AOPA UK

Cardiff International Airport joins Strasser Scheme

In a Valentine’s day present to General Aviation, Debra Barber, the recently appointed Managing Director of Cardiff Airport, has added Cardiff International Airport to the list of airports in the AOPA “Strasser Scheme”.

This is  great news for General Aviation to celebrate, as all public UK and Channel Islands Airports which were asked to join the AOPA “Strasser Scheme” have now done so with the exceptions of Bournemouth, London Luton, Lydd and Manchester. Only these 4 are refusing to join this potentially life saving CAA recommended scheme.

In 1997 the UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) published a review of General Aviation Fatal accidents 1985 to 1994 under the title CAP 667. Of particular interest to GA pilot Charles Strasser when reading this, was paragraph 9.2(c), which stated:

“There were a number of fatal accidents where a timely diversion or precautionary landing could have avoided an accident. In the UK there is a ‘culture’ of pressing on and hoping for the best rather accepting the inconvenience and cost of a diversion. This ‘culture’ needs to be changed, firstly by educating pilots and secondly by persuading Aerodrome owners that there should be no charge for emergency landings or diversions. It is recommended that all Aerodrome owners be persuaded to adopt a policy that there should be no charges for emergency landings or diversions by general aviation aircraft.”

Since neither the CAA nor the GASCO (General Aviation Safety Council) acted to get this important potential life saving recommendation implemented, Charles Strasser, the then Chairman of the AOPA CI Region, decided in 1998 to accept this challenge. It has taken him 16 years to get all present 206 UK Civil and Military airfields, excepting only Bournemouth, London-Luton, Lydd and Manchester, to participate and waive fees for genuine emergency and precautionary weather diversions. (London Heathrow, Gatwick and City were not asked).

The “Strasser Scheme” has undoubtedly prevented GA pilots from “pressing on” and instead make the right decision to land at the nearest airfield.
For full details of the AOPA Strasser Scheme and the current list of Airfields in the scheme see here.

There are some misunderstandings and to preserve the integrity of the scheme, this 16th anniversary is a perfect opportunity to remind GA pilots of the importance not to abuse the concession granted by airport owners in the interests of safety. The CAA recommendation starts off “This ‘culture’ needs to be changed, firstly by educating pilots…...  This means that pre-flight planning, including route, destination and alternate weather information must be undertaken. Landings at predetermined alternates, whether filed or not, are clearly not “precautionary diversion landings”.

Landings to drop off passengers or pick up fuel, similarly do not qualify.

 

 


 

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Welcome to the February 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

Standardised European Rules of the Air (SERA)

The UK implementation of significant elements of the European Union’s Standardised European Rules of the Air (SERA) has been delayed. As a result, there will be no changes to the UK Rules of the Air stemming from SERA that will impact UK pilots. The changes to be introduced on 4 December 2014 resulting from SERA will only be those that replicate existing UK rules.

SERA will replace most, but not all, of the UK Rules of the Air Regulations and there will be a small number of significant changes to UK rules that pilots, air traffic controllers, aerodrome operators and anyone else involved in the operation of aircraft need to be aware of. These include key changes to:

  • Visual Meteorological Conditions
  • Cruising Levels
  • VFR at night
  • Special VFR
  • Rights of way on the ground

None of the changes to flight rules or weather mimima overrule the limitations and privileges of pilot licences. Therefore it is important for pilots to understand the applicable minima for their licence.

Legislative changes

SERA will apply to every aircraft operating in EU airspace regardless of type or state of registration. But as the rules will not cover all aspects of the Rules of the Air, Member States may keep supplementary rules that complement SERA. They may also permit routine operations such as VFR flight at night, and grant exemptions from SERA’s requirements.

As explained in the our implementation consultation, the UK will keep a small number of supplementary rules taken from the current Rules of the Air Regulations 2007. These will be supported by permissions and general exemptions derived from the current Rules to preserve operational flexibilities to the greatest possible degree. The Permissions and Exemptions can be found here.

The Rules of the Air Regulations 2007 will be replaced by The Rules of the Air Regulations 2015 early in 2015. Pending that change it will be necessary to continue to apply a number of the ‘2007 Rules’; these ‘retained rules’ can be found here.

Note that the final wording of the ‘2015 Rules’ may be subject to refinement, in which case the table will be updated.

Finally, a small number of changes to the Air Navigation Order are being made to ensure it remains aligned with SERA. A summary of the planned ANO changes is available here, while a summary of the planned successor to the Rules of the Air Regulations 2007 plus related Permissions and Exemptions can be found here. These will be updated to reflect changes to legislation as these come into force.

Update to the UK SSR Code Allocation Plan -

The CAA have published Information Notice IN-2001/004 which details updates to the UK SSR Allocation Plan (Chapter 2.6 of the UK AIP EN1..6). These changes have been submitted under AIRAC 04/2015 (distributed 19 February 2015, effective 2 April 2015).

Under the CAA Airspace Charter, CAA Infrastructure Staff (previously Surveillance and Spectrum) are responsible for ensuring the accuracy of the UK SSR Code Allocation Plan. Following a recent review, conducted with the assistance of Eurocontrol, the Allocation Plan has been updated to reflect the current Eurocontrol Code Allocation of local codes to the UK, together with corrections to reflect Code Allocations to other states.

In addition, there have been a number of other relatively minor changes as follows:

a) The block of codes held by the CAA for allocation to Special Events has been moved from the code block 4701-4737 to 6001–6037 in order to improve the efficiency of code usage within CCAMS.
b) UK local SSR Codes allocated to NATS as CCAMS redundancy have now been broken out within the Allocation Plan and an explanatory paragraph added.
c) The omission of the Farnborough Frequency monitoring Code from Section 2.2.5 has been rectified.
d) References to CAOC Finderup have been replaced by CAOC Uedem.

Duxford event to launch Government GA Strategy

The next stage of the Government’s plans for General Aviation (GA) will be unveiled on Saturday 28th March 2015 when the Government’s strategy for GA is made public at a joint Government / Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) event at the Imperial War Museum Duxford, Cambridgeshire.

The Duxford event and unveiling of the Government’s strategy is the latest stage of a programme to fulfil the Government’s aim of making the UK the best country in the world for GA and boosting jobs and growth in the sector.

Key players in the GA world will be speaking including Grant Shapps MP, Minister Without Portfolio; Patrick Ky, EASA Executive Director and; Andrew Haines, CAA Chief Executive.

Specialists from NATS will also be in attendance on the day offering advice on a range of GA airspace safety issues and air traffic control in general.

The event is open to anyone involved in GA and will provide an opportunity to hear an update on the Future Airspace Strategy VFR operations deployment plan and the latest work underway through the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and UK GA programmes.

It also follows a year of considerable progress by the CAA to ensure GA enjoys a safety regulation system that imposes the minimum necessary burden and empowers individuals to make responsible decisions to secure acceptable safety outcomes. The CAA’s latest work with GA can be seen at www.caa.co.uk/ga.

The event will take place from 10.30am to 3pm. If you wish to attend then please RSVP to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. including the number of people in your party and if you intend to fly in. Places will be allocated on a first come first served basis. Confirmation of successful registration and further information on the event will be provided nearer the date.

Those registered to attend will also have free access to the Imperial War Museum during the day and reduced landing fees are available for those flying in.

Glasgow Airport Frequency Monitoring SSR Code 2620 -

Following successful implementation in other parts of the country, Glasgow Airport has sought permission from the CAA to utilise a Frequency Monitoring SSR Code. The SSR Code 2620 is
already allocated to Glasgow Airport but the airport has confirmed that it can be assigned as the SSR Frequency Monitoring Code.

The UK Aeronautical Information Publication (AIP) will be updated under AIRAC 04/2015 (distributed 19 February 2015, effective 2 April 2015).

The official notcie can be found here.

CAA Update 22 January :

Following their successful implementation in other parts of the country, a ‘listening out squawk’ covering Glasgow Airport is to be implemented, the UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) confirmed today. The squawk will become permanent on 2 April 2015 and will become the twelfth such code in operation in the UK.

The Glasgow listening out squawk code is 2620 and the radio frequency to monitor for Glasgow is 119.1MHz. It is recommended that pilots flying within 40NM of Glasgow Airport use the code.

CAA publishes 60 day update on General Aviation work -

The UK CAA reports that significant progress has been made in 2014 to make regulation of the UK’s General Aviation (GA) sector more proportionate and evidence-based the UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) said today.

In the first of what will be regular updates to confirm its work in the area the CAA said that in the last 60 days it had:

• Launched proposals to simplify the initial testing process for experimental aircraft in the UK that will benefit small-scale aircraft designers and manufacturers, as well as encouraging the growth of aerospace excellence in new design concepts. Details at www.caa.co.uk/consultations

• Used the new proportionate approach to regulation to grant an approval to a UK microlight manufacturer that has made it financially viable to sell its aircraft as finished factory-built types rather than amateur-build kits. More details here.

• Published its finalised policy framework for GA. This will be used by the CAA as a basis for decisions around GA regulation, providing a transparent process for the GA community and others to follow. It explains how decisions will now be made based on evidence and risk. It can be viewed at www.caa.co.uk/ga

• Scrapped the need for UK validation of design changes for Annex II aircraft via supplementary type certificates approved by a state with which the UK holds a bilateral agreement – such as the US or Canada. Meaning the owner/operator of an aircraft can simply arrange for installation of the modification as per the approval and then get their maintenance organisation to certify its installation in the aircraft’s log-book. More details here.

• Withdrawn the overflight restriction from the permit operating limitations of factory-built, type-approved gyroplanes. Meaning they can be flown over congested areas providing pilots can demonstrate they can manoeuvre their gyroplane clear of a built up area should it suffer a failure preventing continued safe flight, such as an engine failure. More details here.

• Allowed owners of light aircraft to choose which fuel they use, including MOGAS, providing it is approved for their aircraft. Details at www.caa.co.uk/ga

• Published clear guidance on restoring vintage aircraft, available at www.caa.co.uk/ga

All of the changes support the CAA’s new top level principles for GA regulation:

• Only regulate directly when necessary and do so proportionately
• Deregulate where we can
• Delegate where appropriate
• Do not gold-plate, and quickly and efficiently remove gold-plating that already exists
• Help create a vibrant and dynamic GA sector in the UK.

Commenting on the work Grant Shapps, Government Minister Without Portfolio, said: "This is yet another good set of measures that will provide a much-needed boost to GA. They will allow for innovation to be unlocked in the sector, creating exciting new business opportunities that could bring jobs and growth to the UK".

Similar 60 day updates will be published throughout 2015 on 2 March; 1 May; 1 July; 1 Sep; and 2 Nov.

NATS VOR Replacement Programme

NATS currently operates 46 Doppler VHF Omni Range (DVOR) navigation beacons across the UK to provide an en-route navigation service as either stand alone beacons or, more commonly, co-located with Distance Measuring Equipment (DME) beacons. Information Notice IN-2014/199 refers.

The age of these facilities means that either replacement or withdrawal has become necessary. In line with the ECAC-wide (European Civil Aviation Conference) Navigation Strategy and following the extension of the mandate for the carriage of Area Navigation (RNAV) equipment to all levels in controlled airspace, the CAA gave approval in principle for the reduction of the VOR infrastructure from 46 to 19 sites.

The facilities at the sites identified for retention will gradually be replaced with new equipment and each replacement will result in a period of approximately three months when the facility is unavailable for use.

NATS have identified the first VORs to be replaced under this programme and the work started in April 2014. The first three sites are Otringham (OTR), Berry Head (BHD) and Lands End (LND). Each replacement will be subject to an Impact Assessment.

The replacement of OTR commenced on 22 April 2014 and the work was completed at the end of July. However, subsequent problems have delayed the return to service of the facility until 16 December 2014.

The replacement of BHD is scheduled to commence on 7 January 2015 and is planned to be complete by 7 April 2015. The following points have been identified in the relevant Impact Assessment and should be noted by all airspace users:

  • There are a number of promulgated Air Traffic Services (ATS) routes detailed in the UK Aeronautical Information Publication (AIP) that are based on the BHD VOR. All of these routes are within airspace where the carriage of RNAV 5 equipment is mandatory and therefore the unavailability of the VOR will only reduce levels of redundancy and will have minimal impact on these routes.
  • Exeter Airport – There are several procedures at Exeter Airport that make operational use of the BHD VOR, and the Exeter MATS Part 2 contains procedural separations based on BHD. However, as the airport is equipped with radar +, these procedural separations are only used in times of radar failure. The Senior Air Traffic Control Officer (SATCO) at Exeter Airport has confirmed that there will be no major impact to the airport operation during the replacement of the BHD VOR.  
  • Bristol Airport – The initial part of the Bristol Airport Arrival from BHD to EXMOR is contained within the ATS route N862 which is mandatory RNAV 5 airspace and is controlled by NERL or delegated to Cardiff. Although the Standard Arrival (STAR) is defined conventionally on the chart using BHD VOR and DME, the unavailability of the VOR will not impact the ability of aircraft to execute the STAR. The Bristol EXMOR Standard Instrument Departure (SID) has EXMOR defined by a conventional fix from Brecon (BCN) VOR/DME.
  • Cardiff Airport – The initial part of the Cardiff CDF 3D Arrival from BHD to EXMOR is contained within the ATS route N862 as above and similarly the unavailability of the VOR will not impact the ability of aircraft to execute the STAR. The Cardiff EXMOR SID is defined by the BHD VOR/DME. (Noting that in the Cardiff STAR and Bristol’s SID, EXMOR is defined by a VOR/DME fix from BCN). During the period when BHD is unavailable it will be necessary to temporarily redefine the Cardiff EXMOR SID from the BCN VOR/DME. This mitigation will be published in an AIP Supplement to be released on 18 December 2014 and follow up Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) action.
  • Guernsey Airport – BHD provides a VOR/DME navigation fix for the SKERY and BINGO significant points on SID charts.  The SATCO at Guernsey Airport has confirmed that there is no foreseen operational impact for Guernsey or Alderney as a result of the unavailability of the BHD VOR.
     
  • Jersey Airport – See the above paragraph for Guernsey.
  • The unavailability of the BHD VOR will have minimal impact on Air Transport and General Aviation.

Details of the replacement period for Lands End (LND), including relevant information from its Impact Assessment, will be promulgated nearer to the commencement of the work. The start date for this work has yet to be finalised but should be soon after the completion of the BHD replacement.

Any queries or requests for further guidance as a result of this communication should be addressed to:
 

Airspace Section
Safety and Airspace Regulation Group
CAA House
45-59 Kingsway
London
WC2B 6TE
Telephone:  +44 (0)20 7453 6553
E-mail:  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.    

 

EASA Public Consultation Results - Aviation Safety and Regulation (EC) 216/2008

EASA have published a summary of the responses to the 2014 Commission questionnaire, about Aviation Safety and possible revision of Regulation (EC) 216/2008. This include input made by AOPA.

The response from EASA should be out early in the New Year and it will then go to the Commission with an opinion from EASA. By the 3rd Quarter of 2015 it will go through the European Parliamentary process before any amendment is made to the basic regulation (EC) 216/2008.

You can download the summary here (PDF 1.70MB).

GAAC - Airfield Planning Issues Report August to November 2014 :

The 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. AOPA provides significant funding to the GAAC.

This is the latest Airfield report produced by Steve Slater for the GAAC :

Summary

The continuing trend of airfield pressures, both from economic and housing threats and from inappropriate developments such as wind turbines in the immediate vicinity of flying sites, sadly continues. As has been reported in the past, this is led by government policy in prioritising land for housing ahead of other areas of infrastructure including transportation, which has in turn led to developers attempting to ‘cash in’ on the land resources.

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

Overall, the recent Government response to the Red Tape Challenge brought good news in terms of recognition of the importance of the GA industry and the need for sustaining a reasonable infrastructure to support it.However it was disappointing to note that airfields and planning was the one area in which Grant Shapps and his team had failed to address any of the questions raised within the challenge.

The continuing wish to devolve decision making to Local Planning Authorities and the support of continued CAA inaction in the protection of small and medium-sized airfields is flawed. Unless we lobby for a change of policy, current Government activities, by accident or design, will come too late to prevent the hemorrhaging of airfield sites, currently being lost to other land uses.

One means of creating greater protection for the change of use for sites would to be require that any change of use for an established airfield should be subject to the scrutiny of a Planning Enquiry. This is a procedure already used in some EU countries such as Germany.

This would at least ensure the debate, and any subsequent decision, would be subject to the measured and objective decision of a Planning Inspector, who is in a better position to offer an overview including airfields’ role as a part of the national transport and economic infrastructure. It would also act as a potential test of whether the aviation community in a particular area can offer a strong enough case for an airfield’s viability to convince an Inspector of its retention.

Currently, serious doubts about the objectivity of local councils often lead to a feeling of a ‘fait accompli’ once airfields are threatened. A decade ago, it was noted in the Lober Report that 41% of local planning authorities indicated they would offer no proactive protection to offer planning safeguards for flying sites and only 7% indicated that they would seek to protect flying sites. The involvement of the Planning Inspectorate in any change of use of airfields would significantly enhance the future protection of airfields as a part of the national infrastructure.

A further alternative may be to compel Local Planning Authorities to enter into formal consultation with the CAA as part of the change of use process, and that the CAA should be legally required  to make formal comment on any changes of airfield planning status.

Aerodrome Viability

The recent closure of Blackpool airport on financial grounds by Balfour Beatty has focussed attention on the failure of business model generated in the early 2000s of trying to turn what had been successful GA airfields into ‘regional airports’ aimed at attracting low cost airlines, at the expense of GA operations.

In addition to Blackpool, there are worrying signs that other similar operations are showing signs of distress. Perhaps now is the time for the GA sector to step forward in advocating more holistic use of the remaining airfield infrastructure and finding ways of demonstrating that GA offers airport operators a reasonable revenue stream?

GA Consultation

As part of recent inputs to Government, The GAAC made as submission on the current status of GA airfields to the All-Party Transport Select Committee last month. The GAAC has also attended meetings  with the Aerodrome Operators Association and Richard Kaberry the senior consultant for York Aviation, who is carrying out the Government’s GA research project.

Blackpool, Manston and Panshanger Closures

While all three of these airfields are now officially closed, activities continue to attempt to maintain some scope for their use for GA purposes.

At Blackpool, limited operations continue for based operators such as Westair, but no visiting aircraft are being accepted. Negotiations continue with local council and other interested parties, but concerns are that if no alternative is found by late November, the airfield infrastructure and assets will be dismantled and sold off.

At Manston, much of the infrastructure and resources have been sold and although Thanet District Council have pledged to debate a compulsory purchase order, the site has already been sold to a 'regeneration company’ for other land uses. Political pressure to maintain part of site for GA use is ongoing, potentially converting a taxiway to a GA runway, allowing redevelopment of a large part of the remaining site.

Panshanger was closed at the end of September when land-owner Mariposa Developments refused to extend the lease of their airfield tenants’ contracts, forcing airfield closure and removal of all aircraft. WHDC is however being pressurised to maintain airfield planning status, and as part of demonstrating sustainability, we have prepared documents for Save Panshanger and WHDC outlining GA aircraft parking requirements in SE England and contributed to a letter requesting that WHDC prevent Mariposa carrying out any demolition or disruption of landing areas, on safety grounds, till spring 2015.          .

Wellesbourne

In late July, the owners of the Wellesbourne airfield site presented a ‘Scoping Consultation’ document to Stratford District Council, presenting their plans for mixed housing and commercial development on the airfield site. We have supported Wellesbourne Matters with a GAAC objection to the proposal, filed with Stratford District Council, reminding them of their commitment as part of their core strategy plan that: “the established flying function of the airfield should be retained due to its importance to the local economy”.

Wellesbourne Matters have developed a radical approach to defending the airfield by focussing on fund raising to hire a legal practice, Zyda Law,that normally specialises in representing developers to refute protest group arguements. Among the initiatives they are employing is the development of alternative planning options, combining housing with continued use of the airfield, to demonstrate that the housing developer’s option is not the only one available.

Wycombe

The GAAC is closely monitoring concerns that Wycombe District Council are attempting to ‘claw back’ around 30 acres of land on the south side of the aerodrome, in a similar location to that unsuccessfully proposed for a football stadium in 2011, to develop light industry sites. While Wycombe is already well served by such industrial areas, the council are thought to be using this development provide justification for an additional southerly spur road from the M40 Handy Cross intersection, which would in turn unlock around 1000 acres of land on the SE of the M40 intersection for potential housing that cannot currently be allocated due to a lack of appropriate road access.

The council are attempting to achieve the airfield ‘land grab’ by rejecting the renewal of the existing airfield lease, which was taken over by Heli-Air. While the GAAC does not wish to get involved in the likely legal battle between the two parties, were the area of airfield be lost, it would mean the loss of the airfield’s N/S runway and the end of gliding operations by  Booker Gliding Club.

Good News. Bentwaters and Rochester

Suffolk Coastal District Council have, after a vigorous debate and objections posted by organisations including the National Trust, unanimously approved plans to increase flights at the former US airbase, Bentwaters, near Woodbridge. Flights will be limited to historic, classic or vintage aircraft, or piston-engined general aviation planes, or other aircraft below a maximum take-off weight of 15 tonnes. A maximum of 960 aircraft movements a year will be permitted, no more than 40 a week, with no flying between 9pm and 7am.

Rochester Airport is in the final stages of planning approval for the Council-led plans to redevelop the airfield with a lit tarmac and parallel grass runway, new hangars and admin buildings, as part of a 25-year plan. The planning process is expected to be completed in December and work on redevelopment will begin in 2015.

Wind Turbines / Safeguarding

The initial planning applications for the two large wind turbine developments at Bullington Cross and South Woodmancott, which threaten operations at Lasham and Popham, have been refused by all three local council planning committees and, as both applications will now either move to public enquiry or be ‘called in’ by the Secretary of State for direct decision, we have successfully lobbied for the LPA to give grounds for rejection including "impact on GA (not just military Radar) at Lasham and Popham - and recognition of their ‘value and of national policy thereon’.  This gives case precedence for both airfields'  involvement in likely Public Enquiries or Secretary of State submissions. The GAAC has also offered all three councils’ assistance in preparing supporting submissions on behalf of the GA Community.

The past months have seen the GAAC successfully lead to the removal of two inappropriate wind turbine development proposals in the immediate vicinity of ‘farm strip’ flying sites in Devon, but three new cases have been come to light. In each case the developer has clearly ignored a visible and long-established flying site, 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.

It was noteworthy that none of these flying sites had been unofficially safeguarded by the submission of  plans to the LPA. However the reaction from most ‘Flying Farmers’ is that they “get nothing but hassle from their LPAs and would rather keep a low profile or they don't want to open a bag of worms.” One FFA member stated “Until there is a more professional attitude from LPAs, and with my own experience, I find it difficult to advise our members to go through that performance.”

At the November GAAC council meeting, safeguarding specialist Richard Vousden agreed to work with GAAC to create an information sheet for local planning officers, in a similar form to the advice provided on wind turbines. This fact sheet will be available in early 2015.

Downwind Turbulence Research

Results of the research work on downwind turbulence from wind turbines initiated by GAAC, via the crossindustry Air Space Initiative Wind Farm Working Group, and funded by CAA and Renewable UK, will shortly be published. It is hoped that an initial briefing on the Liverpool University project may be available at the ASIWWG meeting on Thursday 20th November and that the final report will be published early next year, in time for inclusion in an updated version of CAP 764. This will offer a more complex and accurate model than the current ‘16 x rotor diameter’ figure based on 2003 research.  

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), for the first time we have been invited to address the Renewable UK national conference, giving an unprecedented opportunity to present the case for General Aviation as a specific category with different requirements to Commercial Air Transport.

Oxford RMZ

We have been made aware of the start of a consultative process by London Oxford Airport regarding the application of a radio mandatory zone (RMZ) for air traffic operations to the north of the airport: https://sites.google.com/site/oxfordairportrmz/home .

As this is based on their wish for a known airworthiness environment for traffic flying NDB approaches to runway 19 from the Daventry NDB, it is likely to directly involve and potentially exclude non-radio traffic currently known to be operating from Shennington, Shotteswell, Bicester, Hinton and Enstone as well as several private airfields in the area. It will also potentially impact on airfield utilisation at Chiltern Park, Turweston, Sywell, Wellesbourne and further afield as en-route traffic will almost certainly be affected.

While GAAC is not directly involved in airspace discussions, Stephen Slater circulated information to the LAA, BMAA and BGA informing them of the situation, to allow them to respond on behalf of members. The VAC will also preparing their own response on behalf of our 300 Vintage Aircraft Club members,  many of whom operate non-radio vintage and classic airfield in this area.

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. Following further dialogue with the LAA, BMAA, British Aerobatic Association, Royal Aero Club, Helicopter Club of Great Britain, it is hoped that an aerodrome owners’ questionnaire for each site will be completed by the end of December.
 
Anemometer Mast Conspicuity

One of the major steps forward in recent weeks has been development of greater conspicuity for ‘met masts’. While we have no statutory capability, the CAA asked the GAAC to provide advice to planning officers in a joint initiative. We initially advocated the use of ‘spherical orange markers’ such as used on high-voltage power cables. The weight of these however caused concerns of potential structural overload in high winds or icing condition, so we researched the creation of greater visual acquisition of the 15 bird flight deflectorsalready required to be placed on each outer guy wire.

We identified a specific type of reflective bird flight deflector, which is 135mm in diameter and weighing 0.2kg, which may achieve reasonable visual recognition at about 1km without the additional structural load. As a result of the moves forward in this respect, the CAA has requested wording from GAAC to be incorporated in the next update to CAP 764 “CAA Policy and Guidelines on Wind Turbines” early in 2015.

Stephen Slater.
14th November 2014

Take a guided tour around UK airspace :

The skies above the UK have been brought to life like never before in a video showing a day of air traffic in less than three minutes.

Created from actual radar data showing over 7,000 flights, the video graphically illustrates the daily task facing air traffic controllers and the airspace features that help make it all work.

Created by air traffic management company, NATS, the video takes viewers on a unique tour of some of the key features of UK airspace – from the four holding stacks over London and the military training zones above Wales, to the helicopters delivering people and vital supplies to the North Sea oil and gas rigs.

It finishes with an overview of the structure of UK airspace, highlighting the major air routes and showing how this ‘invisible infrastructure’ helps underpin the entire operation.

Matt Mills, NATS Head of Digital Communications, said: “We’ve made data visualisations in the past, but we wanted to now take people on a deeper journey into what makes UK airspace work and some of its important features.

“Airspace might be the invisible infrastructure, but it is every bit as important as the airports and runways on the ground.”

See the Video HERE.

Summary of the Proposed Amendment to the Aircrew Regulation :

The CAA have published IN-2014/188: Summary of the Proposed Amendment to the Aircrew Regulation that Is Expected to Come into Force on 8 April 2015 :

1 Introduction

1.1 The process of adopting the next amendment to Regulation (EU) No. 1178/2011 - ‘the Aircrew Regulation’ - into legislation by the European Parliament has begun. It will come into force on 8 April 2015. This Information Notice provides an overview of the changes that will be made by this amendment and their implications. The text of the amending regulation will be published by the European Commission in the Spring of 2015.

1.2 It is emphasised that none of these changes will come into force until 8 April 2015. The changes, made by the amendment cannot be used until that date.

2 The proposed changes to the Aircrew Regulation

2.1 Transition of Registered Facilities to Approved Training Organisations - Article 10(a)  The effect of the amendment will be that, from 8 April 2015, any Registered Training Facility  (RTF) will be permitted to provide instruction for the Light Aircraft Pilot Licences (LAPL) for the same category of aircraft for which the RTF provides PPL training (aeroplanes or helicopters). This will be in addition to continuing to provide the training that the RTF was permitted to provide previously. RTFs will be permitted to continue in this manner until 8 April 2018. Alternatively, they may apply to become Approved Training Organisations (ATOs) at any time.

Any extension to the scope of training given by existing RTFs (beyond the LAPL and the  training previously conducted) will only be permitted if the RTF becomes an ATO. Any new training organisation will have to apply to be an ATO. Existing ATOs are not affected by this change.

The further deferment of the deadline for RTFs to become ATOs is to allow for a review and revision of the requirements that apply to organisations of this kind. The rules that apply to organisations providing training that exceeds the scope of RTFs (such as training for CPL, IR or type ratings) are not expected to change as a result of the proposed review.

2.2 Further deferment of the mandatory use of certain new licences and ratings - Article 12  Consistent with the extension of the transition period for Registered Facilities, certain other deadlines are also to be extended. With the coming into force of the amendment on 8 April 2015, the mandatory requirements to hold:

  • a LAPL(A), LAPL(H), LAPL(S) or LAPL(B);
  • a BPL or SPL;
  • Aerobatic Rating, Towing Rating or Mountain Rating; or
  • a Mountain Instructor Certificate

are deferred until 8 April 2018.

In the UK, until 8 April 2018, the equivalent national licences and rules may be used instead of the Part-FCL licences, ratings and certificates listed above in both EASA and nonEASA/Annex II aircraft; or, alternatively, the Part-FCL qualifications may be obtained and used.

For example: until 8 April 2018 a UK NPPL(A) with SSEA rating,  or a UK (pre-JAR-FCL) national Private Pilot Licence (PPL(A)) with SEP or SSEA rating, may be used instead of a LAPL(A) to fly an EASA aeroplane - within the scope of the privileges of a LAPL(A) only. The LAPL(A) privileges are to fly SEP aeroplanes not exceeding 2000 kg maximum take-off mass, with a maximum of 4 persons onboard, under the Visual Flight Rules. A UK NPPL(A) or UK national PPL(A) will not be valid to fly any EASA aeroplane on any flight from 8 April 2018 onwards. However, a Part-FCL LAPL(A) or PPL(A) may be obtained at any time and used to fly EASA and non-EASA/Annex II aeroplanes (within the scope of the licence privileges) indefinitely.

Some of the other transition end dates will not change. The mandatory date for the use of the following Part-FCL licences, ratings and certificates will remain 8 April 2015:

  • Airship and powered lift;
  • Flight Test Rating;
  • Flight Test Instructor;
  • Multi Crew Co-operation Instructor for Helicopters.  

2.3 Continuation of training for national licences that have Part-FCL equivalents until 8 April 2018.

Provision will be made for national training organisations providing training for national equivalents to new Part-FCL licences to continue to do so until 8 April 2018. In the UK this applies to organisations providing training to balloon pilots and sailplane/glider pilots under UK legislation. National qualifications obtained in this manner prior to 8 April 2018 will be convertible to Part-FCL licences. Part-FCL licences will be mandatory to fly EASA balloons and sailplanes from 8 April 2018 onwards.

2.4 Further deferment of the application of European licensing rules to pilots using third country licences to fly third country aircraft based in Europe, or aircraft registered in Europe, for non- commercial purposes.

For pilots who hold pilot licences issued by third countries, the UK had already deferred until 8 April 2015 the requirement to obtain a Part-FCL licence or a validation of their third country licences to conduct non-commercial flights in UK registered aircraft, or in aircraft registered elsewhere that are used by operators based in Europe. This was the maximum period allowable under the Aircrew Regulation as presently published. The next amendment of the
Aircrew Regulation will allow the application of this requirement to be deferred until 8 April 2016, and the UK will do so. (See IN-2014/171 for further details).

2.5 Upset Prevention and Recovery Training (UPRT)

ICAO Annex I now requires that training for CPL(A), MPL(A) and Type Ratings for multi-pilot aeroplanes shall include Upset Prevention and Recovery Training (UPRT). To comply with ICAO Annex I, this requirement will be added to the relevant sections of Part-FCL, but the covering regulation will defer the application of the requirements until 8 April 2018. EASA will develop the AMC material during the deferment period.

2.6 Maximum age of pilots for commercial balloon and sailplane flights - FCL.065

With effect from 8 April 2015, Part-FCL will be amended so that the age above which pilots holding Balloon Pilot Licences (BPL) or Sailplane Pilot Licences (SPL) are prohibited from conducting commercial air transport flights will be increased from 65 to 70 years. Note that, as described in paragraph 2.2 above, the use of Part-FCL licences to fly EASA balloons and sailplanes will become mandatory on 8 April 2018. 

2.7 PPL(A) training - FCL.210.A

This rule will be amended to allow PPL(A) training to be given in aeroplanes or Touring Motor Gliders (TMGs) or any combination of the two. The privileges granted to the applicant will be determined by the category of aircraft in which the student passes the skill test, e.g. if the skill test is in a TMG, the licence will be limited to TMGs.

2.8 Balloon privileges revalidation - FCL.230.B

The rules for the revalidation of balloon privileges will be amended to allow them to be renewed for the balloon group of the pilot’s choosing - within the pilot’s previously obtained group ratings.

2.9 Single Engine Piston (SEP) and TMG rating revalidation - FCL.740.A

The rules for SEP and TMG rating revalidation will be revised: 
i) to allow proficiency checks and assessments of competence in other classes and types
of aeroplane to be used instead of the flight with an instructor for ‘revalidation by experience’; and 
ii) to be less onerous for pilots holding both landplane and seaplane class ratings.

2.10 Revalidation of SEP and TMG ratings by FI(A) and CRI(A)

A new paragraph FCL.945 is to be added to make provision for instructors who conduct the training flight for SEP or TMG revalidation by experience to be individually authorised by the Competent Authority to endorse the revalidation page of the pilot’s licence. This will enable the CAA to introduce a Part-FCL equivalent to the “Revalidation Examiner Certificate” previously issued under national rules. Only instructors with the privileges to instruct for the SEP and/or TMG rating will be eligible to be authorised.

2.11 Provision for examiners to test students they have given some instruction to - FCL.1005(a).

The requirement is to be amended so that an examiner may test a student to whom they have given up to 25% of the instruction required for the licence, rating or certificate. 2.12 Validation of third country licences for short periods for visiting private pilots and participation in competitions and air displays - Annex III.

Annex III to Part-FCL will be amended to set out new requirements for the validation of third country licences for pilots visiting Europe for short periods for private purposes, or to participate in displays and competitions. In many cases these new requirements for licence validation will not apply until 8 April 2016 because of the deferment described in paragraph 2.4 above.

2.13 Special medical circumstances - Part-ARA, ARA.MED.330

Part-ARA will be amended to allow Competent Authorities, subject to specified conditions, to make use of new developments in medicine when assessing the medical fitness of pilots.

2.14 Other changes:

The amendment will make other changes to correct errors and omissions, improve clarity and alleviate some issues that have been encountered in the implementation of Part-ARA by competent authorities.

The affected sections are:

  • FCL.105.B LAPL(B) – Privileges;
  • FCL.825(g)(6) - EIR - Training in multi engine aeroplanes will be credited for single engine aeroplanes;
  • FCL.915 - linkage to Operational Suitability Data;
  • FCL.910.TRI - Extension to other types;
  • FCL.905.CRI - Extension to include LAPL(A);
  • FCL.1005.CRE - Extension to include LAPL(A);
  • Appendix 1 - Clarification of Theoretical Knowledge for LAPL, PPL, SPL, BPL;
  • Appendix 6 - Clarifications in paragraphs 1 and 6;
  • Appendix 9 - Provision for taking credit for similar types;
  • Annex II - Corrections to tables;
  • Annex III - Corrections to tables;
  • Part-ARA, ARA.GEN.305 - Oversight cycle;
  • Part-ARA, ARA.FCL.200 - Procedures for SEP/TMG revalidation;
  • Part-ARA, Appendix 1 - Flight Crew Licence;
  • Part-ARA, Appendix 2 - Cabin Crew Attestations;
  • Part-ORA, ORA.GEN.200 Annual organisation review.

3 Queries

3.1 Any queries concerning this communication 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 1 May 2015.

The original document can be read/downloaded here.

 

Implementation of Standardised European Rules of the Air

(SERA) Part A & B :
 

The CAA Safety and Airspace Regulation Group have just issued the following letter on this subject :-

14 November 2014

Dear Colleagues
 
IMPLEMENTATION OF STANDARDISED EUROPEAN RULES OF THE AIR (SERA) PART A & B 

1. European Commission Regulation 932/2012 (the ‘SERA Regulation’) establishes the common Rules of the Air and operational provisions regarding services and procedures in air navigation. In recognition of the many changes to national regulations required to implement the SERA Regulation, the UK notified our intention to complete our transition planning in advance of those aspects of European law that will currently take effect in the UK on 4 December 2014. It is our intention that there will be no material change to the UK rules with effect from this date. This letter explains the position in more detail.

2. You will be aware that the introduction of the SERA Regulation has been challenging with regard to the volume of change required to extant UK legislation and the associated operational processes.  As part of that work, it is necessary to amend the UK Air Navigation Order 2009 (ANO) to legally designate the CAA to be the Competent Authority under the SERA Regulation.  Further changes to the ANO, together with the replacement of The Rules of the Air Regulations 2007, are required to ensure that our national legislation aligns with the SERA Regulation.  It had been anticipated that these changes would have been made by the Department for Transport before the SERA Regulation came into effect in the UK.  However, notwithstanding considerable effort to try and make it happen, it is now evident that the designation of the CAA as the UK Competent Authority will not now be achieved before 10 December, with the other required changes to the ANO and introduction of the replacement Rules of the Air Regulations (as The Rules of the Air Regulations 2015) expected to occur in early 2015.

3. Even if the required changes had been effected by 4 December 2014, it would have been necessary to utilise the derogation, exemption and permission flexibility options that exist within the EASA legislative arrangements set to allow the CAA to safeguard essential UK specific requirements and avoid potential negative operational impacts.  These issues have been discussed on a number of occasions, most recently at the combined NATMAC/ATSSRAC meeting on 9 October and again at the General Aviation Partnership meeting on 13 November.  

Of major concern to us was:

  • The loss of the UK application of VMC minima below 3000 ft in Class C, D and E airspace;
  • Impacts on the Rules of the Air Regulations regarding the Low Flying Prohibitions and the Exemptions from the Low Flying Prohibitions (Rule 5 and Rule 6 respectively);
  • A limitation applicable to ATC in respect of the ground visibility conditions at an aerodrome which would preclude the issue of Special VFR clearances within a Control Zone away from the affected aerodrome; this could, in turn, result in a pilot having to avoid a Control Zone despite meeting the prescribed in flight visibility requirements within a portion of it.

4. Having considered various regulatory options and on the basis of advice from the CAA’s Office of the General Counsel, we  will issue general operational exemptions from SERA under Article 14(4) of the EASA Basic Regulation from 4 December 2014 until 10 December 2014 targeted on those rules which would have an impact on UK operations.  These will mirror the operational exemptions and permissions the CAA would have issued under SERA if it was then designated as the Competent Authority, to cover that short period until CAA is legally designated.  As such, it is our intention that existing arrangements will continue to apply until you are notified otherwise and this includes no changes to the VFR limits or low-flying rules, the quadrantal rule in Class G airspace nor with regard to the ability to operate as VFR or SVFR at night. 

5. On 10 December the CAA will then, as Competent Authority, issue the same operational Permissions and General Exemptions considered necessary to effect UK SERA implementation as originally intended.   The net result of this action will be to minimise the level of change to UK aviation arrangements on 4 December 2014 in respect of the SERA Regulation as anticipated in our original implementation proposals, such that the effect on UKK operations should be
minimal and indeed industry should not notice any significant change in operations.  

6. We are pursuing a permanent derogation from SERA.5001 requirement to retain our current national VMC minima in respect of the VMC below 3000 feet in Class C, D and E airspace and have notified under Article 14.6 of the EASA Basic Regulation the Commission and EASA to that effect.   

7. This action should, in the longer term, enable the existing UK VMC/VFR minima to continue to be available when the initial Exemption expires.  We are content that there will be no adverse impact on the safety of operations in our airspace through retention of our current capabilities.  I will provide you with a copy of the relevant exemption and derogation texts in due course.   We will also pursue a permanent derogation to SERA.5010 (b)(2) to avoid the unintended effect of ATC not being
able to issue a Special VFR clearance when the ground visibility at the reporting aerodrome is below the specified new criteria despite a pilot being able to fly in VMC (or under a Special VFR clearance) within a Control Zone away from the affected aerodrome.

8. Separately, but alongside the changes required by the introduction of the SERA  Regulation, is the removal of Class F airspace and its replacement with Class E or G airspace.   This addresses an outstanding finding from the 2009 ICAO USOAP audit of the UK and work has been completed to ensure the safe integration of IFR and VFR traffic in Class E airspace; therefore, the proposed changes to Class F airspace went ahead on 13 November as planned.  In almost all cases existing Letters of Agreement will continue to be applicable.  Every effort has been made to ensure that the necessary arrangements are in place to accommodate the changesbrought about in connection with N560D and to facilitate gliding access.

9. An associated Safety Notice and other publicity material is now being prepared to publicise this information more widely, but I would be grateful if you would cascade this information through your respective organisations.  Should you require any further information then please contact either Chris Peart (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) for ATM related issues or Dave Drake (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) for non-ATM SERAspecific issues.

Yours sincerely

Mark Swan
Group Director Safety and Airspace Regulation

Replacement of Class F Airspace - Class E Airspace Phraseology and Traffic Information. :

Information Notice IN-2014/154 notified industry of the replacement of Class F airspace within the UK FIRs on AIRAC 12/2014 (13 November 2014). Six existing Advisory Routes (ADRs) will be disestablished and the remainder re-designated as Class E+ Transponder Mandatory Zone (TMZ) airways, with or without changes to their vertical and/or longitudinal limits.

Information Notice IN–2014/183 provides further information about the replacement of Class F Airspace and Class E Airspace Phraseology and Traffic Information as below :-

1 Introduction

1.1 Information Notice IN-2014/154 notified industry of the replacement of Class F airspace within the UK FIRs on AIRAC 12/2014 (13 November 2014).

1.2 Six existing Advisory Routes (ADRs) will be disestablished and the remainder re-designated as Class E+ Transponder Mandatory Zone (TMZ) airways, with or without changes to their vertical and/or longitudinal limits.

2 Air Traffic Services Within Class E+TMZ Airways

2.1 The removal of Class F airspace and the co-incidental introduction of Class E+TMZ airways has led to a re-evaluation of service provision within UK Class E airspace to bring it into line with ICAO and European expectations. Visual Flight Rules (VFR) flights within Class E airspace will therefore be provided with UK Flight Information Services (FIS) (i.e. Traffic or Basic Service) as defined in CAP 774 ‘UK Flight Information Services’ upon request and subject to controller workload.

2.2 All Instrument Flight Rules (IFR) flights shall be subject to an Air Traffic Control (ATC) clearance and require continuous two-way communications. Instrument Flight Rules (IFR) flights will be provided with relevant traffic information on participating and non-participating VFR flights; traffic avoidance advice will be provided if requested.

2.3 IFR holds might not be fully contained within Class E airways. Controllers are not required to advise pilots on the change of Air Traffic Services (ATS) as IFR flights leave and join Class E airways as part of IFR holding. However, the type of UK Flight Information Service (FIS) provided to such flights in Class G airspace will either be a Deconfliction Service, or, in theabsence of surveillance, a Procedural Service. Pilots can expect a Deconfliction Service,
which does not need to be announced, although controllers must advise pilots if a Procedural Service will be provided.

2.4 VFR aircraft within Class E+TMZ airways shall carry and operate a Mode S Secondary Surveillance Radar (SSR) transponder. VFR flights do not require ATC clearance and, subject to comply with the notified TMZ requirements, do not require two-way communications. VFR flights not complying with the notified SSR carriage and operation requirements require approval to enter the airspace. Such aircraft are required to be either in radio contact with the controlling authority or to operate in accordance with agreed procedures.

2.5 VFR flights operating without a functioning Mode S SSR transponder and in radio contact with the appropriate controlling authority may exceptionally, and as precaution to ensure safe integration of participating VFR aircraft in conflict with IFR traffic on the Class E+TMZ airway, not receive immediate approval to enter Class E+TMZ airspace. Should this occur, affected pilots will be informed of the reason(s) why. Approval to enter the airspace will follow as soon as possible thereafter. Such action complies with generic UK ATS duty of care requirements contained within CAP 774 Chapter 1 and Appendix A.

2.6 The Annex to this Information Notice (IN) summarises the phraseology to be used within Class E airspace as contained within CAP 413 ‘Radiotelephony Manual’. This phraseology may be refined on the basis of pilot and ATS provider experience of actual operations within Class E+TMZ airspace. To that end, pilots and ATS providers are encouraged to submit any comments concerning the phraseology contained within the Annex to: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..  

2.7 For the purposes of this IN and the phraseology contained in the Annex, the word ‘approved’  means ‘permission for proposed action granted’, as stated in CAP 413 ‘Radiotelephony Manual’, Chapter 2: Radiotelephony page 9, Standard Words and Phrases (Table 8).

3 Traffic Information to Pilots of IFR Aircraft

3.1 IFR aircraft shall be provided with traffic information as far as is practicable on VFR aircraft (ICAO Annex 11 Appendix 4
). Controllers will update the traffic information if it continues to constitute a definite hazard, or if requested to by the pilot. 

3.2 Within the Class E+TMZ airways, traffic will be normally considered relevant when, in the judgement of the controller, the conflicting aircraft’s observed flight profile indicates that it will pass within 3 NM and, where level information is available, 3,000 ft of the aircraft in receipt of the Radar Control Service. However, controllers may also use their judgement to decide on occasions when such traffic is not relevant, e.g. passing behind or within the parameters but
diverging. Also:

a) Pilots must be aware that high controller workload and Radiotelephony (RTF) loading may reduce the ability of the controller to pass traffic information and affect the timeliness of such information.  
b) It is not possible to pass traffic information on unknown aircraft where an ATC Service is provided without the aid of surveillance systems. Additionally, ATC provision is constrained by the inability of ATC surveillance systems to detect all aircraft in all circumstances.

3.3 IFR flights will be provided with avoiding action when requested by the pilot. If the pilot reports that he has the unknown aircraft in sight further controller action may then be limited to passing traffic information.

3.4 VFR flights that request an ATS shall be provided with traffic information as far as practical by means of a UK FIS as requested by the pilot, subject to ATS unit capability to provide the requested service.

3.5 Parameters and conditions for the provision of Basic Service and Traffic Service to VFR aircraft in Class E airspace are as promulgated in CAP 774.

4 Queries

4.1 Any queries or requests for further guidance as a result of this communication should be addressed to:

Airspace, ATM and Aerodromes
Safety and Airspace Regulation Group
Aviation House
Gatwick Airport South
West Sussex,
RH6 0YR

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

5 Cancellation

5.1 This Information Notice will remain in force until further notice.
 

 

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