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Getting a standalone FAA PPL licence in the UK

Is this still possible to do entirely in the UK and what's involved? (Assuming an existing EASA PPL pilot). I can't find a definitive and/or up-to-date posting of anyone who has done this recently.

I'd expect the list to include: - TSA fingerprinting (is Farnborough still offering that service)? - Taking a single theory test (but where, when and how much notice)? - Meeting all the logbook requirements (especially the 100 NM dual night flight) - Instruction to "fill in the gaps" between UK and US syllabus, e.g. Chandelles, Figure of 8 etc. - Skills Test with an authorised Flight Examiner

As I understand it, I couldn't just take the skills test when in the US for business - you need an M1 visa which requires a day spent hanging around at the Embassy and a lot of advance planning/scheduling. If that wasn't the case, I'd simply look at taking a few days training when next in the US.

I've favoured the "piggyback" 61.75 scheme up to now, but will need to revalidate when changing to an EASA licence (or moving house). I'll probably will stick with that approach, but was wondering what's involved to make it a lifetime FAA PPL.

I am very doubtful that there will be any progress between US and UK authorities to resolve the disruption caused by changing the JAR-PPL to EASA-PPL licence numbering, which renders any piggyback licence invalid.

EGBJ, United Kingdom

I am not aware of any substantive changes, from what you write, or since I did mine in 2004-2006.

The FAA checkride options are limited as always: (1) Janeen Kochan (one of many googled links is here) who comes over here and there, and TAA might know more, or (2) the one you probably know about.

Chandelles and lazy eights are for the FAA CPL only, IIRC. I did them; great fun and highly recommended

The 61.75 is a waste of time, IMHO, except for the occassional flying holiday in the USA.

Administrator
Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

Thanks Peter - I recalled incorrectly that you had taken your FAA PPL test in the USA, so your writeup is helpful.

In addition to the requirements I listed above, you've mentioned that the last 3 hours of instruction must be by an FAA CFI within the last 60 days prior to the skills test.

I found the FAA Practical Test Standards and it appears from a quick skim through that the only non-JAA components are ground reference maneouvres for S-Turns and Turns around a point (Section 6, Tasks B and C)

EGBJ, United Kingdom

In addition to the requirements I listed above, you've mentioned that the last 3 hours of instruction must be by an FAA CFI within the last 60 days prior to the skills test.

I think that's right.

Actually I think it can be done with any ICAO instructor but an FAA CFI has to sign your logbook saying you are ready for the checkride, and I know of people who did that, in fairly unusual circumstances where "everything" was done in the UK and the checkride only in the USA (using an "interesting" line of reasoning to avoid the M1 visa).

However this is completely moot because you won't find an FAA CFI who will sign you off unless he has flown with you, and he may as well do the 3+hrs with you.

The overwhelming chances are that you will need a lot more than 3hrs unless doing everything in the same (your own) plane which, for a UK-airspace checkride, has to be N-reg, due to the "interesting" issues with doing an FAA checkride in a G-reg with a DPE in the RHS who doesn't have a JAR-FCL CPL but is getting paid for it

I don't remember all the PTS but IIRC there was other stuff not done in the UK PPL: soft field and short field takeoffs.

I had a few hundred hours when I went for the FAA PPL but not being N-reg at the time had to do it in a rented PA28-181, and had to fly something like 5-10hrs.

The FAA stuff (PPL and IR) is considerably harder than the JAA stuff. I know there are people who slag off the USA, and some pilot behaviour has not helped, but don't underestimate it. I could have never done the FAA IR in the UK, flying once a week. The only reason I passed was because I was flying 2x a day, 6 days/week, and everybody will be very good after 2 weeks if doing that.

Administrator
Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

I have come back recently from the US having done the PPL and IR over there, so can pass on my experience of the flying and admin requirements.

Farnborough does still do the TSA fingerprinting (I think it's the only UK location now).

Farnborough also administers the single theory test (oddly enough in the same room used for the fingerprinting). It costs £180 and they are held only on Tuesday afternoons. Sometimes there are cancellations but otherwise they seem to have a 3-4 week lead time for a place. One thing to bear in mind is that you need a CFI's endorsement to take the theory test. That's no problem if you do one of the online courses, as they have an automatic printed endorsement when you complete the course. But if you're doing it all without a formal course then you need to factor this requirement in.

As for the flying, Peter's recollection is right - no chandelles or lazy eights. Since, as Peter says, you need a FAA CFI to endorse you for the checkride, you can do the 100nm night flight (which includes a night landing away) as part of accumulating the 3 hrs with CFI whose endorsement you need. There are some 'odd' things on the checkride, but nothing overly difficult with a little practice.

If you go tp the US often on business, I would say that doing enough training over there to 'fill the gaps', plus the checkride, is the most straightforward approach. Last but not least, you don't need an M1 visa. (Maybe you did, but you don't now.) I queried this with the boss of the flight school I used and he said tht it's important to choose a flight school that does Part 61 training only. Part 141 schools do need their students to have M1 visas, even if doing non-commercial training. Schools that do both sometimes require them as they provide a nice little earner. I simply had a tourist visa waiver and the school I used seems to train dozens of foreigners every year.

TJ
Cambridge EGSC

TJ

Thanks for the insight and up-to-date information. Avoiding the need for an M1 visa is a major revelation for me and completely changes the landscape. The incremental costs of doing this during occasional business trips to the US would make this the more attractive and much less costly option.

I found a few webpages explaining the difference between Part 61 and Part 141 here and here.

Also I had overlooked that you'd need to take the final few hours training and skills test in an N reg aircraft. Presumably the FAA CFI (for the last 3 hours) and examiner would need to be different people, although ideally use the same aircraft.

EGBJ, United Kingdom

In essence a Part 141 school is mandatory if you want/need the M1 visa.

From memory, the M1 school had to be a member of SEVIS and only Part 141 schools could be.

A Part 61 school can do all required training however, all the way to ATP, AFAIK. I know of UK pilots who did everything at Part 61 schools, no visa no nothing But that is a grey area, with massive amounts of debate around it.

Also I had overlooked that you'd need to take the final few hours training and skills test in an N reg aircraft.

That was a requirement by all visiting DPEs that I personally recall. Prior to that, FAA checkrides were done in G-regs sometimes, by having a JAA instructor in the RHS and the FAA DPE sitting in the back, but a well known twin Cessna fatal accident (c. 2004?) reportedly caused the CAA to have a quiet word with the FAA to stop this.

Presumably the FAA CFI (for the last 3 hours) and examiner would need to be different people, although ideally use the same aircraft.

Yes; I don't think the DPE can do your training. Absolutely you want to use the same plane, otherwise you are chucking away your currency on type.

Administrator
Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

If you go tp the US often on business, I would say that doing enough training over there to 'fill the gaps', plus the checkride, is the most straightforward approach. Last but not least, you don't need an M1 visa. (Maybe you did, but you don't now.)

Although I'm not a visa expert by far, I agree with this. The visa requirements are defined on "primary purpose". If the primary purpose is a business trip that qualifies for the VWP, then you can enter the US under the VWP and do some incidental flight training too. (Or if the trip is business but you somehow don't qualify for the VWP, you'd need a B-1 visa.)

But I guess you have to be prepared to defend the "primary purpose" of your trip is indeed business. I'd say there's an easy test for this. Suppose the business meeting would be cancelled. Would you still go to the US for the flight training, or would the whole trip be cancelled? (And in reverse: Suppose the weather is too bad to fly. Would you cancel the whole trip, including the business meeting, or would the trip go-ahead anyway, minus the flight training?)

I would suggest the most important duck to get lined up is to get the proposed Part 61 school to agree to it.

If there is any funny business in the way they communicate, just drop them and find another one. You don't want to turn up there and find there is an issue. In fact I might know somebody who can recommend a good Part 61 school (Florida I think) so let me know if you need that.

Many US schools are just not interested in doing anything they regard as non-normal.

Prior to me doing the IR here I had huge problems with another school at Phoenix who messed up the visa paperwork, where I never even visited, but they somehow managed to get my details entered onto the US Immigration computer as "trained to fly but didn't complete" which your average US immigration official will immediately read as hijacker training. Immigration told me only the school can get this removed but the said outfit absolutely refused to co-operate.

So, last time I visited the USA, I got a very unpleasant 3hr detention in an interrogation room full of people who, shall we say, actually did look like terrorists I did eventually find one official who appeared to have a brain and told him that they can easily check on the internet that I completed my training, etc, and he replied US Immigration do not have access to the internet...

I don't know how long this will remain on their computer but for now I am not going to the USA unless I have several hours to waste at the first airport of landing

Administrator
Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

So, last time I visited the USA, I got a very unpleasant 3hr detention in an interrogation

I share the same experience ... Few weeks ago I was returning from Mexico in transint via Chicago back to Europe and I lost 3 hours because a guy at immigration box didn't like my smile which caused me to miss the connection flight to Frankfurt.

LDZA LDVA, Croatia
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