Pilot FAQs
since 1997

aeros cardiff


Here are answers to some of our many regular queries - often these are about how to remain in current flying practice:

Q1. What are the requirements for revalidating the 2 year S.E.P. rating on a Certificate of Experience?
Well if you don't want to take another flight test with an examiner - in the final year of the two year validity you have to complete 12 hours personal flying in a S.E.P. (simple SSE aircraft or a Seaplane SEA).
The 12 hours MUST include:

*12 take offs and 12 landings.
* at least 6 hours pilot in command (P1). The rest can be P1 or training eg: for a night module or IMC rating.
* one hour must be with a Flight Instructor, logged as training (P u/t) (make sure to get it signed!). Note: that if you pass a flying test with an examiner for something else, such as: an IMC (re-)Test, a Multi-Engine (re-) Test, or a Seaplane (re-)Test, the 'instructor flight' is not needed, even if the test you passed did not last an hour. The important point is that an examiner must also complete and sign document SRG\1119 and return it to the CAA who keep a database of all current JAR pilots. (See also Q4).

Q2. That's all very well, but I have an NPPL licence - isn't that different?
Well it used to be, but no longer. From 31st January 2008 the revalidation requirements for the NPPL holder are broadly the same as set out in Q1 above. The NPPL is a licence in which can be included up to three Aeroplane Class ratings, ie Simple Single Engine (SSE), Self Launching Motor Glider (SLMG), and Microlight (M). All class ratings have a validity period and come under a common set of requirements.

These changes do not apply to the UK PPL(Microlight ) licence holder who is currently not required to undertake a one hour instructional flight, but needs a minimum of 5 hours personal flying on the same class as in the licence, in the preceding 13 months required, including at least 3 hours pilot in command (P1). In all cases the 'Certificate of Experience', and your log book should be signed by a CAA authorised examiner. (See also Q4). The PPL(M) holder can elect to use the PPL/NPPL system, and the examiner will issue a 24 month revalidation page in your licence. However, you cannot then revert to the old system for subsequent revalidations. The intention is that all revalidation requirements will come into alignment over time.

Q3. When is the best time to do the revalidation biannual instructor flight NPPL and JAR PPL?
You lose nothing by doing this at any time in the second year, and meeting the requirements in any order. If you wait, you will find something works against you and you miss getting 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.

Q4. I'm confused by all the paperwork - who has to sign what?
The Signature to extend your rating on the 'Certificate of Revalidation' form, and the update documents to the CAA, must be done by an Authorised Examiner, not just any instructor. All flight examiners, and also Ground Examiners ('R' or 'GR') are approved to sign the C of R. This signature is part of the process - if you do not get this C of R form signed BEFORE it expires, you have wasted doing the 12 hours - you will need a flight test just because you let the form expire without getting it signed in advance- even though you met all the other (flying) requirements!. Check with us and get it right More>.

The best thing to do is if you are using the '12 hour by experience' route detailed above, once all flying requirements are met, and as soon as you are within 3 months of expiry, ask an examiner for a rating revalidation signature. Don't wait for the expiry date as you may have problems finding an examiner. When using the 12 hour route, this final signature (according the JAR) can be had at any time once flying requirements have been met, but under the UK ANO you have to wait until the final 3 months to get your revalidation paperwork done, even if you completed all the flying requirements several months before that. For example, if you completed your 'by experience' flying requirements including the flight with an instructor in months 13 and 14 of a 2 year rating, you now have to wait for months 21 to 24 to ask an examiner for the final signature to finish the revalidation process!.

Q5. I have an NPPL(A) - Can I fly an aeroplane with a variable pich propeller?
Yes you can with differences training - see Q9, providing the maximum take off weight authorised (MTWA) of your aircraft does not exceed 2000kg, which is well within the limits of most aircraft in the UK GA fleet.

Q6. What does the '90 day passenger rule' mean?
On the day you want to take passengers, you MUST have been the pilot in command for 3 take offs and 3 landings (or touch and go's) in an aircraft covered by your rating (in any loggable capacity, eg: P1 or under training, with or without passengers) in the previous 90 days. If your flight is likely to include any flying at night, one take off and one landing of the 3 must have also been at night, unless you have an Instrument Rating.

Q7. Can I keep my NPPL(A) current by flying a microlight?
- If you hold an JAA PPL or NPPL(A) you can fly microlights, subject to signed off differences training. Unfortunately at the present time the hours flown on such an aircraft do not count for the 12 hours required for revalidation of a SEP by experience. The legislation in this area is due to change, as some microlight aircraft types can fall into the VLA (or 'sports') category, and on which type you can log group A hours. The definition of a microlight aeroplane is one designed to carry not more than two persons which has (a) a max total weight not exceeding (i) 450 kg for 2 seat landplane or 495 kg for a 2 seat float plane, and the stalling speed at max wt should not exceeding 35 kts calibrated airspeed. Anything that is outside these limits is by definition not a microlight.

Q8. I've heard about a VLA, what does that mean?
The VLA (very light aircraft) is a EASA design category for factory built aircraft heavier than a standard microlight, but less than 750 kg (1633lbs) max take off weight, and with a stall speed less that or equal to 45 kts. If a VLA is operated under a C of A it can be used for PPL(A) training and for revalidations.

Q9. What is meant by "Differences Training"?
This relates to features such as Constant Speed Props and Retractable Undercarriage, etc. There are 5 features in JAR which make an SEP aircraft a 'complex variant', and 6 for the equivalent in the UK NPPL. The first time you fly an aircraft with complex features, you need to be 'signed-off' with successful training for that feature from an Instructor. These include *1. Tailwheel *2. Retractable Undercarriage *3. Constant Speed Prop *4. Cabin Pressurisation *5. Super/Turbo Charging *6 -for NPPL 'SEP' equivalent only: Normal Cruise speed over 140kts.
The content of the training has to be relevant and sufficient to satisfy your instructor, but unlike many organisations we always work to a recognised and approved course syllabus. If you have not flown a complex feature for some time, legally you can still do so without any re-training – but would you really want to!.

Note: The hours in any SEP variant all add together towards your SEP hours for revalidation or the 90 day passenger rule. So even if you are 'qualified' on a complex type why not include a useful revision flight with an instructor to ensure you remain 'current'.

Q10. Can I use my IMC rating in a Private Category or Permit Aircraft?
Yes you can! There is a lot of misunderstanding about this. You have to look at your VMC privileges to answer the question. So you can take off with 1800m visibilty, be VFR of top of cloud, and with a reduced visibility of 3km. This is why the IMC is so useful, and every pilot with some experience should get one.

Q11. I have an IMC rating - can I make a UK instrument approaches in real IMC in Class D Airspace?
Yes you can, subject to the aircraft being approved for IFR (ie: not a 'permit' aircraft) the equipment being sufficient for the intended and agreed task. You would always need a radio, an altimeter, various gyro indicators etc, but if you were NOT using the ILS, you do not need a serviceable ILS instrument unless the airfield was notified as always requiring it. A transponder is always needed. The runway visual range must be above minima for that particular runway and at least 1800m, and you MUST be 'in current practice', or setting a suitable higher descent minimum based on recent practice. Several GPS RNAV approach procedures have now been published, and we are now able to offer training in these procedures using aircraft that are fully approved.

Q12. Why is my IMC only valid in UK airspace?
This is only partly true. In the airspace of a state which does not require a PPL holder to remain in sight of the surface (for example France), the holder of a valid IMC rating may fly out of sight of the surface. See also Q10 above, and the General Aviation Safety Information Leaflet (GASIL 2/2004 June).

Q13. Does that mean I can do an instrument approach with my IMC outside UK airspace?
Yes it is possible, and we do this regularly on our IMC courses. When following a published instrument approach procedure, you are always flying under instrument flight rules (IFR). Sometimes it is possible to obtain permission from air traffic control units to make instrument approaches without complying fully with the instrument flight rules. You will be required to maintain at least the appropriate visual meteorological conditions (VMC – also known as the VFR minima, which can be as low as 3km), but will still be under IFR. Again another reason why the IMC is so useful, and every pilot with some experience should get one.

Q14. I share my flying with another group member, but I'm not always sure how to log such flights?
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 during the flight, but you can never double log the P1 time. 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.

The other confusion which is quite widespread at flying schools is the logging of P1 (Pi/c) and P1/s (or Pic/us) for rental or group checkouts. Some instructors log P1 to themselves and tell the pilot being checked out to log P1/s for a rental checkout. This is a particular problem in the hours-building world, since no-one bothers to read up on it. Check LASORS, pages 40-42, and you will see that of all the cases listed for P1/s (Pic/us), the only one approved for use by PPLs is the 'successful test with an examiner', or specific flights pre-authorised by the CAA.

For group rental checkouts with us, you log P1 (if you are fully legal to fly), for the whole of the checkout. We just have a pre flight agreement that Pilot In Command transfers to the instructor by saying "You have control". When flying in the right-seat, you can still navigate and also handle all the radio calls. Note with us, you always log P1 if you are current, even when accompanied by an instructor/safety pilot.

Q15. Can I learn to fly a seaplane in the UK?
Yes you can, but opportunities and facilities are limited at the present time, but we are working that. The Seaplane Class Rating requires a minimum of 5 hours dual instruction in a suitable aircraft at a JAA authorised training organisation. Cambrian Aero is authorised to conduct seaplane training in the UK, and further details can be found on our Seaplane links. The rating can be added to your NPPL/PPL or CPL/ATP licence, and also readily converted from any other ICAO licences - the most popular being Transport Canada, and the FAA.

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