View Full Version : Free skill tests

29th Apr 2009, 21:24
Is it bad to exam pilots (revalidations or initials) for free?

30th Apr 2009, 16:24
Not at all, when can you do me???

30th Apr 2009, 20:21
Absolutely yes. You are a professional and should honour yourself as such.

2nd May 2009, 02:36
Immediate family member? Maybe free.
Good friend? Maybe at cost.
Acquaintances, students, etc? Commercial rate applies.

Unless it's me who needs the test of course... In which case, scanavos you are like a father to me, you mighty sky-master you ... :E

2nd May 2009, 07:14
When I first started examining, the Club paid all Examiner fees, Class Rating revalidations, IMC & FI revalidations etc etc. The cost of that was added to the hourly rate for everyone as it was considered to be part of the cost of 'provision of flying training'. Examiners received no payment for conducting tests.

Then, following CAA comments, we changed to the normal system where the person taking the test pays for it and FEs pay for all their own revalidations etc. This meant that the hourly rate could be held for a while (barring increases in fuel and maintenance etc), so was probably fairer to all.

I've done a couple of 'free' tests; one to help a student who needed to revalidate before starting an expensive CPL/IR course and one because it was for the owner of a Permit to Fly aeroplane - for which payment is not permitted.

However, those who get a reputation for conducting free tests probably have a 'day job' anyway, so don't need the fee. But they will certainly upset those struggling to make ends meet who need every penny they can get!

It doesn't help that the CAA has now made examining someone to whom you've given instruction more difficult (which does NOT apply to the NPPL) - even those legitimate safety checks and progress checks now need to be confirmed in writing by the Authority. In reality, no-one is going to bother with the hassle of the paperwork, so the Examiner will do even less instructing if he expects to do the PPL Skill Test with a particular student. This seems to have been introduced by the behaviour of someone or other, so in their usual heavy-handed approach to legislation, the CAA has made it more difficult for everyone else....:ugh: Funny how it was never a problem before the €urocracy of JAR-FCL....:rolleyes:

2nd May 2009, 19:18
Funny how it was never a problem before the €urocracy of JAR-FCL....

It is not just the authors of JAR-FCL that see having a licence issued to a person where no independent check by the appropriate authority is made as being rather poor in the quality assurance department.

The old UK system permitted a student to engage an independent instructor examminer for PPL training. The student received all training from that person, that person set and corrected the ground exams and that person performed the skill test(s). If that person was a radio examiner also they did the radio exam also.

If the examiner could teach and test for the IMC then the student got an IMC rating also without training / testing contact with anyone other than his instructor.

Later when he wanted a twin rating, there was cases where the very same instructor / examminer provided the training and the testing again.

Therefore the UK CAA was happy for a person to walk in off the road and some time later fly a 12 seater multi engine piston aircraft in IMC from A to B without ever having their ability or the quality / quantity of their training being checked in any way by an independent authority.

The fact that it was happening in a country where compared to other places, PPL examminers are "two a penny" did not help the position.

There is no reason for resisting the requirement for independent checking of PPL level training. While it may not be a requirement (yet) at NPPL level the CAA strongly recomends that unless it is not possible for good reasons then person performing the skill test should not be the same person who provided the majority of the student's training.

I would love to hear any argument that with good availabilty of examminers one ever needs to exammine one's own student.



3rd May 2009, 07:56
Re the above, I stongly disagree with the latest note from the CFE. Quite rightly there should be objectivity and an independent look at a student at the completion of a PPL. Unfortunately most examiners also have a role as CFI in a flying school or club. In my case this would mean virtually no instruction if I wanted to continue with ab initio skill tests. It would mean no trial lessons on the off chance that later my name would be first in the log book. It would also mean no progress checks or the odd flight to help with say a landing problem. And what about the day with the potential for a solo or more useful dual nav. ex., when the temptation would be to send a student solo and avoid my name in the logbook.
Maybe some FEs have ignored the JAR and FE handbook advice but there has to some flexibility. Perhaps no more than 5 hours with a student and nothing in the last 10 hours of the PPL course, I would be interested in what others think. particularly in some of the more far flung parts of the UK.
Re the skill test payment, Yes, lots of money please, BUT, I have just paid £567.00 for my FE/FI/SEP revalidation, ie aircraft hire and examiner fee. More importanly the FIE pays a small fortune to revalidate his rating via the CAA !

3rd May 2009, 08:58
You make some very good points.

I too strongly disagree with this heavy-handed approach from the CFE. I think that it should be challenged for the very reasons you state.

When income is tight at the PPL end of the market, FEs are going to spend more time sitting on the ground rather than carrying out prudent safety checks if they risk being unable to conduct the student's Skill Test.

So will probably increase their fees!

You are supposed to contact Head of PLD Policy - although it says 'should', so, strictly speaking, in JAA-speak that is only a recommendation - except that without written proof, the CAA won't be accepting such flights for licence issue after 1 Jun 2009. However, Head of PLD Policy is currently predicting a 3 week e-mail response time.... What b****y use is that?

I recommend that, should you fly ANY safety check or progress check, you ALWAYS send off the details to Head of PLD Policy (copy to the CFE), asking him to confirm that this won't prevent you ultimately conducting the PPL Skill Test, if necessary. Bury the bug.gers in paperwork and the previous atmosphere of trust and CFI responsibility may hopefully return.

3rd May 2009, 09:08

Your argument has no legs simply because there are very few places in the UK where you are more than a short journey from a PPL examminer.

If the only possible source of candiates for you personally to perform your examminer duties is your organisation i.e. that is the only reason you do not want the examminer from down the road doing the PPL skill tests then unfortunately, you just have to face the fact that there is not enough business to financially support the costs associated with your examminer approval.

AT the moment the Examminers are acting for the CAA. AT PPL level the CAA has put the cost of obtaining and maintainint the approval on the examminers shoulders but permitted an open market where while a fee is published, examminers are entitled to agree a fee that is different fropm the published fee. The CAA tries to limit the number of examminers per region / airfield etc however;

When the FCL part of EASA becomes law there will be even more examminers because under EASA there is no limit on the number of Examminers and everyone that meets the requirements can have the authority - the CAA can not stop them.

Are we going to have page upon page of people who rushed out, completed the training, obtained the approval but now that there are 100 PPL examminers at one little airfield they all complain that there is not enough work to support the cost of the rating.

There is no problem with a CFI performing progress checks during the training - the amount of progress checking is well known in the sylabus that your organisation has published and all you have to do is agree with the CAA the amount of training that can (in exceptional circumstances) be completed with the student before you are prevented from performing the skill test.



3rd May 2009, 09:14
DFC, when I wrote a PPL Training course, it included 2 defined progress checks for that very reason.

However, NOTEX A1-H1/2009 does not gives the latitude you mention. Consent has to be sought on every occasion......:ugh:

3rd May 2009, 09:43
The answer is, as BEagle says, is to pre warn PLD at the beginning of a PPL course and obtain specific clearance to allow progress checks etc. Also, in the full EASA world all FTOs,(RFs included) will be subject to audit and the above provision could be included in an ops manual, approved by the CAA.
DFC, I see my role as both instructor and examiner. The last thing I would want is to instruct a full PPL course and finish by conducting the skill test. At our club we are lucky to have two examiners and so avoid a problem. It is simply that this instruction is too draconian and shows little understanding of how most PPL training is conducted.

3rd May 2009, 09:55
Just a minor but important point

The recent NOTEX does not detail whether it is referring to PPL training or ALL training e.g. IMC etc

Up until now IMC rating tests could be conducted by the same person who completed the training (not recommended but legally possible )

The NOTEX does not make it clear if this has now changed, and if so has the wording in the examiner hanbook that specifically refers to IMC tests and training been amended.

I have sent an e-mail to clarify but looks like a 3 week wait ??

3rd May 2009, 10:26
Since it is a change wrought by €urocracy and the IMCR is a national rating, I don't see how this can apply to IMCR training.

The answer is, as BEagle says, is to pre warn PLD at the beginning of a PPL course and obtain specific clearance to allow progress checks etc.

If that's how it read, it's not what I intended. I suggest a locally-produced template to be completed and sent to the Belgrano whenever an FE has flown any safety check or progress check.

3rd May 2009, 12:19
My examiners handbook dated 2008/9.

Sec 2, 2.4.2 and 2.4.3.

I'm assuming this is still current?

Allows 'progress checking' within the last 10 hours before testing.
Also testing of IMC.

I,ve never had any problems finding an examiner for my students.

Perhaps if you train in the Outer Hebrides could be a problem.

Perhaps the CAA could publish an annual list of examiners with location and contact numbers.

3rd May 2009, 16:18
BEagle - what CAA comments were made with regard to instructors and examiners paying for their own rating revalidations?

3rd May 2009, 18:31
I can't remember precisely as it was a comment made by a CAA Staff Examiner over the phone way back before the days of JAR-FCL. It applied only to Examiners; he said that expecting the whole Club membership to pay the cost of keeping our 4 BX examiners authorised and the Club not charging GST (as it was then) fees to students 'wasn't the normal way of doing things'. Far better for students to pay the 'industry' rate for tests to the Examiners and tell the Examiners to pay for all their own expenses.

Although I now know that it was probably out of place for a Staff Examiner to comment on financial matters, we took his 'firm advice'.

No big deal, really. Particularly since it kept costs down for everyone else.