• Applicants wishing to obtain a commercial pilot licence or instrument rating are required, once all requirements for licence issue have been met and recommendation for test received, to undergo a skill test with an appropriately designated examiner. The skill test is designed to demonstrate the ability of the candidate to perform the relevant procedures and manoeuvres with the competency appropriate to the privileges granted.

    Applications are submitted by the ATO, using our online application form. An examiner will be designated for each test, either a CAA Staff Examiner or an industry Examiner authorised by the UK CAA. Occasionally the Authorised Examiner may be accompanied by a CAA Staff Examiner as part of the CAA’s oversight requirements. 

    Once an examiner has been designated the examiner can only be changed by Flight Test Bookings, for example following a delayed test due to weather where the examiner is unable to accommodate the re-scheduled test, the CAA may designate a different examiner. 

    Tests are normally arranged for a test date as close as possible to the date requested and normally within 10 working days, however applicants may be required to accept a delay where examiner availability is limited or where oversight activity by the CAA is required. 

    The UK CAA will only accept an application for the issue of a CPL or IR where the skill test has been completed with an examiner that has been designated via the flight test bookings team. Skill tests completed with an examiner that is not approved or who has been granted test approval by another NAA will be rejected. 

  • Once the relevant training has been completed for the CPL or IR, the applicant shall be recommended for the test by the organisation/person responsible for the training. Qualified Military Pilots should provide a completed CAA Form SRG 2133

    FCL.1005 precludes examiners conducting a test when they have been responsible for the recommendation for the skill test or have a vested interest). 

    Other than in extraordinary circumstances, examiners associated with or affiliated to the ATO conducting the training (including those employed by or working under contract to the ATO) will not be designated to conduct skill tests for students trained at that ATO.

    The pilot's training records/ logbook shall be made available to the examiner.

    Each time an applicant undertakes a CPL or IR Skill Test it is known as an 'Attempt'. Attempts are grouped into 'Series'. There are two Attempts in each Series. There is no limit to the number of Series that may be taken. 

    • A pass will be awarded when all sections of the test are passed.
      • An applicant failing only one section at the first attempt in a Series shall have gained a partial pass. The second attempt will always require the applicant to retake Section 1 and the section failed at the first attempt. 

    • A fail will be awarded if more than one section is failed at the first attempt in a Series. A failure of any section of the second attempt will require the applicant to retake the entire test. 
      • A free retest may be awarded if the applicant discontinues the flight and the reasons for doing so are agreed by the Examiner. The free retest will require only those sections or items not previously flown to be completed; these items must be completed before the result of the flight can be determined. If the applicant terminates the flight test for reasons considered inadequate by the Examiner, he may forfeit the test fee and a further fee will be required before the next test. 

    Failure to pass all appropriate sections in two attempts in the first Series will conclude that Series.

    Before undertaking a further attempt in the next (second) Series the applicant will be required to:

    1. Complete the retraining prescribed by the Flight Examiner at the completion of the Series and indicated on the Flight Test and report form SRG 2197
    2. Present their personal flying logbook to the Flight Examiner, containing entries certified by the Chief Flying Instructor (CFI) of the training organisation giving training, indicating that the prescribed training has been completed and that the applicant is fit to retake the Skill Test.
    3. Present a new Recommendation for Test to Flight Examiner.

    If a third test series is required, the UK CAA will review the SRG2197 and designate an examiner for the test. Any further attempts (full or partial) will be conducted in this manner.

    Should the applicant fail to pass the second or subsequent series, the examiner will indicate the retraining required and may seek advice from a CAA Staff Examiner.

    The second attempt in series two shall, whenever possible, be conducted by a Staff Examiner or an Examiner nominated by the CAA. Retraining will be based upon an assessment of the reasons for failure of all previous attempts.

    The retraining hours must be expected to become more severe with continued failure at the test.

    The procedure for Examiners Holding Part-FCL Certificates Issued by Countries Other than the UK are set out in Information Notice 2016/003

    The UK CAA designate non-UK examiners to conduct CPL and IR skill tests on pilots who hold (or will apply for) licenses and ratings issued by the UK CAA.

    Payments and invoices for such skill tests are agreed between the examiner, candidate and ATO, with no involvement by the UK CAA. As such, designation for these tests should not be made using the online application form, instead following the process as set out in IN-2016/003.

  • Requirements

  • Training requirements differ depending on the aircraft category and training route you take. 

    Please see our guidance on Commercial pilot licence - aeroplanes for details.

    Notes for the Guidance of Examiners and Applicants taking the CPL Skill Test (Aeroplanes) can be found in Standards Document 03.

    Training requirements differ depending on the aircraft category and training route you take.  Please see Commercial pilot licence - helicopters for details.

    Notes for the Guidance of Applicants taking the CPL Skill Test (Helicopters) can be found in Standards Document 03(H).

    You will need an instrument rating attached to your licence if you want to fly under instrument flight rules. You need to have met certain pre-requisite requirements and complete a training course. 

    Please see Instrument rating for aeroplanes for details.  

    Notes for the Guidance of Examiners and Applicants taking the Initial Instrument Rating Skill Test and the En Route Instrument Rating Skill Test (Aeroplanes) can be found in Standards document 01(A).

    You will need an instrument rating attached to your licence if you want to fly under instrument flight rules. You need to have met certain pre-requisite requirements and complete a training course, details of which are set out on our webpage for Instrument rating for helicopters.  

    Notes for the Guidance of Applicants taking the Initial Instrument Rating Skill Test (Helicopters) can be found in Standards Document 01(H).

    Please see our guidance for pilots wishing to obtain a competency based instrument rating (CBIR).

    The skill test for a CBIR must be booked via the Flight Test Bookings team.

  • How to apply

    The ATO conducting the CPL or IR skill test will be required to submit the request to book a flight test on behalf of the applicant in all instances.

    The request can be made using form SRG 2153, which requires a card payment to be submitted as part of the submission. Due to this, we are no longer able to accept payment via debit authority or bank transfer.

    A minimum of three working days’ notice must be provided prior to the requested date of test.

    Fees

    The CAA charges a fee for the initial CPL and IR skill tests separately, with any further attempts, whether a partial or new series, charged accordingly.

    • Full skill test (initial test on any series) - £826
    • Partial skill tests (second attempt on any series) - £562
  • Related Information