Choose your training route

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You’ve got your medical, you’ve got the skills and you’ve got the money. Now what? It’s time to choose your training route. When it comes to to flight training, you have 2 options. Modular or Integrated. Both have their pro’s and con’s.


Integrated flight training takes around 16-18 months and is completed as one long very intensive program. You will start in a classroom and train for your Air Transport Pilot License (ATPL) exams. There are 14 of these, and they will be covered in a later post. At this time you won’t fly any aircraft.

Once your exams are done and out of the way, you will begin your flight training. Depending on the school you choose, this will most likely happen outside of the UK. Most likely in Arizona, US. or New Zealand. The reason for this is simple. You are going to get much better weather, and therefore be able to progress through the training much quicker than you would in the UK. 

Throughout your flight training, you will be required to take several progress tests. This is instead of taking PPL and CPL skill tests. In total, you will do around 200 hours of flying time.

Once you’ve finished the flight training, you will return to the UK to complete your Multi-Crew Cooperation training. This is based generic jet simulator. You will learn the basics of flying as part of a multi-crew like you would in an airliner.

Examples of schools which offer integrated routes are CAE Oxford or L3Harris.


Modular training can take anywhere from around 18 months to a few years. It all depends on how you choose to study and if you work alongside your training.

You will study in stages. The first part will be your PPL. This consists of around 45 hours of flight training, and 9 multiple choice exams. 

From there you’ll self study and complete your 14 ATPL exams. You’ll also carry out around 100 hours of flight time doing hour building. This is where you hire an aircraft and go out and enjoy some flights. Some flight schools will have a list of routes they recommend.

During your hour building, you’ll also complete your night rating. This will allow you to fly at night. You’re also required to do some Upset Prevention and Recovery Training (UPRT). This is around 5 hours of flight time and covers how to recover the aircraft from “Upset States”

Once your hour building is complete, you will do your Commercial Pilots License (CPL). Whilst similar to the PPL skills test, this has much stricter criteria to pass. You’ll be expected to treat it as if the examiner is a paying customer. 

Finally, you’ll complete your Multi-Engine Piston Rating (MEP). This allows you to fly piston propeller aircraft with more than one engine. You’ll also complete your Multi-Engine Instrument Rating (MEIR). This allows you to fly into the cloud and bad weather.


If you’re planning on applying for airlines, it’ll also be expected that you’ll have completed a Multi Crew Coordination (MCC) and Jet Orientation Course (JOC). These are done on a simulator and are to teach you the very basics of flying a jet as part of a multi-crew environment. Most flying schools will not have the equipment to carry this out, so you may have to book it separately with another company.

Examples of schools which offer a modular route are Skybourne and FTA Global


Generally speaking, modular is cheaper. However, should you require a few extra hours, or would like to use a more modern aircraft, then the costs can quickly add up. Expect the modular route to start from around £70,000. 

Meanwhile integrated will cost you more around the £100,000 mark, but you will do all your training with the same provider (airlines like this) and it can usually be completed quicker with more structure. 

So which do you choose? If you’re confident that you will be able to learn the ATPL theory material quickly and without experiencing the actual flying side. Or if you have previous experience, and want to get to the airlines as quickly as you can, then the integrated route is probably best.

If you want to complete your training in your own time, stay at home in the UK the whole time, or even do it as cost-effectively as possible, then modular is the route for you.

Ultimately, both routes will get you the same license, and no matter what either school tells you Your chances of getting a job at the end are the same regardless!

choose your training route

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