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Martins Blog
AOPA Corporate member South Warwickshire Flying School, based at Wellesbourne Mountford Aerodrome, have advised me of an article that was carried in The Stratford Herald Newspaper this week. This is an extract from the article: "Positive news about the future of Wellesbourne Airfield could be on the cards after the district council confirmed the landowners have come forward with ‘constructive proposals’ for the site. A joint statement from Littler Investments and Stratford District Council doesn’t go as far as saying the airfield has been saved, but the council says the proposals are constructive. The council is firmly committed to retaining and enhancing flying functions at the site, as stated in its adopted Core Strategy. The authority is engaged in compulsory purchase proceedings to acquire the site, action supported by many tenants at Wellesbourne Airfield. This action was taken in reaction to the landowner’s plans to demolish buildings at the site and promote it for the development of up to 1,500 homes. This week’s statement from the council and the owners comes at a time when airfield businesses have been engaged in a legal battle to extend their leases. Yesterday (Wednesday) Take Flight Aviation and Warwickshire Aviation Ltd, the two remaining…
This is the response I made on behalf of AOPA: Questions 4 Do you agree with the CAA’s assessment of typical weather conditions in the UK?NoComments:The issue of weather has potential safety implications for GA and for VFR flights in particular. Some of our members have raised the point that SERA 5001 requires a vertical separation from ANY cloud of 1000 feet which is different from saying cloud base or ceiling - With the UK having a maritime climate cloud bases are often lower than 3000ft particularly in the Northern part of the UK . The SERA cloud ceiling is based on a covering of half the Sky in METAR termsOVC/BKN therefore we believe that number of VFR flights affected by this proposed compliance with SERA will be significant particularly when you also consider the geography of the UK . This will mean an increase in the number of SVFR requests ; the data that has been used in the document is flawed and under estimates the likely numbers of affected VFR transits. 5 Do you support the CAA’s preferred option and the associated assumptions?NoComments:No, we do not accept or agree with the assumptions - if we take the cloud…

AOPA on ADS-B 2015

In 2015, on behalf of AOPA UK, I produced a positioning paper about ADS-B. Whilst not coming out and saying ADS-B wil be required technology, the CAA have recently said in a news release about electronic conspicuity "we see ADS-B enabled and interoperable platforms as the most likely commonly adopted technology in the U.K." Almost 4 years ago, this is what AOPA was saying: Aviation, by its very nature, crosses borders and oceans and success requires global airborne and ground solutions. Implementing a globally harmonised Communication / Navigation / Surveillance (CNS) infrastructure is essential and specifying these solutions is an immediate priority. Automatic dependent surveillance Broadcast (ADS-B) provides unparalleled traffic information which enables a “cooperative surveillance environment” between pilots and controllers. ADS-B makes possible the air-to-air and air-to-ground receipt of aircraft position, velocity and other data about the location of the aircraft. Tracking being more accurate, controllers are better able to manage the aircraft at congested airports, resulting in additional gains in capacity and pilots are able to plan for other traffic in the skies. ADS-B will be the future surveillance technology to be implemented in Europe and it is also being implemented in other key aviation strongholds around the…

BREXIT and EASA

It is clear from the information we have that the UK and EU are in discussion about a future partnership with EASA. Clearly at the working level there is a huge decision to achieve a reasonable outcome based on cooperation. The UK CAA, whilst considering a ‘no deal’ BREXIT are not likely to reinvent the UK aviation legal framework, we have only recently adopted the new EU Basic Regulation. However, if we remain inside an EU/EASA System, it is unclear how we will be able to participate in future (regulatory/rules) consultations and processes where we end up as a rule taker. This is not a position we would want to be in. Therefore how the CAA will consult with us in the future needs to be considered particularly if we lose the ability to directly influence EASA. Today I have written to the Aviation Minister raising this matter.
Over 200 UK pilots have stepped forward to participate in a ground-breaking initiative called GAINS (General Aviation Improvements in Navigation and Surveillance), funded by the SESAR 2020 programme and project-managed by Helios. This level of interest confirms what we have long suspected, the GA community (both fixed wing and rotorcraft) is keen to be involved in the advancement of aviation and prepared to embrace change where clear benefits can be demonstrated. The project aims to demonstrate, through live flying exercises, the ability of GA to also benefit from technical solutions developed by SESAR that lead to better integration of GA within the airspace. The focus of GAINS is on new surveillance technology and navigation procedures not yet approved for the GA community. It's a complex project, involving AOPA the UK aircraft owners and pilots association, selected UK aerodromes, European aviation regulators and ANSPs, equipment specialists from the UK and Germany, and aerospace engineers from Spain. The project involves extensive consultation and detailed planning, which is still ongoing. The good news is that the first surveillance demonstration already took place in Stapleford and more will follow, in the airfields of, Duxford and Sywell and most likely also Brimpton and Dundee. All…
Are we going to stay in EASA or not? This is a question I often get asked and as with BREXIT the position is not clear.Businesses are trying to plan for next year, students are wondering what the value of their license will be ~ Mrs May told a Parliamentary subcommittee that our membership of EASA will be based on ‘ capabilities ‘ and this will be subject to the next stage of negotiation after we have left the EU on the 29th March 2019.   This statement suggests that we will not remain a part of EASA and whilst the the CAA says there will be no change to licenses the EU on the other hand issued a statement saying post BREXIT , if there is no deal then the EU will not recognise UK issued EASA certificates – However , in her Mansion  House speech Mrs May indicated that it was the UKs intention to remain in EASA!  However if we cannot keep a place at the negotiating table in the future then its seems that the future relations with EASA reflects the deal that is being put before Parliament -.Add to this that the UK is pulling out…

The Many .....

Over the past 30 years we have gone from an ICAO/UK based regulatory framework for aviation through the Joint Aviation Authorities (JAA -which still exists) system to EASA. The JAA was basically a club of regulators across Europe that decided to harmonise aviation rules. Not such a bad idea! However, their method of harmonisation was to raise the regulatory ‘bar’, as it was easier to achieve agreements, where higher standard were adopted- hence the reason why we have to fly 12 hours (minimum) in the last 12 months of a 24 month period, including one hour dual with an instructor. This was done to keep Germany in the loop as their system required 12 hours p.a., whereas in the UK it was five hours in 13 months. The JAA system was, and still is, the baseline for the EASA system, although the EASA system is underpinned by regulation EU 216/2008- This has recently been amended and since the 4th July 2018 Regulation EU 2018/1139 has been inforce. Generally this is seen as an improvement over the 216/2008 which was in place for the last 10 years. The revised regulation which has been adopted will form the basis of UK aviation…
The airspace is essentially divided between Controlled Airspace (Known Traffic Environment) and uncontrolled airspace (Unknown Traffic Environment). This unknown traffic environment, mostly Class G airspace often comes into contact with regulated airspace, particularly around airports which serves Commercial Air Transport operations. The regulated airspace has been put in place to protect passengers and therefore the operations are known or should be known to air traffic control as most commercial operations are planned and the ATCO is not normally surprised by the arrival of the aircraft as they are expecting it!! An infringing aircraft on the other hand is a surprise as the controller is not expecting it and where no communication can be established with the infringing aircraft the airspace risk increases, this requires the controller to take action with the aircraft they are controlling because the intentions of the infringing aircraft are unknown. The safety nets are increased by using higher separation values, holds and go arounds. The infringing aircraft causes a ‘Loss Of Separation’ (LOS) inside controlled airspace for the Controller, with no height or intention from the infringing aircraft the controller must assume the worst-case scenario. Your transponder calibration is +/- 185 feet and ATC use +/-…
Recently the EASA Committee discussed a number of topics at the latest EASA Committee meeting on 13-14 June including: The New Basic Regulation. The Draft Commission Implementing Regulation (IR) on UAS operations. Draft Commission IR on EASA Opinion amending Regulation 1178/2011 on upset prevention and recovery training. Draft Commission IR amending Regulation 1178/2011 updating Flight Crew Licensing. Draft Commission IR amending Regulation 1178/2011 on modular light aircraft pilot licenses. EASA Opinion on common requirements for providers of ATM/ANS and other ATM management network functions and their oversight; requirements and administrative procedures related to aerodromes; common rules of the air; and operational provisions regarding services and procedures in air navigation. Draft Commission IR on the revision of operational rules for sailplanes. Draft Commission IR amending Regulation 216/2008 on the implementation of ICAO Committee on Environmental Protection. Regulation 748/2012 on the implementation of essential requirements for environmental protection. The Government has stated its desire and that of the aviation industry to remain a part of EASA but its worth noting too as its often over looked ands that is the UK desire to remain a part of the European Single Sky- At the point at which we leave the EU all existing…

BREXIT and GA

AOPA is aware that many GA businesses are concerned about the lack of information with regards to the future of the aviation relationship with Europe; for example will UK schools still be able to teach other EU citizens for the purpose of gaining an EASA Pilots licence or will the UK become like the USA where schools would need to apply directly to EASA for approval? Below is the current position on BREXIT from Government and the CAA: "I understand your desire to have the CAA to do and say more in this area but it is a Government issue and whilst we continue to inform Government we cannot go wider than that until the Government has confirmed its approach and eventually what it has agreed. The CAA public communications remains as on the CAA Website but repeated here: “The following is in response to the European Commission’s publication ‘Withdrawal of the United Kingdom and EU aviation safety rules’ (13 April 2018): The Government, the UK Civil Aviation Authority and the entire aviation industry have been clear that our collective preference is to remain a member of the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) once the UK withdraws from the European…
On the 10th December the All-Party Parliamentary Group for general aviation (APPG) held a Christmas reception in the House of Commons ostensibly to make a couple of announcements.   The APPG which is chaired by the Right Honourable Grant Schapps MP has picked up on key issues to general aviation and has begun to address these concerns at the highest levels of government.  The Secretary of State for Transport Chris Grayling MP made a number of key points when he addressed the attendees. Firstly he introduced Byron Davies, who will act as the GA champion inside the Department for Transport providing direct advice to the minister. Byron is an aircraft owner and pilot of many years, AOPA will be supporting him in his new role. Congratulations Byron we look forward to working with you in 2018. The minister also said in respect of housing problems in the UK “housing on some airfields yes, BUT NOT ALL AIRFIELDS”. He acknowledged general aviation (GA) as being the grassroots of all aviation and post BREXIT he said that aviation will be a very important sector for the UK. The minister also said that government will do everything to secure the future of General…

8.33 kHz Rebate

I still get questions from members on the subject of 8.33 kHz spacing. Clearly a subject that has caused much angst among GA pilots. AOPA has opposed the introduction of 8.33 kHz spacing in all airspace for over 20 years and still does not agree that it is needed, both in respect of available frequencies and also the unnecessary cost to GA. However, GA has lost the argument to the airline industry and ANSP's. Ironically, the a number of the States whose experts said we need 8.33 kHz have now asked for extensions to the deadlines! In the UK the dates have been set and will not be extended. In respect of costs, I was aware of the possibility of some funding so I approached the CAA and asked them to apply which they did. They were successful in obtaining funds but the rules of the fund mean the 20% is only applicable to the equipment cost - that’s the Innovation and Networks Executive Agency (INEA) fund rules and not the CAA or UK. I have been asked why the rebate does not cover installation costs, this is why. The UK DfT etc would not fund such a programme and…
The Law is changing on 1 January 2018 for aircraft owners/operator’s equipage of 8.33 kHz capable radios continues to rise, assisted by the European funding. There are delays obtaining certain radios and in getting radios fitted in aircraft by the engineers, with reports of several months’ delay. Ground stations will be converting radios to 8.33 kHz during 2018. The CAA has listened to the community and is invoking a number of 12-month exemptions to provide flexibility for users and to assist with the capacity issues identified. They are only issuing exemptions for ground stations and the geographic areas that the assignment covers. The CAA continues to support the carriage of radio by UK airspace users, for situational awareness and other safety aspects. It will be possible to use a 25-kHz radio on board an aircraft after 31 December 2017 for a ground service that remains on the 25-kHz spacing. When the ground service transfers to an 8.33 kHz channel then the aircraft must also communicate with it on 8.33 kHz channel spacing capable radio. As the UK look to use more available frequencies in the 8.33 kHz band it will become increasingly more restrictive where it is possible for 25…
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