Overview of Integrated Flight Training
Integrated training basically means that you complete all of your commercial pilot training on a full-time course at an accredited flight school. This takes you from zero flying hours to holding a frozen ATPL in about 14-18 months. The training is intensive and requires full commitment from start to finish.
Although the course is designed for zero-hour flight time students, it does not include those with previous flight experience after applying. In fact, a few hours of prior instruction can be beneficial. Many students enroll in an integrated flight training course after they have already earned their PPL.
In the UK, integrated training is specifically approved and regulated by the CAA and in Europe by the EASA. There used to be the three “big” flight schools that offered this type of flight training; Oxford Aviation Academy (OAA), Flight Training Europe Jerez (FTE Jerez), and L3 Aviation Academyhowever, in recent years this list has grown into a more comprehensive list of training providers.
All integrated schools require you to go through a selection process that includes aptitude tests, math and English tests, group exercises, and a competency interview.
What airlines want…
Many airlines say they prefer graduates of the integrated flight school. They suggested that if you can get through the fast-paced training and the very steep learning curve associated with on-board training, the airline can be pretty confident that you won’t have any issues with subsequent type rating and line training. .
Some airlines such as British Airways only recruit low-time cadets from the four CAA-approved integrated schools. Airlines such as British Airways, Virgin Atlantic, easyJet, TUI, Emirates and Qatar Airways all run tutored courses as part of these courses.
The integrated training is designed to prepare you for employment as a commercial airline pilot from day one. You must wear a uniform and learn to fly the aircraft in a manner similar (as far as possible) to a commercial airliner.
The training is well structured and the standard is considered very high. Course structure varies from school to school, but all end with ground-taught theory, basic single-engine flight training before moving on to more advanced instrument flight rules training. on the multi-engine.
Which flight school is right for you?
The best way to choose the right school for you is to visit them. Each offers a different training environment and facilities, and the program layout tends to have some differences. For example, at Flight Training Europe (ETP Jerez) students have their accommodation and meals on campus. It can be very useful in terms of practicality and convenience. Not having to worry about cooking dinner after a long day of ground school, or hanging around in flight operations all day waiting for the weather to clear up are very handy conveniences.
You also get an on-site pool and bar, making it easy to unwind on your days off. Others may find it a little claustrophobic as during the fourteen months of training you have very little free time and so much time living and working in one place, especially overseas, can be daunting.
Benefits of Integrated Flight Training
- Some airlines recruit directly from integrated flight training organizations. For example, easyJet recruits directly from the OAA and the L3 Aviation Academy.
- After a training outfit, you are often pooled until an airline recruits you.
- It’s a crash course that airlines appreciate because it demonstrates you can handle a steep learning curve.
- All training is provided by a single flight training organization. This means an accurate record can be kept of your flight training performance, something airlines appreciate.
- Integrated flight training organizations must be approved by the state regulatory agency. This pretty much guarantees a high level of pilot training.
- The quality and consistency of flight training is often better.
- You will probably get your ATPL(f) license sooner.
- You don’t need any flight experience to have the necessary licenses to fly a commercial aircraft as a first officer.
- There are potentially additional accreditations that could be available through an integrated flight training course, such as a bolt on aviation degrees allowing you to earn a BSc at the same time.
- Flight schools often offer support to their graduates until they get a job with an airline. Some schools offer assessment preparation sessions and practice simulation assessments.
- Some flight schools have performance guarantee systems because of the confidence in their selection process. This means that if you don’t meet the standard required to obtain various licenses, you could get your money back.
Disadvantages of Integrated Flight Training
- Usually, it is much more expensive than the modular pilot training course.
- You complete the training on a strict schedule, i.e. less flexibility.
- In reality, you cannot work in any other role during the course, so you would need cash or a loan to fund the course in advance.
- There is more risk in the sense that if there was a significant global event that affected immediate airline recruitment (such as the Covid-19 pandemic), you would commit to further training even if the prospects of job seemed bleak.
- You cannot pay as you go in the traditional sense. Instead, you pay part up front and then in installments during flight training.
- The finances needed to pay for pilot training can be difficult or even impossible to obtain for some people.
If you are interested in integrated flight training, you can view our specific list of integrated flight training organizations. This will help you choose the right flight school for you.