Hi Capt Lim,
I'm really interested to embark on a flying career but I'm in a dilemma as to which school to choose. I heard that there are some schools in the United States that are offering CPL courses but I'm not too sure whether they conform to the CAAS guidelines.
Moreover, I've heard that SQ doesn't recognize the FAA license. Is that true?
And which schools would you recommend (in the States)? Also, what are the things that I should look out for when choosing a school to enroll in?
Thanks for your advice. Really appreciate it!
If you are interested to become an airline pilot in Singapore, I would suggest that you go to a flying school in the United Kingdom or Australia as their licenses are less of a hassle in terms of conversion to a local one.
Yes, SQ or rather the CAAS (Civil Aviation Authority Singapore) does not recognize the US FAA ATP license per se. So you have to spend more money and time to make the American license valid before you can be legally employed in any Singapore-based airlines.
To be issued with a Singaporean PPL, CPL or ATPL you have to satisfy the local requirements. In fact the exams and the rules governing its issue are loosely based on the UK system.
However, subject to the applicants' experience, CAAS will, in some instances, accept FAA and JAA/UK licenses and issue a Singaporean license on the strength of the foreign license - but this is mainly for direct entry captains and well qualified first officers.
If you were trained in Europe with the JAA ATPL, then from 1st Jan 2007, CAAS has recognized the JAA ATPL theory from any JAA member state, but you must have a full ATPL and not a frozen ATPL.
The only exam that you will have to take is the Singapore Air Law and probably 1 or 2 additional papers depending on the strength of your license. However, you must show your JAA theory results, the aircraft rating and Instrument check ride report. If you do not fall under this category, then you may have to do a conversion, almost similar to the requirements for the conversion from a FAA ATP to the JAA ATPL, shown below :-
ATP to JAA ATPL
Hold 1500hrs of which 500hrs is in FAR25 or FAR23 certified multi crew aircraft, of which you need 250hrs in any aircraft type as PIC or 100 PIC under supervision
Hold a medical Class 1 JAA
Pass ALL 14 ATPL exams
Undertake training as recommended by a Approved schools Chief Ground Instructor (in other words you can do it quickly or over a long time, you have no requirement to sit through the 770 hour long course)
Undertake a type rating course at a JAA approved training provider
Complete a ATPL skills test with a United Kingdom CAA examiner
In Australia, the Singapore Flying College (SFC) Perth issues a CASA (Australian) CPL which meets the CAAS (Singapore) standards. That is why a CASA CPL will be easier to convert to a Singapore CPL. Unfortunately SFC trains mainly SQ cadet pilots.
Even if you have acquired a FAA license from any American flying school, according to CAAS, the conversion to a Singaporean ATPL is only possible when you can show that you have been employed by a local (Singapore) airline.
So you can see that the route to being an airline pilot in Singapore is a long and winding one unless you are a SIA sponsored cadet pilot.
As regards to choosing a good flying school and what to look for in choosing the school, I have answered them previously here.