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View Full Version : PPL Skill Test fees set too low


Broadlands
21st Feb 2022, 22:28
I was disappointed to hear how much a local examiner charges for a PPL Skill Test. A brief look at the websites of various clubs is even more disturbing. One charges £120, and that was just a first look.

So think about that £120 fee. A skill test takes about 2 to 2.5hrs. Add on the time before flight to brief and allow the candidate to prepare, the checking of all paperwork, the post flight debrief and admin, and then the responsibility for signing off a pilot. For me that takes at least hours and I frequently find errors which need addressing.

All that for £120 which begins a race to the bottom. I am almost of the opinion that test fees should be set by the CAA and booked through flight test bookings.

For any examiners setting low fees, please be realistic and charge a fee appropriate to the experience and professionalism of our position otherwise the end result will be that the good examiners will give up.

Whopity
22nd Feb 2022, 10:12
It'll soon be cheaper than the new FRTOL test (CAP 2117) (https://publicapps.caa.co.uk/docs/33/CAP2117%20Feb2022.pdf)

Edgington
22nd Feb 2022, 14:34
PPL Instructing/Examining is not a way to make a living in the UK, it's still considered you are instructing for hour building or giving back to aviation after a career with the airlines. Plenty of places are still paying £25 p/h flying time, but expect you to work for 2 hours and then some. A Plumber, Joiner or Dustbin man makes more than that.

Fl1ingfrog
22nd Feb 2022, 19:58
Where in the world is PPL instructing paid better?

TheOddOne
22nd Feb 2022, 23:01
Our microlight instructors are paid almost double what I get. How did that happen?

TOO

Edgington
23rd Feb 2022, 16:31
Where in the world is PPL instructing paid better?

10 Years ago in the Netherlands it was €65,- for a 2 hours session with an instructor, every lesson was a 2 hours session regardless of how long you flew

eagleflyer
23rd Feb 2022, 19:43
I flew in the US not too long ago, about 5hrs block in an SEP. Got a flight review, two high-performance and complex endorsement. Together with the briefings it set me back about 700$, which comes to an hourly pay off 95$, straight into the CFIs pocket. Just a little more than what you pay in Europe if you go to an ATO. That´s the point....in FAA-land you can go freelance, in Europe you can not. Examiners are yet another story, I don´t think you´ll get a skill test for less than 600 bucks.

Broadlands
23rd Feb 2022, 21:48
PPL Instructing/Examining is not a way to make a living in the UK, it's still considered you are instructing for hour building or giving back to aviation after a career with the airlines. Plenty of places are still paying £25 p/h flying time, but expect you to work for 2 hours and then some. A Plumber, Joiner or Dustbin man makes more than that.

While I agree a plumber would make more, I disagree that an examiner is hour building on the basis that by the time someone starts to examine they do not need hours in their log book. Yes, new instructors are paid at a lower level as in any profession but experienced and qualified instructors are generally paid appropriately, at least at all the organisations I interact with they are.

That does mean that I accept when I receive training I know it is going to be expensive.

Whopity
24th Feb 2022, 14:41
I disagree that an examiner is hour building on the basis that by the time someone starts to examine they do not need hours in their log book. Requirements have changed, an Examiner only needs 250 hours of instructional experience to become an Examiner for the PPL or CPL! Recently I heard an FTO saying they would not trust a particular Examiner to authorise a first solo!

deja vu
26th Feb 2022, 05:27
I was disappointed to hear how much a local examiner charges for a PPL Skill Test. A brief look at the websites of various clubs is even more disturbing. One charges £120, and that was just a first look.

So think about that £120 fee. A skill test takes about 2 to 2.5hrs. Add on the time before flight to brief and allow the candidate to prepare, the checking of all paperwork, the post flight debrief and admin, and then the responsibility for signing off a pilot. For me that takes at least hours and I frequently find errors which need addressing.

All that for £120 which begins a race to the bottom. I am almost of the opinion that test fees should be set by the CAA and booked through flight test bookings.

For any examiners setting low fees, please be realistic and charge a fee appropriate to the experience and professionalism of our position otherwise the end result will be that the good examiners will give up.
If you can't asses a candidate in a 20 minute conversation and 45 minutes in the air you are in the wrong business. But I am sure the game is full of pedantic gits looking for a nice little earner at someone else's expense and to flex their anal know how.

Whopity
26th Feb 2022, 20:25
If you can't asses a candidate in a 20 minute conversation and 45 minutes in the air you are in the wrong business. In the days when a PPL Skill test was just a GST that was probably correct, but today with the implimentation of European Regulations all of the required elements of a PPL Skill test, which is 60% Navigation, then it is simply not possible to conduct a PPL Skill test in much less than 2 hours 10 minutes.

BigEndBob
28th Feb 2022, 11:29
We all charge £200 PPL skill test on the field i operate on.
I will be lucky to do 3-4 skill tests per year. (There will be 5 examiners available on field).
I charge £50 for a non club member LPC.
Perhaps i might do 1 a month average.
Now CAA take their cut of ground exams. I'm still charging the same as 10 years ago £20. Can we justify £20 on top of the £10 to CAA.

I keep saying being an examiner is just not viable, financially. Think last renewal will be final one (said that last 10 years).
I paid over £1000 last year to revalidate various ratings, using my own aircraft FOC.
Hourly flight rates are way behind inflation.

Best job is RT examiner, no responsibilities what so ever.

BigEndBob
28th Feb 2022, 11:43
Requirements have changed, an Examiner only needs 250 hours of instructional experience to become an Examiner for the PPL or CPL! Recently I heard an FTO saying they would not trust a particular Examiner to authorise a first solo!
Minimum i think should be 5000 hours to be considered.

BigEndBob
28th Feb 2022, 13:40
Updating RTF, infringements,what a joke.

Couple of years ago tried a simulated lost with Brum. Ask for qdm for home base.
Reply, we can't do that (yet have been doing for years).
Never asked since.
Good way of putting my student off ever asking for help.

Whopity
28th Feb 2022, 15:12
Best job is RT examiner, no responsibilities what so ever. Until you read the new CAP2117, riddled with errors. They don't even know what is written on an Examiner Certificate. It says RTF Examiner authorities will expire and we must reapply as FRTOL Examiners. A bit late, because our authorisations have always said we are FRTOL Examiners, there is nothing to convert, they are all re-certifications not certifications. The terms renewal and revalidation do not apply, Certificates are issued or re-issued.

TheOddOne
28th Feb 2022, 17:47
Minimum i think should be 5000 hours to be considered.
...which means I've only 2,000 hours to go, by which time I'll be nearly 80. But wait, that'll be about the right age!

TOO

BigEndBob
1st Mar 2022, 12:02
...which means I've only 2,000 hours to go, by which time I'll be nearly 80. But wait, that'll be about the right age!

TOO
Perhaps left it a bit late in life to want to be an examiner. Years ago we could get 600 hours a year easily doing ga training.
Lucky if i do 200 now.
Got told off once by CAA inspector because i did over 100 in one month.

250 hours is a joke, barely seen one season.

Duchess_Driver
1st Mar 2022, 19:44
@TOO - 2900 in MP?

I gave up examining a couple of years back as it wasn’t viable for my lifestyle. Being away as much as I was I think I did 3 tests in the last year of its validity but even when I was based in one place it was probably no more than 5/6 a year with other examiners around.

As it was, word got around that examiner x was cheaper or examiner y was “a soft touch” and candidates chose the appropriate option.

Difficult to see a properly conducted skills test taking less than 90 minutes to an hour and 3/4s, bearing in mind a suitable Nav leg and diversion. Maybe i was doing it wrong!

TheOddOne
2nd Mar 2022, 07:21
Can we justify £20 on top of the £10 to CAA.

I've cut my part down to £15, so the student now pays £25. The added faff of logging on and sorting out the on-line stuff is offset by not having to mark it. Then they want to know what they got wrong and why, so it's sorting out the codes for the 'areas of weakness'. Easy when they get 100%!

TOO

Whopity
3rd Mar 2022, 12:08
Back in the days when we had standardisation, there were annual meetings where Examiners discussed fees, now those don't happen. It is a free market and Examiners may set whatever fees they like, it may vary between what the market will bear to, if we set too high a fee we won't get any customers. Many schools paid Examiner's expenses so test fees may well have gone to the school rather than the Examiner or simply the Examiner received a token fee and the school made its money elswhere in the training. Independent Examiners are in a different position, but need to be competitive in order to survive. Maybe we have too many Examiners which holds the prices down.

MrAverage
4th Mar 2022, 11:00
There are at least a dozen at my base airfield alone.

Fl1ingfrog
4th Mar 2022, 12:34
Standardisation has never been a forte of the UK CAA. The now defunct CAA team of staff examiners, primarily concerned with commercial pilot testing standards, never in its time ever produced a standards document. They were an exemplar of: put ten people in a room and you will achieve as many opinions. GA standards were lead by the AOPA Panel of Examiners, another dispirit group but made up of a wonderful group of very experienced and knowledgeable characters. Each had their territories and they ran it their way.

Standardisation is now the all with knowledge and experience taking second place. A few hundred hours and a course of a few days and hey ho your now an examiner having past a rigidly standardised assessment. As many have complained here the examiner list is without control, with examiners complaining that they rarely have 3 - 4 tests a year. There are at least a dozen at my base airfield alone. This comment reflects a norm. The club committee/owner/Ops.Desk/instructor and even candidates are now setting the standards.