ICAO Licence Conversions

CPL Conversions (Aircraft & Helicopter)

Pilots with an International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Commercial Pilot Licence (Aircraft) [CPL(A)] or Commercial Pilot Licence (Helicopter) [CPL(H)] can convert to an EASA CPL or, with sufficient experience, be upgraded to an EASA ATPL on licence issue.

Groundschool Requirements

If you hold a non-EASA CPL, or an ATPL but you are following the CPL conversion route, you need to do an approved groundschool course and then pass all fourteen ground exams: there is no credit given.

Fixed-Wing Aircraft Licences

To be issued with an EASA ATPL(A) you will need 1500 hours flight time, including:

•500 hours on multi-pilot aircraft;
•250 hours pilot in command (or 500 hours pilot on command under supervision; or 70 hours pilot in command and 180 hours pilot in command under supervision);
•200 hours cross country;
•75 hours instrument time; and
•100 hours night flying.

If you don’t have this level of experience you can still do the conversion but you will be issued an EASA CPL(A). When you meet the experience requirements you can upgrade it to an ATPL(A).

Flying Requirements
There are two tests you will need to complete: the CPL Skills Test and the Instrument Rating (IR). The CPL Skills Test is a handling check flown on a complex aircraft, defined as an aircraft with retractable gear and a variable pitch prop. If you are converting a CPL(A), there is a minimum training requirement before you attempt the CPL Skills Test. There are different minimum training hours required in different EASA member states, so check with your flight school before make a decision about which to use. If you already hold an ICAO IR(A), you must complete at least 15 hours before the IR test, up to 10 of which can be flown in the simulator. It’s quite common for pilots to need more than the minimum training hours, so budget for extra training (and time). If you have never held an Instrument Rating, you must complete 45 hours of training before the test, up to 30 hours of which can be done in a simulator. When comparing prices for CPL training or an IR course, look deeper than the hourly rate; some schools charge only airborne time, some add a fixed element to account for taxiing time, some charge on engine running time and instrument approach fees may or may not be included. After completing the instrument rating, your final task is a Multi-Crew Cooperation (MCC) course. Most airlines expect you to complete MCC training before they will consider you for a job. An MCC course is not required if you have spent more than 500 hours operating multi-pilot aircraft.

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Helicopter Licences

To be issued with an EASA ATPL(H) you will need 1000 hours flight time, including:

•350 hours on multi pilot helicopters;
•250 hours pilot in command (or 250 hours pilot in command under supervision; or 100 hours pilot in command and 150 hours pilot in command under supervision);
•200 hours cross country;
•30 hours instrument time; and
•100 hours night flying

If you don’t have this experience, you can still complete the conversion but you will  be issued with a CPL(H). When you meet the requirements, you can upgrade it to an ATPL(H), hopefully without taking any more ground exams or flight tests.

Flying requirements
You will need to pass two flight tests, the skills test and, if you want an ATPL(H)IR, the Instrument Rating (IR). The skills test is a handling check. If you are converting a CPL(H), there is no formal training requirement but you will probably need 10 to 15 hours to get used to the profile and the aircraft. If you already hold an ICAO IR(H) and want to convert it, you must complete at least 15 hours before the test, up to ten of which can be flown in the simulator. It’s unusual for a conversion to be achieved in the minimum time. If you have never held an Instrument Rating, you must complete 50 hours of training before the test, up to 40 hours of which can be done in a simulator.

Medical Certificate

Your licence will be issued by the same EASA Member State which issues your Class One EASA Medical Certificate. In contrast, you may do your ground and flight training and tests in a combination of EASA Member States. There are some differences between ICAO States’ medical requirements, so it makes sense to start with a Class One medical before committing time and money to your training.

ICAO Licence Conversions

Pilots with an International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Commercial Pilot Licence (Aircraft) [CPL(A)] or Commercial Pilot Licence (Helicopter) [CPL(H)] can convert to an EASA CPL or, with sufficient experience, be upgraded to an EASA ATPL on licence issue. Click the link to see our latest flight training rates.

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