My plan is to work as a commercial pilot in Europe. But, I heard that the training in Europe might be more expensive and harder than in the US.

For example, to get your PPL you have to face some 1000 theoretical questions before even getting on the plane.

A friend of mine who got his licenses in the US told me that there are academies that offer EASA licenses but in a more affordable and "inviting" kind of training.

Is applying for EASA licenses in the US really a better option? (Cost and training.)

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    $\begingroup$ Who told you you need to answer 1000 theoretical questions before starting flight training? That sounds completely made up $\endgroup$ Nov 20, 2016 at 12:57
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    $\begingroup$ Even if your friend is right about the 1000 questions, the requirements for an EASA license don't change based on where you do it. Having said that, flying in the US is indeed much cheaper than in Europe. $\endgroup$
    – Pondlife
    Nov 20, 2016 at 18:50

1 Answer 1


You definitely do not need to answer any theoretical questions before beginning flight training in Europe. In fact pop down to your nearest airfield, find a flight school, and chances are they will get you in the air (even for a trial flight) as soon as they are able.

Whoever told you that may have been thinking of the examinations you need to pass to get your PPL, and while 1000 questions is probably a high estimate, you need to be able to answer exam questions on a bunch of subjects such as Meterology, Air Law, Human factors and radiotelephony. You do this during your flight training, but again there is none of them you need to pass before you can begin.

I am from the UK, and I learned to fly in California. It was before the EASA licenses (In those days they were JAR licenses) but the idea was the same - I was training in the US for a license that was valid in Europe. I had to do the same training, and take the same exams as if I was in Europe learning there was no difference.

On the cost, yes it was slightly cheaper per hour in the US however when you factored in getting there, staying in accommodation and food etc I don't think there was really that much in it. It was more an opportunity (excuse!) to take a 4 week holiday and do nothing but fly every day in great weather (Something which in the UK, at least, is hard to get to do).

Fun fact: I did this 11th October 2001. Conversation at LAX with TSA having explained I'm entering the US as a lone male to learn to fly - "Don't worry Mr C, you don't fit the demographic we're currently looking for".

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    $\begingroup$ As you said, the weather is a massive benefit of some US locations. Learning to fly in many European countries, expect a lot of cancelled lessons for bad weather/lack of visual conditions. And of course having a compressed course means you can concentrate fully on the curiculum and not have to spread it out over months or years of a few hours a week. $\endgroup$
    – jwenting
    Nov 21, 2016 at 10:19
  • $\begingroup$ @jwenting exactly. It could take a couple years to get to 40 hrs in the UK if you fly every few weeks (what with cancelled lessons due to the dreaded weather). It was easy to get to 40 hrs in 4 weeks in SoCal. $\endgroup$
    – Jamiec
    Nov 21, 2016 at 10:21
  • $\begingroup$ And to make things more expensive, that extra time also means a lot more refresher lessons on theory as well as more time per flight needed to get reacquainted with aircraft and procedures. $\endgroup$
    – jwenting
    Nov 21, 2016 at 10:23
  • $\begingroup$ But, the counter argument, was that having returned from SoCal with my PPL, I needed about 10 more hours of instruction in the UK. It's a lot harder to navigate without giant mountains one side,the Pacific the other, and giant highways leading between sparse settlements. Turns out, every green field in the UK looks like the next, and settlements are a little harder to distinguish from one another! $\endgroup$
    – Jamiec
    Nov 21, 2016 at 10:26
  • $\begingroup$ yup, But that's not related to EASA but to area familiarisation and would apply to say a Spanish person moving to the UK as well. $\endgroup$
    – jwenting
    Nov 21, 2016 at 10:28

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