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When will the CAA start to get a grip?

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It appears now that the CAA are asking for people to apply for PFCO renewal three months (90 days) before the due date to ensure continuity. Many people are waiting 10 weeks in some cases, with the CAA computer system unable to cope with file sizes being sent. So now I need to cram in 2hrs of flight time by the end of this month.

I'm beginning to wonder if it is really worth the hassle. Most potential clients have their pick of the market, with so many people giving out aerial video services like a Pound shop. There just isn't the demand out there. But thats another discussion.

Why do the CAA make life so hard from themselves? Do pilots of real aircraft have to renew their license every year? No, they don't! So why the hell do we have to jump through hoops each year, with ever increasing waiting times for the privilege? It seems that no sooner have we renewed that we need to send in another application in the hope we get our renewal permissions in time. What precisely is stopping them simply moving to a bi-yearly, or even tri-yearly renewal? It would cut their workload quite drastically, and mean that us pilots can retain some sanity!
 
It appears now that the CAA are asking for people to apply for PFCO renewal three months (90 days) before the due date to ensure continuity. Many people are waiting 10 weeks in some cases, with the CAA computer system unable to cope with file sizes being sent. So now I need to cram in 2hrs of flight time by the end of this month.

I'm beginning to wonder if it is really worth the hassle. Most potential clients have their pick of the market, with so many people giving out aerial video services like a Pound shop. There just isn't the demand out there. But thats another discussion.

Why do the CAA make life so hard from themselves? Do pilots of real aircraft have to renew their license every year? No, they don't! So why the hell do we have to jump through hoops each year, with ever increasing waiting times for the privilege? It seems that no sooner have we renewed that we need to send in another application in the hope we get our renewal permissions in time. What precisely is stopping them simply moving to a bi-yearly, or even tri-yearly renewal? It would cut their workload quite drastically, and mean that us pilots can retain some sanity!
As I have said elsewhere, the pathetically poor service given by the CAA by not having the foresight to see the increase in UAV PfCO demand and not responding to certified operators submissions in a timely manner, coupled with the non policing of the cowboys out there will simply drive people to not renew their PfCO and operate without going through the tortuous process of renewal.
It is pathetic really but not surprising how the CAA have put their head up their backside for a couple of years now and carry on like the lumbering governmental organisations we are all used to.
Any half wit with an ounce of common sense could see how popular PfCO was becoming but the CAA have moved at glacial pace and it has come back to bite them.
 
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It appears now that the CAA are asking for people to apply for PFCO renewal three months (90 days) before the due date to ensure continuity. Many people are waiting 10 weeks in some cases, with the CAA computer system unable to cope with file sizes being sent. So now I need to cram in 2hrs of flight time by the end of this month.

I'm beginning to wonder if it is really worth the hassle. Most potential clients have their pick of the market, with so many people giving out aerial video services like a Pound shop. There just isn't the demand out there. But thats another discussion.

Why do the CAA make life so hard from themselves? Do pilots of real aircraft have to renew their license every year? No, they don't! So why the hell do we have to jump through hoops each year, with ever increasing waiting times for the privilege? It seems that no sooner have we renewed that we need to send in another application in the hope we get our renewal permissions in time. What precisely is stopping them simply moving to a bi-yearly, or even tri-yearly renewal? It would cut their workload quite drastically, and mean that us pilots can retain some sanity!

My renewal is due in July so I contacted the CAA a couple of weeks ago asking about lead times. They came back with 28 working days but said to allow a couple of months to be safe so I'm about to submit my mine.

You've now got me concerned with 90 days / 10 weeks. Where did you get this from, hearsay or the CAA themselves?
 
Other than the money the caa get is there any reason why authorised NQE's couldn't be given the authority to do the yearly re-validation?

Obviously, anything entailing major revisions would need to go via the caa but for everything else the NQE's would be more than capable of signing off on. And I'd much rather see my hard earned go back into the industry than to a regulator who are struggling to provide a decent level of service.
 
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When my renewal came back last year I was advised that I could submit it 90 day before the next renewal date. I wasn't quite able to do that and am hopeful that I will receive it by the end of June.

I can understand why people feel frustrated with the CAA but fully support the system. I work primarily in the construction industry and being legitimate and insured is essential to getting onto highly regulated sites.

Dave Smiths idea of giving NQE's the task of handling renewals is a great one and could ease the CAA's pressure.

I suppose that should my renewal not arrive on time I'd just have to sub any work I might have onto someone through this forum.
 
I would not want to see the NQE's do the renewals. The costs would go up significantly! I really do not know why we need to submit Ops manuals in the first place after initial submission. We have already been assessed by officially recognised assessors as safe to carry out operations, and the ops manuals are supposedly an internal company document for our benefit, not the CAA's. Not to mention that pilots of full size planes do not have to renew every year either, or submit ops manuals!

To give an idea of scale, there are approaching 3,000 active operators for UAV's currently. My own ops manual is quite short compared with others. But if we assumed an average of 125 pages long (I've seen references of some absurdly long ops manuals going on 200 pages or more), then the CAA, each year, with literally only 3-4 people to handle it, is having to read through 375,000 pages of ops manuals every year!!

This alone should be reason enough to re-evaluate why they really need to do this. Either that, or over zealous ops manual writers should be made to curtail their enthusiasm and learn how to condense the information more effectively. Overly long ops manuals aren't exactly helping the cause at the moment. I know from other forum threads that some people take pride in how long their manuals are. Think about it. Some bloke or lady has to read through every page of it, for every ops manual submitted. Would you want that job?!
 
I'd be surprised if they read every last word.... they'd lose the will to live doing that!! The NQE's are supposed to pre-approve/screen the OPs manuals initially when you submit your first application. At that point the CAA most likely do random sample checks or just spot check the kind of work you're doing and your ERPs match up. If your job lists are simple, then no probs, if the lists have unusual jobs etc, then you'll get greater scrutiny!

After that your manual should be submitted with an up to date change log in the manual. If there are no changes, then chances are it'll be rubber stamped & waved through. If it just says updates to match PfCO from PfAW etc then they're likely to give it a cursory glance. However, If it says updated to include 10 new drones + updated ERPs, x new pilots, y new job types... then they're more likely to look at it in more detail.
 
I would not want to see the NQE's do the renewals. The costs would go up significantly!

How so?

=Not to mention that pilots of full size planes do not have to renew every year either, or submit ops manuals!

PPL's revalidate every 24 months.
However, not sure you should be feeling hard done by because their requirements are different from yours, as there is a huge difference in training and what a PPL has to do to maintain experience and the subsequent costs involved :)

I do agree with you about the unnecessary complexity of the OM though. And it irritates me when it's complexity is rationalised with 'oh, it will help you understand your operation better'. No it won't because all the good stuff is buried in pointless cr@p which people are being encouraged to include which results, as you've mentioned, in War and Peace sized documents.
 
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I'd be surprised if they read every last word.... they'd lose the will to live doing that!!
Nope, they read through it all. They've said as much. They can't cope with the workload, hence the reason they are considering upping the costs. Why do you think it's such an issue for them if they weren't doing this? There's no random spot checks. You submit your manual, and they read through it. The NQE reading through your manual is nothing to do with the CAA. All they are doing is making sure your OM is good enough to pass the real test, which is being read by the CAA themselves.

How much did it cost you to have your OM read through by your NQE? You think they'd spend hours of time, most likely needing extra staff to cope with the workload of reading through hundreds of them for a nominal fee? The best way to solve this is for a change in attitude regarding OM's in the first place. They simply aren't as important as they are being made out to be, and I simply do not see why all these resources need to be given up to reading through the things each year.
PPL's revalidate every 24 months.

Really? I thought UK licenses or JAR are renewed every 5 years. That was my understanding from a friend who was a pilot, and the CAA website seems to back this up. And EASA ones are apparently for life.
 
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Really? I thought UK licenses or JAR are renewed every 5 years. That was my understanding from a friend who was a pilot, and the CAA website seems to back this up. And EASA ones are apparently for life.

A license for life, I wish. :)
The license is good for 5 years but any ratings which are included within the licence (single engine, multi or instrument) need to be revalidated every 12 or 24 months depending on what you have.

As for the OM, I agree, unless there is any reason for amendment I don't see the rationale for having to submit it annually. However, if we must, there's no reason why an NQE couldn't do it and the fee could be standardised by the caa as part of the approval to carry out renewals.
 
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there's no reason why an NQE couldn't do it and the fee could be standardised by the caa as part of the approval to carry out renewals.

Maybe. But I really don't think the NQE's would have either the manpower or the inclination to want to do it unless they could make a good business profit from it. I know from my own perspective I'd rather stick lit matches in my eyes than read through peoples OM's. You'd have to pay me a lot of money to make me do it!
 

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