Pilot training in the U.K. and Europe.

How to become a pilot in the U.K. and Europe

Making the decision to become a pilot with L3Harris is a life-changing step towards an exciting and rewarding career - being an airline pilot is probably the best job in the world! Flying passengers around the globe in an office above the clouds with spectacular views is a job that’s hard to beat! Here at L3Harris we are dedicated to helping our cadets secure their dream role as a Co-Pilot with a commercial airline.

The aviation courses we offer at our global airline academies are all slightly different. This page will provide an overview on how to become an Airline Pilot in the United Kingdom via a UK CAA (Civil Aviation Authority) training course, or Europe via an EASA (European Aviation Safety Agency) approved European flight training programme.

The journey to becoming a pilot whether it be UK CAA or EASA certified is both an exciting and challenging one. It takes an average of 18 months to 2 years to complete your flight school training, giving the aviation industry time to recover from recent global events, before cadets embark on their rewarding careers.

The type of training programme you choose to undertake will depend on your ultimate career goal. Many of our cadets choose an L3Harris Programme such as our Integrated ATPL programme, meaning they can select which airline they apply to at the end of training. This particular course is designed for cadets with little to no flying experience and trains them for a rewarding career on the flight deck.

Other cadets prefer greater flexibility and apply for our Modular ATPL training programme allowing them to train as a co-pilot at their own pace by completing course modules individually. Modular ATPL programmes offer cadets the opportunity to work between modules to raise funds to pay for future training.

Which Integrated ATPL course is right for you?




Cost of training



All training and equipment


✓ (excludes Flight Bag)

Airfield fees

Air travel between training locations during the course

Training Standard


License issue*

Access to world-renowned airline placement pool

Accommodation throughout course

    Further information

  • *License issue

      On successful completion of the course you will obtain a frozen ATPL license issued by the UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), Irish Aviation Authority (IAA) or the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA). You may need to undertake further training or conversion training in order to use the privileges of the license in other jurisdictions. Please contact your national authority for more information. Additional charges will apply if you choose to study for the IAA license.

      Please contact our Pilot Careers Advice team for more information through the link below.

      Submit an enquiry now

  • **Table A

      Table A defines the additional training, over and above the syllabus requirements, that is included within the fees, should you need to repeat a lesson or a test. However if during training you need further additional hours above this amount then additional fees and charges will apply at the point required.

      • Ground School - The repeat sitting of one ground school module. We currently have an excellent first-time pass rate of 97%. So it is unlikely cadets will need to retake any modules but in the event they do, our Training Standard will cover this
      • Ground School Examinations - 3 additional attempts of ATPL Examinations (in total). Cadets training on our ATPL Essential course will be required to cover the costs of resitting ATPL Examinations themselves
      • Flying / Simulator Training - 10 hours total additional training
Train in the UK for your CAA or EASA Integrated ATPL license

Discover the journey you will take to become a UK CAA or EASA certified pilot at our UK & European Academies.

Nothing comes close to the exhilaration of airline flying and the views from what could possibly be the best office in the world. We look forward to welcoming you to L3Harris and helping you to launch your Airline Pilot career.

Discover our UK Integrated ATPL courses
Train in Portugal for your EASA Integrated ATPL license

Taking place in Ponte de Sor, Portugal, this Integrated ATPL course will take you from little or no experience to qualified commercial pilot at one of the largest and best-equipped flight schools in Europe. On successful graduation cadets will qualify with a frozen ATPL license ready to start their flying careers at one of Europe’s major airlines. This really could be the start of a rewarding career flying commercial passenger or cargo aircraft.

Discover our Portugal Integrated ATPL course
Modular ATPL courses now available!

We offer a modular pilot training route which enables cadets to train to become a pilot with the flexibility to learn in bitesize chunks and pay as they train.

The modular course includes everything required to become a commercial pilot in manageable chunks, from Private Pilot’s License (PPL) onwards.

Learn about our Modular courses

Training journey

Stage 1: Research Pilot Training Programmes

With so many routes to becoming a pilot in the U.K. and Europe, it can feel difficult to know where to start researching. From integrated and modular training courses to structured programmes specific to major airlines, there are plenty of pilot training programmes to choose from.

Many of our trainee pilots say the blog posts from current and alumni cadets helped them get a feel for L3Harris Airline Academy, as well as attending our events where you have the opportunity to speak with our careers advice team and professional pilots.

Our L3Harris Airline Academy is renowned for the quality of its pilot training. What sets us apart is our state-of-the-art training facilities, modern aircraft with the latest aviation flight deck technology and our team of Flight Instructors and Theoretical Knowledge instructors with thousands of hours flying experience between them. Find out more about funding airline pilot training at L3Harris.

Stage 2: Application

After researching pilot training programmes and selecting the suitable route for you, we advise all prospective pilots to take their time, read the Application & Selection documents carefully and check that they meet the entry criteria before submitting their application. Your application will be screened by our selection team and, if successful, we will invite you to attend a selection day.

Submit an enquiry now
Stage 3: Pilot Cadet Selection

We won’t sugar coat it, our selection days to become a pilot are challenging but as long as you are prepared for the day there is no need to be nervous. We will only accept applicants onto our pilot training programmes who have the potential to take command of a passenger aircraft and we will assess you on both the technical and non-technical skills required to become a commercial pilot.

You can find further information on our selection process and how to prepare below.

Stage 4-7: Pilot Training

Stage 4: Ground school
Once through selection you will embark on the initial phase of flight training known as Ground School. You will meet your fellow course mates at one of our approved training locations and complete your classroom and computer-based theoretical knowledge training as part of your training to become a pilot.

Stage 5: Foundation flight training
Often the most exciting stage of the course, you will take to the skies, learning to fly single engine piston aircraft at one of our global training centers. The exact aircraft, location and duration of this phase will depend on your programme.

Stage 6: Commercial and instrument flight training
The content of this training will depend on the course you have chosen, but will involve single and multi-engine aircraft and assessments in our Full Flight Simulators.

Stage 7: Intermediate flight training
If you are on a Multi-Pilot License (MPL) route, this will involve aircraft type-specific training on the plane you will be flying with that particular airline. On our Airline Transport Pilot License (ATPL) route you will take our world-renowned Airline Qualification Course (AQC), which includes Multi-Crew Cooperation (MCC), Crew Resource Management (CRM) and Jet Orientation Training (JOT).

Stage 8-10: Airline Phases

Stage 8: (ATPL students only) Airline Placement
Eligible students will be placed in our graduate placement pool where our dedicated team will work to secure you employment as a Co-Pilot with a global airline.

Stage 9: Advanced pilot training
You will undertake aircraft type-specific training to prepare you to fly for your airline. You will also complete Line Orientated Experience (LOE) and line check with your airline employer as well as safety, emergency and procedures training.

Stage 10: Junior Co-Pilot
Congratulations! You are now employed as a Junior Co-Pilot, sitting in the right hand seat of the flight deck flying passengers on commercial aircraft. L3Harris can provide all the further training you need to progress your career up to the rank of Captain as well as other airline training courses.

Where you will train to become a pilot

If you are successfully selected to become a pilot in the UK or wider Europe your training could take place at one or more of UK CAA or EASA approved L3Harris flight schools in the UK and Portugal. You may be based in one location for the duration of your training but it is likely you will be required to travel between locations as you progress through your pilot training course. The cost of travelling between L3Harris' global academies will be covered as part of your training fee.

Theoretical Knowledge training (Ground School) is in the UK at our London Training Centre near Gatwick. Flight training is in Bournemouth or Cranfield in the UK and Ponte de Sor in Portugal (subject to capacity and scheduling).

Explore our approved flight schools
Pilot training courses

Becoming a pilot in the U.K. or Europe means your pilot training will be regulated by the UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) or the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and your training will be tailored to meet UK CAA or EASA requirements. The other main regulatory body is the Federal Aviation Agency (FAA) which governs flight training in the U.S.A. Find out the cost of our pilot training here.

Discover our pilot training courses
Your future pilot career

Most British or European applicants who apply to become a pilot with L3Harris aspire to fly for a commercial airline such as British Airways, easyJet or Ryanair.

We have relationships with airlines across the globe and eligible students graduate from their flight training programme into our airline placement pool where our dedicated team will work to find you a Co-Pilot role with an airline.

Your career prospects
What are the entry requirements to become a pilot?

The following entry criteria applies to applicants applying to become a pilot through L3Harris Airline Academy’s Integrated ATPL career programme. Airline multi-pilot license (MPL) routes vary so please check before you apply.

  • A passion for aviation
  • Demonstrate spatial awareness
  • Excellent verbal communication skills
  • Problem solving skills
  • Aptitude for number and data analysis
  • An eye for attention to detail

Be at least 17 years of age to submit an application.
Be at least 18 years of age to commence commercial pilot training (programme dependent).

Minimum height 5 ft. 2 in. (157 cm), maximum height 6 ft. 3 in. (191 cm).i


Hold a minimum of 5 GCSEs (or equivalenti) in different subjects at grade C or above, which must include Mathematics, Science and English language.

Be able to demonstrate that you have successfully completed secondary or high school education (or equivalent).

Be fluent in English (verbal and written).i


Be able to obtain a UK CAA or EASA Class 1 Medical without restrictions


Produce a criminal record check (CRC) basic disclosure certificate before training can commence.


Have the unrestricted right to live and work in the European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland.


Pass an application and selection process which includes:

  • Computer-based aptitude testing
  • Personality questionnaires
  • Teamwork exercises
  • Competency-based interviews
Get in touch today

It is time to start your airline pilot journey. Request information or speak to the team.

Submit an enquiry now

Important changes to Selection process during the Coronavirus

Due to recent global events we’ve made some temporary changes to our Selection process. The changes come into effect from Monday 23 March 2020 with the health and well-being of candidates, customers and staff as our number one priority.

Starting 23 March 2020 - until further notice - the Selection process will be as follows:


  • You will then be required to complete a Cut-e test (Only applicable for Integrated ATPL courses, Private Pilot License course or the Airline Pilot Standards (APS) Multi-Crew Cooperation (MCC) course.
  • Providing your application passes our screening process you will then be invited to your selection day which will consist of an Interview conducted via Zoom’ - please refer to the individual course pages for exact selection fees.

If you have any questions regarding Selection please contact one of the team at:

wings.selection.cts@L3Harris.com / +44 (0)2380 748085

Why L3Harris Airline Academy?
40+ years heritage in pilot training
40+ years heritage in pilot training

5 global Academy locations
5 global Academy locations

Dedicated graduate placement team to assist finding your pilot role
Dedicated graduate placement team to assist finding your pilot role

95% first time pass rate on Ground School exams
95% first time pass rate on Ground School exams

    Pilot Training Frequently Asked Questions

  • 1. How long does it take to become a pilot?

      On average, it will take between 18 months to 2 years to complete your pilot training and qualify as a First Officer.

      For example, our Integrated ATPL pilot training programme lasts for a duration of 18-24 months, subject to scheduling. On the other hand, our Modular ATPL pilot training programme enables you to train to become a pilot in your own time at your own pace.

  • 2. How much can I expect to earn as a pilot?

      As a commercial pilot you can expect to receive high earnings well above the average.

      The starting salary for a newly qualified commercial pilot could range from approximately £22,000 to £28,000 depending on the size of the airline.

      For more experienced commercial pilots, salaries could be anywhere between £54,000 to over £140,000, again depending on the size of the airline.

      For more information, please visit:

      How much you can earn as a pilot in the UK

      For further information, please visit:

      Aviation Job Search.

  • 3. What would my day look like as a pilot?

      As a pilot working for a commercial airline you can expect to work weekdays, evenings, weekends and bank holidays on shifts completing between 39 to 41 hours a week.

      You’ll take it in turns with your co-pilot to communicate with air traffic control to identify any potential obstructions and complete paperwork, this usually involves creating a flight plan and recording your flight.

      What’s more, you’ll also be required to perform pre-and post-flight inspections and checks during your journey  such as checking weather reports and ensuring all instruments, engines, fuel and safety systems are performing correctly.

      You will also need to brief cabin crew and provide passengers and crew with regular updates regarding the journey progress.

  • 4. How can I prepare myself for becoming a pilot in school?

      If you’re passionate about becoming a pilot you will be required to have completed secondary education, achieving grades A - C in at least 5 GCSEs including English, Mathematics and Science.

Unsure which course is right for you?

Complete our quick and easy careers quiz to find the best path for you to the flight deck.

Start the quiz

Upcoming pilot career events

June and July European Airline Academy Webinars and Open Days: Ponte de Sor, Portugal
Jul 24 2021 | Airline Academy
June and July European Airline Academy Webinars and Open Days: Ponte de Sor, Portugal
Online, Ponte de Sor, Portugal
Be A Pilot Career Expo: Sanford, FL - June 19, 2021
Jun 19 2021 | Airline Academy
Be A Pilot Career Expo: Sanford, FL - June 19, 2021
Sanford, Florida
European Airline Academy Open Day: Ponte de Sor, Portugal - June 19, 2021
Jun 19 2021 | Airline Academy
European Airline Academy Open Day: Ponte de Sor, Portugal - June 19, 2021
Ponte de Sor, Portugal

Pilot training news & updates

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