Dear Captain Lim,
I am an Embry-Riddle student and a flight instructor in Florida. I am currently in my second year of University and was just considering the future of my pilot career. I am originally from Texas but of Filipino descent.
My question is, what are the chances of me becoming a pilot for an Asian carrier? What do you recommend that I should do before pursuing a career as a pilot in Asia?
I would assume that you will finally graduate from the Embry-Riddle University with a FAA ATP (Airline Transport Pilot) Certificate. What are your chances of becoming an airline pilot for an Asian carrier? My answer is - very slim to practically nil. You see, your US FAA ATP (sad to say :-( ) is not equivalent to the UK JAR or European JAA ATPL. Yes, most Asian carriers follow the UK or JAA ATPL, but some Gulf countries do recognize your FAA ATP.
What can you do? Well, you can convert your FAA ATP to a JAA ATPL. To do so, you would need to take 14 ground school subjects (not as easy as the FAA exams), followed by a CPL skills test conversion, the IR conversion course of 15 hours, ending with an Instrument Rating skills test and finally, the MCC (multi-crew course). The nearest place that you can do this conversion is in Canada - across the Northern border.
This detailed thread from the Google Answers here has more on this topic.
To upgrade an ICAO CPL to a JAA CPL
The JAA ATPL hours required are:
100 hrs P1 20 hrs cross-country ? to include a route of at least 300 nm with two full stop landings at aerodromes other than that of departure. 10 hrs instrument training ? 5 hrs may be on ground, 5 hours at night comprising at least 3 hours of dual instruction, including at least 1 hour of cross-country navigation, and 5 solo take-offs and 5 full-stop landings. Total hours required for issue of license = 200
You must have achieved the required 200 hours flight time for the issue of a JAA CPL. You will get about 10 to 20 hrs doing the upgrade, so need to start with about 180 minimum.
You will then need to study for and pass all the ground exams, by following an approved JAA course ? probably a standard 650 hours course. This can be done by distance learning or full time.
Next is a CPL skills check. It is not a formal course, just sufficient training to enable you to pass the JAA CPL skills test. This may be 2/3 hours or "if you can*t fly" a lot longer.
Next will be a twin type rating - again it may be a quick check if you gained one previously, or a 6 hour course if starting from scratch. If you are not a UK citizen you have to prove you can speak English! This is done by taking the FRTOL (RT license).
Next you will need a minimum 15 hour IR upgrade course, again this may be longer if your IR skills are not up to scratch. Finally you round it all off with the Multi-Crew Course.
The hours required for a full JAA ATPL are:
Total Time 1500 hrs, to include: 500hrs pilot in a Multi-crew aircraft. 250 Hrs P1 (or 100 P1C and 150 P1u/s). 200 Hrs cross country. 75 hrs Instrument flight. 100 hrs Night
This thread more accurately explains the processes one must take to convert their FAA ATP to a JAA ATPL. There are other options to convert your ATP certificate that may not be applicable to you.
Once you have converted your FAA ATP to the ICAO ATPL (JAR/JAA), your chances of pursuing a career with any Asian carriers are better. It is quite a tedious, tough and expensive process.
Wish you all the best!