We are well and truly into autumn following a busy and productive summer period for the combined General Aviation (GA) and Remotely Piloted Aircraft System Unit (RPAS) teams.
During quarter three we have been tackling a number of tactical projects as part of the GA Change Programme (in coordination with the support of the Department for Transport (DfT)). These projects are the outcome of CAP1985 - our consultation with the UK GA Community on GA opportunities for change, now that the UK has left the EASA system. It resulted in CAP2146 - the Consultation Response Document.
As part of our GA Change Programme work, we have also taken a review of our stakeholder interactions and meetings. One of the first implemented changes is a rework of our General Aviation Partnership (GAP) meeting. The GAP is made up of representatives from GA associations, including membership organisations. This was reviewed with GAP members in April and finalised in the GAP meeting on the 22nd July. The new Terms of Reference are as follows.
- To keep the community up to date on agreed re-occurring items (such as progress on the GA Change programme, oversight trends and Shared Service Centre performance updates)
- To provide time for specific discussion items where the CAA can understand concerns from the GA community
- To provide time for specific sectors to update the community on their strategic achievements and challenges
- To inform the community on any new or relevant topics as they arise
- Facilitate focused discussion time for feeding into future policy making as appropriate
- Inform the community of our engagement with different sectors
The GAP will occur quarterly and will be chaired by Head of GAU and RPAS. The GAP will be collaborative, reflected in the meeting format which will include:
- The ability to vote on reoccurring items for each meeting for general update
- An overview on stakeholder engagement since previous meeting
- A 'Community in Spotlight' by request that is sector focused highlighting both successes and challenges
- Focused discussion time for input into future policy making
These themes and the renewed focus of the combined GA & RPAS unit are discussed in media interview with Sophie O'Sullivan and AOPA Magazine (p.23). Sir Stephen Hillier was also interviewed by Pilot in August covering the UK leaving EASA, GA and other topics such as licensing.
A number of pieces of work have come to fruition:
600kg Microlight Classification
- On 19 August 2021, the new 600kg Microlight classification was incorporated into law; this delivers a reform to the microlight market by raising the weight limit and stalling speed for single and factory built light aeroplanes with up to two seats, eligible for national regulation under the Air Navigation Order (ANO) 2016, along with some consequential amendments such as to the Microlight Class Rating.
- This decision follows a three-year review and implementation process in partnership with the wider general aviation community. Through a working group, discussions were had with relevant associations, key manufacturers, and experts to explore various practical issues. This was followed by a public consultation of our proposals in autumn 2019 and CAP1920 detailed the results. The consultation returned 1,379 responses, the largest response rate to a general aviation consultation in recent years, of which an overwhelming 91% supported this endeavour, and over three-quarters favoured bringing these aeroplanes into the microlight category.
- In support of the ANO amendment bringing these aircraft into the scope of the Order, we have also publisheda formal CAA Official Record Series (ORS) 4 General Exemption which removes the aircraft from the UK Basic Regulation. In addition, we have summarised and explained these changes and what they mean for the community in CAP2163: Reforming the microlight aeroplane category with further information on the CAA webpages.
- The GA airworthiness team are processing five applications from organisations looking to import new 600 kg microlights into the UK
Active Carbon Monoxide (CO) Detectors
- On, 14 July 2021 we launched a short survey asking about your experience of active carbon monoxide detectors. The feedback we have received helps us to understand how these devices are already used and how they generally perform within the GA environment. The findings of the survey are available on our website.
- In September 2021, we started a year- long an active CO detector trial with the UK GA community. The trial will focus on a monthly survey that we issue to registered members to help us to understand to what extent carbon monoxide affects UK GA. Registration is open to any member of the UK GA community who flies with an active CO detector and is willing to commit to completing a short monthly survey, every month, over the next 12 months. You would be making a valuable contribution to aviation safety. Please register here
- For further information on risk of carbon monoxide, please see Carbon monoxide in General Aviation | UK Civil Aviation Authority (caa.co.uk) or contact: CODE@caa.co.uk
With COVID-19 restrictions continuing to ease, we have been able to increase our levels of engagements with GA stakeholders and pilots.
- We had a full team of subject matter experts and representatives from the Shared Services Centre on hand to provide guidance and answer queries at this year's Light Aircraft Association (LAA) Rally, 3-5 September at Sywell Aerodrome
- Sir Stephen Hillier, Chair of the CAA attended the LAA Rally on Friday 3 September. Meeting with exhibitors and stakeholders. You can read more about his visit in his latest blog.
My visit to the LAA Rally | UK Civil Aviation Authority (caa.co.uk)
We have continued to share with the GA Community resources and materials to support safe the UK GA flying community operating safely. This includes:
- First of the new series of Safety Sense Leaflets. The is an update of the advice for flying with passengers. The leaflet contains a wealth of advice to make these flights safe and comfortable. All the leaflets, including the new passenger guide, are available on our website. Other updated leaflets are currently being developed for release over the coming months.
Astral Aviation Consulting (AAC), a third-party supplier, is providing support on GA Safety promotions. Activities over this past quarter include: