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Welcome to the May 2015 Enews of IAOPA Europe, which goes out to 23,000 aircraft owners and pilots in 27 countries across the continent.

Newsletter now available on the IAOPA EU website

EASA and IATA Move to Reduce Risk of Loss of Control Accidents :

The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and the International Air Transport Association (IATA) announced the publication of new training requirements for airline pilots to prevent loss of control situations.

The so called “upset prevention and recovery training” (UPRT) requirements aim to better train pilots in order to face unexpected events, potentially leading to a loss of control. The requirements are based on International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) standards and recommended practices and have been developed by EASA in consultation with leading industry experts. All European Airlines and commercial business jet operators are required to implement these provisions by May 2016.

Patrick Ky, EASA Executive Director, said: “A number of accidents in the recent years have demonstrated that Loss of Control remains a major area of concern for aviation safety and should be tackled with the highest priority”.

“Although LOC-I events are rare, 97% of the LOC-I accidents over the past five years involved fatalities to passengers or crew. Partnering with EASA on this important initiative based on global standards and best practices will reduce the likelihood of such events in future,” said Tony Tyler, IATA Director General and CEO.

IATA through its Pilot Training Task Force is developing detailed guidance material in support of the implementation of the provisions by its European members.

More information on the new training requirements available on the EASA website.

Dublin Flight Information Listening Squawk :

Dublin Flight Information will be introducing a listening squawk 0401 from 20th May 2015, when listening to FIS Frequency 118.500 MHz.

The Listening Squawk, officially known as a Frequency Monitoring Code, will play a vital role in reducing infringements of controlled airspace by enabling air traffic controllers to alert pilots if their aircraft looks likely to infringe. Any aircraft fitted with a Mode A/C or Mode S transponder can use these codes.

By entering the 0401 squawk code into the transponder and listening to the published radio frequency, a pilot signifies to Dublin Air Traffic Control that he/she is actively monitoring radio transmissions on the Flight Information Frequency (FIS) 118.500 and that their aircraft position is visible on radar. A call to FIS can still be made to request a flight information service but it is expected that the number of calls to the frequency will reduce.

Airspace Incursion Warning for controllers will continue to be available but the Listening Squawk will add a further safety net to help ensure aircraft do not infringe controlled airspace.

The selection of the 0401 squawk by pilots does not imply the provision of an ATC service.

 

At International, European and National level, civil aviation has grown resulting in the (perceived) need for more regulated airspace or ‘capacity’.

Within the EU, the Single European Sky ATM Research (SESAR) programme has been established to develop and deploy modern ATM technologies to meet the need for capacity whilst reducing cost, improving safety and mitigating environmental impact.

In the UK, the CAA has been an early advocate of the need for change and modernisation so launched the Future Airspace Strategy (FAS) in 2011. But, FAS only addressed Commercial Air Transport (CAT) in its first iteration and

  • Regulated Airspace in the UK has developed in a piecemeal way with legacies from military and civil aviation that are no longer fit for purpose.
  • Changes in airspace can compromise the access for VFR operations into it
  • Information and communication do not serve the VFR community well

So, the CAA needed a way to deliver the FAS vision beyond CAT.  Hence the FAS VFR Implementation Group (FASVIG) was formed at the end of 2013 as a collaboration between:

  • business and general aviation
  • the flight training industry
  • sporting and recreational aviation
  • NATS
  • Airlines
  • Airports
  • MOD
  • CAA

Members of FASVIG

  • AOPA UK Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association UK
  • Ascent Flight Training
  • Birmingham Airport Limited
  • Blackpool Airport
  • BBAC     British Balloon and Airship Club
  • BGA     British Gliding Association
  • BHPA     British Hang Gliding and Paragliding Association
  • BHA     British Helicopter Association
  • BMAA     British Microlight Aircraft Association
  • Cambridge International Airport
  • CAA     Civil Aviation Authority
  • CHIRP     UK Confidential Human Factors Incident Reporting Programme for aviation
  • Damyns Hall Airfield
  • EasyJet
  • Flyer Magazine
  • GAA     General Aviation Alliance
  • Leeds Bradford International Airport
  • LAA     Light Aircraft Association
  • Light Airlines
  • Light Aviation Magazine
  • Met Office
  • MOD     Ministry of Defence
  • NATS     National Air Traffic Services
  • Pilot Magazine
  • PPL/IR
  • Shoreham Airport
  • Stapleford Flight Centre
  • UK Airprox Board

The new dedicated http://www.fasvig.org website was launched on 14th April 2015 by the Future Airspace Strategy VFR Implementation Group (FASVIG).

It has been built since the GA Event at Duxford on 28th March and the successful launch of Version 1 of the FAS VFR Implementation Programme.
 
As well as providing details of the Implementation Programme and FASVIG, the website enables people to subscribe for:

FASVIG General Aviation Newsletters
Updates on Airspace Change Proposals in which FASVIG has an interest

See here: http://www.fasvig.org/subscribe

Volunteer for FASVIG
For those that want to get involved in helping FASVIG deliver the Implementation Programme but who did not have the opportunity to Volunteer at the GA Event, you can now Volunteer online here: http://fasvig.org/volunteer.

We have 25 'Packages of Change' to deliver which will involve many teams covering the whole of the UK. So we need your help!
  At the time of writing this article, 32 AOPA Members have vounteered to help FASVIG so far but we need more volunteers from all regions of the country.

Steve Hutt

FASVIG Programme Coordinator

Bristol Airport Frequency Monitoring SSR Code 5077 -

The CAA have published Information Notice IN-2015/031 to promulgate the allocation of Secondary Surveillance Radar (SSR) Code 5077 as the Bristol Airport SSR Monitoring Code, effective
28 May 2015.

You can download the notice by clicking here to view IN-2015/031.

IN–2015/027 Allowing Instructors to Revalidate SEP and TMG Class Ratings :

The CAA have published Information Notice Number: IN–2015/027  which advises that FI(A)'s and CRI's, who are specifically authorised by the CAA, are now authorised to extend the validity of a pilot’s SEP and TMG class ratings where the licence holder has met the requirements for revalidation by experience and the licence is a UK Issued licence.

The Information Notice reads :

1 Introduction

1.1 Flight Instructor (Aeroplane) (FI(A)) and Class Rating Instructors (CRI) that are valid for Single  Engine Piston (SEP) and/or Touring Motor Glider (TMG) are now authorised to extend the  validity of a pilot’s SEP and TMG class ratings where the licence holder has met the  requirements for revalidation by experience. Instructors need to be specifically authorised by  the CAA to be able to do this.

2 Scope

2.1 A pilot can renew their SEP or TMG rating by completing 12 hours flying in that class of aircraft in the 12 months before their rating expires. That must include:

  • six hours as pilot in command
  • 12 take-offs and 12 landings, and
  • a training flight of at least one hour with a flight instructor or a class rating instructor (pilots are exempt from this flight if they have passed a class or type rating proficiency check or skill test in any other class or type of aeroplane).

If this is completed then the revalidation page in their licence is endorsed to show their rating is valid for another 24 months.

Previously this had to be done by an authorised examiner but from 8 April 2015 this will be extended to include Flight Instructor (Aeroplane) (FI(A)) and Class Rating Instructors (CRI).

2.2 European requirements state that these instructors must be specifically authorised for the task. To achieve that we will add FCL.945 to the privileges shown in the instructor’s licence. This will also be valid for the revalidation by experience of SEP and TMG/SLMG ratings held in UK national aeroplane licences.

2.3 From now on whenever we reissue a licence with a FI(A) or CRI we will automatically add the FCL.945 privilege. If an instructor wishes to add the privilege before this then they can apply using form 1133 for a fee of £53.

The change affects UK-issued licences only, and not those issued by other member states.

3 Queries

3.1 Any queries or requests for further guidance should be addressed to:

Licensing - Shared Services Centre
Civil Aviation Authority
GE, Aviation House
Gatwick Airport
RH6 0YR

Or e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

4 Cancellation

4.1 This Information Notice will remain in force until 8 April 2016.

ORS4 No 1093 Instruction and Testing in Permit to Fly Aircraft.

The CAA have announced that any aircraft of 2730 kg or less registered in the United Kingdom with a national Permit to Fly are now exempt from:

a) article 23(1)(c) of the Order, which prohibits such an aircraft from flying for the purpose of aerial work, other than aerial work which consists of flights for the purpose of flying displays, associated practice, test and positioning flights or the exhibition or demonstration of the aircraft;
b) the requirement at article 269(1) that to be a private flight, the only valuable consideration given or promised for a flight must fall within article 269(3).

ORS4 No.1093 can be found here.

GA - Economic Value and Strategy Reports.

In advance of this Saturday’s GA Strategy launch at Duxford, the Department for Transport have published the GA Strategy document and accompanying economic research into the value of GA online:

General aviation: economic value

General aviation strategy

Please let AOPA know if you have any comments on either of these reports.

Additional benefits for AOPA visitors to Jersey.

Charles Strasser, Vice President AOPA UK, has announced additional benefits for AOPA visitors to Jersey.

Worldwide members of AOPA, the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, already benefit from 7 days free parking for aircraft under 3 tonnes at the Jersey Aero Club and a 5% discount on duty and tax free exported Avgas. Click here to see the low historic and current fuel prices in the Channel Islands.

Now two hotel groups in Jersey, both GA pilot friendly, have agreed to special prices available to paid-up AOPA members. Hotels will ask for pilot ID’s and current AOPA membership card on check in
 
Morvan Hotels, have two hotels in St. Helier, the Best Western Royal and the Monterey. They will grant a 15% discount off their best available rate and flexible cancellation terms. For bookings use AOPAJY in the promo box in their website www.morvanhotels.com or phone their central reservations 01534 873006 quoting the same code.
 
Dolan Hotels, have three hotels outside St. Helier, the Somerville, Hotel Cristina and the Golden Sands.They will grant a 10% discount off their Advance Purchase Rate (B&B only). For bookings use access code AOPA0814 on their website www.dolanhotels.com or phone their central reservations 01534 491900 quoting the same code.

 

Norwich Controlled Airspace Reduced after CAA Review

Following a recent review of Norwich International Airport’s (NIA) controlled airspace (CAS), the UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has announced a reduction in the size of the Class D airspace. Although acknowledging that the Control Zone (CTR) and Control Area (CTA) around Norwich were working well following their implementation in 2012, the CAA has reduced the upper level of both from FL50 (approx 5,000ft) to 4,000ft. As a result, the transition altitude above the CTR and CTA will therefore be raised from 3,000ft to 5,000ft.

The change was announced in the CAA’s ‘post implementation review’ of the Norwich CAS - published today. NIA and the CAA are working collaboratively to introduce the revised airspace on 17 September 2015, scheduling it with other initiatives being undertaken by the Airport.   NIA will, however, be allowed to request the original upper level be reinstated if they experience an increasing need to hold inbound aircraft at higher levels.

The CAA said it was satisfied that the Norwich CAS had been beneficial in protecting aircraft in the instrument approach and initial departure phases of flight. However, a change to the vertical dimension of the CAS is operationally possible, although not to the lateral dimension. Although aircraft that are not radio equipped are excluded from controlled airspace (without prior permission) the impact on the general aviation community of the Norwich CAS has been minimised, with NIA meeting the original approval requirements to facilitate transit of the airspace. The lack of any safety related events since the CAS came into force endorsed this view.

The CAA tackled suggestions from some respondents to its review that a reduction in movements in 2014 questioned the need for controlled airspace at Norwich.

Phil Roberts, Head of Airspace at the CAA, said: “Protecting the travelling public is at the centre of our decision making process when we consider an airspace change proposal. Although traffic levels have not matched predicted figures at Norwich since the initial airspace change application was made, they have nevertheless increased every year since the industry-wide drop in 2008.” 

In response to the specific issue of gliders being unable to enter the CAS, the CAA said it encouraged pilots of non-radio aircraft to approach Norwich ATC to arrange access.

    Introduction of an Emergency General Aviation Report (GAR) Telephone Line (0845 723 1110)

From 1 March 2015, we are pleased to announce the launch of an Emergency General Aviation Report (GAR) Telephone Line for General Aviation (GA) pilots, operators and owners. If you need to submit or amend a GAR for Border Force purposes in an emergency situation, you may call the GAR Emergency Telephone Line on +44 (0) 845 723 1110.

The emergency telephone line may only be used for a flight that is:

  • not required to report to the police under the Terrorism Act 2000; and
  • outside the GAR reporting timescales.

An emergency may be described as:

  • medical emergency of a pilot/passenger; or
  • air ambulance with critical passenger; or
  • other emergencies requiring a change to information contained within an already submitted GAR; or
  • last minute changes to a submitted GAR, only when changes to online version are not possible.

You are required to complete a GAR prior to your departure. For information about this process please see the link below.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/general-aviation-operators-and-pilots-notification-of-flights

This telephone line is strictly only for the purposes listed above. For all other GA enquiries please visit our online information:

https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/general-aviation


Home Office Strategic Communications  

 

SERA - Summary of Changes.

The Standardised European Rules of the Air (commonly referred to as SERA) took effect across Europe on 4 December 2014 and in the UK superseded most (but not all) of the UK Rules of the Air
Regulations 2007.  Full details of the rule and the associated changes are contained in the CAA’s SERA web pages.

SERA is based on the same International standards as the UK Rules of the Air so in most respects they are identical.  However, there are a number of differences to what aviators in the UK are
accustomed to and these are summarised below.

SERA is slightly different to other European Regulations because it applies to all aircraft in European airspace (not just 'EASA aircraft').  Also, SERA does not address all of the areas that UK Rules of the
Air historically have (for example, certain aircraft lighting requirements) and in some cases it requires States to write their own 'enabling' measures  to allow some activities to take place (for
example, VFR at night).   It also allows for the retention of provisions that were already in place before SERA took effect, as long as these comply with and supplement SERA.  The result is that the
UK has retained a small number of domestic Rules of the Air and issued a number of General Permissions and General Exemptions.  These can be found through the CAA’s SERA web pages.

Key changes

1. Visual Meteorological conditions

SERA requires aircraft flying VFR in controlled airspace to remain 1500m horizontally and 1000ft vertically from cloud and in a flight visibility of at least 5km at all times.

The CAA is temporarily allowing aircraft flying VFR within Class C, D and E below 3000ft AMSL by day at 140kts or less to continue to apply the 'clear of cloud and with the surface in sight' minima as they have always done. This temporary arrangement currently lasts until 4 August 2015, and a permanent arrangement has yet to be finalised.  The CAA will keep industry informed of progress with this.

2. Cruising levels

The quadrantal cruising levels system historically used in the UK does not exist in SERA. Instead, the semi-circular cruising level system applied throughout the rest of the world is used.  To aid transition
to the new system, this will now take effect in the UK on 2 April 2015.

3. Minimum Heights By Day

Although SERA changes the minimum height to a blanket 500ft above the surface, the CAA has used the flexibility provided in SERA to allow aircraft in the UK to fly below 500ft provided they are 500ft
away from persons, vessels, vehicles and structures – in other words no change from the UK’s former '500ft Rule' that people flying in the UK are used to applying.  The CAA has also granted
generic permissions to allow for all the long-standing exceptions to the old rule 5 that were contained in rule 6 – i.e. gliders hill-soaring, aircraft picking-up and dropping articles at aerodromes,
practising forced landings and flying displays/air races/contests, to continue unaffected.  Otherwise 1000ft is the minimum height over cities, towns or settlements or over an open-air assembly of
persons above the highest obstacle within a radius of 600 m from the aircraft.

4. VFR at night

Aircraft have been able to fly under VFR at night since June 2012. SERA introduced a small number of additional requirements for aircraft flying at night. These are:

  • If the aircraft leaves the vicinity of an aerodrome a flight plan must be filed.   This can either be a ‘paper’ plan, an AFPEX plan or an abbreviated plan (‘booking out’).
  • The cloud ceiling must be at least 1,500ft AMSL;
  • The flight visibility must be at least 5km, or 3km for helicopters;
  • When flying at 3,000ft AMSL or below, the surface must be in sight at all times; and
  • The night VFR minimum height requirements are more stringent than the day requirements. Aircraft are to be flown at least 1000ft above the highest fixed obstacle within 8km of the aircraft, or 2000 ft when flying over high or mountainous terrain. 

5. Special VFR (SVFR)

SERA introduced a speed limit of 140kts to aircraft flying under an SVFR clearance. The weather minima is now:

  • Remain clear of cloud and with the surface in sight
  • Maintain a flight visibility of 1500m, or 800m for helicopters

6. Rights of way on the ground

Rules on overtaking and giving way are now less specific. Aircraft and vehicles overtaking other aircraft and vehicles can now pass on either the left or the right.

7. The Right Hand Rule

The UK rule which required aircraft to be flown along the right hand side of line features ceases to be a legal requirement.  However, it is still considered to be good practice as a means avoiding
collisions with aircraft coming the other way, and so is strongly recommended.

SERA does not makes any changes to pilot licenses or their conditions and limitations. Some licences include limitations such as visibility minima which may be greater than the minimum specified in the
Visual Flight Rules.  Therefore pilots are recommended to remind themselves of the applicable minima for their licence (you can find this on the personnel licensing pages of the CAA website).


Dave Drake
CAA Project Lead for SERA 

Airfield Planning Issues.

The past three months have seen over thirty requests for assistance from owners, operators and supporters of flying sites. This reflects the continuing trend of airfield pressures, both from economic and housing threats which made up 10 of the queries and from inappropriate developments such as wind turbines in the immediate vicinity of flying sites, 8 enquiries. There has been good news too, Sandown airfield appears to be prospering under the custodianship of the local aero club, who are in the process of community fund raising to buy the airfield, Blackpool, which closed in October, re-opened in December for GA and helicopter operations under new management and the former RAF Church Fenton reopened at the start of 2015 as a civilian airfield.

The GAAC role in these cases has been to provide objective responses to those seeking to keep airfields open, while attempting to advise local planning officers both of the importance of GA airfield as a part of their local business, transport and economic infrastructure, and the recognition of this in the National Planning Policy Framework. In addition the GAAC is also actively driving the importance of leisure aviation as a resource and advocating local airfields’ role in providing accessible and sustainable flying training.

Planning Protection

One of the reasons for this increase in activity has been the recent Government response to the Red Tape Challenge in terms of recognition of the importance of the GA industry and to recent GAAC comments on the need for sustaining a reasonable infrastructure of airfields to support it. While the Government have continuing wish to devolve decision making to Local Planning Authorities, they have asked our advice in supporting the protection of small and medium-sized airfields and in briefing planning authorities.

One of the first results of these initiatives has been the Airfield Safeguarding Advice document, drawn up by Richard Vousden and distributed electronically to around 320 Local Planning Officers. Through monitoring of these e-mails we have been able to ascertain that of these, around 210 were received and read by the recipients.

Airfields

Sadly, it is inevitable that Hucknall airfield is destined for history, as the entire site will be turned over to a local authority housing partnership at the end of February. However we have continued (supported by Grant Shapps MP) to seek means by which Panshanger might be kept alive.

One initiative discussed with Welwyn and Hatfield Council at a meeting on 3rd February is to evaluate a re-alignment of runway which will allow airfield operations to continue while at the same time, allowing some land to be released to meet housing demands. The proposal is being further discussed with site owners Mariposa Developments, but in the meantime we have prepared a comprehensive support document for continued operation of the airfield as a local amenity, for submission as part of the Local Plan Consultation, which is open till 19th March.

It is noteworthy that a similar proposal has been advocated by the owners of Old Sarum airfield who wish to use land at three locations on the perimeter of the airfield for housing, but retain aviation activities and upgrade facilities. The plans are however being resisted by a local "Save Old Sarum" action group who claim the proposed developments will alter the character of location and that noise complaints would ultimately lead to airfield closure.

At Manston, while much of the infrastructure and resources have been sold and the site has been acquired by a 'regeneration company’ for other land uses, it is noted that a further submission has been made by Riveroak Developments to acquire the site and reopen it as a freight hub.

At Wellesbourne, an attempt by the owners of the airfield site to force inclusion of their ‘Scoping Consultation’ in Stratford District Council’s core housing strategy was successfully overturned by lawyers acting for the Wellesbourne Matters, pro-airfield action group. The GAAC has been working with Wellesbourne Matters to create a document highlighting factual errors in the developers’ research, with a view to overturning it again when it is presented as part of their change of use planning submission.

At Wycombe the GAAC is continuing to monitor attempts by Wycombe District Council to ‘claw back’ around 30 acres of land on the south side of the aerodrome, by rejecting the renewal of the existing airfield lease, which was taken over by Heli-Air. The major effect on aviation activities if this were to go ahead would be the loss of the airfield’s N/S runway and the end of gliding operations by  Booker Gliding Club.

Planning approval has been given by Chatham and Rochester Councils for the redevelopment of Rochester Airport with a lit tarmac and parallel grass runway, new hangars and admin buildings, as part of a 25-year plan. There is a further delay however as one small part of land is under the jurisdiction of Tonbridge Council which has yet to give similar approval.

Recent headlines have been grabbed by Liberal Democrats in Gloucestershire who have given support to a proposal by the Commercial Estates Group (CEG) in Cotswold District Council’s draft local plan consultation that could see up to 2000 homes built on the airfield. A robust GAAC response is being prepared for the consultation, but this is being seen as something of a speculative effort. CEG do not own the airfield, and there has been no sign that the airport owners wish to sell it.

Two less usual areas of airfield assistance have been offered. One, in the case of South Moor Farm at Langdale near Scarborough has included letters of support for planning permission for a new flying site. We have however also advised the site owner that as the location is in a sensitive area (the NY Moors National Park); he needs a particularly robust planning and environmental case in order to be successful.

An unusual threat arose to continued operations from the strip at Brimpton in Berkshire, which despite having operated for over 30 years alongside the Atomic Weapons Establishment was suddenly required by the CAA, under new security regulations, to inform AWE security ahead of every aircraft movement. This is both impossible and most emphatically not wanted by AWE Security! After discussion, we have advised that an agreed protocol with AWE should be forwarded to the CAA for their agreement.

Wind Turbines

Following the refusal of initial planning applications for the large wind turbine development at Bullington Cross which threatens operations at Lasham and Popham by three local council planning committees, the applications have moved as expected, to appeal. The GAAC has also offered all three councils’ assistance in preparing supporting submissions on behalf of the GA Community and has ensured our initial grounds for objection have been relayed to the Planning Inspectorate.

In addition, the GAAC has been required to object on safety grounds to a further seven inappropriate wind turbine development proposals in the immediate vicinity of both ‘farm strip’ flying sites and larger more active light aircraft airfields. In three of these cases, planning permission was refused by the local planning authority, but has subsequently been appealed by the developer.

In these cases, while our initial evidence will be used at the resulting enquiry, further requests for information, supporting letters and the rebuttal of inaccurate claims by so-called ‘aviation consultants’ are adding significantly to workload.  It is also noteworthy that in a significant number of cases unscrupulous developers have clearly ignored visible and long-established flying sites, hoping to hoodwink or force through an application without carrying out an appropriate risk analysis or contacting the flying site operator. In each case we have reminded the LPA that the development is in breach of CAA advice and if allowed they place the local authority in a potential position of liability if a resulting incident were to occur.

Industry Co-operation

In addition, the GAAC are continuing to work with the industry to try to both develop mitigation and awareness of the specific needs of and risks to General Aviation. In addition to our work with the Air Space Initiative Wind Farm Working Group (ASIWWG), in November for the first time, we addressed the Renewable UK national conference, presenting the case for General Aviation as a specific category with different requirements to Commercial Air Transport.

In addition we are working with both Renewable UK and the CAA to identify further means of enhancing conspicuity of anemometer masts. While we have no statutory capability, the CAA asked the GAAC to provide advice to planning officers in a joint initiative and in addition to the use of ‘spherical orange markers’ such as used on high-voltage power cables, and reflective bird flight deflectors, we are also looking at areas such as lighting, brightly coloured ground matting, high-visibility sheathes on the lower guide wires or the painting of the top of masts, to achieve reasonable visual recognition at about 1km

Significant Areas for Sport
Work continues on the future classification by Sport England of flying sites as Significant Areas for Sport (SASP), based on sport flying and competition aerobatic activities, giving additional planning protection. Currently around 15 sites have been identified for consideration by Sport England.

However some of these sites have requested a delay while the land owners are consulted as there are clearly implications for future sale of land in the future. An aerodrome owners’ questionnaire has been circulated for each site but due to the high workload on other projects, this has not moved forward as rapidly as hoped.
 
Stephen Slater.
February 2015

NOTE: The General Aviation Awareness Council (GAAC) is the most representative UK body in General Aviation and is recognised as such by Government, the CAA and others to be the organisation that speaks for General Aviation on planning and environmental issues and we intend to widen our ‘awareness’ campaign to other issues where there is consensus. AOPA UK strongly supports the work of the GAAC and gives substantial annual donations to it. Find out more about the GAAC here.

Caution if overflying disused Airfields.

An RAF training plane had to take evasive action when it ventured in to airspace used by a Cambridgeshire model flying club last year.

A UK Airprox Board report labelled the incident "high severity" after the trainer flew within 40ft (12m) of a remote-controlled model aircraft.

The near-miss happened 600ft (180m) above the village of Northborough near Peterborough.

The board said the "safety of the aircraft may have been compromised".

The report said the planes were flying on 4 February 2014 in airspace permitted for use by a local model aircraft flying club.

The model's operator thought his plane was flying at up to 150ft (45m), but the trainer, from RAF Wyton near Huntingdon, confirmed it had been flying above it at one point at 600ft.

The Airprox Board report concluded "safety margins had been much reduced". The board suggested because nearby RAF Wittering had changed to a non-flying base users of the airspace had become less aware of dangers.

It said all operators in the area needed to be alert to each other's activities. RAF Wittering has since returned to flying status.

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