Guide to Getting a Commercial Pilot’s License in Europe

Jul 2, 2021

Getting paid for doing something you love is everyone’s dream. If you’re a pilot, chances are, you’ve thought about going commercial. In order to secure an airline job (and your flying career), you’ll need to get an airline transport pilot’s license, also known as an ATPL.

The requirements to get an ATPL may vary from area to area. If you live in Europe, you’ll need a commercial license that complies with European standards. Before you get started, it’s important to learn what requirements you must fulfill, and what is needed to apply.

Will an ATPL Make a Difference?

For many people, flying is a beloved pastime. However, without a commercial license, there are no career options available for you. If you want flying to become more than an expensive hobby, you will need to invest in a commercial license.

Your best bet is to take an ATPL course, which we’ll discuss in more detail later. A commercial license will allow you to fly as a co-pilot for commercial airlines, with an eye on a future career.

If you’re interested in learning more about commercial pilot’s licenses, read on.

Standards for Qualification

Just like any course, commercial pilot’s licenses require minimum standards to apply, before you can begin to train as a commercial pilot.

Holding a frozen ATPL is usually the first step.

You must be over eighteen, and fulfill basic standards for CPL application, which we’ll discuss later. First, however, you’ll likely need to obtain an integrated ATPL (integrated Airline Transport Pilot’s License).

Getting Your ATPL

An ATPL requires a minimum of 200 hours of flight time among other requirements the integrated course takes you from inexperienced to confident. What should you expect from an ATPL course?

  • Full-time

It’s important to realize that an ATPL course is not a quick training course. This course takes around 14-24 months and is a full-time course. If you want to get a commercial pilot’s license, you will need to commit. This course requires a schedule. You’ll also have to wear a uniform. This is a necessary step to gaining your commercial pilot’s license in Europe.

  • Latest-generation Device Training

Technology and flying protocols change frequently, and it’s important to stay up to date with the latest devices. An ATPL may be expensive, but you’re guaranteed to learn the most relevant flying techniques. This will come in handy when you go on to secure your MCC – the final step in gaining a Frozen ATPL.

  • ATPL Theoretical Knowledge Training

While a CPL course may include a theoretical section, you can bypass this with a frozen ATPL. An ATPL course will give you all the theoretical knowledge necessary. So, when you go on to your CPL, you can move straight on to the practical part of the training.

  • Commercial Pilot’s License with Instrument Rating

An IR is a necessary step for a CPL. Many CPL courses require you to have an Instrument Rating before you apply.

  • Multi-Crew Cooperation Completion Certificate

This is another necessary step for an ATPL.

So, what should you expect from the training itself? Some fast-track integrated ATPL courses take can take as little as 56 weeks. This period can include up to 800 hours of ground school training of a 36-week period and over 200 hours flown during 48 weeks.

The 36 weeks of ground school focuses on 14 theoretical subjects of which 8 weeks are basic foundation training to prepare students to start flying in month 3. Students will then receive 120 hours of VFR flight training, in a single-piston aircraft.

Next comes Instrument IFR training, MEP (Multi-Engine Piston) in a twin-engine aircraft, CPL, and UPRT (Upset Prevention Recovery Training).

The final part of the training consists of advanced handling skills and learning how to fly in a multi-crew environment. The phase prepares students to fly in airlines and is called the MCC (Multi-Crew Cooperation).

Of course, you must meet minimum requirements to even be considered for an ATPL course. Here are several qualifications you must meet:

  • Over 17 to submit an application, and over 18 to begin training.
  • Fluent in spoken and written English.
  • 5 GSCEs (or their equivalent) in a grade C or above. These GSCEs should include Science, Mathematics, and English Language.
  • In good health and eligible for an EASA Class 1 Medical certificate.
  • Have the appropriate VISA to live and work in the UK or Europe.
  • Produce a suitable criminal record check.

Remember, obtaining an ATPL is usually necessary before applying for a commercial pilot’s license. Once you’ve successfully completed all 56 weeks of training, you will hold an EASA Frozen ATPL, an EASA CPL, and Multi-Engine Instrument rating ME-IR with PBN and MCC certification. Upon graduating you will be able to go straight into the airlines as a First Officer.

Turning Your Passion into a Career

Getting your ATPL is certainly not an easy or cheap process. It takes time and money and requires commitment. However, if flying is your passion, working as a commercial airline pilot is the best way to combine your love of flying with a career option.

To learn more about FlyBy’s integrated ATPL course which can take you from no experience to ATPL certified in as little as 14 months for just € 74,900 click here.

Are you ready to get started?