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Working for You during Coronavirus Restrictions
This newsletter contains some important information that will be of relevance to all pilots and aircraft owners. You may share this as widely as possible so long as it is credited to AOPA and includes the AOPA header above.
As pilots and aircraft owners we all understand the word risk and how risk assessments are used across our daily lives, part of those assessments consider how our activity may impact on third parties.
We are all living through an unprecedented period of our lives and our government has instructed us all to stay home to save lives and protect the NHS.
"Save lives" relates to the risk of spreading the virus through social contact, therefore if you can reduce the amount of social contact you can reduce, or slow down, the spread.
So I would like to thank you all for complying with the government’s request, I know it's difficult particularly when we've had some very good flying weather days, but I believe it is our civic duty to protect our society. Just because you believe you have the right to do something, should you?
Having said all the above AOPA has been working with the DfT because solutions need to be found to a number of issues and we are continuing with those discussions. However, the response thus far has been to follow the Governments stay at home policy. The DfT’s position is simple; recreational flying is not essential. But, we have made the point, quite forcibly, to them about the financial implications for some aircraft owners if they cannot maintain their aircraft and their engines. At this time, we are doing all we can given the current lock-down policy.
We are asking the DfT and the Civil Aviation Authority to start thinking about the future steps we will need to take in order to return GA to where it belongs - in the Sky.
The following words outline some practical steps the individuals may need to follow. I would like to thank my colleagues in AOPA for all the hours they have freely given to producing the information to help the membership at large. Please, where appropriate, follow any advice at this time and help avoid a hardening of attitudes at the DfT that may prevent us making any progress in our approaches to them.
Should you want to have a face to face discussion with me using Skype, Zoom or FaceTime please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org so we can arrange a time for a 20-minute discussion.
ORS4 No 1378 supersedes ORS4 No 1376. Nick Wilcock, on behalf of AOPA, raised a number of substantial issues with ORS4 No.1376 to the CAA. Yesterday, Nick reviewed the CAA revisions and returned the draft to the CAA with his comments. As a result of Nick's work we now have a sensible exemption for UK National Licence Holders. This is AOPA working for you.
Remember, if you only hold a UK National Pilot Licence you CANNOT fly EASA Aircraft.
Online Simplified Guide Tool
These documents are not easy to follow for the typical pilot, and even test the professionals at times. To assist your understanding we have createdthis simplified guide toolon the AOPA website.
Some extensions require you to have a briefing with an Instructor or Examiner, qualified to give the briefing, which can be carried out remotely. We can offerthis serviceif you have no other options. Other than asking for a charitable donation to the good causes mentioned in the guidance notes it is free.
Are you Legal to fly EASA Aircraft?
We have been bombarded with updates on extensions and derogations by the CAA over the last few weeks. From questions we get from members it is clear that some have been misinterpreted, none more so than those relating to what licence and medical combination is needed to be able to fly EASA aircraft in UK Airspace.
ORS4 No. 1370 caused a flurry of applications for a Pilot Medical Declaration (PMD), many of which were not required. ORS4 1370 is only applicable for holders of these Part-FCL (EASA) licences that must have been issued by the UK CAA:
EASA Light Aircraft Pilot's Licence (LAPL) for Aeroplanes (A) or Helicopters (H)
EASA Private Pilot's Licence (PPL) for Aeroplanes (A) or Helicopters (H)
The exemption granted to only these licence holders is from the need to hold a Part-MED Medical Certificate (Class1, 2 or LAPL) so long as you had made a PMD by 8 April 2020. If you held a valid Part-MED Certificate then you did not need a PMD. If you have ended up with both, just advise your AME at you next Part-MED medical renewal.
If you met the licence and PMD conditions then you may, subject to any other conditions in ORS4 1370, continue to operate a UK Registered EASA Cof A Aircraft within UK Airspace until 23:59 on 8 November 2020.
After 8 November 2020, if you wish to continue to fly EASA CofA aircraft you will need a Part-MED medical Certificate.
If you only hold a UK National Licence, including the UK PPL for life licence in a brown folder, YOU CANNOT FLY EASA AIRCRAFT. This has been the case since 7 April 2020. (See CAA Skywise notice)
To be able to continue to fly EASA CofA Aircraft you will need to convert your UK National Licence to an EASA Part-FCL Licence.
The process to convert to a Part-FCL licence is fairly simple and may be viewed here and the relevant form for other than online applications is available here. The fees for conversion are stated on p4 of ORS5 No.361 which may be viewed here. However, for applications made between 6 April 2020 and 20 June 2020 a reduced fee is applicable as stated in this document.
Note also that to exercise the privileges of a Part-FCL licence on both EASA and non-EASA aircraft once the alleviation of ORS4 No.1370 has ended, a Part-MED medical certificate will be mandatory - it will no longer be permissible for Pilot Medical Declarations to be used with Part-FCL licences.
Aircraft Maintenance & Preservation
We are aware of many of the issues facing aircraft owners, particularly those relating to the ongoing care of aero engines and the potential financial impact if major remedial work is required.
However, given the recent advice from government and that of the Department of Transport DfT), regarding social distancing and the stay at home policy, it would be a massive PR disaster for general aviation if we were to go flying when the public at large are unable to sit in parks or go to the beach. We know that this is an extremely difficult situation for everybody.
So what has AOPA been doing?
We have been engaging with the DfT and the CAA, expressing our concerns and those of our members.
We sent a considered and balanced proposal to the DfT in respect of granting owners of aircraft, for the purpose of essential maintenance only, permission for a one hour flight every 30 days in a coordinated way, whilst at the same time respecting the requirements of social distancing, cleanliness and personal protective equipment.
The purpose of any such flight would be for the owner to reduce the potential future financial impact of remedial work from corrosion damage in the engine resulting from a long period of inactivity. We also wanted flying clubs and schools to be able to fly their own aircraft in a similar way in order to maintain the fleet, so that when we emerge from the current situation, the industry can get back on its feet again as quickly as possible.
The response from the DfT, whilst sympathetic to the request, was that our proposals would not be possible given the current government requirement to stay at home. However, the respondent did say the following:
“I quite understand the argument that maintenance should be considered a legal obligation of the aircraft owner in light of our guidance on maintenance workshops. It should be stressed that this is with reference to essential maintenance, and while we cannot take a decision on a case by case basis as to what constitutes essential your members are of course free to make their own judgments . Should any maintenance be carried out under this justification I would once again stress the need for PHE guidance on social distancing and on hygiene to be followed”
We are approaching the DfT and CAA again to see if they will agree to give some more specific advice and guidance, including extending ARC's. We have pointed out the approach that the Belgians are taking, which is very similar to the proposals AOPA put to the DfT at the beginning of April.
AOPA also made an offer to DfT to call upon GA where a need arises to help deliver medicine or other essential supplies particularly to remote regions. We received a thank you for your offer response but have had no further communication on this subject. We are aware that many owners would be willing to support the government if it is needed.
It appears that the DfT is asking all of us to exercise our best judgement in the case of essential maintenance.
You may already have an agreement with your maintainer for conducting your own limited pilot/owner maintenance, such as, for instance, being able to undertake 50 hour checks. In this case, subject to liaison with your maintainer, abiding by the government guidelines, and accessibility, we suggest you are able to conduct your own such maintenance on site, which could include "winterising". If no such agreement exists, then a discussion between you and your maintainer is necessary to determine the plan of action. This could involve an engineer travelling to where the aircraft is based and appropriate permission to access the aircraft. However, some maintenance workshops may be in furlough, in which case this option is unavailable.
At all times you should adhere to the social distancing guidelines. If sharing a vehicle for pick up/drop off then you should only travel with a person from the same household, unless you can otherwise maintain a 2 metre distance at all times. Please also be aware of cleaning guidelines if anyone outside your household has worked on, or entered, the aircraft.
The Civil Aviation Authority is planning to engage with the Association and others with a view to looking at what can be done and what needs to be done as we emerge from restrictions. But AOPA will continue to lobby for an extension to the current expiry date of an Airworthiness Review Certificate (ARC). We are pointing out to the DfT that without an extension, we are facing extended grounding of aircraft due to lack of workshop capacity and parts shortages, plus pressure on the CAA for the issue of Permits to ferry aircraft without a current ARC.
We will keep you informed as information unfolds and we will keep doing the best we can for you an GA.
If you do not carry out any self-maintenance by agreement with your maintainer please answer the following questions:
Has your Aircraft Maintainer kept you proactively informed and provided advice during the current restrictions? YES NO
How satisfied are you with your Maintainers communication, bearing in mind the rapid changes in the Coronavirus situation? lowest12345678910highest Sorry, voting is closed.
Thank you for answering these questions. We are hoping to get some meaningful results which can be used by the AOPA Maintenance Working Group to see if there is any guidance the group can give to Maintainers.