Exploring Commercial Pilot Course Options: Europe or the US?

I have just finished my PPL and am now contemplating my next steps. Although the US is an attractive option due to its English-speaking environment, interesting airspace, internship possibilities, and easier written tests, there are several drawbacks.

Firstly, it is too far away from Moscow and I had to return to Moscow at least twice during my PPL training from April to June. Secondly, transportation may pose a challenge, as I cannot drive to the US in my own car. In Europe I used to easily commute to the airport by myself without renting a car or using public transportation. Thirdly, I am not entirely certain about the FAA license’s applicability outside of the US.

In light of these challenges, meanwhile I have decided to take a distance EASA ATPL theory course. While I’m still gathering information, I found two large services, Bristol Ground School and CATS, and an impressive question bank called AviationExam. I decided to purchase ATPL books from Bristol, and the question banks from both Bristol and AviationExam.

While the course is mainly online, two weeks in a classroom are still required, so I plan to find a good school located in Czech Republic or Poland for the offline portion.

Interestingly, the exam prices vary by country. Although you receive the same license regardless of the country in which you pass your exam, the cost in the UK (yes, in 2017 the UK was still under EASA) will be around $1000, whereas in Poland it will be around $200. As a result, my decision to take the exams in Czech Republic or Poland has become more solid.

While I also considered Hungary and Lithuania, I did not find any good schools for foreigners in Lithuania, and I didn’t see any significant advantages in Hungary compared to Czech Republic or Poland. Some schools in Hungary have attractive rates for commercial time building though.

I am looking for Bristol paper books, because I love old-school paper books. Of course I have electronic subscription, but I’d like to have both. AviationExam and BGS Online question banks are also very helpful.

I have chosen the modular route and ideally I plan to fly in different countries, including Germany, Greece, Spain, Hungary, and the Czech Republic. It all depends on weather, cost, and my availability.

I am waiting for responses from different schools, reading Oxford books, and searching for Bristol books.

I am making progress and moving forward!






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04/09/2017: My First Flight
04/25/2017: EASA PPL written exam (6 exams passed)
05/21/2017: Radio Operator Certificate (Europe VFR)
05/22/2017: EASA PPL written exam (all passed)
05/26/2017: The First Solo!
05/28/2017: Solo cross-country >270 km
05/31/2017: EASA PPL check-ride
07/22/2017: EASA IFR English
08/03/2017: 100 hours TT
12/04/2017: The first IFR flight
12/28/2017: FAA IR written
02/16/2018: FAA IR check-ride
05/28/2018: FAA Tailwheel endorsement
06/04/2018: FAA CPL long cross-country
06/07/2018: FAA CPL written
07/16/2018: FAA CPL check-ride
07/28/2018: FAA CPL ME rating
08/03/2018: FAA HP endorsement
06/03/2019: EASA ATPL theory (6/14)
07/03/2019: EASA ATPL theory (11/14)
07/15/2019: FAA IR IPC
07/18/2019: FAA CPL SES rating
08/07/2019: EASA ATPL theory (done)
10/10/2019: EASA NVFR
10/13/2019: EASA IR/PBN SE
11/19/2019: Solo XC > 540 km
12/06/2019: EASA CPL
12/10/2019: EASA AMEL
02/20/2020: Cessna 210 endorsement
08/30/2021: FAVT validation
05/27/2022: TCCA CPL/IR written
05/31/2022: Radio Operator Certificate Canada