Brexit Preparation updated

The UK CAA have advised us at that there may be issues for pilots in training in the event of a hard Brexit on 29 March 2019. In the worst case the UK will cease to be an EASA member State and the UK CAA will no longer be the ‘Competent Authority’ for the UK, as defined by EASA.

Following the UK CAA advice now published at https://info.caa.co.uk/eu-exit/ we want to make sure that pilots studying for theoretical exams are aware of the options open to them. Ultimately you must decide what course of action is better for you, and this will reflect your own opinions on whether continuing UK membership of EASA is likely or unlikely and also your own personal circumstances.

The particular concerns for pilots under training are (i) that, where the records are currently held by the UK CAA, after March 2019 it may not be possible to transfer licences or training records from the UK to another EASA State and (ii) there is a requirement that all theoretical exams be completed in one State, although that need not be the State under which theory training was completed. The risk here is that exams part completed with the UK CAA by March 2019 will not be able to be either completed or transferred to another Authority.

If you take the worst-case view, we would recommend the following for BGS students:

  1. Students who have yet to take exams are advised to
    1. start their exams under another Competent Authority and also
    2. to transfer their licences before the end of March 2019 to another Authority.
  2. Students who are within sight of finishing are advised to
    1. complete their exams under the UK CAA as soon as possible and
    2. to transfer their licences before the end of March 2019 to another Competent Authority. We do not accept EASA’s advice quoted on the CAA website that transferring to ‘another ATO located in the EU’ will be sufficient as we have no confidence that, in the event of a hard Brexit, the UK CAA (then operating outside EASA) will be able to transfer the records or licences of candidates in training to another EASA State according to current EASA procedures.
  3. Students who fall into neither category will have to choose between:
    1. Path 1 above, abandoning their earlier attempts
    2. Doing nothing in the hope that a satisfactory situation will emerge

On the other hand, if you take the view that the UK and the EU will put in place some form of arrangement that allows the UK to continue as an EASA member then no action is necessary.

Exams at Bristol Groundschool with Austro Control 

We have made an arrangement with Austro Control, the Competent Authority for Austria, to start offering their exams at Bristol Groundschool headquarters in Clevedon, the scheduled dates for exams at Bristol Groundschool will run for 3 days (Monday – Wednesday) each session and are as follows:

20th – 22nd November 2018
3rd – 5th December 2018
21st – 23rd  January 2019
18th – 20th February 2019
18th – 20th March 2019
15th – 17th  April 2019
20th – 22nd May 2019
17th – 19th  June 2019

Austro Control fees are considerably less than the UK CAA at £45 for each exam (including VAT and an admin charge), as opposed to £71, and the exams will be taken on either iPads or laptops as supplied at the exam centre. Note that if you start your exams with Austro Control you will have to complete your exams with Austro Control.

How do I book my exams with Austro Control
Bookings will be through BGS, not directly with Austro Control. You will need to register to book the exams under the Austrian Authority, please complete only Page 1 of the form below electronically (not by hand) signed and return to info@bristol.gs

Fixed Wing https://www.austrocontrol.at/jart/prj3/austro_control/data/dokumente/LLqT6_FO_LFA_PEL_214_EN.pdf

Helicopter

https://www.austrocontrol.at/jart/prj3/austro_control/data/dokumente/R9UEG_FO_LFA_PEL_215_EN.pdf

To familiarise yourself with the Austro Control examination software please click this link.
If you have already started your exams with another EASA State, then there is no problem: continue with them.

Transferring licences and training records
The UK CAA advise us that the process of licence transfer starts with the State you choose to hold your records. If you wish to transfer your licence/records, contact your EASA State of choice and follow their application process.

To transfer a UK license to Austria please see the following short explanation –
Overview of Austro Control exams being sat at Bristol Groundschool with effect from November 2018

– The Austro Control exams will be offered at BGS at least once a month, this will continue for the foreseeable future, whatever happens with Brexit.
– Exams are taken on iPads provided at the exam centre.
– Questions are drawn from the whole of ECQB 5.
– New Jepp is in use, PBN is included.
– No ‘quadrant’ style questions, no fill in the blank questions, although you may get the same questions delivered as traditional multi-choice.
– Annexes are viewable on screen and printed if the question requires it.
– Results are available instantly.
– It is possible to resit a failed exam in the same exam weeks even on the same exam day, availability permitting – i.e. same sitting but one extra attempt.
– No charge for appeals.
– Most appeals can be resolved on the spot.
– A change/cancellation of exam must be made at least 7 working days before the start of the scheduled exam session.

Frequently asked questions

Can I swap if I’ve already started with UK CAA?
Yes, but you will lose your UK CAA passes and will be starting again with Austro Control.

If I have already started doing my exams with the UK CAA and wish to swap to Austro Control do I have to wait for my 18 months to run out before I start with Austro Control?
No, this is a UK specific ruling and so cannot be applied when starting with another Member state.

What are the benefits of sitting my exams with Austro Control?
Aside from the obvious cost and convenience. The benefit is that you are keeping your options open to the possibility of gaining an EASA licence, should the UK become a non-EASA state and there being no process of recognition/conversion of UK licenses to EASA licenses.

Are the exams with Austro Control going to continued to be offered at Bristol Groundschool post March 29th?
Yes, it will continue for the foreseeable future, whatever happens with Brexit

Is the process the same for conversion students?
The conversion students can use the same application form without the need to fill in point 3 on the form.

Do I need to transfer my PPL license?
No there is not a requirement to do this if you are sitting your exams with Austro Control.

Can my UK military credits be transferred?
No, unfortunately they are not transferrable and if you decide to sit the exams with Austro Control you would be required to complete an approved ground school with us, ie attend all 3 revision weeks.