EASA Proposal Will Affect US Flight Schools

By Scott Spangler on October 10th, 2010

EASA US flight schools that cater to students from members of the European Union should be aware this source of students may soon dry up. The October IAOPA (Europe) e-newsletter reports that EASA is proposing that pilots will need a JAA/EASA license to fly there. A pilot who lives in Europe but holds a US certificate and/or rating must convert them to the JAA/EASA equivalent, which involves several knowledge tests and medical exams.

The conversion process isn’t easy or cheap for any ticket, but the EASA proposal hammers the IFR flyers, IAOPA says. The planned EASA equivalent rating requires seven written exams and “flight training which will probably cost tens of thousands of euros even for pilots who’ve been flying safely for decades” on a US instrument rating.

If these new requirements come to pass, US flight schools can kiss European students goodbye. For nearly two decades EASA has been trying to stem the flow of students heading to America for affordable (compared to the cost of training there) training. It seems they will succeed this time.

Given the cost of flying in Europe, I doubt that, if enacted, the EASA regs will achieve its unspoken goal: increase enrollment at EU flight schools. The result will surely be the same anywhere bureaucrats act with short-sighted self-interest: that business dies.

Because there is no reliable data on students learning to fly in America, I’ve been unable to unearth the number of Europeans who’ve earned certificates and ratings here (and hoping for a clue in the number of aviation-specific F-1 and M-1 visas issued has proven fruitless).

Anecdotal information suggests that the FAA cumulatively issues several hundred (and maybe even a thousand or more) student pilot and private pilot certificates to Europeans each year. Perhaps we’ll have a more accurate number after the new EASA regs go into effect and we can compare the number of certificates issued before and after. –Scott Spangler

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3 Responses to “EASA Proposal Will Affect US Flight Schools”

  1. Rob Mark Says:

    I remember years ago when I wrote for a magazine called “OMNI,” a science zine published by the Penthouse folks. No dirty pictures, just some solid science reporting.

    A story always stuck with me … heck, must have been 20 years ago, but it provided a timeline of the world, the way the magazine’s editors saw things at least.

    One fact that stuck me was the mention that sometime by the middle of this century, the United States ceased to be a world power. Never happen I thought.

    But as I see the way Europe is uniting – yes, despite the fact that they are still somewhat disfunctional at times – and the way they shoved emissions trading down our throats, I have begun to wonder about that OMNI story.

    Now comes this current plan that Scott wrote about that may well spell the end of the usefulness of U.S. pilot certificates – and the related training dollars – and it looks to me like one more nail in the coffin.

    But maybe I’m just being paranoid huh?

  2. Scott Spangler Says:

    Maybe my mood is the result of an overdose of negative political ads and Americans general inability to get along with anyone, even ourselves, but you think we’ll actually make it to the middle of this century?

    Consider this, given US performance during any disaster in recent memory, what do you think the Chilean miners’ chances of rescue would have been in the US had been in charge?

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