FRTOL : Passed

The Flight Radiotelephony Operator’s Licence (FRTOL), authorises you to operate an Aircraft Radio Station in a UK registered aircraft [CAA].

While a Private Pilots License (PPL) lets you fly the plane, it does not make you legal to operate the radio.   If you plan to fly exclusively out of grass strips and outside controlled airspace, this might be ok – but realistically, you’re going to need to use that radio and over the course of the PPL training will have already clocked up significant usage anyway.

The FRTOL Exam is a practical/oral exam involving (typically) the applicant in one room and the examiner in another and simulating a flight and the associated radio calls.

Personally, due to the flight being simulated, I found the timings to be very “disorientating” in the sense that it’s hard to judge a reasonable time between calls (the map is covering > 50 miles, you’d have tens of minutes to plan a call – but that feels like cheating, so I tried to make each call with only a handful of seconds gap).   If I could give others any advice, I’d say take your time more, remember that in real life you really would have time to plan initial contact calls – so take that time, you’re paying for the examiners time so leave them waiting if you’re getting your head clear on your next way point initial call or request etc.

The debrief was pretty intensive, but I passed and that was my only objective of the day.   If you’re learning and wondering about costs, the exam cost me £90.

If you want to know more about the FRTOL, privileges/requirements/exam – read Section 6 of CAA: CAP 804

That’s it, we’re done…….all that is left is to put a massive pack of paperwork together to the CAA.

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