Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)


Below are some answers to questions that are asked on a regular basis here at The Flying VLOG.

This section is currently being updated. Fly safely, Robbie


General –

Why ‘The Flying VLOG’?

The foundations for ‘The Flying VLOG’ took place during the early parts of my Private Pilot’s License studies. It wasn’t until 2017 however that I started ‘vlogging.’

Initially, I used the channel to showcase all of my flights – showcasing you with a great level of oversight of my progression as I develop my skillset and airmanship in exclusive videos on my YouTube channel.

Since Summer 2021, and inspired by Matt Guthmiller, Steveo1Kinevo & Jaunty17 – I now exclusively fly IFR in the Airways of the UK, Europe & beyond thus bringing you an exclusive niche to YouTube, flying in the same skies with commercial airliners. Simply flying the world (General Aviation style), exploring its best-hidden gems and educating along the way…

You can read more on a dedicated page about ‘The Flying VLOG

Why YouTube?

When it comes to uploading videos online, YouTube and Vimeo are the two most popular platforms in the market. YouTube is free, and as a content creator, you’ll be able to upload as many videos as you like for free.

When it comes to audience size and reach, YouTube has an obvious advantage.

It is owned by Google, so it’s noticeably more visibility into all its other products. Almost all Android phones in the world come with the YouTube app pre-installed.

YouTube has more than 2.5 billion monthly users who collectively watch more than one billion hours of videos each day, that’s one-third of the internet. It is also the world’s second most widely used search engine.

YouTube’s user-friendliness, combined with the soaring popularity of video content, has made it the second-largest search engine behind Google. With 3 billion searches per month, YouTube’s search volume is larger than that of Bing, Yahoo, AOL and combined.

When do I upload videos to my YouTube channel?

This is a complicated subject as I hope to expose my channel and my videos to its biggest audience, whilst traditionally I used to upload Sundays, but I now upload at 1700z in the winter or 1600z in the Summer on Thursdays. See this page for conversion.

You can check my regularly updated schedule on my website.

Can I come on a flight with you?

In my earlier days, I used to advertise on the Wingly Platform as this was a safe and trusted platform to meet fellow or aspiring aviators. However the aircraft insurance went up if you advertised on Wingly, so I no longer participate.

Additionally, in 2021 an internal working group was established to review the cost-sharing regulations. After a careful review, a consultation was produced to engage with the community (CAP 2270, published November 2021) which set out our proposals for change and our rationale. The consultation asked five specific questions and allowed for additional comments on the overall proposal.

So in short, unfortunately, this is unlikely to be possible under any arrangement. But if you have any suggestions that fit with the ethos of ‘The Flying VLOG‘ and the specified content and you have an exceptional idea. Please don’t hesitate to contact me to discuss, maybe even have a coffee if you are in the London & South East area.

Flying –

What’s it like to be a pilot?

It’s probably one of the most beautiful and exciting things that anyone can do. It’s exhilarating each time you take off on a new flight. Each day brings a different adventure and steep learning curve.

You can watch more on The Flying VLOG.

When did I become a pilot?

I started learning to fly in January 2010. I got my PPL on the 17th of November 2011 after 45 hours of training on the former NPPL. I converted this to an EASA PPL by the end of 2014.

How long does it take?

This depends on if you wish to fly “integrated” or “modular”. The modular route with a Flight Training Organisation (FTO) usually takes around 18 months to get a Frozen ATPL. A typical type rating for an airline, such as a Boeing 737 or Airbus A320 would take 6 months before you are flying passengers.

In the modular route, you complete your training at your own pace, flying when you can afford it and building your experience levels gradually. This could take you two years or five plus – it’s up to the individual.

How much does it cost?

It depends which type of pilot you wish to be. Private Pilot, Commercial Pilot or Airline pilot? It then completely depends on which route you take, you can expect to pay between £40,000 and £120,000 to train for a commercial/airline pilot.

If you wish to get your Private Pilots License, this costs between £8,000-£10,000.

How many hours experience do I have?

As of January 2023, I have over 375 hours of experience and well over 400 landings. Over 230 of this is on Diamond DA40 G-ZANY.

A more detailed logbook is coming soon.

What additional ratings do I have?

In addition to holding a SEP rating which was issued with my PPL, I have a Night Rating and a fully-fledged Instrument Rating.

Read more about the journey to getting an Instrument Rating.

When did I get my Instrument Rating?

After many years of dreaming, and many months of hard work during the CORONAVIRUS Pandemic I became a fully Qualified Instrument Rated Pilot on the 21st of July 2021.

Read more about my experience.

What aircraft do I currently fly?

I currently fly a Non-Equity; Diamond Star DA40 D – G-ZANY, based at Stapleford Aerodrome, Essex, UK.

Read more about this aircraft on the dedicated page.

Instrument Rating –

What is the EASA CB-IR?

The CBIR is a new and unique way to train towards the IR which is valid anywhere in the world. The aim, quite simply to fly an aeroplane under instrument flight rules with a minimum decision height of 200 feet (60 metres).

Unique in many ways the course is aimed at experienced pilots not looking to take the commercial route.

What are the license requirements?

The pre-requisites for all applications are that you meet English language proficiency requirements and hold one of the following licences: a PPL (A) and FRTOL or a CPL (A) or an ATPL in another category of aircraft

What are the medical requirements?

You will need to hold a current and valid Class 1 Part medical or Class 2 medical with a valid audiogram to apply.

What flying experience do you need?

You must also have completed at least 50 hours of cross country flight time as Pilot in Command (PIC) in aeroplanes, TMGs, helicopters or airships of which at least 10 hours shall be in aeroplanes.

Can you exercise the privileges at night?

If you want to use the privileges of the IR (A) at night and you only hold a PPL (A) you will also need to hold a Night rating.

What theoretical knowledge is required?

You can complete any of the following training with an Authorised Training Organisation: ATPL (A) or CBIR / EIR (En-route Instrument Rating) or IR(A) theory.

You will need a valid pass in all of the exams for the training route that you are following.

What theory is covered?

If you follow the FULL IR, CB-IR or E-IR route you can expect to cover 7 subjects, which takes three to four weeks (80 hours of study). 

The seven subjects to study are as follows:

  • Air Law
  • Flight Planning
  • Human Performance
  • IFR Communications
  • Instrumentation
  • Meteorology
  • Radio Navigation

Following the ATPL theory route, consists of 14 examinations.  These exams are quite intense, and are usually done over a period of 6 months full time education or longer if studying at distance.  But bear in mind that you must pass all exams within 18 months of your first exam sitting.

The fourteen subjects to study are as follows:

  • Human Performance & Limitations
  • Air Law & ATC Procedures
  • Operational Procedures
  • VFR Communications
  • IFR Communications
  • Meteorology
  • Principles of Flight
  • Performance
  • Flight Planning
  • General Navigation
  • Mass & Balance

The HPA and ATPL theory requirement

The CBIR is available for aeroplanes only. The privileges of the CBIR do not include flying ‘high-performance aeroplanes’ (HPA) under IFR unless further theoretical knowledge is obtained.

Learning objectives for complex and high-performance aircraft have been shifted to a separate, later exam for those progressing beyond light aircraft, so the full IR is now more appropriate for private pilots adding the rating.

The hour’s credit?

You can claim a maximum of 30 hours towards the 40 hours course if you have flown under IFR and IMC conditions under the privileges of an EIR, ICAO IR or IMC/IR(R).

The base requirement is that you will require a minimum of 40 hrs IFR experience (for CB-IR on SEP) prior to being permitted to take the Initial IR Test can be made up of credits that you can claim for prior experience or for prior training up to a maximum of 15 hours of prior training. (Which could be the training you did for your IMCR) and or up to 20 hours of your own prior IFR experience that you might have gained as captain on flights after you had obtained you’re IMCR/IRR.

Further Guidance on specific routes to gaining a CBIR can be found on the UK CAA website.

Knowledge credit if any?

There are no theoretical knowledge credits.  There is an exception to this if you have an ICAO licence in current flying practice and have a minimum of 50 hours Pilot in Command in Instrument Flight Rules.

You must hold a current and valid: ICAO licence with a validating medical & Instrument rating. The theoretical examination is assessing as part of the Instrument Rating skills test.

More information can be found on the UK CAA website under Guidance on specific routes to gaining a CBIR for ICAO license holders with 50 hours Pilot in Command in Instrument Flight Rules.

The 10 hour ATO requirement?

No matter how much prior training or prior experience you may have, you still need to do a minimum of 10 hrs training for the CB-IR at an ATO.

The exception is if you already hold an ICAO license with a validating medical and Instrument Rating from an ICAO country where you have 50 hours Pilot in Command in Instrument Flight Rules.

Why not the full IR, and the misconception it’s not a full IR?

The CB IR is a full ICAO IR, and the skills test is same as the full IR skills test. Only the route used to obtain the IR differs. The CB-IR isn’t a rating, but more so a route to the rating.  This is in sharp contrast to the normal commercial route to the IR via a modular or integrated course, where no prior experience is assumed.

The training requirements are reduced with 10 hours less flight training and 50% less theory, to make it more easy available for a larger number of pilots. The CB-IR does not include the HPA privileges.   As already discussed, this can be done later.  So if you do the ATPL theory and study for the IR via the CB-IR route.  Your CB IR includes the HPA privileges.

Who does the CB-IR?

The CBIR is unique in offering a route for experienced pilots with a past history of instrument flying to train for the full Instrument Rating (IR) in a way which reflects their experience. This is in sharp contrast to the normal commercial route to the IR via a modular or integrated course, where no prior experience is assumed. For the latest on ATOs that conduct the Competency Based Modular Instrument Rating (Aeroplanes).

Simply look for Standards Document 31: Organisations Conducting Approved Courses of Flight and Ground Training

Names and details of all ATOs approved by the UK CAA to provide the CB-IR can be found in this document.

Who does the CB-IR theory?

You can also find school approved to provide the Competency Based Modular Instrument Rating (Aeroplanes) theoretical knowledge in Standards Document 31.    

As of 2019, there are 3 schools that are said to provide the Theoretical Knowledge.   They are Bristol Ground School, Caledonian Advanced Pilot Training Limited and CATS.

What about in Europe?

From the limited research, there are plenty of places in Europe that do the CB-IR route and theoretical knowledge.  After all this is an EASA rating, and not specific to the UK.  I have only done my research being based in the UK.   Other than a list of the ATOs; the requirements and practicalities are the same as defined by EASA.

What’s the cheapest route? ATO aeroplane vs own aeroplane?

In fact this isn’t a question I can answer. Assuming your aircraft meets Standards Document 7, and you choose to fly in your own aircraft. It entirely depends on the ATO you choose, the aircraft you are flying and the cost per hour. 

This is something each individual must assess and calculate.

Can you do it in your own aeroplane?

Yes, provided that it meets the requirements for aeroplanes and helicopters for use on CPL and IR Skills test in Standards Document 7 (AH).

Read more about my experience.

How much per hour for the instructional fee?

For the pre-ATO phase, if done privately with an IRI you can expect to pay in the region of £40-50 h/r.

The ATO phase in my case with Stapleford Flight Centre was £130 h/r

The above is based on my experiences of having held a IMC(R) aka IRR and flying in an aircraft with experience. These costs above are likely to vary depending on the circumstances of the instructor, school and pilot. Read more

How much will the CBIR cost?

This is the ultimate answer.  How much will the CB-IR cost? Depending on your abilities, you can probably budget for between £10,000 and £14,000 over the course of 18 months with a full-time job in order to get to the required standard and pass the strenuous test at the end of it.

Read more about my experience.

Technical & Equipment –

How long does it take to edit?

Quite a substantial amount of time to edit. Usually 2-3 days of solid editing.

More on this soon…

What camera’s do I use?

I own a total of 5 GoPro’s, totally almost £2500 in value.

I have two GoPro Hero 4 black. One GoPro Hero 5 black. One Hero 6 Black and the latest GoPro Hero 7 Black. I will be slowly phasing out the older model and having all the latest models in the aircraft.

For safety reasons, I use no more than 4 cameras at once in flight.

The GoPro suction mounts and GoPro Ball joints add an additional cost of almost £300.

How do I edit the footage?

I edit the footage using Adobe Premiere Pro.

How do I record ATC audio?

I have two set ways of recording ATC. One is via the older GoPro Hero 4 and as this routinely fails, I have a backup that is via the Zoom – H1 Handy Recorder.

More details will be provided about this soon, however it’s a trial and error to get the quality right. This has let down a lot of my videos in the past, and provided me with a nightmare in post edit.

Watch this space.

How do I plan my flights?

I plan my flights using SkyDemon. The MetOffice General Aviation website, and various other tools.

More on this soon…