far as what routes to take,training, the best and most economical way to build flight hours and eventually how to make myself marketable so that i can land myself a job at an airline or corp gig a lot sooner than later.
i see that you’re an A330 FO for Hawaiian Airlines. This is awesome to me because its been my life long passion to get myself involved with Hawaiian air in anyway shape or form. do you have any suggestions on how to i can better myself in a position like the one you’re in now??

Im looking into flight schools all over the country. i was considering going to a local FBO in long island NY. They have these 2 schools iv been looking into, heritage flight academy and Academy of aviation which are both part 141 schools. if you or anyone knows more about them i would greatly appreciate some advice on the schools… I’m also looking into ATP as well and i have to say im leaning towards ATP as they have this EASA conversion program. Im from NY myself i use to live in Brooklyn and i am now in Orlando FL. I was recently a flight attendant for allegiant air Im sure you heard of them haha lol buts thats when it all hit me like an on coming train. i knew that this is what i wanted to do with my life. Instead of working for a living id much rather fly for a living :slight_smile: id like to get myself involved as much as i can with you guys. The pilots i talk to are a constant motivation to keep me going. You guys rock man and i would greatly appreciate some more insight on the industry especially since you’re working for one of the airlines i wish to work for one day!!

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Wilton,

Welcome to the forums. If you look at the top of this message board, you will very clearly see that it is sponsored by ATP. All of the mentors on here went to ATP and are firm believers in the program, we are all where we are today because of ATP.

I am not familiar with the other flight schools that you mentioned, so I cannot provide much feedback on them. They are both part 141 schools, which concerns me as those schools have to follow a syllabus that is quite simply ridiculously complex. I would encourage you to go to my “Flying the Line” section and look for an article titled “Questions For Any Prospective Flight School”, it will help you know what questions to ask any flight school that you speak with.

I have to ask, why are you interested in the EASA conversion? Unless you are already an EU citizen, it is incredibly difficult to get a flying job over there.

Also, you do not mention your age, if you could share that it would better help us guide you.

Chris

Chris,

thanks for the feedback man. i am 22 years old. I currently don’t possess a degree which is another factor that worries me as i am trying to focus on my flight training only… i know they say its not required for the airlines but its going to be a hell of a lot harder to get into them if i don’t have one. I am fully aware of that and i willing to put in that much more work into it because of that reason.
Im most likely going to stick with ATP as i did an extensive amount of research on the school and honestly loved everything about them. I’m curious about the ATP school in long island NY . Do you know of anyone who attended that location ? Its been a little overwhelming for me trying to pick a school since im going to be throwing thousands of dollars into this, well not so much overwhelming but indecisive about where to go. My ultimate goal is to become a corporate pilot or eventually land myself at Hawaiian airlines once i have all the required ratings and hours. i know i must build hours, possibly at a regional before i even get considered for a position as a corp pilot right??

Wilton

HI Adam and Chris,

Thanks for the info and honestly I don’t care where I fly can be EU or US (As long as I fly) It just seems that it’s much easier (I know the ATPL license is much harder to obtain in the EU) to get a turbine FO job with much fewer hours in the EU.

Alternatively have you head of any cases where you can get a job stateside at a part 135 or any carrier flying a 737 or similar weight turbine with 300 to 500 hours of experience?

Thanks,
Eric

Eric,

You will not be able to touch a 737 in the US without thousands of hours of flight time. You might be able to get a job with less hours in the EU, but I would encourage you to look at which continent offers you better career potential over the next several decades, not just which one gets you to a jet first.

Chris

Eric,

Chris is right. We even have a small local cargo carrier here in Hawaii that flies older 737’s interisland and they require 1500hrs and an ATP to meet their mins let alone be competitive. If that’s your #1 priority than you have a better shot in Europe.

Adam

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Wilton,

Hawaiian Airlines is like every other Major in the country. Get trained, build your time and experience, get a degree and apply. Definitely an obtainable goal but not easy.

Adam

HI Guys,

Thanks for that info, I am assuming that once I build enough hours in the EU I can convert to FAA ATP without issues? As I’m hoping getting an ATP Unrestricted in the US with 1000 hours or so of actual Jet time and a 737 type rating would give me a leg up on the competition.

Anyway guys appreciate the advice.

Eric

Eric,

Let’s say you have 1,500 total hours, 1000 of them being in a 737, that is not going to get you on at a major airline in the US. The majors in the US want to see thousands of hours of flight time, usually with at least 1,000 of it being turbine PIC time. So unless you can get Captain time overseas, it really will not get you to a US major any sooner.

I would really just focus on one side of the ocean and stick with it, there are no shortcuts in this field.

Chris

Eric,

You can try whatever you like but as Chris said there are no shortcuts. Aside from the fact that even with a 737 type and a 1,000hrs turbine you’d barely make the mins at any US Major there’s more to it. Aviation is a very small community and the people on the hiring boards aren’t HR checking time boxes, it’s other pilots. The vast majority of these pilots came up through the ranks building their time and experience at the Regionals. Many spending 7-10yrs (AS UNION MEMBERS) for the opportunity to move up. If you think you can go to Europe for a couple of years and then come back here and “jump the line” I’m afraid you may be very disappointed. As always it’s your call.

Adam

Hi Guys,

Again thanks for the info, just to clarify I’m not trying to shortcut anything and I am aware that regardless of which way I get to 1500 hours it’s still the bottom of the pile and work your way up if I apply to any regional etc… My actual question was that when you get to the magic 1500 hours point, does the how you came by those hours matter? Basically would it look better on an application to have that time built in say a part 135 operator flying turboprops (either Single or Multi) vs a regional airline in the EU flying 737 or A320’s. Does it make a difference in the long term.

Eric

Eric,

Right now the Regionals need pilots bad. They were severely hamstringed back in 2013 when the FAA passed the 1500hr Rule and they’ve trying to play catch up ever since. If you’ve got your licenses and ratings, the required time for an ATP and a clean record you’ll get hired regardless of how you got the time which is why the majority of pilots getting hired have built their time instructing in light twins.

Adam

Eric,

At 1,500 hours in the US, you will be applying to a regional airline. They do not care if your time is in a Cessna 172 or a 737, in today’s hiring environment, they just want to see 1,500 hours. Would 737 be good? Of course, but I wouldn’t go crazy trying to get it as you really do not need to to get hired at a regional.

Chris

Wilton, does it matter if the degree is BA versus BS? Thanks!

The Majors want a 4 year degree. BA or BS is fine.

Adam

Thanks Adam! Great response time!