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EASA/JAR Differences for IR and CPL

Hi all,

From previous research under the JAR regime, the possibility of taking different parts of the advanced ratings was a bit of a mine field. For example the theory and practical could only be taken in different member states if they both agreed.

But now we are in EASA-Land; I've picked up from the rumour mill (and other places like PPL/IR - nice article Peter) that under EASA currently the theory can be taken in ANY member state and the practical taken in any other member state, PROVIDED that the practical course and test are taken in the same state, and then the licence can be issued... but this has to be by the EASA state that hold your medicals.

To put some detail around that... I hold a UK Issued EASA PPL(A); with (hopefully soon) an UK Issued EASA Class 1 Medical... Now my understanding is that I could potentially sit EASA ATPL Theory in Germany, then go to Poland to do the CPL and ME/IR and then the UK would issue this.

Is that a correct understanding? If so can anyone point me to the relevant sections of FCL?



If I understood it properly you have to do your written exams in the same country where you did your written training.

You can do your skilltest anywhere, however the examiner, if not from the issuing state (UK in your case) should notify the UK CAA in advance and should get a briefing about the items the UK CAA wants checked.

Part fcl 1015 says:

_(c) Holders of an examiner certificate shall not conduct skill tests, proficiency checks or assessments of competence of an applicant for which the competent authority is not the same that issued the examiner’s certificate, unless:

(1) they have informed the competent authority of the applicant of their intention to conduct the skill test, profi­ ciency check or assessment of competence and of the scope of their privileges as examiners;

(2) they have received a briefing from the competent authority of the applicant on the elements mentioned in (b)(3). _

I read, a few months ago, that the UK CAA was going to charge £500 (or was it £800?) to approve a non-UK examiner, in the above scenario.

I have no idea if this was implemented.

The non-exhaustive research I did in 2010/2011 showed that every country would accept UK CPL/IR exam passes for a CPL/IR done in their country, but if you did the flying outside the UK the UK CAA would not add the IR to your UK license afterwards unless the training and the test were done in the same country.

And if you did the exams outside the UK, they would also not add the IR to your UK license unless the exams, the training, and the test were all done in the same country.

The above is for the IR. I don't know if it's any different for a CPL.

Basically the UK CAA do not like people doing exams outside the UK (there have been all sorts of allegations, which I won't repeat in any detail because when I tried to check them out with people I know locally they had never come across them, or they were confined to a specific FTO which had been shut down years before) and they don't like people training in the UK and then bringing over an examiner from outside the UK.

I had my IRT with a CAA staff examiner; a really nice ex RAF bloke who could not have been more professional and proper, but I can see why somebody might want to use an examiner of their choice, because there remain a few "sadists" in the system, and this is the case for both CAA employees and the newly appointed "industry" examiners.

Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

I just noticed something about the CPL exams which I hadn't come across before.

I see there are now 13 subjects in the CPL Theory where before it was 9. The IR still has 7, all held on one day.

The only difference I can see between ATPL theory and CPL theory is the IFR comms exam which is one of the easier ones. So I can't quite understand why anyone would choose to do CPL theory rather than full ATPL now. Peter's article always said that a combined CPL/IR theory is a dead end for anyone wanting to progress to a full ATPL, this just seems to be further reinforced. As before, there are several weeks of mandatory class room attendance.

I also can't see a "differences" route for any PPL/IR who might want to upgrade to a CPL. I guess they'd get some exemption from a few of the exams, but otherwise have to do pretty much all of the ATPL theory. This transition from IR to CPL or ATPL theory isn't covered in CAP 804 as far as I can see.

So I wonder if they should just abolish the CPL theory and consolidate with either IR or full ATPL. And perhaps have a route for those who want to do the theory in 2 modules, with an upgrade from IR to ATPL.

A consequence is that if you want a full PPL Flight Instructor qualification, CAP 804 (FCL.915.FI FI – Prerequisites) still requires the full CPL Theory, unless you only want to instruct for the LAPL. By contrast, a CRI can get paid to instruct but remains restricted from ab-initio PPL training etc.

EGBJ, United Kingdom

The only credit which was around when I was doing this was HP & L i.e. just the one exam.

That was the only exam which was identical for the "UK PPL/IR" and for the "UK ATPL" exam sets.

However the above may well not be true for exams done outside the UK, where I would expect more exams will be the same.

Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

I looked at the Aviation Exam site, their dropdown menu lists the exam numbers for each category. CATS syllabus for each category also has the same subject/exam list.

It appears that the CPL includes all the same IR exams except IFR comms, substituting VFR comms plus a further 6 to make it 13. I haven't checked elsewhere to confirm if the learning objectives are different.

The ATPL then just adds back the IFR Comms exam to the CPL 13 exams = 14 total.

There doesn't appear to be a documented "upgrade" route from IR to CPL, or CPL to ATPL, although the course material and exams looks at face value to be quite distinct.

Since both CATS and AE offer their courses EASA-wide and they conform with the latest EASA syllabus, I don't see why that wouldn't be the same elsewhere. In the short term, perhaps some NAAs haven't completely transitioned fully to the latest syllabus, but I expect that all will have done so within the next 12 months.

So I guess if you want to commercially fly that single engine Cessna caravan, or do some parachute dropping for a commercial parachute business (rather than just a club), or instruct at your local PPL school as a fully qualified FI then you have to learn as much as if you want to fly commercially for BA apart from doing a full Airbus/Boeing Type Rating.

EGBJ, United Kingdom

I think there is no meaningful PPL/IR to CPL/IR upgrade - for a UK pilot - is because in the early 2000s the UK CAA stripped the 7-exam "PPL" IR syllabus down, to remove "obviously jet related" questions.

PPL/IR Europe have claimed credit for achieving this, but this was before my time so I don't know any more.

So by sitting those 7 IR exams you are not sitting a useful subset of anything - other than HP&L.

All I know from those days is that when I first looked at the IR, late 2000, there was no 7-exam IR. JAA had just totally shafted the whole private IR scene and the only option was the full ATPL 14-exam set, the 50/55hrs' training, and a "slightly reduced hardness" flight test. This was fixed a year or so later. In 2011, GTS told me that information was false, but it was all I could find at the time.

The drawback of stripping down the "PPL" IR syllabus thus, which on the face of it is a very worthile achievement, is that very few FTOs run it, so the options for a PPL/IR are severely limited geographically.

Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

This topic interesting.

If all this easa crap really is a level playing field then why and earth would anyone do the atpl theory exam in the UK at 80 quid a pop when you can do it them for 8 Euros in Poland. Where you also get the benefit of getting the results in a couple of days rather than 3 plus weeks here in the UK (which means you miss the cut off date to apply for any resits)

There is a couple of post about this on pprune About people who are thinking about doing it this way. Although as of yet no of them have done this. I suspect once someone does and poststhe how too guide plus the pitfalls to avoid it will become the defacto standard.

What I DO know however.

A chap will did the cpl training for. Paid his fee to flight test bookings 800 odd quid for cpl skills test. They allocated an examiner but due weather as cancelled approx 6 times.

Anyway he had booked a month of work to go to Spain for an ir so off he went to Spain. Post ir skills test the examiner noted he hasn't done his cpl gft. Anyway he then said if you can supply me with a course completion certificate (which we did) he would do his cpl skills test tomorrow (which he did - and he passed) but wait for it 200 Euros.

The UK CAA then issued his cpl/ir and he is about to start with Ryanair as we speak.

He is also trying to get his 800 quid fee back of flight test bookings but as of yet without any success.

Anyway the moral of this story is its easier to arrange a skills test in spain than the UK and A dam sight cheaper to.

If that's the case with cpl/atpl/ir theory as well then there is going to me a mass exodus and this will have a massive impact on UK training and the UK CAA revenue stream.

Presumably he did his 14 exams in the UK, so doing all the rest in Poland (or anywhere else in JAA-land) is perfectly OK.

I too wonder why there isn't a mass exodus to the warmer climes, especially by the "severely financially limited" ATPL cadet crowd.

My first guess is that most of them never find out they can do it. Let's face it - nobody in the UK FTO scene is going to tell them! When I was doing my PPL and looking at the IR, nobody ever told me of the FAA option. I found out via the internet, from a TB20 pilot (he's here, actually, though he defected to Cessna). Obviously, everybody working in the training scene knew about it. But it would be dumb business to mention any revenue reducing option to a customer.

My second guess is that they all read the pprune professional pilot training forum (or pick up the equivalent gossip) where a bunch of FTO owners/instructors are anonymously posting that you are less likely to get a job if you do your CPL/IR in southern Europe. And I would fully expect that to be true for candidates who are of average or below average ability. I've never been a professional-working pilot but it's obvious that a load of muppets do get through the system (AF447, etc) and the recruitment people at the better known AOC holders are bound to be applying some, ahem, prejudices

There is a lot of JAA training in some warm places. FTE at Jerez is reportedly quite busy.

If somebody from the UK or Germany set up an FTO at say Zadar (LDZD) and did it in a well organised way they would do very well. A massive but very quiet and well organised airport.

Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

The only difference I can see between ATPL theory and CPL theory is the IFR comms exam which is one of the easier ones. So I can't quite understand why anyone would choose to do CPL theory rather than full ATPL now.

Actually its around 500 hours of ground-school! From Part FCL:

  1. An approved CPL(A) theoretical knowledge course shall comprise at least 250 hours of instruction.

  2. An approved modular IR(A) course shall comprise at least 150 hours of theoretical knowledge instruction.

  3. An ATP(A) theoretical knowledge course shall comprise at least 750 hours of instruction.

  4. Applicants for an ATPL(A) who complete their theoretical knowledge instruction at a modular course shall: (a) hold at least a PPL(A) issued in accordance with Annex 1 to the Chicago Convention; and complete at least the following hours of theoretical knowledge instruction:

(1) for applicants holding a PPL(A): 650 hours;

(2) for applicants holding a CPL(A): 400 hours;

(3) for applicants holding an IR(A): 500 hours;

(4) for applicants holding a CPL(A) and an IR(A): 250 hours.

  1. An approved MPL theoretical knowledge course shall comprise at least 750 hours of instruction for the ATPL(A) knowledge level, as well as the hours required for theoretical knowledge instruction for the relevant type rating, in accordance with Subpart H.

With all the CAA charges and the fact that credit now has to be given for training conducted in other States, that there will soon be a migration to those States who can offer it cheaper. The EASA standard is the bottom line, apart from the skill test tolerances there is absolutely nothing specified any any EASA document that defines a quantifiable standard or requirement. Cheap and cheerful is the way ahead!

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