After the UK left the EU at the end of 2020, the only way to gain access to European job opportunities was to hold a secondary licence – that’s where the fact finding begun.
Three of us in LEAP003 decided to be the guinea pigs and one of us in particular dedicated countless time and effort into seeing if it was even possible given the rules and regulations surrounding the EASA licence process.
After a serious amount of double and triple checking, we thought it was achievable, so it was at this point we asked our ATO, Leading Edge Aviation, to help us make it happen.
For us, the first step was securing a secondary initial Class 1 Medical registered in an EASA state. We had decided on Demark as we saw the Danes as the most accommodating state! Once we had these secured, we had to sit down and confirm the additional flight training requirements that were required. Fortunately, because we finished all our ATPL theory prior to the end of 2020, we were not required to re-sit our exams.
It was specified that we had to undertake “acclimatisation training in EU airspace” to satisfy to the authority that we had some understanding of airspace outside of the UK. To achieve this, we substituted some of our IR training hours that would ordinarily be completed in the UK to do an incredible European trip. This not only satisfied the UK hour’s requirement, but also met the need for the Danish authority.
We were each advised to use 6 hours each of our allocated IR training flights to carry out the trip including all the usual instrument approach training we would’ve carried out in the UK. This gave us 18 hours flying time to cover in 3 days, and what a trip it was, and after endless flight and COVID regulation planning we set off!
Day 1 saw us depart our homebase in Oxford and cross the Channel to land at Schiphol in the Netherlands!!! After a quick fuel stop, we made our way down to Saarbrucken in Germany where we came across what looked like the entire fleet of redundant Flybe Dash 8’s at the time. The final leg of the day saw us continue south to carry out the STAR into Geneva’s Runway 04 where we were met with incredible scenery and an incredibly busy approach into this major hub.
After a night stop in Geneva, we continued our journey east where we were greeted with the most epic Alps backdrop as we made our way for a hold and offset ILS into St. Gallen. After a lunch and fuel stop, we continued on to Nuremburg via a VOR hold and RNP at Augsburg before completing the ILS at Nuremburg. The final leg of the day took us further East to the Czech capital Prague which, surprisingly, had a longer taxi than Schiphol!
Our final day took us across Germany where we made our first stop in the small city of Kassel via an RNP and touch and go at Erfurt, followed next by a trip into Belgium’s Antwerp airport for a hold and procedural ILS to land. Once clearing customs for our departure back to Oxford, we flew a lovely sunset last leg into a surprisingly hectic Oxford. We all agreed it was some the best flying we were likely to do in the DA42 and were incredibly grateful we were able to fulfil our initially bonkers plans!
Once we returned, we completed the rest of our IR flying syllabus before completing our UK IR skills test which we all passed first time. Once this was complete and we had ensured we met the slightly different instrument flight time requirements for the Danish authority, we set out to complete our EU IR skills test. This test composes the same requirements of the initial UK IR skills test but has to be carried out in the EU. For simplicity and ease of planning, we picked Le Touquet and Lille as our airports as between them, they have all of the approach requirements available to successfully complete the test. It comprised of an IFR departure out of Le Touquet, followed by a VOR hold at Lille before being radar vectored for the ILS followed by an EFATO on the go around with appropriate recovery. On our return to Le Touquet, the general handling element is carried out before returning to asymmetric flight for the RNP approach at Le Touquet with the visual circuit to land and thus completing the test. Again, the three of us were successful on our first attempt.
With all of that out of the way, now came the task of compiling all of the required paperwork and signatures required to send off to the Danish authority. After a lot of to and fro with the Danes confirming certain elements, 12 weeks later, the three of us all received our shiny white Danish licences and what an achievement it felt like!
We’re all incredibly grateful to Leading Edge for letting us see if this was all a possibility after months of dedicated research into whether it was all achievable and we’ve proved it can be done!
Leading Edge Aviation Graduate
Note from LEAL:
We are delighted for Ash and his LEAP003 colleagues, it is certainly a magnificent achievement and we’re very proud of them all.
Now for the good news! If you are looking to start your training from scratch, achieving your dual licence won’t require so much research and experimentation. Your ground school studies will remain unchanged, you’ll simply sit each of the 13 subject exams twice, once for the UK CAA and once for EASA, in the same week,, in our own exam centre here at Oxford Airport. Then, throughout your flight training, we will guide you at every step, read more about licencing options here or chat to one of our Training Advisors today!