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UK PFAW advice

Discussion in 'Certified UAV Pilots' started by JonnyK, Sep 20, 2016.

  1. JonnyK

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    Hi all, I've been considering working alongside a well established photographer to video weddings (alongside a videographer) the business owner has offered to pay for half of the course cost. I would love to get involved but considering an outside investment I would be concerned about passing. I just wondered what peoples opinions on here are regarding the difficulty to pass the PFAW?
     
  2. The Editor

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    Providing you are committed and prepared to put in the work with your ops manual and concentrate fully through the 2/3 days then you will be fine.
    However, it is no walk in the park and it is a lot of information to absorb in a short space of time.
    Some find the flight assesement the most daunting, others find the idea of writing a 50 page operations manual scary while for some the groundschool exam is terrifying! (Pass mark of around 75%).
    Your NQE will help you all the way through and they are there to pass people and get them PFAW not fail people.
    Should you fail your Groundschool exam you are usually allowed one free resit (within a specific timeframe). Depending on the NQE, most will not allow a free resit of the flight assessment (after all you are expected to be able to mission plan, do risk assessments, site surveys and actually fly the thing) so you will have to pay if you fail that.
    Your ops manual will not be submitted to the CAA until your NQE is happy and signed off on it.
    Hope that helps.:)
     
    TheSaffer likes this.
  3. JonnyK

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    Thankyou, I can't find much about the flight assessment, I usually fly 90% in gps mode so might struggle with that aspect.
     
  4. The Editor

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    It isn't too difficult. Your flight assessment will involve some atti flying and usually at least 3 maybe 4 'emergencies'. Failure on any one of your emergencies will result in a failure overall since you are expected to know your emergency procedures (which you will write into your ops manual) instinctively and without reference to your manual.
    As an example, my flight assesement took in some flying at 400ft agl in gusty conditions with a loss of GPS lock thrown in by the examiner as an 'emergency'
     
  5. JonnyK

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    Thankyou, I really appreciate the advice
     
  6. JonnyK

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    Sorry for all the questions but is the exam multiple choice and I've read it's an open book exam so you can take in notes?
     
  7. Peeliewally

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    The exam is multiple choice and also includes some VFR map reading so you need to know lattitude / longitude and how to navigate using a CAA 1:250,000 map. Its advisable to read your course material as much as possible before you attend the course. The exam is open book but you still need to know the material covered in the course books.
     
  8. The Editor

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    Yes, it is multiple choice but as mentioned above you will be tested on all aspects of the course including meteorology (including decoding METAR's and TAF's), principles of flight, classes of air space, air law, etc etc.
     
  9. JonnyK

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    Thankyou,
    Do you know if you can fly a phantom and inspire on the same license or is it specifically for one?and would it be specific to the model I.e. could you fly any phantom (or when the inspire 2 comes out) any inspire?
     
  10. The Editor

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    It isn't a 'license' as such it is a permission granted by the CAA.
    There are various categories under the PFAW and the Phantoms and Inspires of this world fall into the sub 7kg MTOM (maximum take off mass) category.
    It used to be that a separate flight assessment needed to be undertaken for each aircraft but the CAA changed that and now as long as you pass in a particular category then you are permitted to fly any lower category as well without additional testing.
    You can have as many aircraft in your fleet as you want (providing you do not go over your weight classification), however, each aircraft must be separately specified within your ops manual and a record of serial numbers and checklists and emergency procedures specific to each aircraft must be lodged.
    For instance, a motor kill command maybe different for the Inspire than for a Phantom or another aircraft etc.
    Additionally, your standard permissions (and insurance) will usually only allow one aircraft in the air at any one time.
     
  11. JonnyK

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    Thankyou that's cleared that up. Sorry for all the questions I'm just trying to figure out if it's worth trying for it, the costs are high when you take into account insurance as well. How does the renewal process take place?
     
  12. The Editor

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    Come renewal time you submit an SRG1320 form to the CAA along with your current ops manual (highlighting any amendments) and a copy of the last two months logbook entries and payment (currently £56 for sub 7kg renewal) and proof of Insurance.

    Then wait for for the renewal to come through. :)
     
  13. JonnyK

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    Thanks again for the information it's very much appreciated
     
  14. GB44

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    I would also add that you should be prepared to wait a long period to get the CAA to respond and don't think for one minute that you could pick up the phone to discuss something with the CAA, they simply don't have the staff, resources or the desire to operate like a proper business entity, they operate to their own rules without recourse.

    When you do get your permission granted, don't expect to get a nice new certificate in the post, for your money and all the hard work to produce your Ops Manual, you will receive a very poor photocopied document/permission emailed to you. If you do request the original to be issued you will either get a response of thats what you get or you simply don't even get a formal reply. Its all a big joke especially with all the additional money the CAA now receive from new applications. You would think these guys would be accountable in some way for their lack of business aptitude and simple business communications.

    The CAA used to also seek out those who flew UAVs dangerously and also had an anonymous reporting method on their website, but have now passed over investigations and responsibility to the Police, who really have no idea about UAVs and airspace law unless it is a qualified UAV pilot advising them of some breach.

    Just be prepared to wait for your application to be granted and don't start any paid work until you receive it.
     
  15. The Editor

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    That's not strictly true.
    The CAA do respond to whistleblowing via their web reporting service (as long as you use the correct contact address).
    I have had a reply (and action) in the last two weeks with the 'offending' website being taken down within 48hours of the response to me from the CAA. They obviously acted pretty quickly.
    Currently PFAW turnaround on renewals and new issues is around 25days that is nothing unusual for this time of year.
    Many delays are caused by NQE's holding onto SRG1320 submissions and sending them in bulk to the CAA (but they never tell you this) so you could have a two or three week delay from your NQE before it even gets to the CAA).
     
  16. GB44

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    I reported something to the CAA over a year ago and they simply informed me that I should report it to the Police. In the early parts of 2015 I think the CAA was quite active in seeking to prosecute or slap peoples hands. I would agree the CAA seem more active in addressing websites showing CAA logos incorrectly or without the PFAW license number with the logo, but this would not be a Police matter anyway, it would have to be driven by the CAA.

    In terms of application processing, I waited nearly two months for my renewal and only received the renewal after I sent in three or more emails requesting a response within a respective time frame, even then when it arrived it was such a poor quality scanned document.

    So with respect, my experience and from what I am told from other PFAW holders the CAA does not at this point in time provide a quality service for UAV operators. I am sure though that commercial jet operations have a better experience than what is provided to the UAV sector. In my opinion, the CAA need to up their game and start providing a basic business where people can communicate properly and have applications processed with specific time frames or provide a reduction in the application fee if they can't meet deadlines.

    Lets be honest here, they are a public entity and should be accountable for the inability to provide a basic service to their customers, which starts from having the resources to answer telephone calls and responding to emails, not much to ask really.
     
  17. Flyex

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    Is there an official way for CAA logos to be displayed on PfCO holders websites?
     
  18. The Editor

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    No but if you use the CAA logo you are expected to actually hold permission.
    The best way is to also quote your PFAW/PfCO number on your website and then there can be no confusion etc.
     
  19. GB44

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    Actually you are incorrect. The CAA do have specific requirements when they grant permission to use their logo e.g. :

    always display your permission type and number alongside the logo, wherever you use it - ie. 'UAS aerial work permission, no.xxxxxxx'

    You must obtain written permission from the CAA press office before you use it. If you have a website and use the CAA logo without also indicating your permission number, the CAA will request you either amend or remove the logo from your website.
     
  20. The Editor

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    Thanks for this - can you please point to the source of the info for others?
    Thank you.