I've posted this on other forums, it may flesh out what we are proposing...
Dear fellow Aviators,
This information pertains to any pilot who has been issued a UK CAA professional licence (JAR or National) and have moved abroad to work under another ICAO licence;
If you possess a UK issued professional licence the publication to refer to is a manual called LASORS (LICENSING, ADMINISTRATION and STANDARDISATION,
OPERATING REQUIREMENTS and SAFETY), this publication is valid until 1st July 2012 at which point CAP 804 will come into force as its replacement under EU-OPS. CAP 804 is the UK CAA's version of Part-FCL (Previously called JAR-FCL).These 2 documents lay out how to attain, maintain and if necessary revalidate your licence.
The matter to which I draw your attention pertains to holders of a UK CAA issued Instrument Rating (IR), more specifically, the requirements for renewing that rating. Up to and including LASORS 2008 there was a clause in Section E of the publication that took into account the utilisation of your ICAO (In this case non UK) or military IR. I quote/paraphrase directly from LASORS 2008;
"To renew an IR(A) that has expired by more than 7 years, applicants must: ...For multi-pilot aircraft pass a type rating skill test with or observed by a UK CAA Flight Operations Training Inspector. Applicants will also be required to retake the IR(A) theoretical knowledge examinations."
However, and most importantly for the affected pilots (Mostly expats);
"...where IR privileges have been exercised in another category of aircraft (i.e. UK/JAR IR(H)) or under the privileges of an ICAO licence (Aeroplanes and Helicopters) or under a UK military IR qualification (fixed-wing or rotary), the renewal requirements will be based on the expiry date of that IR."
In other words as long as you kept your other ICAO IR valid your UK IR was safe from the 7 year renewal rule and most importantly we wouldn't have to undergo the ridiculous requirement to resist the 7 theory exams, the very same exams on which our CPL/ATPL's are predicated.
Now the bad news, WITHOUT ANY PRIOR WARNING, the CAA removed the ICAO/Military caveat, in an instant rendering 100's of UK issued IR's invalid. The authority state that the rule shouldn't have been there in the first place and was therefor removed, this despite all the other JAR authorities entering into the spirit of the agreement and renewing licences/IR's that had expired by more than 7 years when the pilot produced reasonable proof that he/she had stayed current, for example, flown for an airline. The CAA took the rule at face value and applied it literally, with no thought of the consequences. They have in effect taken away our careers as a licence without an IR is basically worthless. When queried recently as to why they didn't pre warn us of the impending change, and after all they are very quick to criticise us for not referring to the CAA website for these matters, the reply was.... They didn't want to potentially upset our families in case we were deceased. So you see what we're up against... Nuff said really. Although not confirmed, it may be the case that you have to go to an approved school to do your ground studies, obviously completely unacceptable given most of our circumstances.
I haven't got enough space to go into all the details and futile attempts we have made to get the CAA to see sense, so what a few of us are doing is taking legal advice to challenge, not the rule change itself, but the way in which the change was implemented, in effect, without any warning. We have also sent our case to an MP who has stated he will pass it onto the Minister of Transport. The CAA have admitted 'that they could have communicated the change better', the implication being that there was some communication in the first place, which was not the case.
Without even considering the fact that they are treating professional pilots like novices, consideration is also being given to legally pursuing the costs that the authority have in effect imposed on us if we have to do the 7 ground exams. Ground courses, costs of books, exam fees and other incidental costs. As we all know money is a big part of the CAA's thinking, so several hundred pilots multiplied by several thousands of pounds costs each may get them to pay attention and not hide behind their rule books?
So, what can you could do to help? An online petition has been created to add weight to our cause, the link is below, and I ask that you add your signature and a message if you wish. Equally important is that you spread the word to other affect colleagues who don't read PPRuNe. We are preparing and planning to lodge a legal complaint prior to the introduction of CAP 804 so that we have date stamped our claim based on LASORS regulations. Even pilots who don't plan to return to EASA land should be encouraged to sign up, as you never know what path your career may take.
Personal enquiries/complaints to the CAA, your MP and EASA should also be a consideration to keep the pressure up on the authority.
The link is;
Petition: UK Civil Aviation Authority: Temp approval for affected pilots to renew their IR without resiting exams | Change.org