Categories: AirlineCAASFAA

How to convert your FAA ATP to a CAAS CPL/ATPL?


This guide was written mainly for RSAF pilots who hold a FAA ATP, who are interested in working for a commercial airline in Singapore. However, many of the information below are still valid for non-RSAF foreign license holders who are interested in working in Singapore. So here goes.

Now that you have your FAA ATP, its time to get it converted to a CAAS CPL, cause without it, you can’t work for any Singapore registered airlines.

Wait, why CAAS CPL?

The rules in CAAS is different from FAA. In the USA, to work in an Airline, you need a FAA ATP. While in Singapore, a CAAS CPL will allow you to work in an airline. A CAAS ATPL is only required to Captain a Singapore registered Airline Transport. So for your employment as First Officer, all you need is a CAAS CPL!

Summarising from the CAAS document Singapore Air Safety Publication (SASP) Part 2 Chapter 11, here are some important requirement for conversion of FAA ATP to CAAS ATP


  • Holds a valid foreign ATPL
  • Holds a valid Instrument Rating
  • Completed 3,000 hours as pilot of aeroplanes of which, there must be 500 hours on a civil registered multi-engine transport aeroplane certificated for operations with a minimum crew of at least two pilots

If you were an RSAF Pilot, all your 10,000 hours on a KC-135 or G550 will not count as the “500 hours”, since the RSAF planes are not “civil registered”. So, what we can get is a CAAS CPL with IR and a Frozen CAAS ATPL.

Requirements to Convert to CAAS CPL with Frozen CAAS ATPL


Flying and hours requirements are written in Chapter 11 of the SASP (link). But here are some of the often overlooked requirements.RSAF pilots really got to take note since many don’t have these requirements.

  • 300 nm, 2 stops, cross-country. You need to fly a cross-country flight that is at least 300 nautical miles long, of which there must be 2 intermediate stops. So in simple words, you are flying from A to B which is >300nm apart. During that flight, you must do a Stop and Go at airfield C and D.
  • 65 nm night cross-country. While this requirement is not a CAAS CPL requirement, it is a requirement for an ATPL. You need to fly from Point A to B at night, and A and B must be at least 65 nm away.

So where can we do these requirements? Well, most of us get it done while we are in the USA doing our FAA ATP! So, REMEMBER TO GET THIS DONE.

There are other requirements, and here they are

  • Medical – You must pass the CAAS Class 1 Medical Examination. I will be writing about how to get this done in future articles.
  • Language Proficiency – You must be proficient with English. As long as your FAA License says “English proficient”, you are good.
  • Ground Exam – The SASP document says that you need to do Air Law, Operational Procedures, Human Performance, Performance and Aircraft Type Technical Exams. Human Performance, Performance papers are already done in the FAA ATP 135 computer exams, so just produce your results to proof you are good on Human Performance and Performance, while you will need to do the Air Law and Operational Procedures CAAS papers. Read about how to get that done here. Aircraft type technical exam will be done later during your Type Rating.
  • Need to hold a Licence – Not anyone with $ and a foreign ATP can convert to a CAAS professional licence. This is because applicants need to produce a letter from a Singapore aviation operator indicating prospective employment.


You need a lot of things.

  • You need the hours
  • You need the cross country requirements
  • You need Medical
  • You need English
  • You need 2 Exams
  • You need to be Type Rated
  • You need an Employer
  • And you need MONEY.

Now, you need to pay more money for everything above! That’s more money. ADDITIONAL money from your trip to the USA for your FAA ATP. Now that’s an article for another time.

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Captain Ong

View Comments

  • Hi Capt Ong, I was searching in your website and cannot find the following. What if I have a FAA ATP (restricted) and wishes to convert to CAAS frozen ATPL, assuming I fulfilled the aeronautical experiences for both FAA & CAAS CPL (approx. 250 hours), do I still need to the 14 papers tested by CAAS?

    • Hi there, if you look at the CAAS SASP Chapter 11, Para 14, you will see that Chapter 14's requirement of requiring the 14 papers is only for CPL to CPL conversions. In addition, you have a frozen ATPL, meaning you already have the "required...theoretical knowledge exam...". So, you don't need to do the 14 papers, just the 2 Air Law and Operational Procedure paepers.

  • Dear Captain Ong, I recently came across your website. And I'm interested in getting some advice from you if you don't mind. What would be the best way to contact you?


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Captain Ong

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