JAA Flight Training in America


Wouldn’t it be nice if you could up sticks from the cold and dark recesses of Europe and do your flight training in walmer climes – perhaps with turquoise ocean, white beaches and luxurious hotels? “But wouldn’t that mean you couldn’t fly back in Europe because you would have a flying licence stamped from ‘Walmer Climes Aviation Authority’?” I hear you ask.

No! You can go to America (or perhaps more specifically, Florida)!

Okay, so there is a distinct lack of that turquoise ocean – but there are rednecks and big trucks and drive through pharmacy’s and guns in supermarkets and stuff which is all terribly exciting.

Why would you want to go?

Well, there are a number of reasons. The main reason used to be financial – with fuel so cheap, and the dollar weaker than a piece of soggy tissue, you could pick up a Private Pilot Licence realistically for about £4500, including accommodation, living costs and flights over there. That compared quite nicely with the UK price of around £6000. Sadly in these times of economic woe it isn’t quite as glorious as that anymore – and prices might be a little bit less but they are much more equal now.

The main positive for JAA training in America now is that the weather is reasonable all year round, and all the schools are geared up towards intensive style training courses. This means if you are busy person who can’t get much time off from your busy job in which you are always incredibly busy, you might very well be able to do an entire PPL course within a period in which you could realistically take as holiday. It is also good for people who learn best in a short period of time.

Coming back to the financial aspect, completing your course in a shorter amount of time than would otherwise be possible in the UK means you may very well need fewer lessons, as everything stays fresher in your head. This compares to trying to do your training in the Europe, where the weather is never guaranteed and there could be large gaps between flights, so you will spend part of your lesson redoing the stuff you learnt in the last lesson. This can get frustrating, and can also mean that you will need more than 45 hours to get it all done, contributing to shrivelly wallet syndrome.

Another fine Summer day in Chissick

Another fine Summer day in Chissick

Why wouldn’t you want to go?

Oh no! You are having an awful time in the Florida. The rednecks arn’t all they are cracked up to be, you’ve driven through many a pharmacy and it has now lost all of it’s allure, or perhaps you are not enjoying your flight school (more likely). In this scenario, you will be a little restricted in your choices.

First of all, assuming that you are doing actual flight training (not just hour building), you will have had to obtain a visa. This will have the flight school stamped on it that you are allowed to attend, so you cannot just go to any other JAA flight school in America in order to complete your training without going through the visa process again. So you are tied to the flight school you choose.

Some of the schools also require that you pay up front in order to commence training, and charge you a percentage of this if you don’t complete the course, (and, we can only assume, do an evil laugh once you are out of earshot).

You want to leave before finishing your course? I'm sure we can arrange something

You want to leave before finishing your course? Well, I'm sure we can figure out something.

All that more or less jails you into that school. Compared to the UK, where you can move willy nilly to any flight school you want in the country without the need to climb bureaucracy mountain, and where you can pay as you go, this is not so good.

So that is something to think about, and it begs the question, will you risk it for a biscuit?

From a flight training point of view, you will also need to think about the fact that all the charts, procedures, and airspace are completely different when compared to UK flying. While the aircraft and the way you fly them is pretty much the same, the way in which you go about flying is different, so you will need to do some lessons on returning to Europe. Again, your wallet will shrivel at this prospect.

Where can you go?

There are only a few schools permitted by the CAA and US immigration to provide visa’s and flight training to European pilots on a JAA course. These are:

  1. eftEuropean Flight Training
  2. naplesNaples Air Center
  3. oftOrlando Flight Training
  4. obaEuro American School of Aviation

Click on the names to splurge their information and review pages all over the screen. You will also see links to their website, so you can find out about how much they charge and what is included.

What can you do?

You can do any course you want (PPL, CPL, ME, IMC etc.) in America, apart from the Instrument Rating. This is because you must conduct your IR skills test in European Airspace. Visit the school pages above to check out the courses they offer.

Don’t forget, you can find out about what is going to be on your flight training course, be it PPL or MCC, by visiting our course guide!

Be aware of…

Based on my own experiences of flight training in Florida, you will need to add a little bit onto the minimum quoted course completion time (eg. go for four weeks on a three week course).

Also be aware that not all the prices are the same for the course you are interested in, because they are not quoting for the same stuff! Some schools include accomodation, some don’t. Some have fuel surcharges, some don’t. Make sure you scower the websites!

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3 Responses to “JAA Flight Training in America”

  1. hi im mohammed hyder i want to pailot training

  2. Phil says:

    I have also found Eagle Jet International.

    They are right next to Kendal-Tamiami Airport.
    I trained in ADF Airways in the same airport where i completed my FAA PPL in 64hours in 6 weeks including bad weather – yes you will get bad weather in Miami.

    I am waiting to hear back from them – as they advertise JAA certification.
    Does anyone know of them or have any exeprience with them?

  3. profpilot says:

    Hi Phil,

    You can see a list of all schools outside of the UK approved for training by the CAA in this document (page 5). As you can see, Eagle Jet is not in that list, so they probably have a partner school. Also looking at that list, it would appear I have some updating to do…

    Haven’t had a massive look at them, but it would appear that the JAA CPL/ME is conducted at a different school (one of the ones located in Florida in the above list), and the IR is done in the UK.

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