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. 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 airline pilot career programmes 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 and Europe. This means you will undertake an EASA (European Aviation Safety Agency) pilot training programme.

The journey to becoming an EASA certified Airline Pilot is both an exciting and challenging one. It takes an average of 18 months to 2 years to complete your pilot training and be placed in a role of Junior Co-Pilot with an airline.

The type of training programme you choose to undertake will depend on your ultimate career goal. Many of our cadets do not like the idea of being tied to one particular airline and so choose to take an L3Harris Programme such as our Integrated ATPL programme, meaning they can select which airline they apply to at the end of training. Other cadets prefer the security of having a conditional job offer at the end of their training and apply for an Airline Programme, where training is tailored to one specific commercial airline including Virgin, British Airways and easyJet.

Some people wish to study at their own pace and choose to take a modular route, while others are interested in other aspects of aviation aside from becoming a pilot and choose to study a college or university degree alongside their pilot training.

Your journey to become a pilot

Discover the journey you will take to become an 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.

Enquire now
Modular ATPL now available!

We now offer a modular pilot training route, created for aspiring pilots who want the flexibility to learn in their own time and pay as they train.

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

Find out more
Stage 1: Research

With so many options for pilot training in the U.K. and Europe, it can feel difficult to know where to start researching. 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.

As part of L3Harris, our Airline Academies stand out as we are able to train using the very latest aviation technologies from across the business. We also have a reputation in the industry for having friendly, approachable staff who provide outstanding training.

Stage 2: Application

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.

Ready to enrol? Apply online today
Stage 3: Selection

We won’t sugar coat it, our selection days 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 eventually take command of a passenger aircraft and we will assess you on both the technical and non-technical skills required to become an airline pilot.

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

Find out more
Stage 4-7: 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, settle into your accommodation at one of our approved training locations and complete your classroom and computer-based theoretical knowledge training.

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 training
If you are on an 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).

Stage 8-10: Airline Phases

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

Stage 9: Advanced 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. L3 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.

Learn about our Integrated ATPL programme
Where you will train

If you are successfully selected to become a pilot in the U.K. or wider Europe your training could take place at one or more of L3Harris' approved training locations in the U.K., Portugal and New Zealand. 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.

L3Harris’ approved training locations
Pilot training courses

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

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.

Career prospects
Entry criteria – United Kingdom & Europe

The following entry criteria applies to applicants applying for L3Harris Airline Academy’s Integrated ATPL career program. Airline MPL routes vary so please check before you apply.


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 an 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.

Get in touch today

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

Enquire 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 be required to sit an online assessment at a cost of £40.00.


  • Once you successfully pass the online assessment will then sit Cut-e – online aptitude testing.
  • Once you successfully pass Cut-e testing will be invited to attend a video call for a half hour interview to help us better understand you, your experiences and your motivations.
  • During this period, the Selection fee will be reduced from £255.00 to £125.00.

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


Or call:

+44 (0)2380 748085

Unsure? Try our careers quiz

Complete our careers quiz to find the best path for you

Go to the quiz

Upcoming pilot career events

Pilot Careers Event: Women in Aviation 2020, London Gatwick UK - March 7
Mar 07 2020 | Airline Academy
Pilot Careers Event: Women in Aviation 2020, London Gatwick UK - March 7
London Gatwick, UK
Airline Pilot Careers Event: Southampton - February 22, 2020
Feb 22 2020 | Airline Academy
Airline Pilot Careers Event: Southampton - February 22, 2020
Southampton, United Kingdom
Be A Pilot Career Expo: Sanford, FL - February 15, 2020
Feb 15 2020 | Airline Academy
Be A Pilot Career Expo: Sanford, FL - February 15, 2020
Sanford, Florida

Pilot training news & updates

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Why L3Harris Airline Academy?
29 years heritage in pilot training
29 years heritage in pilot training

7 global Academy locations
7 global Academy locations

Dedicated graduate placement team to secure your pilot role
Dedicated graduate placement team to secure your pilot role

95% of our 2019 graduates already working as Co-Pilots for 22 commercial airlines
95% of our 2019 graduates already working as Co-Pilots for 22 commercial airlines