The Attitude of UK Flying clubs
Some UK clubs are suspicious of training abroad. The issue is NOT the South African training or licence, but usually a bad experience with one or two new pilots who have learned on 'guaranteed courses' in the USA and needing remedial training before they can be safe and not a nuisance flying n the UK.
Some flying clubs assume (without knowing any better) that South
African trained pilots will have the same problems fitting into the UK scene as some USA trained ones do - the good news is that
from my experience this is not the case! South African trained pilots fit in much better, as almost all the terms and practices are common.
Your new UK club should offer all the information and the (limited) training you will need should you want to convert to a European JAA PPL or UK NPPL sometime after your return, but be aware that there is no immediate need to convert.
Your S.A. licence and medical combination is instantly legally valid in the UK in UK registered aircraft without any validation or paperwork, providing you stick to your aircraft types, good weather daytime flights. If you have any trouble getting the information you require on these aspects, a 'frequently asked questions' site is available for you from my company.
Like any pilot renting at a new club, where-ever they trained, you will be asked to undergo a rental checkout flight and any other requirements that the renter wants. Your South African training will have covered all aspects of this checkout.
It is also likely that for your very first club this will involve some UK navigation flying to accustom your eye to the UK landscape. You should welcome this, and even suggest it before the club does so.
With specific visas and background checks now required for learning to fly in the USA, (previously for many the easy choice for foreign training), many UK students are beginning to look elsewhere and there are now more and more pilots in the UK flying on South African licences.
It's not just a case of 'US visa problems' - the S.A. and U.K. flying training seem to have started from a common base syllabus many years ago, so South African pilots initially feel more at home fitting into UK flying and UK terms than American trained ones do.
South Africa training can actually be better than UK training especially in some ways, for example engine management techniques necessary for the highlands and lowlands in South Africa.
by Irv Lee
CAA / JAA / SA-CAA Approved Training
See also South African and Florida compared and Pilot Training Abroad.
To contact Flight Schools South Africa for more information about doing your pilot training in South Africa, click here.