Irv Lee (Irvin Lee) Mentoring the UK Private Pilot

Irv Lee Higherplane Aviation Training ltd

Mentoring the Private Pilot flying in the UK, EASA/NPPL Testing, Renewals & Validations, PPL Masterclasses, Radio Training & Testing, South African Vacation & Licensing advice, Consultancy and much more besides . . . . .

Advert: PPL Masterclasses now up and running again by popular demand. See tab on left side.
EASA licence or not, the pre flying tips are the same, and lots of EASA/National confusions are sorted out with a Pre Preflight Checklist, the ideal safety addition to your flight bag. It also solves a big problem for friends/relatives who never know what to get you as a present. Get them to click on the link or the tag on the left for details and purchase. Orders usually delivered in under 2 working days, often next day if timings work out.

Welcome to Irv Lee's Original Frequently Asked Questions page
All answers, unless detailed otherwise in the answer (Q&A Last Updated: May 2017) assume the pilot posing the question:
  • is a General Aviation ('GA') pilot flying in the UK.
  • flies "S.E.P" (Land based) aircraft (the replacement / successor to the old 'Group A').
  • has a UK issued PPL with no extra ratings or privileges, unless indicated otherwise.
Disclaimer: These answers have no legal authority and could be superceded or become wrong or redundant at any time. Use these answers only as a base starting point for checking with the relevant authorities.
NB: These answers may well need to be amended slightly now that the ANO 2016, EASA FCL and EASA NCO are in force. Considered them to be "under review". Also, there is now a FAQ page for specific EASA FAQs and another for the complicated rules of which combination of medicals and licences are legal- see menu on left.

The FAQs and Answers:

  1. How do I find a local Aviation Medical Examiner (AME) for my EASA medical?
    Easy - search by town, region or partial postcode on this AME Search Site. These doctors can issue either full EASA medicals or the EASA LAPL medical certificate. Your G.P. could issue the LAPL medical certificate, if they wish to take part in the scheme. Note that under EASA, whichever State owns your medical records is the State that handles all your licence and rating paperwork. It is no good having an initial medical in (say) Austria and expecting the UK CAA to process your licence/rating paperwork, unless of course you transfer your medical records from the Austrian CAA to the UK CAA. If you have a medical (non-initial) abroad, you must make individual arrangements for the data and reports to be sent to the State which owns your medical records. Be warned, if you have a medical in Germany, you are 'stuck' with Germany, as local national laws (which EASA has somehow worded FCL not to over-rule) forbid transfer of medical data to other states. ,br.If you are a S.A. PPL holder looking for a S.A. approved AME, I maintain these contact details: S.A. AMEs in the UK. (If you know of any more, they can be added for free!).

  2. My Certificate of Experience (SEP Rating) expiry date has passed, and I have not met the requirements. What can I do?
    It's probably not as bad as you expect, you do need a test with an examiner, but any retraining must be within either an EASA ATO or what was a JAA Registered Facility which is now in a transition period to become at proper ATO by late 2018 or the new concept, the DTO. You cannot retrain for renewal by independent instructors.
    The test is something like a good club rental checkout, but since late October 2004 has had to include a navigation secton too, This nav leg need not be as long as the initial PPL skills test's navigation leg. There is however a pass/fail on the whole test. Anything can be in the general handling parts, but expect the usual various Stalls, 45 degree steep turns, 'emergencies' (PFL, EFATO), and normal, glide and flapless circuits.
    As long as SEP is mentioned in section XII of your licence, the rating can be signed up by the examiner concerned.

  3. Can an Instructor sign the revalidation of my rating in my licence?
    If the instructor who did your 'training hour'flight as part of your 12 hour revalidation by experience has FCL.945 privileges mentioned in his/her licence, this instructor can sign your revalidation and process the paperwork to the CAA. If he/she was not the instructor doing your hour's training flight, or does not have 'FCL.945' mentioned, you must see a flight examiner for the revalidation signature. NB: Strangely, a UK licence needs a UK examiner to (or instructor with FCL.945) to sign a revalidation by experience. You cannot go to an examiner from another state for revalidation by experience, but you can for a proficiency check!

  4. Can I fly UK (G Reg) aircraft in the UK on an FAA/NZ/Australian/South African PPL or must I convert to a UK or EASA licence?
    It depends on whether you want to fly an EASA aircraft (e.g most certified aircraft, like a PA28, C172, etc) or a non-EASA aircraft (e.g. kit aircraft, RV series, etc)
    If you learned abroad, you probably need a UK instructor to brief you well on UK Air Law, and maybe to 'ride shotgun' for a couple of cross-country flights in the UK. It would be well worth looking at the Pre- Preflight Checklist which takes you through all the legalities and tips before making a flight in the UK. If you want to convert to an EASA PPL, see Q&A 25 below.

  5. Can I fly "VFR on Top"?
    Well, VFR itself is an international agreement, so technically everywhere allows VFR above cloud unless it is locally banned or your licence privileges stop you doing that. EASA and UK licences now allow it, but remember, if you intend to be VFR above cloud above 3000', cloud separation applies - you need to be 1000' above the tops or 1000' below the base, as well as having 1500m horizontal separation. At 3000' or below, 140kts or below, the same applies, UNLESS you take the option of being clear of cloud and in sight of surface, in which case your licence privileges of VFR allow flight down to 1500 metres visibility. HOWEVER, the new SERA rules have limited VFR at 3000' or below to 'in sight of surface'.

  6. What's the minimum horizontal visibility for flight for me in the UK? VFR tables show 1500 metres in "Class G" airspace (the "Open FIR"), but that seems very low.
    Clas G, that is correct, it is that low! (Assuming clear of cloud, sight of surface, 3000'amsl or below, 140kts or below). If you increase speed above 140, or enter controlled airspace, visibility minimum is 5km and 8km depending on whether you are FL100 (and below) or above it.

  7. What is the '90 day passenger rule'?
    The best way to understand this is to regard your rating as permission to fly SOLO (ie: totally alone) for its 2 year validity. For non-solo flight, on the day you want to take passengers, you must have completed 3 take offs and 3 landings in an aircraft covered by that rating (in any loggable capacity, eg: P1 or under training, with or without passengers) in the previous 90 days. If your flight includes any flying at night, at least one take off and one landing of the 3 must have also been at night unless you have an Instrument Rating. Note that if you only fly a multi engined aircraft every day for 90 days, all those take offs and landings and experience counts for nothing for taking passengers in a single engine aircraft under this rule. There are some recent 'work arounds' including taking a qualified non-handling pilot as the sole passenger if you have a non-EASA licence.
    (See also Q19 and Q26)

  8. What happens when a syndicate member needs checking out but also fails the 90 day rule?
    This is usually a syndicate rule issue, not a legal one (but in saying that, it is probably a sensible rule!). A member, fully legal in both medical and rating terms, lapsed on the 90 day rule, fails syndicate rules by not flying for a while, and needs a checkout before flying the syndicate aircraft. There are now extra complications depending on whether the licence in question is an EASA licence of some sort. Under syndicate rules the member needs a syndicate checkout, but the 'failed' member cannot fly the aircraft legally with a passenger, due to the 90 day rule, so cannot take the 'checker' if they have an EASA licence... (unless the checker is an instructor.) Under new legislation applying to CAA licences and non EASA aircraft, it is possible to take another pilot as a passenger in specific circumstances. Remember, legally, whatever the licence, unless there are insurance restrictions, the member can fly the aircraft solo - it is only syndicate-decided rules which stop it. So here are suggestions - choose one of these - it's not up to me to choose for you as I don't know your syndicate rules or what you require. I strongly recommend Option 2, as it is the only clear, minimum risk option with no doubt about it. Option 1 may well be risky to the health of both aircraft and pilot in certain circumstances, so I would not normally recommend it, but if for example the pilot has been flying light multi-engined aircraft regularly, there may not be a problem - it's entirely a matter for the syndicate, the pilot, and perhaps the insurance company!
    • Change syndicate rules (inform your insurance company first in case they have based a premium on the fact that anyone flying the aircraft has met previously established criteria).
    • The syndicate member should go to a club and get fully current on another aircraft, both in skill terms and for the 90 day passenger rule - it is the member who has failed syndicate rules, so it should be the member who goes to the trouble of getting out of the problem.
    • there seems to be ways under EASA to designate a required crew member for certain reasons, who would not be the handling pilot, but this option has not been explored yet.

  9. I don't want to undergo a test - how do I revalidate my 2 year S.E.P. rating on my Certificate of Experience?
    Well if you don't want a test, you look in your licence at the Certificate of Experience and in the final year of the two year validity, you must complete 12 hours personal flying in S.E.P. aircraft (or Touring Motor Gliders TMG if you happen to have a current TMG rating too). The 12 hours MUST include:
    • at least 6 hours pilot in command (P1). The rest could be P1 or training eg: for a night module, circuits with an instructor for currency, etc.
    • one hour must be with an EASA Flight Instructor or Class Rating Instructor, logged as training (P u/t) (get it signed!). The instructor must be qualified to be pilot in command on the aircraft. (e.g. if it is in your tailwheel aircraft, the instructor must have tail wheel sign off). (Note that in the final year, if you pass a flying test with an examiner for another aircraft class or type eg: a Multi-Engine (re-)Test, this 'instructor flight' is not needed, even if the other test you passed did not last an hour.) Since EASA rules came in the hour can be made up of 1, 2, or 3 separate flights providing all the flights counted to make up the hour are with the same instructor - so for example, totalling a couple of training flights with the same instructor in a Pitts that needed to break for weather or refuel could count if they totalled an hour.
    • 12 take offs and 12 landings. (See also Q26.)
    The Signature to extend your rating on the Certificate of Experience (form FCL 150 CJAR, as it was designated in early versions) must now be done by a UK flight examiner (non-UK flight examiner cannot sign revalidations by experience) or an instructor holding FCL.945 privileges in their licence IF they personally did the hour's training which forms part of the revalidation by experience. This signature is part of the process - if you do not get this signed by an examiner or the FCL.945 intructor who did the training flight BEFORE it expires, you have wasted doing the 12 hours - you will need a test just because you let the form expire without getting it signed in advance- even though you met all the other (flying) requirements!
    The best thing to do is if you are using the '12 hour by experience' route detailed above, once all flying requirements are met, ask a UK flight examiner or your FCL.945 instructor for a rating revalidation signature - don't wait for the last day as you may have problems finding an examiner. When using the 12 hour route, this final signature can now extend the rating not only by 2 years, but also to the end of that month.

  10. Should I leave my revalidation biennial instructor flight until the last minute so I do not 'waste' any of the current 2 year life?
    NO - you lose nothing doing it at any time in the second year, and meeting the requirements in any order. If you wait, you'll find weather or maintenance issues conspire against you and you won't get it done. When you have met all the requirements for revalidation, even if your rating still has months to run, you can get signed up in advance so that your expiry date is extended by another 2 years beyond that original date, thereby wasting nothing. (See previous question if you want to know who can sign you up for another 2 years). With EASA, your rating could be signed up to the 'end of month' of the date 2 years further on.

  11. I fly all sorts of Single Engine aircraft including simple ones (like a Cessna 150) and 'variants' like tailwheel, retractable undercarriage, constant speed props, etc, which now need instructor checks before flying them for the first time. Do I have to do 12 hours on each variant sort in the second year to keep current on them all?
    NO - if these different aircraft are all in the Single Engine Piston (land) class, then you add together any experience on any of them - they are all 'the same thing' as far as the 2 year class rating is concerned, unless they have a specific type rating like the Piper Malibu. You don't even have to do a single flight in any particular one of these 'variants' - if you did all your '12 hours' requirements in a simple Cessna 150, getting your S.E.P. rating signed off again covers you for all your S.E.P. aircraft for another 2 years, whatever their propellors or wheels do. Equally, if your 12 hours consisted of some sort of 'mix', eg: 4 hours on a Cessna 150, 6 hours in a Cub (taildragger), 2 hours in a 'retractable' Piper, there's no difference (other than the fun factor), this mix also meets the 12 hour requirements for S.E.P (land) Class. Same applies for the 90 day passenger rule - all experiences within a class add up together.

  12. For various reasons I can't fly 12 hours in one year. How do I revalidate my 2 year S.E.P. rating on my Certificate of Experience?
    Look at your 'expiry date' on the certificate of experience in your licence. One way to revalidate is to wait until you have under 3 months to go, and then have a proficiency checkflight with a flight examiner - a sort of mini-GFT similar to a good rental checkout but since Oct 2004 this has included a navigation leg too. Your original expiry date would then be extended by the 2 years. You can actually do this one flight (the proficiency check with an examiner) at any time, but if it is not in the final 3 months before expiry, your rating will be renewed from the date of test, not the date of original expiry. One thing to note is that if you abandon the 12 hour route to take this test and FAIL, you cannot fly again as pilot in command until you have passed a re-test, so the 12 hour route effectively disappears if you take the test and fail.

  13. How do I become a Flying Instructor (fixed wing)?
    You have to undergo a special Flight Instructor Course ("FIC") with an FIC Instructor, to become a restricted flight instructor, teaching under the supervision of an unrestricted one. You could not charge for tuition until you have a Commercial Licence. (An old BCPL counts). The FIC course involves 30 hours flying (some simulator possible, talk to the chosen school) plus 125 hours groundschool (some of that is "directed self tuition"). The test is gruelling - maybe 90 minutes in the air and about 3 to 4 hours being grilled on the ground.
    There are pre-requisites to the course, namely:
    • 200 hours total flight time (150 'P1' if PPL holder, only 100 'P1' if CPL/ATPL). Within this, 20 hours must be P1 cross-country time.
    • You must pass a pre-entry flight test to assess your ability to start the course. If you pass, you must start the course within 6 months or do it again.
    • 30 hours of the 200 total must have been on Single Engine Piston, and 5 of these 30 must have been in the 6 months prior to the pre-entry test mentioned above.
    • You need to have had 10 hours instrument instruction (of which up to 5 could be on an approved simulator)
    • You must meet the 'knowledge requirements for CPL(A)'. (i.e.: This currently means actually pass the CPL or ATPL ground examinations)

  14. When I fly in or out of Class D Airspace like Bournemouth or Southampton and visibility is not perfect, is it safer to ask for a Special VFR Clearance rather than a VFR one?
    In daytime, as a basic PPL, other than for visibility below 5km covered in the next question, the circumstances where you would want a Special VFR Clearance for Class D Airspace are extremely rare. There are reasons for a basic PPL to use Special VFR - see next question.
    Accepting that you hardly ever need it, if you did ask for it, either in ignorance or deliberately, you force the controller to separate you from other SVFR or IFR traffic by a certain distance. This sounds like a great idea, but isn't, as the controller will NOT provide any separation at all from other VFR traffic. It will also probably delay you considerably, as for your departure, the controller will keep you on the ground when any IFR or SVFR traffic is around, or make you orbit at VRPs if you are arriving, whilst separation is maintained from IFR or SVFR traffic around the airfield.

  15. When Should I ask for a Special VFR Clearance rather than a VFR one?
    Well, as a basic PPL:
    • When the visibility at an airfield you will use (or enter its ATZ) falls below 5km.
    • In rare procedural circumstances in Class D or E. You would normally only be interested in VFR in these classes, but if you were in transit through Class D and, due to a low cloud base, wanted to be exempt from the 1000' rule over built up areas, (was 1500' once!) then a Special VFR clearance exempts you from that rule but you would still have to obey the 'sufficient height to glide clear' and the 500 foot rules.

  16. I do have an IMC rating - can I make IFR instrument approaches in real IMC in Class D Airspace?
    Yes, subject to:
    • the aircraft being approved for IFR (eg: not a 'permit' aircraft)
    • the instrumentation being sufficient for the intended and agreed task. (eg; you would always need a radio, an altimeter, various gyro indicators, etc, but if you were NOT using the ILS, you don't need a serviceable ILS instrument unless the airfield was notified as always requiring it.) A transponder is always needed. (List will be expanded later)
    • the runway visual range being above minima for that particular runway and at least 1500m.
    • you being 'in current practice' or setting a suitable higher descent minimum based on recent practice.

  17. I only have a basic UK PPL. What do I need to fly IFR in the UK?
    Since the ANO changes of 2016, a type of instrument qualification is required - for example, the IMC rating or I/R (restricted) depending on the sort of licence you have. Note that IMC ratings in old pre-JAA can no longer be used in EASA aircraft, as the older licences only have LAPL privileges in such aircraft, and LAPL privileges mean no IFR. An EASA licence with an I/R (restricted) is the equivalent of the old IMC in UK airspace in EASA aircraft.

  18. I have seen 'colour codes' on METARS from Military fields. Where is the definition of what they mean?
    They relate solely to visibility and 'lowest level of cloud desginated "Scattered" or worse'. As they are designed for military pilots they concentrate at the 'difficult end' to help distinguish between different conditions for instrument approaches. G.A. pilots should be wary of GREEN (which sounds good!) as it is not brilliant and could even be illegal for VFR in the Class "D" airspace around some military bases such as Brize Norton (5km is the minimum for VFR in Class D). My graphic showing the definition is here, but note nowadays Amber is split into Amber 1 and Amber 2, as they are low visibility of cloudbase, my graphic combines them: Military METAR Colour Codes. White and Blue are the ones to interest general hobby flying, but remember they do not cover 'winds' in any way, and do not appear on forecasts (TAFs) although they might be quoted verbally in forecast context.

  19. I have had a night rating for a while. How do I keep it current?
    If you have night qualifications then you can legally fly solo at night for the whole of the validity of your normal rating - so if you have a Single Engine Piston (Land) rating valid for 2 years and a night qualification, then that is valid at night too for all that time for solo flight. The only snag comes when you want to take passengers. The 90 day rule applies, (see item 7 above) and you must have done 3 take offs and 3 landings in the previous 90 days to take passengers, and for night flight, at least one of each of those must have been at night (unless you have an instrument rating). So you might have to do a quick solo circuit before taking passengers unless you meet the 90 day rule.

  20. What is "Differences Training" in relation to features such as Constant Speed Props and Retractable Undercarriage, etc?
    There were 5 features in JAR which make an SEP aircraft a 'complex variant', there are now 7, and there are 6 for the equivalent in the UK NPPL. The first time you fly an aircraft with one or more of the following, you need signed-off successful training for that feature from an Instructor.
    • Tailwheel. For NPPL, if you fly a tailwheel initially, you need differences training for 'nosewheel' should you change.
    • Retractable Undercarriage
    • Constant Speed Prop (Variable Pitch Prop)
    • Cabin Pressurisation
    • Super/Turbo Charging
    • Glass Cockpit (not yet NPPL)
    • Single Power Lever (not yet NPPL)
    • for NPPL 'SSEA': Normal Cruise speed over 140kts.
    The content of the training is not defined - it just has to be relevant and sufficient to satisfy the instructor. So if you were trying to fly a tailwheel aircraft for the first time, you might expect a few hours, but if it were just a retractable undercarriage, then nothing like that amount of time - a little groundwork looking at speeds and emergency procedures, mainly circuit work in the air, and a little time outside to demo 'warning horns' and a surprise PFL to see if you remembered the wheels, then some induced distraction as you rejoin just to see if you remember again in the circuit - anything relevant.
    If you have flown a complex feature a long time ago, legally you still can without any re-training - do you want to? For retractable gear, maybe, maybe not - for tailwheel, I think you might need some refreshing with an instructor!
    SEE ALSO Q12 - these hours in any SEP Variant all add together towards your SEP hours for revalidation or the 90 day passenger rule.

  21. It always takes me time to work out the "overhead join". Is there a simple way to work it out?
    Overhead joins, given a high enough cloudbase, are the best way to join the circuit at a non-controlled field. If traffic joins at other points (crosswind, downwind, base, even final approach), then there are multiple points of potential conflict. By everyone joining overhead, this reduces to one place.

    The basic rule is:

    • Overfly the landing threshold 2000 feet above it, at 90 degrees to the runway, with your back to the circuit side of the airfield. If you can get a word in, call 'overhead for deadside descent'.
    • As an extra check that you've got it correct, as you fly over the landing point perpendicular to the runway, you should find the runway stretches out away from the aircraft in the same 'direction' as the circuit direction - in other words, at this point, if it is a left hand circuit, the runway will stretch out to the left of the aircraft and it will stay on the left of the aircraft from now on - if it is a right hand circuit the runway will be visibile stretching away through the right window, and it will stay on the right side from now on,
    • At this point start a descent with a gentle 'U' turn - which way?- the same way as the circuit direction - in other words if the circuit is 'left hand', all your turns will be to the left, if the circuit is 'right hand' then all turns will to the right. Keep a lookout all round, but observe the other traffic movements in the circuit and on the runway. If you were unable to make an overhead radio call, you can now make it as 'deadside descending'.
    • Your aim is to cross the non-landing end of the runway (the upwind end) at circuit height, in a very tight-in crosswind position. Any traffic on the runway taking off into the circuit should pass under you in the climb out.
    • When, looking back, your tailplane is level with the runway, turn downind and make the downwind call. If you have observed any other traffic already in the circuit and there is any conflict, try and fit in behind them.

  22. I'm an "ex-pat" living abroad but still flying on the basis of my UK licence. How do I revalidate my S.E.P. rating every two years?
    Well, the 12 hours and take-offs and landings should be no trouble, but your hour long instructor flight needs to be with an instructor from an EASA State. This is bound to cause a lot of problems for people in places like Canada, the USA away from the usual EASA schools.
    It's not even quite as simple as getting an EASA instructor who is passing by to give you the hour's flight. As he or she will be 'p1', not you, he or she will have to comply with whatever the local country wants to be allowed to be 'p1' in a local aircraft.
    If you manage to get all your revalidation done, you may need to send the paperwork off to the CAA at Gatwick to get your rating revalidated on the ratings form in your licence (early version were called FCL 150CJAR), unless you can find a UK examiner. An EASA examiner from another state cannot sign UK revalidation by experience.

  23. I have a Commercial licence and an EASA Class 1 Medical but I only instruct for PPL - do I need the Class 1 medical?
    Nowadays, no, you can instruct at PPL level on a Class 2 EASA medical.

  24. When I fly right-seat with a friend, (a PPL flying P1), I navigate and handle the radio calls. Can I log anything eg: P2?
    No, there's no official designation you could use in this case, you are merely a passenger. If you just want to record the flight for posterity for some reason, you could put it in your logbook and designate it PASSENGER rather than P1 or P2 but you mustn't put any time at all into the columns which 'total up'.
    Before any flight, it must be clear who is pilot in command. This pilot logs the time as P1. It is permissible for the role to be swapped sometime in the flight, but you can never double log the P1 time. eg: An 80 minute flight normally ends up being all 80 minutes P1 to one person, but by agreement it could be (say) 50 to one and 30 to the other. You decide between you, as long as you both know who is in command at any moment, sharing the time is ok as long as it is not double logged. If two qualified pilots are both sitting with controls, not only discuss who is P1 but also who will deal with emergencies such as EFATO. Without the discussion, it is very easy to get confusion at the very moment when there is no time for discussion. Logging P2 is reserved for flights on aircraft which are designated as requiring two pilots at all times, so any p2 logging on normal GA SEP aircraft is a nonesense.
    The other confusion which is very widespread is the logging of P1 (Pi/c) and P1/s (or Pic/us) for rental or syndicate checkouts. Many instructors log P1 to themselves and tell the pilot being checked out to log p1/s just for a rental checkout. This is SO endemic in the hours-building world, no-one bothers to read up on it. If you want to read up on it, try CAP804, the 'bible' for interpretting regulations. In there you will find a large table of 'when to log what' but don't read it before looking a the footnotes. You'll find out from the footnote that of all the cases listed for P1/s (Pic/us), the only one approved for use by PPLs is logging by a PPL is the 'successful test with an examiner', or specific flights pre-authorised by the CAA.
    If you have P1/s (or Pic u/s) in your log book and it was for a rental or syndicate checkout, not a test with an examiner, have a think about what made you decide to log it like that way. (Logging is your responsibility.) Was it you after reading CAP804, or was it because 'everyone does it' or you were told by someone who would benefit from taking the P1 time themselves? What happens if you log p1/s today and in 6 months time the CAA decides that p1/s hours on a rental (or maybe more likely, syndicate checks) is not what they meant by a test and tell examiners clearly that it should not count? (When I applied for Instructor Revalidation in 2001, my log book was checked that I was not including P1 hours on these pure rental checks as instructional training hours.)
    For rental checkouts, if the renter is fully legal to fly, I log nothing and the renter logs P1 for the whole of the checkout, but then I'm not hours building! We just have a pre flight agreement that Pilot In Command transfers to me should I need to say "I have control".

  25. How do I convert my 'foreign' ICAO (eg: FAA, SA, etc etc) PPL to an EASA PPLL?
    There are huge amounts of unnecessary Gold Plating applied to this since EASA came in. See question 14 on the EASA Questions page

  26. Can the take offs and landings required for the 90 day passenger rule and the SEP revalidation 'by personal experience' route be 'touches and goes' or do only 'fullstops' count?
    Just think - after a 'touch and go', ask yourself if you landed the aircraft? How can the answer not be "yes"? Then ask yourself if you took off again? How can the answer not be "yes" again? (Also, can you imagine trying to convince a local council planning authority that had put a maximum limit on aircraft movements that a 'touch and go' was NOT a landing followed by a take off?)
    A touch and go is definitely one landing followed by one take off for 90 day or SEP/TMG revalidation purposes. If you are told otherwise, it was probably either by the person charging you for aircraft rental (full stops take longer) or it was someone confusing this issue with the night rating training (prior-, not post-issue). Where either EASA or the law wants full stop landings, this is specifically stated in the regulation. There is no requirement to 'full stop' in the 90 day or revalidation requirements.

  27. What does an IMC rating (I/r restricted) allow me to do that I can't do with a PPL?
    Valid in the UK (and Channel Islands):
    • In Classes D, E, F and G, to fly IFR down to zero visibility, providing the aircraft is 'legal' for it, in or out of sight of the surface.
    No privileges are conferred for Class A CTAs, TMAs, or Airways.

  28. Where can I find information on the NPPL?
    You might want to look at the official NPPL site

  29. When flying with a transponder, when should it be set to ALT?
    As you are lining up on the runway, if not before, and used for the whole flight unless a controller tells you to "Stop Charlie".

  30. Do I need to fly complex aircraft every 2 years to keep 'grandfather rights' on them?
    Complex aircraft (tailwheel, retractable, constant speed props, pressurisation, turbo/supercharged) were originally meant to be flown every 2 years to keep the ability to fly them in future, and I believe the AIC on this says so. However, soon after the AIC came across, a JAR NPA (I think it was NPA 7) decided that for SEP aircraft, once you were complex qualified, you remained qualified on SEP aircraft even if you didn't fly the complexity every 2 years. Therefore, once 'retractable qualified', you remain so on SEP aircraft whilst you have an SEP rating. (The NPA was incorporated into the JAR which the Air Navigation Order 'points' at.)

  31. I have an SEP rating in my PPL - Can I legally fly UK microlights (if checked out)?
    Yes, subject to differences training for microlights signed off in the log book by a microlight qualified instructor.

  32. If I have an EASA Class 2 medical for PPL use, issued when I was still 49 years old but almost 50, does it run for the full 2 years (until I am nearly 52) or does it stop on my 51st birthday, seeing medical are only valid for one year for pilots in their 50s?
    An EASA medical's validity period is based on the age you were when it was issued, not the age you are at the time of using it! Therefore you would get a full 2 years if it was issued just before your 50th birthday. However, for some reason this does not apply to pilots getting 5 year medicals coming up to their 40th Birthdays - their '5' year period will not be allowed to go beyond their 42nd birthday.

  33. What documents do I have to take on a flight abroad in my G-reg aircraft?
    This list is being reviewed in the light of recent SERA changes: Generally you need:
    1- Documents specified by the ANO as you are in a G-reg aircraft (see below)
    2- Documents otherwise needed - even if you weren't in an aircraft. eg: Passport
    3- Documents a foreign country may want in addition to our ANO requirements. eg: VAT receipt, insurance, log book, or maintenance Release to Service.
    The ANO requirements are (for private flights, in addition to those required for internal flights):
    • Certificate of Airworthiness
    • Radio Licence (installation licence)
    • Crew Licences (I would take medical, R/T licence and ratings in addition to actual PPL)
    • Cert of Registration
    • Interception Signal list (more likely to be needed now after 9-11, apparently!)
    and if you are in a 'permit' aircraft, (take the 'permit') or perhaps you are flying on an ICAO licence from a 3rd country, do not go unless you are sure you have permission from the foreign authority, whether that permission is specific or 'blanket' (as it is from time to time for taking G-reg permit aircraft to France). You might be used to the French 'blanket' permission for PFA permit home-builds, but did you know Belgium wants to be asked about permit aircraft each time, and also wants a pre-paid fee for permission?

  34. If I get a foreign (ICAO-compliant: eg: FAA, South African, etc) PPL and an Instrument Rating from the same country, can I use it in the UK to escape the VFR restriction mentioned in Q&A No. 4?
    If you had an aircraft registered in the same country as your PPL and I/R, you could really fly anywhere (in whatever airspace) you wanted. If, as per Q&A 4, you mean in a UK ("G-registered") aircraft, that would give you some of the privileges of an IMC rating, but not all. It would allow IFR flights OUTSIDE controlled airspace in the UK (ie: Classes F and G), but you could not fly IFR inside controlled airspace (Classes A to E), where-as an IMC holder could do so in all but Class A,
    If you have a CAA or EASA PPL too, and you get an ICAO compliant Instrument Rating, the CAA will usually add an IMC (IR/R) rating to your CAA or JAA PPL if you apply to them for it.

  35. If I train towards a foreign (ICAO-compliant: eg: FAA, South African, etc) PPL but don't complete to get the licence, will the training count in the UK towards a JAA PPL?
    I would advise going to the LAA and asking for credit towards an NPPL-SSEA

  36. How do I claim back fuel duty for flights abroad?
    You fill in the HO60 form, attach fuel receipts for fuel loaded in the UK prior to your flight. Use the online site HMRC Fuel Drawback to get the forms or submit online

  37. Where can I find the UK self declare medical?
    Self declare process. or if that link changes, try Googling "CAA Self Declare Portal"

  38. If I do not complete the 12 hour route to revalidate my SEP rating, what is the content of the test which replaces it?
    If you don't revalidate via the '12 hour route' (which include an hour with an instructor and the paperwork/signature from an examiner before expiry), you have to do a test with an examiner, which is "fail-able". It is called a proficiency check. After expiry, you will need a certificate from a club or school to say you are ready for test before the test itself.
    Both an LPC and LPT used to be a "good club checkout" - a general handling test, but since Oct 28th 2004, these tests must also contain navigation. The length of the nav leg is up to the examiner.
    Here is the LPC content in pdf form - see page 2. This is the examiner check sheet, but you can ignore sections 3b and 6 for SEP LPC revalidations or LST renewals. It contains some things you may not expect - "abandoned take off" for example.

  39. I had a JAA PPL which has expired at the end of its 5 years, can I get an EASA PPL?
    Definitely - no problem but it is better to renew any ratings (eg: SEP) that you want to renew with suitable checks and send all the paperwork (renewal and conversion) in togther, otherwise, you would have to pay the CAA to add renewed ratings to your new EASA PPL when you pass the renewal checks later.

  40. How can I find information on Danger Area activity and inactivity so I can plan a route through/over/round one?
    Try the danger area link on this NATS page which also has the backups for NOTAM lists when the main notam checking site is down.

  41. I can never find the right CAA form for licence purposes. Where is the index?
    Try this for the index

Discount code for Pooleys Online
use "irvlee" in the "promotional code" field during checkout for 5% discount

Click here for details of how to contact Irv LeeHigherplane Aviation Training Limited
Registered Engand & Wales Company No. 04339387