Thursday, January 28, 2010

It's official... I can speak English!

It cost way too much, but I am now a qualified examiner for English level 4, and I have level 6!

But I better explain from the start.....

In the world of avaition there's an organisation, ICAO, which (tries) to standardise all the regulations that pertain to flying. This includes among other things aircraft, airfields, eqipment, and licencing. Because there are many pilots and controllers around the world who speak VERY lousy English, which leads to misunderstandings and have also caused accidents, ICAO decided that since March 2008, all pilots and ATC personel have to take tests to prove their English ability. There are 6 language levels and you have to have a least a 4 to be able to fly to other countries.

Since most countries world wide ignored the March 2008 date, when it was suddenly there, hardly anyone had a system for examining, etc., including Germany. To cover the overlap, all pilots with English radio licences were automatically given a level 4 certificate, which means they have to be re-tested every 3-4 years, level 5 needs a re-test every 8 years, and level 6 never needs to be re-tested.

Those first level 4 certificates run out at the end of this year, so examiners are needed. Also, those who wanted a higher level, like me, needed to BE examined, but there was no where to get it done! I wrote to the official authorities (the LBA which is Germany's FAA) and was told I'd be notified when things got organised (well, other wording). I never got notified, but kept checking their site.

Finally, a class was offered where I could become an examiner myself for level 4. The costs were much too high for the 3 day class, but I decided it would be good to get it behind me. So I signed up.

To be an examiner for level 4, I needed to be at least a level 5 myself. Well, in connection with this class at the German ATC academy, I got my quali for taking level 4 exams and proved that I was indeed an English native speaker so I now have the level 6!! To become an examiner for level 5 I would need to take another 2 day class, but that's not necessary... the 4 is more important.

So, as soon as I get some more paperwork done, I can start doing exams for those pilots needing renewals .... and make them PAY for it! Yes, there IS a fee for them. That'll be some extra pocket money for me, especially come next November/December when the first original levels run out.

It was a very fun class with great fellow students. The instructor was an American living over here, like me, and I think a cool friendship will develope between us. She may even ask me to assist in future organising of such classes etc. (the acedemy is located only 10 km north of my villiage).

I know all the above may sound confusing to most of you but it's my blog and I'll write what I want, so there!


P.S. it's snowing here again......