Flying Abroad or China Specifically


I wanted to get you guy’s thoughts on flying abroad. I personally love to travel and have lived in multiple countries, but I am a U.S. Citizen.
I am a CFI and should be hitting my 1500 hours by June, but due to me not being 23 (I don’t have the R- ATP) I’ll be instructing for about 3 more years doesn’t bother none.

Anyway, I was thinking about when the time does come what I would do. I’ve been hearing about a lot of pilots going to china for the higher and tax free pay, but I’m sure there is a catch, anyone know it? Also, have any of you considered going that route? I’m single, young, no kids, 2 college degrees from the U.S., and basically no attachments. Would it hurt to give it a shot? Oh and are there any strict regulations on doing this, would I have a hard time coming back and flying for a U.S. airline later on?

If you meet the basic ATP mins at the 1500 hour mark, you qualify for the RATP at 21 years old. Can’t speak for the international part - good luck!

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Now I’m embarrassed that was the first time I’ve ever been told that and I’m around pilots all the time. I was under the impression that I needed to graduate from a specific college like UND or Embry.

That really changed a lot.

Thank you!


First and foremost if you’re 21 and you have 1500 hrs you can get hired by your choice of Regional and they’ll get you your R-ATP as part of your training. Easy.

As for China I came dangerously close to going over a few years back. I interviewed and offered a position but I backed out as the details kept changing. First thing you should know if your read any of the Chinese hiring ads is they’re not looking for 1500hr new pilots, they have plenty. What they don’t have is Type Rated and current Capts and that’s who they’re hiring and paying all that money to.

Now I do know a few pilots who took the plunge. All agree they were payed very well and were able to bank some good money.
Problems were:

  1. no unions or protection so you could be fired, disciplined or docked pay for any number of reasons
  2. you’re going to work really hard for that money. While China actually has stricter rest rules than the US they’re not enforced
  3. the pollution will take years off your life
    They all say they’re glad they did it but caution those with the above.


Aren’t you a pilot?


Common misconception is that a Restricted ATP rating has to do with what school you went to. There are several different ways to qualify for an RATP. Those that reduce the 1500 do in fact require certain institutions to conduct the training. But there is also one for lowering ONLY the XC time and one for lowering the age. I’ll attach FAR info here - it’s a great resource. I’d get familiar with it yourself so you don’t have to take the word of others. 61.160(f) references 61.153.


Simplified version.