View Full Version : End of the UK Practical RT Test?

9th Nov 2015, 11:14
There is a strong rumour that the practical Radio-Telephony test is likely to be dropped (or replaced) by the CAA.

This is supported by the CAA refusing to consider any new practical RT examiner applications since mid 2014.

Does anyone have any up to date information which might indicate:

If the change will be implemented?

When the change will be implemented?

How the change will be implemented?

9th Nov 2015, 16:36
I've just had my RTF Examiner Authorisation revalidated. Cost me 236 for another 3 years (and a month, curiously). I sincerely hope that they don't pull the rug from under me (at least until I've got my money back!) I'm not being helped by the CAA failing to include my name in the latest list of authorised examiners. I've been assured this oversight will be rectified, but nothing has changed so far. The latest list is dated 15 June 2015 (V.11) and seems VERY light on names, generally.
I'm aware of at least one person who has been waiting for about a year for the inspection to take place so he can be Authorised. I think the issue is a lack of inspectors.


Mickey Kaye
9th Nov 2015, 18:47
What's the set up in other European countries?

Do they have an RT practical and a separateRT Licence

9th Nov 2015, 18:50
The conversations that I had with the last CRTFE and a Senior Staff Examiner at Gatwick earlier trhis year totally dispelled any such rumour, they were looking for a revised way ahead and talked of using existing RTF Examiners to test prospective new examiners. Until the system is revised, they have ceased to appoint new examiners, possibly because they don't have anyone to test them.

9th Nov 2015, 23:11
I hope something is sorted out soon because we are down to one in the whole area and if he retires we are stuck.
I thought the IN notice said an update would be issued in August, I assume next year.

10th Nov 2015, 07:23
I find it hard to believe that there is only one covering a large area. It reached a point where there were so many RTF Examiners that there were simply not enough tests to go around. The last list seems to have missed out around 50% of them so I am sure if you dug out an older list you could find a few more hidden away.

The fundamental problem is that the CAA was dismantled internally and nobody has worked out how to reassemble it; those who were disenchanted with the process upped and left and it seems are still doing so.

10th Nov 2015, 09:28
Whopity wrote: ....those who were disenchanted with the process upped and left and it seems are still doing so.

True - and I hear that quite a few more are leaving very soon, which will mean that things will soon reach criticality in some areas. The Authority now has an 'adverse task to resource ratio'; distractions like the Red Tape Challenge, 60-day GA update announcements, medical consultation, ANO review etc. etc. without proper manning levels and over reliance on expensive contracted personnel have caused far more important front line activities to suffer as a consequence.

A lot of web-based information is out of date - and they are even saying that CAP804 might have to disappear as there'll be no-one left to keep it updated.

No doubt there'll be yet another wiring diagram change soon as the people at the top rearrange the Belgrano's deck chairs....

10th Nov 2015, 11:02
Having tried to explain the CAA's rationale to a non aviator produced an interesting reply:This H**** character is well known at GW Trains. As you can well imagine he was a wooden top within GW, having been parachuted in with no knowledge of the safety culture of railways, let alone aviation. I wondered where he had gone, how the bloody hell did he manage to blag his way into the CAA ? His attitude towards people with the knowledge was exactly the same at GW and he did not like people telling him where he was going wrong, end result a period of poor performance on what was a good railway; GWs' performance has improved since he left.

Genghis the Engineer
10th Nov 2015, 13:24
I believe that within the Belgrano a certain person is known as "The train driver".

The odd meeting I've been to with him, I can't say he seemed to know the first thing about aviation.

A former senior manager at CAA, now jumped ship to industry where he seems much happier said to me that

"He seems to be working from the "boys book of management" - every week it's some new idea or initiative - most of them are inappropriate - and we're all running around after that instead of supporting aviation."

The conversation was a couple of years ago, so the words are probably wrong, but the gist isn't.

In my opinion, organisations led by people without strong knowledge of the core business of the organisation, will seldom do well. Think about banks led by people without banking qualifications, NHS managers who aren't medically trained, defence ministers who have never worked in the defence industry or served in uniform...


10th Nov 2015, 18:48
Hi Genghis et al,

I do believe that you can successfully head up a railway company without having been a train driver or be a CEO of a bank without having been a bank clerk. May I remind you of Sir John Harvey-Jones - he did a TV series called Troubleshooter. He joined ICI as a management trainee and rose to lead the company, the only non-chemist to do so. In 5 years at the top he doubled ICI's share price and took it from a loss maker to a billion pound profit. His Wikipedia profile hardly does him justice.
The CAA has had plenty of Chief Executives who haven't been pilots, what is required is someone of the right calibre. As with ICI above, perhaps all those chemists who tried to run the company were trying to play with a chemistry set rather than run a company. There's only one thing worse than having a specialist try and run a company and that's put an accountant in charge.
I think what the CAA needs is someone with clarity of vision and purpose and the charisma and ability to make effective changes. I don't know what the present incumbent is being paid, but I wouldn't have thought you'd get anyone of the right calibre for much less than 750k plus benefits PA.


10th Nov 2015, 19:01
I always thought the practical r/t a bit of a waste of time.
Has it improved r/t?
What's important is that flying instructors teach from the start correct r/t procedure.
I have heard dreadful r/t from instructor instructors and Cpl instructors.
They have probably done practical r/t tests at some point.

Then you get nit picking from r/t examiners who pick up on things like 123.50 being said as one two three decimal five zero, the candidate being told not to say the zero. Why?
It's a significant number that shows the r/t wasn't clipped at the end.

10th Nov 2015, 19:13
Slightly off-thread but why do we say "Changing to Wherever on one three three decimal one five zero"? Especially if departing an airfield with an AFISO, what's wrong with "Changing to Wherever"?

10th Nov 2015, 19:48
but why do we say "Changing to Wherever on one three three decimal one five zero"?
Have a read of the latest CHIRPS. A pilot there confesses to having copied a frequency down wrong on his pre-flight planning. On changing to this wrong frequency he created an issue for himself and a potential hazard for others. The purpose of stating the agency and the frequency that you're changing to is to give an opportunity for the agency that you are about to leave to cross-check you have the correct information. We had a period of about 3 years after the local RADAR unit changed its frequency where departing pilots were stating the old frequency. I'm sure we saved some people from calling fresh air.
The requirement to say 123.5 instead of 123.50 was introduced a few years ago to get us used to the phraseology required for 8.33 kHz channel spacing, along with (more importantly) saying 134.050 instead of 134.05. I like the habit of finishing the call with my callsign, so that's where the transmission would get clipped, if anywhere.


10th Nov 2015, 20:31
It wasn't so many years ago that the CAA were asking persons like myself (ATCO and authorised ROCC examiner for AGCS) to become FRTOL examiners too, now the wheel has come full circle.
As TheOddOne says, the use of either 4 or six digits when saying frequencies is driven by whether your country uses an 8.33khz spaced frequency. It is an ICAO requirement and at the time it was brought in, (I was on the UK Phraseology Working Group at the time) the UK had only one notified 8.33 frequency in use, but this meant we had to comply. We'd just about convinced the RAF to use abbreviated 'numbers' for 25 khz frequencies (eg 134.125 spoken as wun three four decimal wun too) when this happened so it was irksome to have to change back.
Interestingly, the USA didn't have to do the same as they didn't use any 8.33 freqs at that time!!(probably do now I would guess - unless someone here knows better)

Genghis the Engineer
10th Nov 2015, 21:29
Sir John Harvey Jones spent 26 years working his way up ICI from management trainee to chairman.

Sir Roy McNulty, the executive chairman of CAA before the role was split in two and occupied by two non aviation people was a fully paid up aviation professional who had worked at Shorts and NATS.

Both knew the business and industry sectors intimately.

That's the difference. You don't need to be a chemist to understand the chemical engineering business, or a pilot to understand the aviation business. But you do need to understand the business.


12th Nov 2015, 11:35
Just checked and can see that I am not on the list of RT practical examiners although my renewal date is 31/05/2016. Perhaps the CAA have a plan to give me a rebate on the next renewal to cover the loss of earnings. Was that a pig I saw flying by?

12th Nov 2015, 15:58
was a fully paid up aviation professional who had worked at Shorts and NATSI thought he was an accountant!

Genghis the Engineer
12th Nov 2015, 17:09
He was a civil servant who became a manager across various aviation organisations. The occasions I met him , his grasp of the aviation industry was encyclopedic.

He also seemed to be trying to get us out of EASA, describing it as "not fit for purpose ", which I think that he saw earlier than most of the rest of us !


12th Nov 2015, 18:31
He was right there, sadly his successors have rendered another organisation not fit for purpose!

Pull what
16th Nov 2015, 11:58
The start up owners of Virgin, Easy Jet and Ryan Air didnt work their own way up in the aviation business, they were just good businessmen who knew what customers wanted!

16th Nov 2015, 12:22
Very big difference between starting up a business as an Entrepreneur, and taking over an established business, with no previous expertise.

16th Nov 2015, 20:01
The Captain decides the direction the ships going.
It takes a crew to make go in the right direction!