View Full Version : Getting ATO Approval

24th Jun 2013, 19:32
I am representing a small flying school who teaches only a few students a year.

Now with EASA new ORA rules to become an ATO it really feels overwhelming work that has to be done. Most of it I don't even know how it should be done. There is very limited of help or guidance in how a the Operations Manual and Training Manual should look like.

Feel much stress over this. If I knew what to write in it it would be easier. The rules gives the different topics like flight duty restrictions, pilot log book and so on. But no explaination to them.

Some places on internet speaks about a complex document numbering system. I feel like I do not know where to start. I do not have a staff of personell to help me out.

Isnt there any template out there to get the idea of how it should look like for example the operations manual? Is there some school out there willing to share their operations manual?

24th Jun 2013, 20:02
Yep, i'm in the same boat. Got to go RTF to ATO. Just a one man band.
All i have had so far is former national authority employees offering to to this for us and get it through, guess what envolves a fee! One quote was 1000, for what a photo copy?
Just seems like a money making exercise by some who knew this was coming along.

This is the problem, if people are paying good money, then there wont be many offers for example copies.

Anyone want to start a share scheme in a manual, after all they are pretty much going to look the same. I ain't got time to sit around writing some manual, for it to be rejected, which when finished will sit on some shelf and gather dust. Until the next bright idea comes along.

24th Jun 2013, 20:23
Thanks for your answer.

I tought for a sec that I was the only one not understanding this.
I am educated to fly not to write such things like this. This is really difficult.

I am really into sharing such stuff. At the moment I do not have any.

My idea is to if I only get the start of it, some pages showing the structure I could work on Operations Manual this autumn, and next year take the training manual.

Anyone who has anything that can assist in this I am really interested.

BigEndBob if you wish we could change contact details to help eatchater out.

Cows getting bigger
25th Jun 2013, 09:51
A few thoughts.

Firstly, I have had manuals refused despite the fact that they are direct copies of ones which have been previously approved.

Secondly, and not wanting to be confrontational, there is a significant amount of time, effort and money spent on producing manuals. I would think that those of us who have produced them may be slightly reticent as far as charity is concerned.

Finally, if you approach the problem with a "it will gather dust on the shelf" attitude, I suspect the Regulator will drive a coach and horses through your business. Remember, you will ultimately be audited against these manuals.

Finally, I agree that much of this is overkill for registered facilities who already have enough on their plates with Nu-regulation, costs etc. However, for now we are stuck with it.

25th Jun 2013, 11:18

But how should I do. I do not even know what to write in these manuals. Where do I get the help?

jez d
25th Jun 2013, 13:06

I see you're based in southern Europe, so you won't be under the regulatory control of the UK CAA. However, the UK CAA are planning on releasing a free tool-kit for Registered Facilities switching status to ATOs. I would imagine that if the template is good enough for the UK CAA then other National Aviation Authorities will accept it as well. I'd keep an eye on the CAA website therefore to see when it is released.

For UK RFs the other bit of encouraging news is that the CAA are considering handing over the ATO approval process to a thrid party. The perceived advantages are that it will reduce audit costs (through the utilisation of a UK-wide network of senior instructors and examiners as auditors); that these auditors will know what they're doing; and that delays in processing applications could be greatly reduced.

The UK CAA is also apparently lobbying the EU Commission for a reduction in the audit cycle from once every two years to once every three.

Regards, jez

25th Jun 2013, 13:15
Start with the rules & regulations. Often a regulation that requires a manual will also specify what has to be in it. Doesn't mean you can't have more but those mandatory bits are the minimum.

Go through the regulations and list those that apply to your operation, and those that don't. Leave room for notes for each applicable reg. on your list. Think about each one & what you currently do that meets its requirements. Write down those procedures & practices that meet the rule and those that don't. Modify practices accordingly. If it's a new regulation think about how you could adapt your current practices to comply, otherwise devise a procedure that will satisfy the requirement.

Once you have a list of applicable regs and some reasonable way to comply, see about grouping similar topics eg anything to do with fuel or administration/records or standards or supervisory/managment etc. Those groups can then be chapters in your manual.

Cows getting bigger
25th Jun 2013, 13:53
The attached link is an EASA produced guidance document aimed at flying schools outside of EASA. It is quite a good starting point.


26th Jun 2013, 06:05
Ok, great.

Thanks for tips!

The UK tool kit seems like a very good thing. I've heard about it and I did some surfing on their web page but where on their page should I have a look out?

jez d
26th Jun 2013, 09:18
where on their page should I have a look out?

I expect they'll release it as an Information Notice:

List of Information Notices Publications | Publications | About the CAA (http://www.caa.co.uk/application.aspx?catid=33&pagetype=65&appid=11&mode=list&type=subcat&id=34)

And they'll probably also announce it on their news page:

Latest News | CAA Newsroom | About the CAA (http://www.caa.co.uk/application.aspx?catid=14&pagetype=65&appid=7&newstype=n)

27th Jun 2013, 16:11
Exactly what i said, some former employees milking it for what its worth.
Farm it out to a third party?
The CAA don't seem to have a clue, so pass it on to someone else to take the blame when it all goes wrong.
Everything is based on interpretation.
So everyone is singing from a different hymn sheet.
To me something stinks.
In 10 years time there will be only a dozen large schools offering training.
A lot of flying schools are a cottage industries. Struggling along at minimal cost. Running on enthusiam rather than profit.
What EASA or EAA want is as few establishments as possible to deal with.
Look after the interests of the the big integrated course schools.
The LAPL is a joke.
The future is microlights.

Mickey Kaye
27th Jun 2013, 19:11
Its a disgrace.

I know of two people who wanted to start up flying schools but under the new system simply haven't been able to. Not only are the direct fees horrendous plus the added cost and time of writing a load of manuals (which will sit on a self and never be read). But apparently there is also a 6 month lead time to get your application approved.

We are in the worst economic downturn for a generation the industry is on its arse and we introduce a shed load of regulation that already having negative effect on the industry and which will only go on to cause more damage once registered facility grandfather rights come to an end.

Frankly you couldn't believe it. If I was a local MP and I found out that regulation (which this current government had promised to reduce) is costing employment in my constituency then I would go berserk.

"the future is microlights"

Only because they don't have the regulatory burden. Everything that you need to operate a microlight school is downloadable from the BMAA and at NO cost.

27th Jun 2013, 20:15
UK standards will only go down as we fall to the Euro average.
I bet bet a lot of good CAA personnel have left in disgust.
They all hope the good will amongst the GA community will ignore the Euro crap and do whats best for its customers.
The UK probably has enviable statistics for flight safety because of its tradition of flight training. We have, for better or worse been brought up on the Battle of Britain spirit which euro despise.
Our syllabus is based on CFS methollogy.
The sooner we leave Euro the better.#
We owe nothing to Europe, they owe us everything.

Cows getting bigger
27th Jun 2013, 20:30
Yep, it's a disgrace. Remind us of:

How many schools have previously gone to the dogs with students' cash?
How many schools have knowing flown un-airworthy aircraft?
How many students have not been taught to a satisfactory standard but that has be OK as the in-house examiner has done a 'Father Christmas'?
How many 'Parker pen' entries have appeared in logbooks, tech logs and training records?
How many FIs were flying 25+ days in a row, 6-8 hours a day for a pittance and were shown the door if they ever queried their working conditions?

My point? Please don't kid yourselves that the traditional ways were fantastic; they weren't. I agree that the CAA is trying to find its role in the new European regulatory environment and it would appear to be struggling. I also agree that much of the new paperwork and manual writing is complete nonsense. In the same breath, some of it is actually very good. There are some schools that deserve to fail.

27th Jun 2013, 20:58
Flying isn't rocket science.
Its only one step up from driving a car.
Admitted there are a few dodgy clubs around, in my experience a club is as good as its instructors, as soon as they leave, the club goes to pot.
No matter what regulation, won't change that.
Human nature.
Don't take cash up front. Honesty is everything. Explain why you don't give discounts. I have never lost a customer.
Fly airworthy aircraft.
Don't use in house examiner. I tested my own students 10 years ago, they are no better/worse than current pilots.
The RTFOL has made no difference to R/T.
A student is as good as his /her instructors instruction, in fact some cpl r/t examiners practical is wanting.
I remember posting years ago that at AFIS airfields it was ridiculous that at a "Ready for departure" reply could be just the a/c callsign.
That got changed to a specific reply that indicated exactly what a pilot intended to do.
Be honest with logbook entries, very few people accomplish in minimum hours , thats why NPPL and LAPL is is a farce.
And would never ask an instructor to do what i wouldn't. ( CFI 13,000 hrs)
In fact if PPL's were flying in crap i still wouldn't expect an instructor to fly.
I always remember my first cfi Ali, where ever you are, he said, "it ain't Battle of Britain, you don't have to fly, you ain't on a mission"

I'm sure the CAA aren't stupid, they will come up with something for RTF. They know the way the UK operates. But will they just give up, leaving us in the lurch, so to speak.

28th Jun 2013, 09:37
Not sure what all the moaning is about, the manuals are not rocket science, the guidelines as to what needs to go in them are readily available. What they require is people actually getting of their arses and doing the work rather than sitting in the dark ages and unwilling to do anything but moan.

I had to write all of the manuals for our RTF, FTO and TRTO approvals and had no problems with getting them approved. When we transitioned to EASA i had to amend them to reflect the new regime but in reality little actually changed.

An RTF for a PPL is the simplest job of them all as its limited to a single course with an already accepted curriculum. You need an Operations manual which just says who you are and what you do and replaces the flying order book. A simple quality manual and a training manual. The training manual can be an off the shelf PPL course like the AOPA one. None of it is difficult.

What does get my goat is the SMS gravy train that has been created. Some consultant at the CAA is making some serious mileage out of the SMS requirements. I spoke to the guys responsible for it at EASA and they could not believe the gold plating being carried out by the CAA on SMS. The requirements are for an appropriate system for the size of the organisation. The CAA want safety committees and confidential reporting systems. They want me to carry out risk assessments on opening the hanger doors!! The SMS stuff is a real croc!

28th Jun 2013, 13:26
I bet bet a lot of good CAA personnel have left in disgust.Over 13 to date and rising rapidly!