What are the differences between FAA and EASA?

Lana Rasool

We often receive the questions: What are the differences between EASA and FAA? and what is ICAO & CAA

You will need to obtain an FAA license if considering becoming a pilot in the US, and an EASA license in Europe. You can gain both licenses if you choose our Professional Pilot Program in Sweden & the US. In case you are only interested in gaining an EASA license, you can choose one of our First Officer Programs in Sweden or Norway. For an FAA license, you can choose our FAA Part 141 program or our FAA Part 61 courses in Florida.

In this article, we hope to give you a better understanding of - ICAO, CAA, EASA & FAA. 


ICAO is the International Civil Aviation Organization, a specialized agency of the United Nations. Within ICAO, the 191 Member States and a number of global aviation organizations work together to develop international Standards and Recommended Practices (SARPs). These SARPs are the reference for states developing their national civil aviation regulations which are legally enforcible. 

In this way, civil aviation regulations are harmonized all over the world, with slight differences based on the actual implementation in national regulations (for example EASA & FAA). These local differences are then reported back to ICAO and published.

CAA is the Civil Aviation Authority. This is a generic term used in many countries. A CAA is a national regulatory body responsible for aviation. The CAA implements the ICAO SARPs in national legislation and is responsible for regulatory oversight.



The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) is responsible for the aviation rules for all countries
within Europe. Headquartered in Cologne, Germany, the EASA is tasked with conducting analysis
and research of safety, distribute information and advice, implement regulations, and give type certification
to aircraft and components among other responsibilities.

For information about our EASA pilot programs, check out our webinar below. 



The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is the national aviation authority of the US and A and is
responsible for overseeing all aspects of aviation in North America, ensuring that the skies remain safe
and that all the aircraft in operation follow a strict set of guidelines to minimize danger and make sure
that every pilot is adequately qualified for their role. In order to achieve this, the FAA has set out a
decisive set of regulations known simply as the Federal Aviation Regulations (FARs).

The FAR is a huge document that covers all aspects of aviation and gives in-depth detail on specific
airlines for everything from aircraft maintenance and pilot requirements, covering everything that is
needed in order to understand how, when and what to fly.

For information about our FAA pilot programs, check out our webinar below. 


The differences in required flight hours (EASA vs FAA)

FAA and EASA differ when it comes to how many flight hours you need to obtain to be able to work for an airline in Europe or the US. You can work as a First Officer for a European airline with around 233 hours (which you will have once graduated from OSM Aviation Academy), and the FAA requires 1500 hours to work as a First Officer pilot in the US. 

How to convert your EASA PPL (A) to an FAA PPL (A) and gain more hours in the USA? (Click here)



Medical examination (EASA vs FAA)

The medical examination is mandatory to pass before becoming a pilot. In Europe, you need to pass an EASA Medical Class 1 certificate, while in the US, you need to pass an FAA First Class Medical. Read more about the examinations in the articles below:

What are the FAA First Class Medical requirements for pilots? (Click here)

What to expect at your first EASA Medical Class 1 (Click here)


Proficiency Check vs Flight Review

EASA - To exercise the privileges of an EASA pilot and continue having a valid certificate, you need to perform a Proficiency Check annually. OSM Aviation Academy offers Proficiency Checks and extra renewal training in case of expired ratings. If your rating(s) already expired, additional training may be necessary prior to the PC, in accordance with EASA Part-FCL.

Read more here: https://www.osmaviationacademy.com/proficiency-check 

FAA - If you hold an FAA pilot certificate, you need to perform a Flight Review every two years (24 calendar months), which consists of at least one hour ground and one hour flight with a CFI. If the pilot needs additional ground or flights to demonstrate adequate levels of knowledge and skill to pass the flight review, he or she must take additional training to reach proficiency and satisfy the CFI's FAA standards. Once the CFI determines an adequate level of proficiency, the CFI will issue an endorsement in the pilot's logbook stating he or she has successfully passed the flight review and that the pilot's certificate is valid for another 24 calendar months.

On an additional note, whenever a pilot adds a new rating to their certificate and passes the check-ride with an FAA inspector or Designated Pilot Examiner (DPE) that acts as a flight review in a sense, and the clock is reset.


To sum it up...

FAA and EASA are two different organizations responsible for implementing and overseeing all aspects of aviation within different countries. The difference between them is that FAA is responsible for the US and EASA is responsible for all countries in Europe. 

Meanwhile, ICAO makes sure civil aviation regulations are harmonized all over the world, and the CAA implements the ICAO SARPs in national legislation and is responsible for regulatory oversight.


We hope this article gave you a better overview of the different aviation regulatory bodies and the differences between FAA and EASA ✈️


Interested in converting your pilot license and building your flight hours in Sunny Florida? Read more about our customized Time Building packages by clicking here (or on the image below). 

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