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Lockdown happened. My salary has been slashed by more than 50%, and I’m on furlough pay wondering how long this will go on for. My SEP rating is valid only until the end of June. I had not met the 12hour EASA PPL Revalidation currency requirement on a SEP aircraft in the last 12 months.
To be honest, I know I will struggle to afford to pay for all that flying being on lower pay if I can even find an open airfield! The only options are to request a COVID extension and once the lockdowns are lifted, have a SEP proficiency check. In this post, I’ll share how I went about getting my IAA SEP revalidation.
Quick links to what is in this post:
For those wondering, what are the options and requirements of an EASA PPL revalidation?
Revalidation by experience within the last 12 months
- 6 hours PIC
- 12 take off landings
- If in the previous 12 months to expiry you have not had an EASA skills test or EASA Proficiency check (can be on a different type or class of aeroplane), you will need to have at least 1 hour of flight training with a flight instructor or examiner.
Revalidation by a Licence proficiency check (LPC)
You can complete a SEP rating revalidation within 90 days before the expiry of the rating with a class examiner of flight examiner. Revalidation by LPC is the route that I took because I had not met the experience level needed.
1) Making use of the COVID 19 extension for EASA PPL Revalidation
The covid 19 extensions helped save me as I could extend my SEP rating validity until the end of October 2020. Most of the flying schools were shut for lockdown, so I would have struggled to find anywhere to complete a PPL proficiency check. The process to get the covid extension was relatively straight forward.
I found a SEP examiner who was extremely kind and helpful. The extension process was a verbal ‘quiz/ training session on the phone’. Once he was satisfied, the documentation was issued to extend the validity of my SEP rating until the end of October.
2) Finding a flying school to complete my IAA SEP revalidation
I am on an IAA licence, so I had to find a school and examiner allowed to complete IAA SEP revalidations. I did my hour building and SEP night rating at ANT in Blackpool, which I was comfortable with, so I went there. The CFI checked the revalidation requirements with the IAA and sent the IAA notification of my SEP skills test to allow my proficiency test to take place.
3) Preparing for the SEP skills test
Although I fly the B737 for work, flying a SEP PA28 is very different, and I was genuinely looking forward to getting back into the single pilot environment. I had not flown a SEP aircraft for nearly 18months so had a mixture of excitement and nerves wondering if I would still be able to fly single pilot.
4) The actual flying day for the proficiency check
I treated the day as I would any other proficiency check/ flying exam. As you would expect, the format is a briefing with the examiner and checking the various bits of paperwork, and once we were both happy, book out and head out to the aircraft.
5) SEP rating revalidation test profile
Whilst the test was conducted in a tone similar to other flying exams, I would say it is not as ‘intense’ as your first PPL skills test. The profile was: walk around, taxi out, departure, navigation, general handling/ emergencies (PFLs) etc., then return to the airfield for circuits.
This took about an hour and then we were done! The examiner confirmed I had passed.
As I wanted to keep my single-pilot instrument rating for single-engine single-pilot use, there were some experience requirements I needed to meet for my EASA IR renewal. These are 3 IFR departures and arrivals with the single-engine, single-pilot EASA IR renewal.
I have had occasions in the past when I have not flown for four years, and my SEP rating has expired. It is much easier (and cheaper) if you revalidate vs having to complete some approved training, then formal skills test etc.
If interested in learning more about modular pilot training, check out my Pilot Training Guide on Amazon.
If you have any questions about my SEP revalidation, please leave a comment in the section below – it would be great to hear from you!
Kudzi Chikohora is a B737 captain with over 3,000 hours of flying in Europe. He holds a Master’s degree in Aerospace Engineering, is a chartered engineer, and is a member of the Royal Aeronautical Society.
Kudzi completed his pilot training via the self-funded modular pilot training route and created kcthepilot.com to share pilot training and aviation content.