Translating foreign pilots training to our flight school

Here’s the question about foreign pilots:

I was training for our fixed wing licenses while living in South Africa, acquiring our LSA license ( Light Sport Aircraft) then moving onto the 15 hour conversion to our [Private Pilot’s License] PPL.  However I moved [to the United States] again unable to complete the course in its entirety before my departure.  How can I convert my South African license to the American equivalent so that we can resume our process smoothly?

Prospective American citizen

The answer always starts with a search on AOPA’s and FAA’s websites:

And here is our Chief Pilot’s response:

A foreign pilot needs to bring their foreign license, logbook and personal ID to the Flight Standards District Offices (‘FSDO‘) in their district, making an appointment prior to going to the FSDO (Houston’s is  Complete and bring the FAA required form.

*** There is nothing for us at Third Coast Aviation or their CFI to do, as it has nothing to do with our flight training.

Now, if they want to add an additional rating, then the hours that are approved by the FAA can be used to meet the minimum requirements for the desired license or rating.  It is up to the discretion of the Certified Flight Instructor (‘CFI‘) to make the recommendation to the FAA to attest that the person is qualified to take the exam for the license or rating.

** If the person is not a US Citizen, they must be apply and be approved by TSA.  They can do this on the website:

Third Coast Aviation Chief Pilot

We hope this has helped.  If you have any further questions, please contact us directly at

About Third Coast Aviation

Founded in January 2017, Third Coast Aviation (‘TCA‘) is a Texas Gulf Coast aviation company providing Part 61 flight trainingaircraft acquisition, sales, and management services.  Our seasoned Certified Flight Instructors (CFI, CFII, and MEI) deliver flight training from Discovery Flights to Private Pilot License (PPL), Commercial Pilots License (CPL), CFI and beyond. Our admissions professionals help individuals transition into professional careers through our partnerships with regional air carriers such as GoJet Airlines Inc.; our business-to-business (‘B2B’) clientele provide explosive growth opportunity and longevity for our staff of Certified Flight Instructors (‘CFI’), maintenance professionals, and an exhilarating place for our students to learn!

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