Welcome to the latest blog update in our series documenting the journey of one of our Resilient Pilot mentors as they look to regain EASA privileges from a UK FCL post Brexit and the transfer deadline. So far, these blogs have been hugely popular, and we’re glad to be providing an honest account of the process. However, as always, the disclaimer still stands…
Please understand this is a personal case study of updates and by no means a method to be quoted for obtaining an EASA licence. It is written simply to raise awareness of potential steps to take, which needs to be supplemented with your own research.
If you read our last update, you will remember our mentor had attended their initial EASA class one medical examination and was waiting for the result to be accepted by the licencing authority. This has since been signed off and was accepted in late September.
Our mentor was advised by an AME to align their EASA and UK medical revalidation dates in the future to keep the process simpler; a tip to consider is the potential to let your UK medical lapse and renew this when you are due to complete an EASA revalidation to align the medical dates. Alternatively, you could revalidate one of your medicals early, to align the dates. This saves being ‘unfit’ for any period, especially if a job opportunity comes along that requires a valid medical. You can revalidate a medical within 45 days of expiry and still keep the same anniversary date. However, as always, check with your AME. The next step was therefore to get in the sim and do some flying…
To Austria we go!
As previously discussed, there were requirements to satisfy finding a sim and EASA examiner acceptable to the authority; read our third blog entry for more details.
After vast amounts of paperwork, our mentor was finally at the stage to be able to travel to Vienna and attend Resilient Pilot collaborative partners, Aspire flight training where they were able to undertake their UK LPC and EASA skills test; the only difference being the requirement of a raw data ILS to be flown as they hold an unfrozen ATPL. Bear in mind, the requirements are different for CPL holders wishing to pursue a licence conversion.
With a four-hour sim booking, our mentor completed their assessment first before swapping with the Captain. We’re glad to report our mentor passed both exams. To enquire about a Q400 or EMB170/190 booking at Aspire please visit the ‘Collaborations’ page on our website. Similarly, for A320/A330/B737 enquiries, visit our Resilient Pilot Current page where we can help with Skills Refresher Days, EASA LSTs and licence issue on these types.
The sim went well. However, it wasn’t without learning points.
One of the biggest take-aways instilled from the examiner was to leave more margin in between licence expiration dates and examination dates. Our mentor completed their LPC and combined EASA skills test with only a few days leeway before expiration. Whilst timings worked out, aim to schedule more time between examination and your expiry date: covid regulations, sim faults and travel delays could easily cause you to be unable to attend your assessment, leading to an even more costly renewal rather than revalidation. Remember, you can revalidate a rating within 3 months to expiration and keep the original date plus 12 months. Likewise, make sure you’re actively making enquires well before the 3-month window: sims are - fortunately - getting busier and it could be difficult to find a slot within this window.
We also asked our mentor for some tips regarding sim preparation and how it felt to be back in the ‘flight deck’ after a long period of no flying.
They confirmed –
making use of flight sim software
looking through profiles
practising vital actions, and
…whilst also practising and preparing with their assessment partner, was greatly beneficial. They found that they were a little slow at first, but - as the sim progressed - things returned quite quickly. It may sound surprising, but hand-flying is the area examiners are reporting to witness little skill fade; instead it’s nearly all in the procedures, SOPs and profiles. Why not try out our Competency Development Scenarios or visit our Resource Hub (all free as part of our Resilient Crew Room free membership) to enhance your knowledge pre-sim assessment?
Hopefully, you recall our mentor’s previously mentioned petition to raise awareness of the difficulty of this process and call for a reciprocal agreement between the UK and EASA to recognise FCLs post Brexit…
The petition required 10,000 signatures for an official response from the UK Government regarding the issue. We’re glad to say that a few days after our mentor completed their sim assessment, the petition reached its target! This meant the issue had to be responded to by the Government within four days.
But here comes the not so positive news…
Our mentor (and all those who signed the petition) have since received a response from the UK Government Department for Transport (DfT) addressing the issues laid out:
‘Should an agreement on licensing be assessed to be in the UK’s overall interest, we do not expect to secure this for some time, and it would require willingness from the EU as well. We are continuing to work to ensure an effective licensing regime supports UK aviation and delivering effective implementation of the existing agreement with the EU.’
Unfortunately, this wasn’t the response our mentor and 10,000 others had hoped for, but it leaves room for developments and we hope there will be further movement on the subject. You can read the full response here.
Questions have also been raised to the European Commission regarding this issue: https://www.europarl.europa.eu/doceo/document/E-9-2021-003768_EN.html with the response to the questions as follows: https://www.europarl.europa.eu/doceo/document/E-9-2021-003768-ASW_EN.html
In the meantime, our mentor still encourages you to write to your MP (UK citizen), or MEP (European Citizen) to inform them of this petition and the public will for this change to take place, whilst urging governments to start work on the “further Annexes to the agreement” as mentioned in the official DfT response. If you would like further guidance please get in touch: email@example.com and we can provide support in formulating correspondence.
Back to the UK
After the excitement of being back in the sim with a great result, it was time for our mentor to head home and complete the required remaining paperwork to send off in order for a licence to be issued.
Again, this process came with a few complications: The licencing authority required proof of ATPL exams and also raised some questions about hours requirements. To have an ATPL, 1500 hours are required of which 100 can be simulator time and 25 of these FNPT time. In the end all hours were accounted for, and issues rectified quickly. Our mentor also had to send off the previously completed English Language Proficiency certificate – read our previous blog to access a discounted rate with our ELP collaborator. Or, if you are a Resilient Crew Room PLUS member you can go straight to our collaborations page and connect with our ELP collaborator to sort your test.
Light at the end of the tunnel!
As of the start of October, our mentor was told that all requirements had been met, paperwork submitted, and the licence was ready to be printed! This was great news, and we look forward to reporting when it has arrived.
This has been a huge task, and the satisfaction of holding both licences after the long process will be immense. We’re glad to have been able to document this journey for you and hope to have provided valuable insights and thoughts into whether this is something you would like to embark upon.
Some final advice…
As we’ve said all along, make sure to supplement this blog with your own in-depth research to ensure it’s worth the investment of time and money for your personal circumstances and the differences required depending on what licence you hold i.e. ATPL, frozen ATPL/CPL. Issues such as the right to work in Europe are big factors to consider.
The next update
Hopefully we’ll be reporting the arrival of a licence in the post, and new career steps.
Until then we’d like to encourage a conversation among fellow aviators:
Have you had experience with this process?
Also have you heard about and considered the conversion to an FAA licence instead?
Let us know by contacting us through our social media channels or email firstname.lastname@example.org