Foundation Degree Professional Aviation Pilot Practice

The University of South Wales has developed the Foundation Degree Professional Aviation Pilot Practice with Airways Aviation Academy, a world leader in pilot training, and in collaboration with Aviation Skills Partnership. This unique partnership offers you the opportunity to train as a commercial pilot while also gaining a higher education qualification to enhance your employability and career prospects.

The Foundation Degree integrates all the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) regulated training necessary to achieve the frozen Airline Transport Pilot Licence (fATPL), along with additional academic elements necessary to meet the learning outcomes of the higher education award. The fATPL is a precursor for employment as a commercial pilot with airline companies such as BA, EasyJet and Ryanair. Please note, the Open Day will be held at Airways Aviation Academy.


UCAS Code Study Mode
Duration Start Date Campus Campus Code
326T Full-time 2 Years September OFF-CAMPUS Y
Full-time 2 Years January OFF-CAMPUS Y
Full-time 2 Years April OFF-CAMPUS Y
Full-time 2 Years July OFF-CAMPUS Y
UCAS Code Study Mode
Duration Start Date Campus Campus Code
326T Full-time 2 Years September OFF-CAMPUS Y
Full-time 2 Years January OFF-CAMPUS Y
Full-time 2 Years April OFF-CAMPUS Y
Full-time 2 Years July OFF-CAMPUS Y

Please note: students interested in this course should attend recruitment events at Airways Aviation Academy and not attend Open Days at the University of South Wales.

The Foundation Degree Professional Aviation Pilot Practice course is only available to UK and EU students who do not require a Tier 4 visa to study in the UK. Applicants should be aware that we are currently awaiting confirmation as to whether students will be eligible for government funding to support the Higher Education aspects of this course.

Due to the resource implications and additional cost involved with the flight training, the standard undergraduate tuition fees do not cover the training required to achieve the frozen Airline Transport Pilot Licence. The cost of training to achieve a frozen Airline Transport Pilot License is £89,980, this fee includes:

  • Equipment, uniform
  • Landing fees
  • Single room accommodation for all phases of training (self-catered)
  • Return air travel to Spain from the UK
  • All initial UK CAA exam and skills test fees
  • EASA Frozen ATPL licence issue

Any queries related to this cost should be discussed directly with Airways Aviation Academy and not the University.

Year One

Year one provides the theoretical foundations you need to understand the mechanics and science associated with flying an aircraft. Called ‘Ground School’, you will be exposed to navigation and communication techniques, aircraft airworthiness and safety, along with human limitations and the aviation law that governs the airways. You will also gain real flying experience and go solo in a Diamond DA40 single engine aircraft. The subject areas covered are:

  • Aircraft Technical Knowledge
  • Navigation
  • Science of Flight and the Environment
  • Analytical Methods for Aviation Practitioners
  • Flight Preparation and Planning
  • Human Performance, Limitations and Air Law

Year Two

During the second year, you will gain flying experience in more complex aircraft using instrument and visual flight rules (IFR and VFR). Having completed your first solo flight during the previous year and gained more experience, you will use all the knowledge gained at Ground School to prepare the aircraft and plan numerous journeys to given specifications.

You will also spend time in advanced training simulators to prepare for the start of your career as a commercial pilot; this is part of the multi-crew cooperation and jet orientation course, which is embedded into the Multi-Pilot Jet Foundation module.

  • Foundation Flying Practice
  • Basic Flying Practice
  • Intermediate Flying Practice
  • Advanced Flying Practice
  • Multi-Pilot Jet Foundation


You will be taught through a combination of lectures, tutorials, workshops and practical exercises, in addition to preparing independently for lectures. This course is an intensive study package; you will be required to attend classes for up to 40 hours per week.

The first year focuses on the theoretical aspects of piloting aircraft, such as the science related to flight, understanding the weather and considering meteorological parameters in flight planning, and navigation techniques (including VFR), as well as understanding human limitations and the codes of conduct for commercial pilots. Flying experience is key to becoming a commercial pilot, so you will spend many hours using flight simulators or flying real aircraft such as the DA40 single engine aircraft.

During the second year, you will be ready to progress to more complex aircraft and gain knowledge and experience of flying in a multitude of weather conditions using IFR navigation techniques. This will be conducted at Airways Aviation’s fair weather flying base at Huesca, Spain, using both the DA40 single engine aircraft and the DA42 twin engine aircraft, as well as the DA42 flight simulator. On completion of the flight training element, you will progress to a partner’s base in the Netherlands to gain experience of flying jet aircraft, with the multi-crew co-operation and jet orientation course.



Airways Aviation Academy is approved by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) to provide ATPL training in the UK. This training is prescribed by EASA and each module and assessment has been embedded into the University’s Foundation Degree programme. The assessments for each module will vary, but are typically in the form of assignments, ongoing coursework, class tests and EASA examinations. All EASA assessments require a 75% pass mark.


Current facilities available to students comply with EASA regulations and have been approved by the UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). The facilities will include standard teaching classrooms with the latest AV equipment for delivery of theoretical elements. Workshop facilities have flight simulators to prepare you for your flying experience at two airport locations; London Oxford Airport, UK, and Huesca, Spain, where you will gain the necessary experience of flying aircraft. Both locations have hangar facilities that are used for training to demonstrate the function of component parts of an aircraft. There are also additional classroom facilities at the Huesca site in Spain.

You will have access to the following resources:

  • Three Diamond Aircraft Industries, DA42 TDI twin engine aircraft with Garmin 1000 Glass Cockpit equipped
  • Five Diamond Aircraft Industries, DA40 TDI single engine aircraft with Garmin 1000 Glass Cockpit equipped
  • Two Frasca Flight Navigation Procedure Trainers (DA42 set up) which complements the training in the DA42 aircraft

Airways Aviation Academy uses an expert partner for the Jet Orientation Course, European Pilot Selection and Training (EPST), and the simulators used (Boeing 737-800). This will prepare you for a career as a commercial airline pilot by giving you the necessary experience of piloting a jet aircraft.

The University requires students to have achieved 48 UCAS points or equivalent, and have achieved GCSE mathematics and English at grade C or above.

In order to enrol on this course and train as a commercial pilot, students will need to be in possession of a Class 1 EASA medical certificate. – this should be obtained independently and there is a cost for this. Information on how to obtain a Class 1 medical certificate can be found here.

Students will also need to successfully complete a pilot aptitude test and interview with Airways Aviation Academy. Please note, a cost is associated with these activities.

This course is only available to UK and EU students who do not require a Tier 4 visa to study in the UK. Applicants should be aware that we are currently awaiting confirmation as to whether students will be eligible for government funding to undertake this course.

Please note, the Open Days are held at Airways Aviation Academy. Please contact them directly to book.

Typical A-Level Offer


Typical Welsh BACC Offer

Grade C and DE at A Level

Typical BTEC Offer

BTEC Diploma Merit Merit

Typical IB Offer

Pass IB Diploma or two IB Certficates at Higher level.

Typical Access to HE Offer

Pass Diploma with 60 credits overall to include 45 level 3 credits all Passes

Additional Requirements

GCSEs: The University normally requires a minimum 3 GCSEs including Mathematics and English at Grade C or above, or their equivalent but consideration is given to individual circumstances

All fees are per year. Once you have started your course, your fee will remain the same for each year of study.

August 2016 - July 2017 Fees

  • Full-time UK and EU: TBC
  • Full-time International: TBC

August 2017 - July 2018 Fees

  • Full-time UK and EU: TBC
  • Full-time International: TBC

August 2018 - July 2019 Fees

  • Full-time UK and EU: TBC
  • Full-time International: TBC

Additional Costs

Students have access to a wide range of resources including textbooks, publications, and computers in the University’s library and via online resources. In most cases they are more than sufficient to complete a course of study. Where there are additional costs, either obligatory or optional, these are detailed below. Of course students may choose to purchase their own additional personal resources/tools over and above those listed to support their studies at their own expense. All stationery and printing costs are at a student’s own expense.

This programme offers excellent career opportunities worldwide. The fATPL is your ticket to operate in numerous commercial pilot roles, from airline pilot to flight instructor. Achieving an HE qualification as well as the fATPL will put you in a strong position to achieve your dream job.

On achieving the fATPL, typical roles could include being a first officer with a commercial airline company, working towards the status of an unfrozen licence, or a flight instructor, taking students through the practical and theoretical studies you experienced to achieve your fATPL. There is an increased demand for private jet pilots, flying executives in private aircraft all over the world as well as cargo pilots who fly mail, packages and perishables to their destinations.

There is a huge demand for commercial pilots. Aircraft maker Boeing forecasts that 558,000 new commercial airline pilots will be needed over the next 20 years, which equates to about 28,000 new pilots each year.

Progression opportunities

On completion of the Foundation Degree and successfully acquiring your fATPL, you will have the opportunity to conditionally progress to the University’s BSc (Hons) degree in Professional Aviation Pilot Practice after you successfully secure employment as a commercial pilot. This course is studied part-time by distance learning, which has been designed to fit well with a pilot’s busy schedule.

Our Careers and Employability Service

As a USW student, you will have access to advice from the Careers and Employability Service throughout your studies and after you graduate.

This includes: one-to-one appointments from faculty based Career Advisers, in person, over the phone or even on Skype and through email via the "Ask a Question" service. We also have extensive online resources for help with considering your career options and presenting yourself well to employers. Resources include psychometric tests, career assessments, a CV builder, interview simulator and application help. Our employer database has over 2,000 registered employers targeting USW students, you can receive weekly email alerts for jobs.

Our Careers service has dedicated teams: A central work experience team to help you find relevant placements; an employability development team which includes an employability programme called Grad Edge; and an Enterprise team focused on new business ideas and entrepreneurship.