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Best route to IR for pilot with both FAA and EASA PPLs

I have a VFR only G-Reg plane and both FAA and EASA PPLs. Several years ago I completed requirements for an FAA IR (except practical test) & recently I was told by a US flight school after testing that I could probably get the US rating in a long weekend. I could train in the US, but my flying will be mostly in Europe. It would be nice to have an EASA IR for light (not hard core) IFR flying. Total time is 430 hours; a fair amount of that is cross country & I am familiar with European airspace as a VFR pilot. What would be my best route to an EASA IR?

1) Would the easiest route be through an FAA IR? (I passed the written several years ago. I would have to take it again, but it’s not a big deal.) Would I have any advantage having an FAA IR in hand and somehow converting it?

2) What recommendations are there for preparing for the EASA IR written tests?

Any other advice would be much appreciated.

Tököl LHTL

This link (I think from a Euroga forumite) is very helpful.

The UK has a bit of a fetish on NDB holds, so don’t underestimate the time some ATOs may require you to invest to reach local standards. Also some UK schools are somewhat snooty about FAA IRs. The FAA requires limited panel approaches, and the ILS limit is quarter deflection, half in Europe, so it always puzzled me why the snootiness.

The FAA also typically will cover more airports and the check ride is scenario based, with different emergencies thrown in, in addition to requiring to pass an oral assessment. Europe tends to be quite programmed to the point that you can virtually learn the check ride off by heart.

The FAA is doing away with full time DPE (free lance examiners) by requiring an annual minimum of 50 hours of commercial flying, in effect requiring examiners to be commercial practitioners. In my view this will make the FAA IR a more real world qualification than the European version.

An FAA IR operating N reg in Europe has been a practical solution and hopefully will continue to be, although it relies on an annual deferment by EASA pending conclusion of bi lateral negotiations with the FAA.

Oxford (EGTK)

Useful article. FWIW I have 43.5 simulated + 4.5 actual instrument (all training time)—of that 32 hours logged as PIC.

Last Edited by WhiskeyPapa at 10 Mar 21:23
Tököl LHTL

Also some UK schools are somewhat snooty about FAA IRs

Who cares? One doesn’t need a flying school to convert an FAA IR to an EASA IR.

WP, how many years since your training?

Last Edited by boscomantico at 10 Mar 21:24
Mainz (EDFZ), Germany

2012! 4 years, hard to believe… my how time flies! If I do the FAA route, I would go back for 1 week intensive at least.

Tököl LHTL

Bosco I think the UK examiners require in practice an ATO recommendation, although this is not required under the conversion route.

Oxford (EGTK)

This sort of stuff depends on one’s situation on a number of fronts. In a random order:

If you like to be pro-active in maintenance, and your plane is not ELA1 (under 1200kg) then N-reg has a lot going for it. And, as I often say, not being pro-active in maintenance carries certain risks But to take advantage fully you need a hangar where you can work with a freelance A&P/IA. If you are “politically strapped” like so many in GA (where landowners rule) then N-reg could be a liability.

The FAA papers never expire. Your FAA PPL is valid for ever; to make it usable you just need a BFR (with an FAA CFI). Your FAA IR is also valid for ever; if you haven’t been doing enough for the rolling currency, then an IPC flight with a CFII will do it. The US licensing climate is very stable; they would have a civil war if they messed with it like they do here in Europe. And you need the FAA medical.

The FAA IR to EASA IR conversion is nowadays just the CB IR i.e. an oral with an IR FE and a test flight.

If OTOH you are coming in from the opposite end i.e. not interested in being involved with the plane and just want to buy one and fly it, and you have plenty of money so paying double for maintenance is OK, get a G-reg (or whatever here) and do the EASA papers and medical and forget the FAA stuff.

I have written up my FAA IR and JAA IR (conversion) experiences. Take these as just someone’s personal input, since there is a lot of variability. With the benefit of 2k+hrs I reckon the FAA training was much more robust than what I had here in the UK, in terms of teaching you how to really fly. Some people will ridicule some of it (e.g. the FAA checkride being mostly on partial panel with timed turns – an excessive level of difficulty) but people ridicule everything; GA is very tribal Also the old hands on the UK IR scene tend to ridicule anything to do with USA or N-reg (fortunately we don’t have those types here on EuroGA).

Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

Here is a link explaining the changes to FAA DPE annual flight currency requirements. My understanding from instructors in the US is that the FAA is trying to encourage examiners who are practitioners, and discourage professional examiners who only examine. The theory is that examiners with other commercial roles will have less potential conflict of interest and will reduce high pass rate examiners.

In any event it is likely to cause a logjam as some DPEs withdraw from the profession. ATP examiners have even higher currency requirements, including minimum actual IFR PIC time, making the ATP ride likely to be only available in the context of line training. As you need an ATP to serve in Part 121 operations this is likely to make current airline pilot shortages in the US even more pronounced.

Oxford (EGTK)

RobertL18C wrote:

Bosco I think the UK examiners require in practice an ATO recommendation, although this is not required under the conversion route.

Mine did not, I converted in 2014. It entailed a couple of trips to get back my EASA MEP rating and then I did some raw data instrument flying brush-up and the test itself.
I booked the test myself via the CAA.

As I have to have EASA licences and the aircraft I fly can be flown on any respectable licence (Isle of Man validations) I have now let my FAA medical lapse. I wouldn’t buy a non EASA personal aeroplane unless there were compelling reasons, and that comes down to maintenance. I slightly disagree with Peter that FAA maintenance is easier for a private owner, if you want it doing right I think it’s similar on all registers if you have a straightforward aircraft.

Last Edited by Neil at 11 Mar 09:59
Darley Moor, Gamston (UK)

Neil good to hear, I noticed one ATO was claiming that you needed an ATO recommendation, which is incorrect.

Oxford (EGTK)
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