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Following consultation with the GA community, the CAA has published CAP 2146, a Consultation Response Document entitled “UK General Aviation opportunities after leaving EASA”.

The Summary of its resulting Change Programme states: “This document summarises the outcome of the CAA’s consultation on UK General Aviation (GA) opportunities for change now that the UK has left the EASA system.”

The CAA said it had wanted to understand:

  • How it could help the GA community (and its associated businesses and industries) flourish after leaving EASA;
  • The specific priorities of the GA community;
  • How the CAA could engage with and work more efficiently, constructively and collaboratively with GA communities in delivering its objectives;
  • The priorities of those who are not part of the GA community when considering the future of GA in the UK.

The CAA stated: “We are very grateful for all the responses – nearly 1000 – that we received at the end of last year, and for the input we have had through engagement with the GA community and others.

“We have analysed the responses, and following clearance by the CAA Board and confirmation of funding by the Department for Transport, we have drawn up a GA Change Programme for 2021/22.”

The programme is comprised of 46 initiatives:

Three Strategic Projects – each being a project of relatively high complexity and high impact and expected to take more than 12 months from start to completion:

  • Strategic Project 1: The simplification and rationalisation of GA flight crew licensing;
  • Strategic Project 2: The simplification and rationalisation of GA airworthiness maintenance regulations. “We will work closely from the outset with the GA community, including the various GA associations, to ensure that we increase clarity and reduce complexity through a proposed simplified set of options for GA. We will then run a second consultation based upon these proposals before commencing any work.”
  • Strategic Project 3: An exploration of GA medical requirements and benefits, including a review of the pilot medical declaration process in order to enhance the end user experience and to identify opportunities in the context of Strategic Project 1 above.

15 Tactical Projects – each being a project of relatively lower complexity than a strategic project, but still with either high or medium impact and expected to take between six and 12 months. A good example would be introducing an airworthiness equivalent of the very popular Skyway Code.

16 ‘Quick-win’ Activities – not necessarily requiring its own project approach, each activity is of relatively low complexity and high or medium impact, and of up to six months duration. For example, creating a ‘myth-busting’ leaflet or quick access guides to improve clarity and guidance on a range of topics where the CAA believes more information or greater clarity is needed.

The CAA also recognised that it will in some cases need to instigate changes to the way it works – “for example, appointing a CAA GA Unit member of staff who is also a practising GA pilot as a GA ‘just culture’ champion to work closely with the CAA’s airspace team.

The Authority stated: “We are confident that our GA Change Programme for 2021/22 will bring benefits to the GA community while seeking to build on current levels of safety through a focus on education, the reduction of complexity and improved clarity of information and guidance.”

It undertook in the document that it would “publish regular, and at least quarterly, updates to the GA community on progress through the website and via our stakeholders.”

Early in the document there is recognition that many respondents highlighted that they were concerned about the future of airfields.

Appendix A gives details of the new Airfield Advisory Team (AAT)

In order to meet the Department for Transport’s (DfT) objective of sustaining the UK Network of Airfields, the CAA set up (in late 2020) an Airfields Advisory function (separate to the Airfield Development Advisory Fund, or ADAF).

The CAA states that the new team is tasked with providing advice “to Government, licensed and unlicensed airfields and local planning authorities on matters that are relevant to CAA’s functions.”

It says the AAT’s advice covers:

  • Best practice on regulation, safety or other operational issues relating to CAA competency, existing regulations and how they might be resolved. This builds on and supports airfields’ own responsibility for safety and is separate from the CAA’s role as their safety regulator. “This could include reviewing safeguarding assessments to ensure that a sound methodology has been used and the conclusions reasonable,” said the CAA.
  • [Examining] how proposed changes might impact the wider aviation industry (for example, considering the potential wider impact of the closure of an airfield which housed a flight training school).

It states that the AAT will:

  • Engage with licensed and unlicensed airfields by improving the airfield’s understanding of key issues such as changing regulatory policy and communicate their understanding of an airfield’s viability, operational and business issues to the DfT.
  • Be the key point of contact for engagement with airfields or other relevant stakeholders seeking advice from the CAA to ensure consistent and timely advice, bringing in other CAA teams as required.
  • Provide a regular overview of the airfield and its position based on the CAA’s areas of competence and other significant factors where appropriate, both at a sector level where critical sustainability issues arise for specific airfields, on a case-by-case basis.
  • Lead on other bespoke projects and airfield-related research subject to availability of funding that would be agreed on a case-by-case basis.
  • Be proportionate in its approach by focussing on licensed and larger unlicensed airfields and when undertaking those functions taking account of the impact on growth in accordance with the CAA’s growth duty.

For the full CRD (view online or download PDF) please visit this LINK.

Ian Sheppard

Ian Sheppard acts as Communications Adviser to GAAC including maintaining the website and issuing GAAC Alerts, and associated Social Media. Ian is based at Redhill Aerodrome. A graduate in Aeronautical Engineering, he has been an aviation journalist and editor for many publications, including editing AOPA UK's magazine, and editing international show dailies for AIN. He has legal qualifications and maintains a strong interest in law and regulation. Ian has a CPL with a FI Rating.
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