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CPL... Nice to have?

I did the IR theoretical exams about three years ago
I didn’t go for the full ATPL package, since there would be no future for me flying commercially anyway.

Sometimes I think: I should have gone for the ATPL course and get the CPL as well.
But the only reason I want to do the CPL is “because it’s nice to have” ;-)

I know quite some people that have a CPL without actually using it.
The main reason for getting the CPL seem to be tax related; The training costs count as commercial expenses and can be deducted from the income tax.

Is there any other benefit of having a CPL as a private pilot?
Flying people around for money is still not allowed, as that needs an AOC? Am I correct?

Flying people around for money is still not allowed, as that needs an AOC? Am I correct?

No. Commercial pilots can operate and get paid outside of the AOC area. Under FAA rules you can’t hold out which essentially means act like you are running a commercial flight operation and will fly any and all comers. However if someone wants to pay me to fly them in my aircraft or another aircraft using my CPL I can certainly do that.

EGTK Oxford

One can also do seasonal and weekend gigs without going into a full-time flying career – in fact, quite a few CPL holders do that.

LKBU near Prague, Czech Republic

In Europe, an ICAO CPL is useful for

  • being a paid pilot and flying around the aircraft owner, in an aircraft of the same registry as the country of the CPL issue, and the aircraft must not be supplied by the pilot because that would make it a charter op (obviously needs a CPL/IR to be useful in practice, and after April 2016 the “operator” should not be based in the EU unless you have an EASA CPL[/IR] too) (*)
  • paid ferry work in an aircraft of the same registry as the country of the CPL issue (CPL/IR comment as above)
  • crop spraying (not much of that in Europe!)

An EASA CPL is additionally useful for

  • training students towards the EASA CPL
  • training ab initio EASA PPL (needs CPL exam passes only, even if expired)
  • in UK airspace at least, a national (now EASA) CPL has for many years been required to accept payment for any training in any aircraft reg (I guess the point immediately above is a special exception)
  • in the UK, some charity flight restrictions (radius?) are relaxed, from vague memory

Did I leave something out?

Basically an EASA CPL is nearly useless unless you get a work with a firm holding an AOC, or you are a masochist and enjoy learning the mostly-useless crap in the JAA exams

And if you want to do PPL instruction, you just need the 13 CPL exams and then forget them.

Historically, a CPL holder got a better treatment when being grandfathered when regs were changed, than a PPL. A CPL does still open some obscure routes to picking up pilot papers which might otherwise require more exams etc and that is why I did the FAA CPL (in 2008). The FAA CPL also opened up a useful route to a Class 1 medical if you could get one as a renewal but not as an initial – see here. But EASA FCL doesn’t attach any value whatsoever to a CPL (as far as I can see) when it comes to converting anything.

* lots of grey areas around that one

Administrator
Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

CL.1010.CRE CRE — Prerequisites
Applicants for a CRE certificate shall:
(a) hold a CPL(A), MPL(A) or ATPL(A) with single-pilot privileges or have held it and hold a PPL(A);

Not a very useful rating though, unless held with an IRE (which does not require a CPL)

Paid banner towing is still popular in Europe, yet more and more done with microlight which are subjected to local rules.

Last Edited by Piotr_Szut at 13 Mar 21:37

I have seen several rental aircraft available for CPL holders only.
Of course, this is not law, but can be regarded as the aircraft owner’s more or less random preference.
Still, CPL is a benefit in these instances. And it could possibly be an insurance requirement.

huv
EKRK, Denmark

Yes, true about the CRE.

To get a CRE you need to hold (or have held – it can be expired) a European (“national CAA”, JAA or EASA) professional license i.e. a CPL or ATPL. It cannot be done on the back of an FAA CPL or ATPL.

As to what you want a CRE for, is a question anybody doing this needs to ask seriously. You can be a CRE/IRR and do EASA IR revalidations, 150 quid, or 200 quid if you sign off the person’s PPL class rating at the same time, but the guy I have done mine with told me he pays GBP 6000/year to the CAA for the entitlement to do that work. However I believe that 6k figure includes other entitlements – he is a TRE in some bizjets. But a CRE/IRR does have to do a fair bit of paid work to recover the hefty CAA entitlement fee.

I have seen several rental aircraft available for CPL holders only.

I don’t dispute that but it would be incredibly limiting. Almost nobody who is a reasonably current pilot (in anything “advanced”) and interested in renting is going to have a CPL, because most such CPLs are airline job hour builders who either don’t fly, or they instruct in the local area. Obviously those who own a plane won’t be renting, usually.

I had this when renting out my TB20, 2002-2006. I tried to impose an IR, only to find that nobody who had an IR (that was actually valid!) had any currency. Even most CPL/IR instructors didn’t have a valid IR because you don’t need it to teach the IMC Rating, and they would revalidate it once they have the airline job. The rental market is difficult once you demand anything beyond a plain PPL. I would suspect anybody requiring a CPL to rent a (fairly normal) plane is actually running a tax efficient structure where the plane needs to be available for rent. A bit like the guys who put a 2002 TB20GT for sale for €250,000, to show to their soon to be ex wife that they are in poverty

Administrator
Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom
I don’t think you need to be a CRE to revalidate/renew an IR.

When I said CRE/IRE, I was thinking about a MEP CRE/IRE. You need a CRE to revalidate your MEP.
A single engine CRE would not be of much use as single engine class ratings can be revalidated by experience.
Nevertheless a TMG CRE might be able to find clients.

Last Edited by Piotr_Szut at 14 Mar 16:45

However if someone wants to pay me to fly them in my aircraft or another aircraft using my CPL I can certainly do that.

Is this possible? Would it not have to be their aircraft so as not to become a charter?

I can only get a class 2 medical here in the UK due to colour restriction " flights by day only" . However, I may be able to get a class 1 FAA medical (signal light gun and applied test) and therefore an unrestricted FAA licence, including CPL.

Do you think they’d be much flying work around if I achieved an FAA CPL?

I’ve always considered, for myself, the CPL to be great to achieve, even better if I could make use of it, even part time.

Would it not have to be their aircraft so as not to become a charter?

To avoid the “charter” accusation, the pilot must not supply the aircraft.

In the simplest case, the “passenger” would own the aircraft, and pay the pilot to fly it.

In practice, since you may be dealing with a situation where the pilot is the only one around who knows anything about aircraft and is thus ideally placed to procure the right one, one workaround has been for the “passenger” to write two cheques – one to the pilot for his fee, and one to the company from which the plane is rented. He gives both of them to the pilot who sorts it all out…

Obviously it is a thin line and is has often been crossed. Then any AOC holder at the airport, seeing a load of people (who “obviously” don’t know each other) getting into the aircraft and going skiing to Switzerland or whatever, reports the operation to the CAA, because they are losing charter business.

Do you think they’d be much flying work around if I achieved an FAA CPL?

Only if you can find a “passenger” who is looking for a pilot to fly an N-reg aircraft. You will need a CPL/IR of course – a CPL alone is VFR only and thus useless for transporting people.

From April 2016, the EASA FCL derogation ends and you get into the complicated and totally ambiguous business of whether the “operator” is based in or operating out of the EU. Many threads on that here already but nobody is much wiser. Somebody set up an “operator” in Morocco… So most bizjet pilots are working on their 14 EASA ATPL exams now.

Administrator
Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom
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