View Full Version : I love the CAA, and the CAA loves me!

25th Nov 2006, 17:39
Yes, I got a registered letter by express post today! From the CAA via TNT, whoever they are.

I ripped it open to find... just a letter stating that, "... our published ten working days turnaround time is subject to fluctuations due to the level of incoming work.

"As well as useful licensing information you can also find current information on turnaround times published on our website..." That is odd, since the human I spoke to at Aviation House told me that ten working days would be the turnaround time, but never mind that now.

In theatrical terms this was the climax, to be followed by the anti-climax of getting the licence and perhaps even another job.

They spelled my name correctly and everything, all for just 210 pounds. You can sign me, 'Over the Moon.'

DX Wombat
25th Nov 2006, 19:54
I take it you have just passed your CPL exams then? Congratulations!

25th Nov 2006, 20:41
No, probably just the letter telling him they have taken his money immediately but not to expect anything for it just yet.

I got a further letter (outside the ten day period) advising me that my recent application was deemed invalid and if I chose to forget all about my expensive type conversion (as if) I would get only ten quid back as the rest was deemed my "cancellation fee".

That's what happens when a government department is given a monopoly, told it has to make a profit and is audited only by itself. :hmm:

High Wing Drifter
25th Nov 2006, 20:53
I got a letter telling me my application for a CPL/IR and ME was invalid, they bent over backwards to help me get the problem sorted. It wasn't just the one person as I had to deal three in total. No extra charge for me.

26th Nov 2006, 08:22
swings and ladders... whatever.

I passed all the ATPL writtens by the middle of the summer this year. Then I filled that pregnant pause waiting for the last set of results by visiting some of the further-flung parts of the British Isles and Eastern Europe before resuming in September with, first, a simulator check in the USA on a multi-crew aircraft.

This was when the whining really started, since one CAA bod (Licensing) had said that would do nicely, another (Policy) later said, 'No, that won't do at all,' and a third (Licensing, but someone else) showed me a path out of the wilderness, by doing an additional IR test to validate the fact that I do know how to fly on instruments to the satisfaction of a CAA examiner, when the simulator test should be accepted for issue of that ATPL.

What an IR test flown in a DA-42, single-pilot, has to do with operating a multi-crew aircraft to ATPL standards, frankly I have not the faintest idea aside from its being far more difficult. Some of the instructors named it as the hardest practical test of all and I wouldn't argue with that!

Of course I had been told that if I had a CAA observer for my simulator test then that would do nicely except that there was no one available due to staffing problems, plus the cost was amazingly high what with air tickets and a three-day minimum stay in the USA.

I had been told by several Brits that I could get the licence issued on the day at Aviation House. I am a pessimist by nature; I often assume that my new co-pilot, rather than just being 'the quiet type' is actually a brooding, homicidal maniac. There, I did indeed hope that I would get my licence on the day but when I was told, 'ten working days,' meaning 'two weeks' in reality, I was hardly even disappointed. But this letter, what in the world does it mean? 'Forget the ten days; we cannot even say how long this will take,' something like that?

Plan A is to just sit here keeping busy with non-aviation-themed activities such as putting up the Christmas lighting and raking leaves until such a time as either I feel moved to make inquiries or that ATPL licence and my eight logbooks appear, 'plotzlich und unerwartet wie der Tod.' Then I shall call my career back to life.

Later today I was moodily killing time looking at my e-mails when I found one from the CAA, sent on Thursday. It turns out they want to know the Simulator Code number before they issue the licence. I got hold of the TRE, who faxed them a copy of the Austrian Qualification Letter, including that number. I can hardly wait to see what next week brings.

30th Nov 2006, 06:36
I had a call from the CAA on Tuesday afternoon to tell me, personally, that my licence had been issued and would be in the post that afternoon, when I thought, 'Oh sure.'

Wednesday morning I was just beginning my 0800 ablutions when the doorbell sounded. It was the UPS man with a bulky package. I signed for it, took it inside and opened it. There were eight logbooks and a green booklet labelled, 'Airline Transport Pilot Licence (Airplanes).

I cannot really find anything to whine about in this. My life is now empty and meaningless, "Oed' und leer wie das Meer." Well, I guess I could moan about now being highly-qualified and jobless, except that I already have an offer of work.

So while there was an interruption in the middle when the CAA bod couldn't figure out how to get the registration document for a simulator under Austrian auspices, basically I would have to say that this was done reasonably well and courteously, too! What a surprise!

High Wing Drifter
30th Nov 2006, 08:26
I had been told by several Brits that I could get the licence issued on the day at Aviation House.
I heard the same thing from a couple of people, but I there is some confusion between license issue and adding ratings. The latter can be done on the day with a personal visit. The former takes 10 working days from the receipt of the application, it says it on the the web site too.

Regardless, the DA42 test sounds toally bizzare :confused:

30th Nov 2006, 08:58
I had been misinformed by a CAA functionary, who perhaps didn't fully understand my question, that passing a simulator check in a JAA-approved simulator given by a JAA TRE would, in combination with having passed all 14 ATPL writtens result in the issue of a JAR-ATPL.

Later I was told that because I hadn't done an initial Instrument Rating test with someone from the CAA I would either have to have a CAA observer along for the sim check, when this was not even an option due to lack of staff, or else I would have to do a minimum of 15 hours training, including a maximum of 10 hours using an approved FTD (Flight Traning Device) with an approved UK school and pass a CAA-administered Instrument Rating flight test. That would bring approval of the simulator check with it and result in the issuance of the full ATPL since I already had the required hours.

I was not a happy bunny to be told this since I had already booked and paid for a Dornier 328Jet simulator test by then, but there you are. I had asked a question of 'the CAA,' got what sounded like a sensible answer and considered that to be sufficient. I obviously had quite a bit to learn about negotiating the British bureaucratic maze there!

It must be fairly clear, especially to you Brits, that I am no expert when it comes to dealing with the CAA but there you are. I always had minions to deal with the Nigerian CAA on my behalf for more than 20 years so that I was out of practice.

I went ahead and did the simulator ride and then went to Stapleford to do the IR training. I did the test out of Cranfield, using a DA42. Of course there is no direct correlation between the sort of flying one does in a multi-crew Dornier 328Jet and what one has to do on an IR test in a DA42.

The odd thing is that the IR test was much more difficult even though the DA42 is a much simpler aircraft than the Dornier. That could be put down to operating in the high-density London area plus having to do it all single-handed with no use of the autopilot allowed. (As of next year autopilot use shall be allowed in certain phases of flight.)

All of this cost me some sleepless nights and not a few of your pounds Sterling but on the other hand I was able to work with some really good instructors, alongside some really good young fellow students, and I even managed to learn a lot about operating small aircraft in high-density airspace.

Since I am almost 59 years old there is no question of joining the throng signing up for Ryanair or EasyJet; it is a simple matter of needing an ICAO licence to find work in the Third World, most probably. Anyone else in my situation reading this may find something useful in it. Otherwise that is about it, really.

30th Nov 2006, 15:35
...our published ten working days turnaround time is subject to fluctuations due to...

Is this the first time you've been fluct by a Government agency? ;)