Does anyone know how long the CAA are taking to issue licenses at the moment? The website quotes 2 weeks but they've had my application longer than that already. Called today and was told that it was with a Licensing Officer and no they had no idea how long it would take due to sheer volume of work. And no they don't know how long they are taking generally "It's just sheer volume of work".
I did notice they weren't too busy to bill my credit card for the fee less than a week after I posted the forms to them .
There's also a recorded message on the phoneline sayng that EASA comes into effect on 8th April, but they won't be issuing any EASA licenses until July. Does that mean if they haven't pulled the preverbial out by then I may be waiting months?
There used to be a page on the CAA website detailing the oldest license applications being processed, which at least gave some idea, but that seems to have disappeared.
They seem to take wednesdays off for EASA training, so that will add two more days to the 10 working days quoted.
Last thing I sent in about a month ago was a simple rating, took about 3 weeks total time, so I would imagine for a full licence issue it could be more like 4. They'll often tell you when your application will be looked at, and it will usually be 3 or 4 working days after that you actually see the paperwork, but patience is the name of the game really.
They always take the money first, my understanding is that's actually done by a different department to the person who will actually process your application, so really means nothing in terms of when your application will be processed. In theory if you keep calling to chase it up, that's just more time they're spending not doing the paperwork.
I have no intention of chivvying them, it will take as long as it takes. To be honest I was concerned it had got lost in the post or something.
I just find it frustrating and a bit unsatisfactory that they can't even give an indication of how long it may take. Telling me they have a lot of work is not particularly useful. I half suspect they have a very good idea of the timescale, but would prefer not to say.
The real issue is that they have my passport, and the Mrs is talking about going away for a few days over Easter. (Yes I know I could have sent a certified copy, but I didn't ).
They send everything back by courier unless you specifically ask them not to by ticking an "opt out" box on the form to save the princely sum of £6, so I'm not expecting a phone call.
Dave, sounds like the 2 week window worked for you. Don't the LAA do all the checking for the CAA to issue the NPPL though?
I'll give it to the middle of next week, then might ring and ask for my passport to be returned. Whilst they're at it they may as well pop my license in the envelope . I have to admit, I did expect better considering the £181 fee... And all this lovely flying weather going to waste!
Yeh they do and to be fair I first applied about 10th Feb and got it back on 15th with a request for the hours in my book to be validated by a QFI, which had to wait until I could find one the next weekend.
I didn't have to send my passport, only a photocopy with "this is a correct likeness" signed by a QFI.
Its still 10 working days supposedly for processing of new licence applications. Reality however seems more like 3 weeks based on recent experiences of people I know. That was for CPL/ATPL applications. Staff training due EASA changeover presumably slows processing too. There was also a time that professional licence applications were prioritised over private ones, not sure if thats still the case.
If in doubt, phone PLD and they will at least be able to tell you when your application was received. Dont bother emailing though as all you'll get is an automated reply telling you they'll get back to you within 14 days!
When I got mine back, several weeks ago, it had taken about 3 weeks to process. I had called at about the 2 week mark, and somebody was able to tell me something along the lines of... Well, we received it on the 10th, and we're currently processing applications from the 28th... Which was a mechanism to guesstimate when it would be back.
The lady I spoke to today wouldn't even give me generic information like that. Just kept repeating the "sheer volume of work" mantra. Thing is, they used to put that information on the website until very recently and it must have saved a lot of phone calls so it doesn't seem to make sense not to do so any longer.
Patience it is then. So long as I don't have to wait until July for an EASA license...
Mind you, if this is all that I have to worry about in my little world, there can't be a lot wrong!
I've had a few recent interactions with the CAA and they've been OK. Maybe a little clunky, but nothing to complain about.
A change of address came back in 3 days for my license but it took about 10 days for the aircraft. Their processes could be streamlined. For example, after you put in a change of address form for an aircraft, then they write and ask you for the certificate of registration to be sent back to them. Only after this will they issue a new one. Not sure why they needed the old certificate for the aircraft when they didn't need the old license from the pilot. I guess aircraft and personnel licensing are different departments. They're also inconsistent between allowing you to make applications on the web in some cases, but requiring other things to be sent by post. A bit of clean up of admin processes wouldn't do any harm here.
For the IMC it was nearly three weeks, though I did follow up on a tip from my CFI and rang them at Gatwick to confirm how much the courier return of license and logbook would cost before I sent it all off to them. I added the courier fee (about six quid) to my cheque and it all came back nicely. I even got some friendly advice where someone pointed out instrument hours I'd not put in the instrument column, so they'd clearly checked it all through properly.
All in all pretty satisfactory. I think there's some opportunity for removing some admin redundant steps to save them and us some time, but it was a damn sight easier than dealing with banks or insurance companies.
For me, the gripe re. the time delay was not having my passport* for an unpredictable length of time - I'd been told they normally took a week to 10 days. I needed mine after passing my PPL, so it was a month before I could send it in, then 3 weeks before it got back. By that time I had to be away again for a few weeks.
My local flying school wouldn't accept the temporary licence as they wanted to see my medical (granted I could have taken a copy, had I thought of it beforehand) before they would rent out an aircraft.
Long and the short, 3 months after doing my skills test, I haven't yet gone solo again. Whilst flights with an instructor are never wasted, especially when flying a new aircraft in a new area, what I really needed was a few hours of solo consolidation and I'm now considerably de-skilled relative to when I passed my PPL.
Now, this is as much due to my lack of foresight and somewhat busy lifestyle as to the CAA, but if they had been upfront about the delay I might have done some things differently.
*Yes, I do realise they'll take a birth certificate if you have one handy.
Yes, not impressed with the customer service. They may as well have not bothered answering the phone. It just wouldn't be tolerated in the real world.
abgd, I thought you only needed to send a copy of your medical to the CAA? At least I'm sure that's what the form said and that's what I sent. (Why it needs to be sent at all is another question as they surely have it on record...) I'm in the same position as you though, flying club near my new home won't let me rent solo until they've seen the license, which is fair enough.
Maybe you only do need to send a copy of your medical in, but given that I was already sending in my original passport I just bunged it all in the envelope. Had I realised the delays were going to be quite so long, I'd have done things differently.
Strikes me there's not much point in having a temporary licence if nobody will accept it.
To be fair I don't have a problem with the club not allowing solo hire until they've seen a license.
Let's consider they believed me when I said my license was on the way (and why should they, I could have lost a license due to medical reasons for all they no) without any logbook or paperwork. So I rent their PA28 and manage to damage it/myself/another aircraft/someone else/combination of the above. Easily covered by insurance. But what then happens if my license application is subsequently rejected by the CAA? I guess technically I would have been flying without a license which would probably lead to a world of pain witht he insurance company!
But it is frustrating to have to wait for an indeterminate amount of time for someone to check a logbook and a few sheets of paper and print a license off!
I posted mine on March 5th, the CAA acknowledged receipt on March 6th and it finally got issued on the 26th March. Pretty disgusted with the service - I think its a real safety issue making someone wait effectively 4 weeks to fly when they have just qualified.
It's not good at the moment (even less so than usual). They've had my IMCr application since 15th March and as of yesterday they hadn't even looked at it. I'd have thought that adding a rating would if anything be a simpler task than a full licence issue.....
Thanks to all who have posted replies here; I had the same question and now feel like I've got a good idea about how long I can expect to wait now.
The CAA received my PPL(a) application today so I 'll let you know when my license arrives so you can get an idea of the current timings.
I agree, I think the EASA change-over is likely to throw a spanner in the works; the CFI at my local aero club seemed to think that the CAA wouldn't be issuing any new licenses between April 8th and mid-July 2012. Can anyone shed more light on the validity of this statement? I would hate to have to wait until July to take my fiancée/family/friends flying!
My understanding is that despite passing a skills test, you don't have a license until it has been issued. So it's not a case of the flying club not 'letting' you fly solo until they've seen the license, the fact is you don't yet have a license. As you can imagine, there would be legal implications (think of aircraft insurance) if you went flying having passed your skills test for the CAA to then find out that something in your logbook doesn't add up and you fail to meet the criteria to hold that particular license.
I like the temporary license idea, I think that the issue though is all in the law (in this case, the ANO). The CAA are the regulator, they have no power to change what the law states - to change the law you'd have to start with an MP and move on from there.
Which, as the Civil Service also get Maundy Thursday off as an extra "privilege day", means that if you haven't had your licence tomorrow you might as well book some instructor time over Easter as the only way to get in the air ...
I don't think the CAA counts as civil service seeing as they don't receive any money from government and are self funded as such?