FAA CPL to CAAS CPL – Ground Examination Requirements


The CAAS SASP Chapter 11 details everything you need to know about converting your foreign professional pilot license. As detailed in my earlier post about the differences between the CAAS CPL and FAA CPL, other than requiring the hours for making the conversion happen, there have been varying interpretations of the ambiguously written Ground examination Requirements in Chapter 11 of the SASP.

Read this guide to an Airline Pilot in Singapore the FAA way.

Here’s the mainstream interpretation.

Ground Examination Requirements

From Chapter 11, Para 13

13.  The applicant shall pass the following knowledge examinations for the issue of a Singapore professional pilot licence:

(a)  Air Law;

(b)  Operational Procedures;

(c)  Human Performance, unless the applicant produces documentary evidence (e.g. result slip or letter from the foreign licensing authority) to show a pass in an equivalent subject;

(d)  Performance, unless the applicant produces documentary evidence (e.g. result slip or letter from the foreign licensing authority) to show a pass in an equivalent subject at the appropriate level. For conversion to an ATPL(A), the applicant may be exempted from this subject; and

(e)  Aircraft Type Technical examination for the aircraft rating to be endorsed on the Singapore licence, unless the applicant is current.

Para 13 basically says that if you were converting your license, FAA ATP to CAAS ATPL or FAA CPL to CAAS CPL, you’ll need to do the CAAS Air Law and CAAS Operational Procedures papers.

Because you did the FAA ATP and/or FAA CPL which would require you to pass the written examination, the curriculum would cover topics in Human Performance and Performance, thereby exempting you from doing those papers in Singapore.

A type exam result would only be required if you have an existing type rating in the FAA and you are not current. This would generally not apply to young new FAA CPL holders and RSAF Pilots who are returning from the FAA with a new license.

Para 14 is where it confuses everyone.


14.  Notwithstanding paragraph 13, an applicant for a CPL (A) who does not meet any one of the following requirements shall be required to pass all the theoretical knowledge examinations at appropriate level:

(a) At least 700 total flying hours as pilot of aeroplanes;

(b) At least 200 hours as pilot-in-command (PIC) of aeroplanes of which up to a maximum of 100 hours may be as co-pilot acting as pilot-in-command under supervision (PIC U/S); or

(c) At least 10 hours of cross-country or overseas flying as pilot-in-command (PIC) of aeroplanes by night or by sole reference to instruments. Any instrument flight time counted towards satisfying this requirement may not also be counted towards satisfying that specified in paragraphs 4 and 5.

For most young FAA CPL holders and RSAF Helicopter FAA CPL holders, who recently got their own FAA CPL, they wouldn’t have the required 700 hours, and hence are “required to pass all the theoretical knowledge examinations at an appropriate level”. While this sentence is very ambiguous, it actually means an FAA CPL holder with less than 700 hours is required to do all 14 CAAS examination topics.

Read about how to prepare for the papers!

RSAF Helicopter FAA CPL Holders?

Just take note, base on pure interpretation, an RSAF Helicopter that has an FAA CPL would be affected by Para 14, since the RSAF Helicopter pilot would unlikely have “700 total flying hours as pilots of aeroplanes….”, where “aeroplanes” do not equate to “helicopters” by CAAS definitions.

So, sorry RSAF Helicopter pilots. It is likely you’ll need to complete all 14 CAAS papers.


Good news for RSAF WSO(Ftr)! CAAS views your hours as a P2, meaning you’ll likely leave service with more than 700 hours as P2, and hence paragraph 14 doesn’t affect you. Find out how to make the transition from a WSO (FTR) to an Airline Pilot in Singapore.

However, to make sure you have the required knowledge about Human Performance (Para 13c) and Performance (Para 13d), you could do the FAA ATP written exam. But to do the FAA ATP exam, the FAA CFR 61.156 says that you need to complete the following:

  1. Academic training that covers various aviation-related topics, leadership and CRM etc
  2. Flight Simulation Training Device training, which is a full motion simulator

So once you attend an ATP-CTP course and complete the FAA ATP written exam, you would have the required “documentary evidence” to show you have the required knowledge.

Hence, with an FAA CPL, completing the ATP-CTP course and passing the FAA ATP written exam, you’ll be able to convert your FAA CPL to CAAS  CPL with just the Air Law and Ops Procedure papers!

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Captain Ong

View Comments

  • Hi captain ong. I currently have a FAA CPL, done my ATP-CTP, FAA ATP written and met all the hours stated above. Does that i dont need to get a FAA ATPL anymore? The 1500 rule is preventing me from getting it. Could i just convert my FAA CPL to CAAS CPL and join the airline from there?

    • Hi, yup you may not need a FAA ATP. Just take note that people with complete and pass 14 CAAS papers for the licence conversion

  • Hi Captain Ong, would it be possible for me to do the 14 CAAS papers before acquiring an FAA CPL to be converted to CAAS CPL?

    Also, how long are the validity of the ATPL results?

    • Hi there. Yes you can get the 14 papers done, even before doing your FAA CPL. the validity of the ATPL result is written in the CAAS SASP, and it is 3 years.

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Captain Ong

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