Sir - As a licensed US Federal Aviation Administration commercial pilot, I support the plea for international standards for flight training in the article "Unique Internationalism" (Flight International, 8-14 May, P3). There are some points which need taking up, however.

Firstly, there is the argument that a UK Civil Aviation Authority-licensed pilot trained abroad cannot adapt to the "unique UK flying environment". How, then, is a CAA pilot trained in the UK going to perform when he/she is out of UK airspace?

Secondly, turning to flight-training quality, it is stated that "...UK students come from non-UK airlines interested in quality, despite cost". The fact is, that it is impossible to find employment with a licence issued in a non-European Union state, because government institutions protect the monopoly of the flight-training schools. I can watch US airliners take off from Europe, but, unless I take all the exams again, I cannot even get a conversion for a Dutch private pilot's licence with my FAA commercial and instructor licences.

There seems to be only one solution and that is to "go with the flow" and get first-hand experience on the famous European quality licence. This quality seems to be expressed in the quantity of money paid to become one of the selected few to memorise a quantity of nonsense and technical mumbo-jumbo intended for aircraft designers, rather than for pilots. The actual flying (except for the "unique environment", of course) is not that different. With that quality licence, the pilot can apply to a major European airline, but quickly discovers that he/she lacks experience on heavy twins, or jets.

There are always nice companies which will let you fly one of their aircraft, for a nice price. The downside is that most of these operate in the USA, far from the unique UK/European flying environment - which brings us back to square one.


Veldhoven, the Netherlands


Source: Flight International