David Learmount/LONDON

A major US flight training organisation has dropped courses that offer training for pilots who want the new European commercial pilot's licence. The move comes in the face of continuing European regulatory confusion.

Since December, FlightSafety International has been advising applicants for its European pilot licence course to look elsewhere or to undergo the US Federal Aviation Administration licence course instead. The organisation has stopped recruiting flying instructors qualified to European Joint Aviation Authorities (JAA) standards. The company declined to comment.

FlightSafety's action results from the fear that it might not be eligible to train European pilots under the new Joint Aviation Requirements for flightcrew licensing (JAR FCL). The regulations are being amended, with the planned implementation date six months away.

The significance of the decision is heightened by the fact that FlightSafety's Vero Beach, Florida, school is one of two US flight training organisations licensed by the UK Civil Aviation Authority to train pilots for UK commercial pilot's licences. The Western Michigan University College of Aviation is the other.

FlightSafety, the world's biggest pilot training organisation, had seen CAA approval as a way of preparing to enter the European training market from the JARFCL implementation date of 1 July. As it stands, however, clauses in JAR FCL require that flight training organisations licensed under the new rules will have to have their main place of business in Europe. The uncertainty as to whether this condition will be dropped is behind the FlightSafety decision.

British Airways, which has contracted some of its ab initio pilot training to Western Michigan well beyond the JAR FCL implementation date, says it will continue with its plan.

Source: Flight International