View Full Version : Does anyone have anything good to say about the CAA?

21st Nov 2006, 14:01
Having just been messed around, and the organisation I'm with, screwed over by the jobsworth plonkers at the CAA again, just wondering, does anyone have anything good to say about the CAA??


Minty Fresh
21st Nov 2006, 14:09
The Chicken Curry that was on their menu last Thursday was nice.

(Although I did have to pay more!!)

The breakfast was ok as well.

Thats me done!!

21st Nov 2006, 14:11
I think their inspectors at SRG (air traffic, anyway) are a good bunch.

'Chuffer' Dandridge
21st Nov 2006, 14:43
They turned my type rating renewal around in super quick time last week! And the baguette was delicious. And the blonde girly in PLD looked jolly scrummy too!:ok:

21st Nov 2006, 14:48
Only remember dealing with them once - asked them a question regarding qualifying hours. Got a speedy answer with accurate gen - and it was what I wanted to hear.


green granite
21st Nov 2006, 14:51
obviously the answer's yes .......so the mods can close this thread now :hmm::E

21st Nov 2006, 16:21
They turned my type rating renewal around in super quick time last week!
How much did they charge you for the administrative exercise?

21st Nov 2006, 17:09
They are always very quick to pay in cheques, so clearly the Accounts Dept is on the ball :ok:

21st Nov 2006, 17:13
Called CAA Medical today, got the answer I wanted within 5 minutes :)

21st Nov 2006, 17:26
CAA (the Canadian one) have some excellent technical people who are sadly outnumbered about 10-1 by an army of otherwise unemployable bureaucrats obsessed with petty meddling and specialising in making the simple appear profoundly obscure.
Suspect it is some government employment 'initiative' for long serving public servants now unable to operate in the real world.:oh:

21st Nov 2006, 18:15
The FAA FSDOs in and around New York City (NYC, Albany, Farmingdale, Teterboro) have some truly capable people working in them. But, as er340790 rightly says, the bowels of our US version of this regulatory agency seem to be populated by lovers of complication and obscurity.

Protect yourself from ever becoming involved in one of their "customer service initiatives," by remembering that governments don't actually have customers.

Once, while prepping a PA-31 on the ramp at CXY one loverly pre-dawn: "Hi, I'm Michael ______, and he's Joseph __________. We're from the FAA and we're here to help you."

blue up
21st Nov 2006, 18:28
E-mailed a question about revalidating a PPL (lapsed, but ATPL still active)
They phoned me back the very next morning and spent 35 minutes in peak billing time explaining the best methods to get flying light AC again.

Ever wondered why they charge so much????

21st Nov 2006, 18:29
I like this one better AC.

"Hi, we're from the FAA and we're not happy until you're unhappy."

As anyone who has ordered a new corporate jet and lived through the delivery process can attest to, truer words were never spoken.

(On our new Falcon 900EX the boss wanted to have rather expensive painting mounted by the factory on one of the bulkheads. FAA said, and were serious, that they would have to burn test the painting first. :uhoh: )

21st Nov 2006, 18:31
They managed to print off my Airbus rating in under one hour. Its amazing how much quicker you are treated when its the airline paying!

21st Nov 2006, 18:41
On our new Falcon 900EX the boss wanted to have rather expensive painting mounted by the factory on one of the bulkheads. FAA said, and were serious, that they would have to burn test the painting first. :uhoh:

That's what you get for buying French :p

21st Nov 2006, 19:07
CAA are great. They allow me to fly!! Can't get much better than that.

Oh, and a certain IR testing guy is top bloke too.

UK CAA Service with a smile and all cheap as chips.:ok: :ok: :E

21st Nov 2006, 19:47
I have nothing but praise for my recent CAA examiner. Or it may simply have been that he was afraid to fail me since that would mean taking a second ride with me. Whatever.
But the rest of that grey edifice at Gatwick... pah!
We started this adventure with paying 60 quid for each and every written, including a couple that seemed pretty thin (VFR and IFR Comms, as if one speaks a very different language under different rules... not). The long wait for the results was interesting. The FAA discovered this could be done with computers about 25 years ago, giving results in a matter of days or hours rather than weeks as with the CAA. Too, one can take the tests any time, not just during certain moon phases or whatever the British criterion is.
To almost conclude I recently was told it would take ten working days (I guess that means two weeks) for the issue of my ATPL since 'someone would have to examine the logbooks.'
I looked at that pile of eight logbooks, totalling 15,400 hours allegedly and pondered the full meaning of that statement. What, exactly, do they expect to find in my logbooks? Evidence of massive fraud perhaps, given that I need to show about 1,500 hours in various categories?
My somewhat frantic utterances about needing a licence now-now in order to rejoin the ranks of the employed were greeted with a gentle smile of disregard. It was as if I had wandered in from an outside world populated by lunatics who worry about such things as earning a crust. Inside Aviation House such things seem to be properly disregarded in favour of gentle and thorough perusal of each and every piece of paper. For this I have already paid 210 pounds but that includes the cost of posting my logbooks back to me by registered post. Let us see if they come First Class, along with a licence.

eastern wiseguy
21st Nov 2006, 19:47
The medical branch have always been courteous professional and very decent...so YES .

21st Nov 2006, 19:57
No, the medical branch are the worst! They took 6 weeks to tell me i'd passed the class one initial. Reason for delay, paperwork was under a file on a desk and became 'mis-placed'!

But hey, it was exciting waiting to see if all was in vain as i'd done everything else before that medical, ie exams.tests/hoursbuilding/ etc etc ;)

Must be a lesson there somewhere?

21st Nov 2006, 20:14
But the rest of that grey edifice at Gatwick... pah!

Odd, that a person who gives their location as "Germany" seems to have a problem with the UK CAA. :hmm:

I think they're great. Every time I have wanted/needed anything from them it has been done quickly and efficiently. :D

'Chuffer' Dandridge
21st Nov 2006, 20:30
How much did they charge you for the administrative exercise?

Dunno, company paid but I think it was 76.00:ok:

Not many whinges so far..........? Maybe they are doing something right. I must say that I've never had a problem with the Belgrano at all. :D

22nd Nov 2006, 06:33
Hey Con, is this the "Falcon" in question?



You can just make out the lettering in the second pic. It says, "United States Marshal." The gold logo says, "Department of Justice, United States Marshal."

I've been dying for an opportunity to use these photos!

So, where was the painting supposed to go?



22nd Nov 2006, 06:44
Can't say anything about the CAA. But about the German Luftfahrtbundesamt (LBA): only good to very good experiences!
(Yes, it helps having been at university with the guys, or been flying together, or have downed oh-so-many beers with them...).In other word: Sort-of-YES.

But I have a much different opinion on the local aviation autorities. Like... taking over two months for stamping a tiny (but important) "FI" into my little gray paper... :mad: :mad: :mad:

22nd Nov 2006, 07:04
CAA is a great organisation full of good people. Much more affable and capable folks than our overseers. FAA tends to attract some real pieces of work - too many pedantic salaried beaurocrats.

Pprune does not share our full names with the public, right? :eek:

Once, while prepping a PA-31 on the ramp at CXY one loverly pre-dawn: "Hi, I'm Michael ______, and he's Joseph __________. We're from the FAA and we're here to help you."

Every pilots.... ... ..dream, eh?

22nd Nov 2006, 07:39
The tag reads 'Germany' but there's no room there for Nigeria, the UK, the USA, France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany and the Czech Republic, all places I have been in the last year or so.

I had to go to school somewhere for the writtens, being unwilling to do self-study, and that came up London Metropolitan University. There we were at least two Americans, an Armenian, two Lebanese, a Bangladeshi, a Sri Lankan and a Geordie.

That meant working with the CAA for the basic licence, of course. People come from all over the world to the UK to do the JAR-ATPL nowadays, if this is something that has escaped the notice of people reading this.

I have dealt with the CAA, the LBA, the FAA and the Nigerian CAA.

The CAA practical test for the IR was both the most difficult and the best-administered one I have ever had. The CAA bureaucracy, though, is right up there for small-minded, verging on obstructionist, attention to petty details and, not least, a complete reality-disconnect when it comes to the brutal fact of very badly needing that licence ASAP rather than in 'ten working days' plus the time it shall take to arrive in the post.

There are many very obvious ways of expediting the whole licensing process which the CAA seem to be totally oblivious to despite their swingeing charges, charges way out of line with those found elsewhere.

For instance, why must one do the CAA writtens using a lead pencil, an answer sheet and a human invigilator only on certain dates? In the USA, since years now, one goes to a local testing centre on a date of one's choosing to sit at a computer terminal and do the test on-line. The results come within days instead of within weeks and the FAA fees are very modest by comparison with the CAA's.

For another thing, the successful candidate gets an FAA temporary licence right then and there. With the CAA I have nothing to show until the final issue of the licence. It is as if there is a presumption that I am some sort of fraudster there to be unmasked by CAA vigilance. I don't mind that so much as the attendant delay in being able to get out there and look for work, since potential employers insist on seeing that licence, for which I really cannot blame them.

All in all, much of the licensing process under discussion seems unnecessarily burdensome compared to how it is done elsewhere. Even the Germans are easier to deal with than the CAA, believe it or not. That is not to say that they are easy to deal with, unless perhaps you are chums with them, just easier.

22nd Nov 2006, 17:07
You can just make out the lettering in the second pic. It says, "United States Marshal." The gold logo says, "Department of Justice, United States Marshal."

I have a picture of me and a bunch of the cabin crew standing next that airplane.

(Oh, and my Falcons had an extra engine. :p )

23rd Nov 2006, 01:54
Gentlemen and Scholars as a general rule.

Only met one dodgy CAA bloke - and he was an ex 103rd Entry Brat with a beard, which helps explain it.

23rd Nov 2006, 04:12
Link didn't work av8.

However, I'll take a guess. It was the 900 at KLAS that rolled through the fence?

Tonka Toy
23rd Nov 2006, 14:18
Jill Venning - in the medicaL branch - she's so nice and helpful - and an ex Barts nurse to boot! - they're a special breed you know! and shes not married I don't think - must do something about that!!!;)

Gary Burke in FCL has always got sound answers as well.

23rd Nov 2006, 23:49
The medical branch have been 100% first class with me during my recent medical problems. FCL have been expensive, but ultra efficient for all of my 10 years of holding professional licences. Accounts are brilliant at cashing my cheques immediately!!
I may be barking up the wrong tree, but could attitudes delay some people? or possibly not doing some simple research before calling. If you ring and demand something from me, you go to the bottom of the brain in-tray. If you ask nicely, you go to the top. These people are just civil servants doing a job. Give them a break, EVERY big organisation makes mistakes sometimes. Just be glad that BT or British Gas don't run the CAA!!

24th Nov 2006, 07:49
once I get that JAR-ATPL I shall be off and running in another direction entirely, I suppose.

I found a very vibrant scene there at Stapleford. There were a lot of talented students and instructors all working very hard out of a tiny corner of airspace. Over that like a big, wet blanket lay the CAA.

Correct me if I am wrong but is it not part of the CAA's mandate to encourage and further aviation? I saw very little being done in that regard from the beginning until now in my experience of them.

I have no problem with anyone there personally, and I think it's safe to say that I know a bit about how to deal with desk-jockeys from my side after 40 years of doing that in America, Europe and Africa. Please do not shoot the messenger for bringing bad news about 'your' CAA.

It is not beyond imagining that the CAA shall kill much of your domestic training market with its high costs and obstructionism.

Great Britain has made so many contributions to aviation for very little gain. Time and again the politicians and bureaucrats have killed off productive market segments and here I can see the market for training and licensing coming under increasing pressure from other JAR entities. It is no good telling people like me, 'Oh, you just don't understand how to deal with the CAA!' when we have obvious alternatives ready to hand.

Does the UK really want to compete in this market or not? If the answer is, 'Yes,' then the CAA needs to get on board. Otherwise you shall see fewer and fewer students paying more and more money to then find themselves up against equally acceptable job candidates coming back from Spain and Florida, for instance. You can take that one as read, just one more reality of the marketplace.

'Chuffer' Dandridge
24th Nov 2006, 11:23
Correct me if I am wrong but is it not part of the CAA's mandate to encourage and further aviation?

I will correct you. The UK CAA's function is to regulate aviation in the UK under the terms of the Civil Aviation Act 1982. Encouragement and furtherence(??) are for the likes of the PFA, AOPA, BGA, BPA etc. The CAA regulates. All the people i know in the Belgrano (those who havent already jumped ship) are keen, enthusiastic chaps who are all pilots themselves - they have nothing to gain by stifling the very aviation they themselves take part in. But as in all regulatory establishments, sometimes 'the rules' are not well received by those who have to abide by them....

These people are just civil servants doing a job

I didnt think the CAA was a UK Government agency, therefore they are not Civil Servants. The term 'Quango' comes to mind.:E

24th Nov 2006, 13:41
but I could swear that somewhere along in those nine months of classwork I was told that national entities such as the CAA have an ICAO mandate to further aviation, not just to regulate it.

I have no basic problem with following rules, actually. I have managed to do that for most of my career. (You do sometimes have a problem when one rule contradicts another one. Not all the problems one encounters in aviation are susceptible to rule-based solutions. What to do then, ah!)

What I do have a problem with is: rules not being clearly interpreted. I asked a question of one section of the CAA and got one answer, I asked another the same question and got a very different answer, asked the headman at a UK flying school the same question and got a third answer, all depending on which section of LASORS you want to apply. Even worse, from my point of view, was the long wait for a definitive answer to a fairly simple question.

Perhaps it is so that people who ask questions are taken to be stupid or time-wasters by those whose job it is to answer them but that sure doesn't seem like a service-oriented point of view to me. This might hint at the basic problem, actually.

24th Nov 2006, 15:02
Well, the medical branch get my vote. Too 'em a little bit too long to answer my initial enquiry but otherwise they were very attentive and fair. For information see the following thread in the health forum: