Flying through

Friday, 30 November 2012

CAA and EASA Licences

Black rhino at Ol Pejeta
Now back in the UK and back to problems with the CAA.
Because I recently renewed my examiners rating and sent the test results to the CAA I have to update my JAA licence to EASA immediately. If you don't make any changes you have until 2017 to comply, but as soon as you make a major change it has be updated. The cost was £477. This in itself was bad enough but worse still the licence did not arrive. So, I wrote to the CAA checking they had sent it. They said it had been printed out and sent on 7/11/2012. Note printed out ie no huge cost to them here.
Anyway, since it had not arrived I asked them to send it again. This is the letter I received back from the regulatory authority.

Dear Mrs Hunter-Jones,
Thank you for your email.
In order for us to re-issue a duplicate EASA licence and EASA examiner certificate, we require the fee of £52.00 as per our scheme of charges, which includes the £6 FedEx fee. Please see the payment form SRG1187 attached and submit to our Licensing Department. ..
Kind regards,
Licensing & Training Standards

My reply to them was not particularly diplomatic but it was heartfelt.

Tell me you are joking! Even the CAA cannot be asking me to pay for a licence they either have not sent or has got lost in the post. I shall keep your letter in my licence and I will write about this in my magazine and when I am asked for my licence I think this will explain why it is missing.

I had not further correspondence with this lassie, but now I have an email from her boss.

Dear Mrs Hunter-Jones
Your email has been forward to me as you have requested a duplicate licence....

NO I DID NOT! I asked for the licence I had tested for and paid for to me sent to me without further hoo ha!

Anyway, I wrote again and finally got a phone call from the CAA representative who agreed to send me another licence but insisted I should pay £6 for FedEX. I refused. I have already paid far too much, I hardly earn anything and this drain of money to the CAA from working pilots has to stop. It is ridiculous.

In the end he did agree to put it in the post, although with dark warnings that if the post lost it again I would have to pay for a duplicate. I won't! I can tell you now.

And of course the joke is we are arguing over a piece of paper, not the examiners rating, which has been done and is not in doubt, but a piece of paper which could more easily be emailed to me! I suggested this, that it was emailed to me, and the CAA rep nearly jumped down the phone. His horror was only equal to a Train Driver's Union representative on discovering that the underground trains are going driverless...!!

My campaign is now for a more uptodate CAA that uses email for delivery!

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Ol Pejeta and the Nanyuki Triangle

 There are two types of Zebra the Grevy's zebra - comparatively rare and actually endangered, and the common zebra.
The mother feeding her foal is the common zebra, the one below is the Grevy's. Note that Grevys look more horse like and have downwards stripes, plus huge ears.
The mother and foal were photographed at Ol Pejeta outside Nanyuki in Kenya and the Grevy's near where we were staying in Ol Jogi.

Monday, 12 November 2012


We are between Malindi and Mmbassa. Fantastic shop names here like Harmonious Butchery and Be Patient Bakery but very little in the way of electricity and wifi, so not too much on the internet front - hard to survive these days but once we lived without it!

Now in Nairobi for a quick break before going to Nanuki where even less electricity and no wifi at all!

Until a return to Nairobi then.... who ever thought one would think of Nairobi as the height of sophistication!

Sunday, 4 November 2012

Tsavo West and on to Kilifi

Giraffe disturbed from feeding watches us curiously
Driving out of Nairobi for Tsavo there was a fire on the Mombassa Road. For a while everyone sat there, then they got bored and decided to 'go bush' we followed as cars turned off the roads and headed into the rough, down goat paths, sheep tracks and into the back of estates- it was driving that made you glad to be in a landrover!
Finally, we got back onto the road and carried on - a half an hour detour.

Later between Tsavo and Kilifi we came across similar roads, where the tarmac had been washed away by the rains and was just mud and ruts. As we went up and down the holes, wondering if this was really a c 2nd class road as depicted, we thought the bush road diversion from Mombassa was actually a better quality road.

Here we have a few baboons, quite clever chaps I wondered if they had ever thought of learning to fly helicopters.

Tsavo West in Kenya

Family group of elephant
We are staying in a safari camp, Kiliguni, in Tsavo West, between Nairobi and Malindi. Driving the landrover (a friend's) near the river we came on this group of elephants. They were quite nervous and at one time the supporting bull elephant made as if to charge us. This is owing to the number of poachers around. According to Daphne Sheldrick from the David Sheldrick charity 36,000 elephants are killed every year. As there are only 400,000 elephants in the whole of Africa this could lead to their destruction, which would be terrible.

Baby elephant suckling
Below is a baby elephant suckling his mother. Elephants have teats between the front legs like human-beings. They also have a long gestation period, of around 11 months, and look after their babies for several years. As the rains were about to come we saw a lot of baby elephants. I do hope they and their families will be safe from poachers.

This little gekko had a turquoise blue body and a head that sometimes looked orange, sometimes red. He was not particularly worried about the people around him.