The CAA’s response to the Government’s GA Red Tape Challenge was published on 6 November 2013 and stated, among other things, that a dedicated and discrete GA Unit would be set up within the CAA to focus entirely on the GA sector.
The intent then, and now, is that the GA Unit ensures that the regulatory regime for the GA sector will take a different path, be less onerous to that applied to the commercial aviation sector and proportionate to the risks. The GA Unit will continue to be the main means by which the CAA drives regulatory change and promotes, and reviews, safety within the GA sector.
Ongoing provision of a dedicated General Aviation focus within the CAA to ensure targeted delivery of projects that will achieve beneficial outcomes for the UK GA Community within the context of the greater CAA objectives, specifically:
- Reduced unnecessary regulatory burdens ensuring that regulation is proportionate, accountable, consistent, transparent and targeted
- Make the UK a great place to fly with a flourishing GA sector and an influential voice in EASA
- Improvements to enhance efficiency of achieving the right capability for the people involved in GA, enabling uptake of technology and development of the operational environment
- Supporting GA whilst transferring fee paying services to industry, avoiding cross subsidy from other customers but still providing good value to GA
- Working with partners in industry, EASA and other National Aviation Authorities towards a UK GA sector that is vibrant, expanding and free of unnecessary regulatory burden, whilst remaining as safe as it is today
- Maximising the delegatory permissions enabled through the Air Navigation Order 2016 revision to be more proportionate and less burdensome to General Aviation.
- A fundamental review of the use of Permit to Fly aeroplanes for commercial operation that can now be considered due to a change in the ANO.
- The implementation of the 8.33 kHz frequency spacing based on the new EU Regulations. Additionally, the CAA successfully secured €4.3m funding from the European Commission to offset the costs of re-equipping the GA fleet with the new radios.
- Broaden the scope of eligible aircraft for operation under the Safety Standards Acknowledgement and Consent (SSAC) approach, which is a risk analysis framework which allows operators to offer flights in certain aircraft that are unable to meet commercial safety standards (the latest activity with respect to this action is Executive Committee approval of an additional class of SSAC – experience flight in an historic ex-military helicopter). The first operator of this class is close to obtaining their approval now.
- Implement a proportionate approach to Performance Based regulation which reflects the nature of the General Aviation sector. This should enable a more focused regulatory approach resulting in fewer inspection or audit events for consistently well performing organisations, but more events for 'riskier' organisations or operations.
- Continually assess the use of emerging technologies to assess whether existing operational processes and procedures can be improved or made more accessible. We are actively promoting the use of tablet-based flight planning and navigation systems, and supporting the introduction of electronic conspicuity systems.
- A new PPL Theoretical Knowledge Exam question bank is already under development in collaboration with UK GA community representatives. We are considering the best options to deliver these new questions through an online exam system rather than paper based. This will enhance the exam sittings process, and maintain the integrity of the papers and the question bank ensuring overall knowledge is tested rather than knowledge of specific questions.
- Work with EASA and other European Member States to maximise the benefit to UK General Aviation from the recast of the Basic Regulation and the EASA GA Roadmap to deliver similar, lighter, better regulation for General Aviation across Europe.
- The application for GNSS approaches into a non-approach controlled airfield is provided for in CAP 1122. Each such application is also primarily handled through the Airspace Change Process CAP 1616. The number of successful applications for this has been low, primarily as sponsors have been unable to make a satisfactory safety case for such operations in class G airspace. To facilitate these applications the CAA has produced a safety bow tie model which in turn prompts a framework of questions that should be considered by sponsors as the basis for such an application. Existing applications are being managed with this framework and will either be entered into the ACP process if the safety argument is satisfactory or will be brought to a close. Any new applications will be accepted once this new process is validated.