Sheffield School of Aeronautics offers a one day ETOPS course immediately following the completion of the Advanced International Flight Planning Course. Sheffield’s ETOPS course is designed to be useful for those who may want to work for an airline that operates over isolated routes that don’t have common emergency landing options.

ETOPS stands for Extended-range Twin-engine Operational Performance Standards, a certification that permits twin engine aircrafts to fly routes which may at a time, be 60 minutes flying time from the nearest airport that is suitable for emergency landing. ETOPS also is more informally known as Engines Turn or Passengers Swim.


Early combustion engines were highly unreliable and it was not uncommon for a 4-engine piston aircraft to show up at the airport with only 3 of its engines working. The twin engine aircrafts, as a result, were required to fly bee-line paths to remain in range of an adequate airport. Aircrafts that had more than two engines were not restricted by this rule of flight paths. Many transatlantic flights were flown by Boeing airliners since they can fly more direct routes.

As more experience was gained in the field of jets, engineers slowly realized that jet engines are much more reliable than the piston counterpart. The Federal Aviation Administration began to approve flights with twin engines 120 minutes away from an accommodating airport, twice as long as the previous time requirement. This new policy made twin engine aircrafts popular, since the fuel efficiency is much better than a 4-engine aircraft.

The first ETOPS certification was given to TWA in 1985, which is the same year that the FAA began allowing twin engine aircrafts an extension to 120 minute period. In 1988, it was again extended to a 180 minute maximum. Today, a 240 minutes ETOPS rule is only approved in certain circumstances. For any aircraft to fly under ETOPS rules, it must be ETOPS certified and approved by the FAA first.


There is a set of standards that the ETOPS certification requires of the aircraft and airline, which they must comply. For the aircraft, the manufacturer must demonstrate that flying with one engine is relatively manageable by the flight crew, safe for the airframe, and an extremely rare event. The airline then must showcase that the flight crew’s training and maintenance procedures are up to high standards. Pilots, engineers, and aircraft dispatchers must have a Sheffield ETOPS course certification.

Many flight operators are adopting the ETOPS approach as opposed to non-ETOPS routes since they realized that having the certification significantly improve reliability, performance, and aircraft dispatch rates. The cost of the certification is offset later on by reduced maintenance costs, and costs that are associated with diversions, delays and turn backs.

Sheffield School of Aeronautics offered our first ETOPS class on July 11, 1992, making us the first school, aside from the major airlines, to offer this form of advanced aviation training. If you are looking to become ETOPS certified, Sheffield offers courses throughout the year. Visit the Sheffield School of Aeronautics home page for information on course schedules and pricing for the ETOPS certification course today!

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