L3Harris Airline Academy

Do you live overseas but want to become a commercial pilot in the UK?

Taking the leap to study abroad and become a pilot may feel daunting. Not only is it a huge financial investment, but leaving your friends and family to live in another country takes guts. But to become a pilot, you'll need exactly that.

Why L3Harris?

At L3Harris, we want you to feel at home. That's why we help our cadets source excellent accommodation, so you'll feel comfortable and a part of a community while you receive training from a leading British airline academy.

Pilot training in the UK and with L3Harris will open new doors. Not only will you be set for the future, but it's where you make lifelong friendships and create lifelong memories.

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Tips for relocating to the UK for study

Deciding to relocate to the UK to study will give you a massive to-do list. Here are our tips to help make your move swift and simple:

Plan your funding

All of our pilot courses are self-funded, our cadets usually pay for their world-class training through either finance, savings, inheritance or loans.

While we recognise that this is a large investment, it’s also a valuable one. The cutting-edge facilities and industry-leading training are what puts us on the map. You will also recoup the investment costs in your potential earnings, as starting salaries for newly-qualified commercial pilots range from £24,000 to £28,000 per annum.

As you progress, your earnings will too. A starting salary for a Captain can vary between £57,000 to more than £140,000, making this a highly positive ROI. Learn more about how much you could earn as a pilot in the UK.

Obtain a visa, if necessary

From January 1 2021, to study in the UK you either have to:

  • Have the unrestricted right to live, study and work in the UK (e.g. UK national, EU national with settled or pre-settled status, etc); OR
  • Meet the United Kingdom Visa & Immigration Service (UKVI) requirements to qualify for a Visitor (study for 6 months or less) visa or a Student visa (for courses longer than 6 months)

To check whether you need or qualify for a Student visa, short-term Visitor visa or electronic visa waiver please visit the following official UK Government link - www.gov.uk/check-uk-visa.

The following links provide all the latest official information on UK visa requirements and eligibility:

To apply, you'll need to obtain three essential documents. These are as follows:

  • Confirmation of Acceptance of Studies (CAS)
  • Proof of finances
  • Proof of English Language skills — usually acquired through taking a SELT test

The Tier 4 visa costs £348 if you're applying from outside the UK, and you'll need to be in your home country to apply.

Arrange accommodation

For obvious reasons, organising accommodation is hugely important. At L3Harris, Integrated ATPL students benefit from bespoke accommodation offerings as part of our course cost.

Open a student bank account

Setting up a student bank account will make it easier to pay bills, keep your money safe and avoid foreign currency exchanges.

Once you arrive in the UK, you’ll need to schedule an appointment at your chosen bank. You’ll need to bring some essential documents along with you. These are as follows:

  • A valid passport
  • A valid visa
  • Proof of address in the UK — typically acquired through a tenancy agreement or utility bill
  • Proof of address in your home country
  • Proof of student status —You'll typically receive this once you enrol in your course
  • Proof of income — this is to establish you will be able to maintain the account

Ensure you've got health insurance

We recommend that all students who do not have the right to live, work and study in the UK obtain private health insurance. 

If you are on a short-term visa (6 months or less) you will have to pay at the time for any care provided by the UK National Health Service unless it’s a service that’s free. 

If you are on a visa that is longer than 6 months you will have to pay a health surcharge as part of your visa application; this will give you access to the NHS during your studies. However, it will not provide cover for repatriation to home country, etc, hence the need for everyone to obtain private health insurance at appropriate cover levels. 

Further, official, information on the Health Surcharge is available at www.gov.uk/healthcare-immigration-application

Know how many hours you're allowed to work

This is important. If you do not, already, have the right to live and work in the UK you are not normally permitted to work while studying (there are some very limited exceptions that are detailed in the UK Government visa links above).

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Learning to fly at our flight schools

At L3Harris, our flight schools are where you make lifelong friendships and memories, and build a successful career as a reputable commercial airline pilot.

You can benefit from courses regulated by the UKCAA and the EASA, state-of-the-art-facilities, expert tuition, a modern training fleet and 40-years experience training first-class pilots.

Are you ready for a life of learning in the UK? Discover your pilot training options

Integrated ATPL

Integrated Airline Transport Pilot Licence (ATPL) courses are designed to take you from little to no flying experience to fully qualified airline pilot in approximately 70 weeks. On successful completion, you will graduate with a frozen ATPL issued by the UKCAA or EASA, or both!

With a UKCAA licence you can become a pilot for airlines registered in the UK such as easyJet or British Airways. With an EASA licence you can become a pilot for airlines registered in Europe such as Ryanair, Turkish Airlines and TAP Air Portugal.

Integrated ATPL

Combining university with pilot training

Our BSc (Hons) Aviation – Pilot Programme has been designed to prepare students for a career as a professional pilot. The programme has been developed between L3Harris and the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) and is approved by aviation regulators UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) and European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA).

Course details:

  • Status: Full-time
  • Duration: Approximately 3 years, subject to scheduling
  • Qualification: ATPL + BSc (Hons)
  • Required experience: Little or none
  • Locations: United Kingdom and United States
  • Employment: Pilot or aviation industry


Successful graduation from this programme will provide you with:

  • BSc(Hons) degree
  • ATPL Theoretical Knowledge training
  • Commercial Pilot Licence with Multi-Engine and Instrument Rating (CPL/ MEP/IR)
  • Airline Pilot Standards Multi-Crew Cooperation (APS MCC) certificate
  • Upset Prevention & Recovery Training (UPRT)

ATPL Theoretical Knowledge, CPL MEP IR, APS MCC and UPRT combined are known as an ATPL.

BSc (Hons) Aviation - Pilot Programme

Get in touch today and start your journey!

Do you have any questions about starting your pilot training journey at L3Harris Airline Academy? Please send us a message and our Airline Pilot Careers Advice Team will be happy to assist.


Funding your world class tuition

For many aspiring commercial airline pilots, the greatest barrier to becoming a pilot is securing the funding for pilot training. At L3Harris, all of our training programmes are self-funded by either finance, savings or loans.

While we're unable to offer any pilot training financial advice, we do suggest that prospective pilots speak with their partners, families, banks, or independent lenders for guidance.

Pilot training costs and how to fund it

Ready to start your pilot training journey?

Take your first step towards becoming an airline pilot and come along to one of our upcoming Open Day events!

Contact us

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