The UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) today updated GA stakeholders on its plans and progress in delivering a better deal for the UK’s general aviation sector. The update follows publication of the Government and CAA’s responses to the recent General Aviation Red Tape Challenge.
Initial work is focused on setting up the new General Aviation Unit within the CAA. This will be dedicated to more proportionate, effective regulation that supports and encourages a dynamic general aviation sector for the UK. The Unit will be fully operational by April 2014. It will oversee the risk-based and proportionate regulation of non-complex EASA and national Annex II aircraft, their general non-commercial operation, the oversight of associated design, production and maintenance plus pilot training organisations and small non-public transport airfields.
The aim is that the CAA will in future only regulate where it is best placed to do so or where no-one else can. The CAA is very keen to encourage the GA sector and its representative associations to take on more responsibility.
The CAA’s response to the general aviation red tape challenge listed a number of areas identified for potential deregulation and delegation. But it is keen to receive more suggestions. These can be sent by email to firstname.lastname@example.org
. One of the first examples of this work was the consultation on de-regulating single seat microlights. This consultation has just closed. The CAA is currently studying the responses with a decision due in the New Year.
CAA GA Programme Manager Mike Barnard said: “We’d like to thank all those who have submitted suggestions either through the Flyer forums or directly via email. We are currently considering these and will include them in the GA Unit work programme, which we publish next year. This will detail the priorities for the new Unit and set out what we will deliver by when.”
He added: “This is an exciting time for the UK general aviation community. Freeing the sector from unnecessary regulation will be a key step in recreating a dynamic, thriving general aviation sector for the UK, and one that will be of benefit to the UK economy.”
There will be a further opportunity for people to submit their views at this year’s Flying Show at Birmingham’s NEC (30 November and 1 December). Anyone visiting the Airspace and Safety Initiative stand will be able to contribute to the initiative by providing their comments as part of a CAA competition, and possibly win a full subscription to Sky Demon flight planning software.
So far the key issues raised by the GA community include:
• Extending the number of aircraft allowed on a Permit to Fly
• Regulation of aerodromes e.g. allowing pilot-controlled runway lighting
• Improving licensing rules and regulations
Issues have also been raised, such as VAT on flight training and mandatory handling charges at regional airports, which are not directly the responsibility of the CAA. We have passed these onto the relevant Government departments and have asked to be kept informed of responses.
Some comments received highlighted commonly held myths within the general aviation community. We recognize how, if left un-checked, such myths can become regarded as the truth.
So we intend to be more active in helping clarify exactly what is and isn’t required. We would welcome examples of these, some that we have already seen are:
• You must wear a helmet when doing aerobatics – not true. This is a personal decision for the pilot and not a CAA requirement.
• Pilots/owners are not allowed to carry out maintenance on their own aircraft – again not true. Pilots/owners are allowed to carry out defined maintenance tasks and private owners can also carry out more extensive work on their aircraft under the supervision of a licensed engineer.
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The CAA is the UK's specialist aviation regulator. Its activities include: making sure that the aviation industry meets the highest technical and operational safety standards; preventing holidaymakers from being stranded abroad or losing money because of tour operator insolvency; planning and regulating all UK airspace; and regulating airports, air traffic services and airlines and providing advice on aviation policy from an economic standpoint.