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Since our last scheduled newsletter of May 2020 we have continued to listen to our members and , being truly independent of any other external influence or conflict of interests, continued to lobby for sensible changes to COVID-19 restrictions affecting GA and your flying.
While you will shortly receive your June issue of the AOPA UK Magazine, events have moved too quickly to be able to capture them in the magazine which has copy deadlines to be met. Events such as we are facing now really show the advantages of digital over print. So while the magazine is unable to keep up with events we will publish more frequent newsletters when appropriate to keep you informed.
This newsletter goes to individual and corporate members, so some content may not be applicable to all audiences.
Keep well, keep safe and protect others,
CEO AOPA UK
CAA Finance Payment Plan
AOPA have been asking the CAA if they can do anything more to help organisations who are struggling financially.
Rachel Gardner-Poole, Head of General Aviation, has responded today:
"As I’ve mentioned to many of you, the whole sector, including the CAA through its funding structure, is facing liquidity issues. We have introduced a number of measures, including pay cuts for our staff and a delay in the increase of our charges. But the CAA is funded by levying charges on the individuals and organisations we regulate to retain the capacity and capabilities we require to fulfil our functions. This principle is underpinned by statute and is one of our legal obligations. So despite these unprecedented times, we are unable to waive any of our charges and we are still required to issue invoices.
However, we now have some more positive news. At the end of last week we successfully established an appropriate financial structure to be able to offer a payment plan to cover annual charges. This will spread the payments between now and the end of the February 2021. We have set this scheme up as quickly as possible and will be publishing more information on COVID-19 web page later today. This will include details of how to apply.
I hope this is something that some of your organisations will be able to take advantage of and I wanted to give you advance notice before it is communicated to stakeholders more formally. "
Differences between devolved parts of the UK:
Because each devolved legislature is able to set different restrictions, where these are within their devolved powers, it has been impossible to achieve a level playing field for the whole of the UK.
Fortunately, the CAA is the single regulator for the whole of the UK, so none of their powers have been devolved. Airspace over England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales is UK Airspace. Therefore, unless stated otherwise by the CAA, their official publications apply to the whole of the UK. However, some Police Forces may not understand this distinction, so it would be sensible to have copies of CAA publications to hand if you intend to make use of any alleviation's and you think that your local Police may not understand you are acting lawfully.
Anything issued by the CAA is applicable to the whole of the UK as aviation matters have not been devolved. Therefore essential maintenance flights conducted under the CAA guidance may be carried out in all parts of the UK.
The lifting of Recreational flying restrictions issued by the DfT only apply to England. AOPA have been in contact with the DfT seeking alignment across the UK.
Commercial Flight Training guidance should be applicable to the whole of the UK as it has been issued by the CAA. However, some devolved regions have imposed travel restrictions that make this difficult. AOPA have been in contact with the DfT seeking alignment across the UK.
Please let AOPA know if you are experiencing issues in your UK country, using Ask AOPA.
AOPA's Timeline of Key Milestones for COVID-19 Activity:
We have been listening closely to your concerns and prioritising our activities accordingly. Below is a factual list of the key activities initiated by AOPA since lockdown. AOPA remains totally independent from any external influence, other than from our members. We are pleased that we have achieved some notable successes in influencing change.
24/03/2020: Lockdown 26/03/2020:
AOPA Email to Grant Shapps suggesting that GA could be used as voluntary assistance for delivery of essential items or transport key workers. 27/03/2020:
AOPA Email to DfT and CAA raising the need for exemptions and/or extensions to protect GA licence holders, aircraft owners and GA businesses in order to be in a position to restart GA when conditions are right.
AOPA Email to the CAA asking why GA was not being prioritised for action above what many regard as less important aviation sectors.
DfT Reply to AOPA advising that the CAA are working on various exemptions, the first being for Professional Licence Holders, and inviting AOPA to make the DfT aware of other areas that need addressing.
AOPA Reply to DfT advising that protecting aircraft engines was a growing concern for owners and putting forward detailed proposals (many of which are now included in the Essential Maintenance guidance).
DfT reply that the AOPA proposals are to be put forward for internal discussion. 30/03/2020:
AOPA CEO Email to LAA CEO suggesting co-ordination of COVID-19 messages, where these are compatible with the view of each organisation. No reply to date. 01/04/2020:
DfT publish “Guidance; Coronavirus (COVID-19): recreational general aviation” 08/04/2020:
AOPA Chase DfT on issuing guidance for essential maintenance flights.
DfT reply saying no immediate action but advise that the CAA GA Unit is looking into the matter and the AOPA proposal. 13/04/2020:
AOPA forward the Belgian CAA Continuing Airworthiness instruction to the DfT as further prompt to take action. 16/04/2020:
AOPA video conference with DfT and CAA at 15:00 to pursue essential maintenance flight guidance.
CAA issue draft “GA Flights for Maintenance Check Flights” late pm to GA Partnership for comment. The draft document wording was very close to that of the proposal put forward by AOPA to the DfT on 27/03/2020. As far as AOPA is aware, this is the first time any other organisation had any input to the proposals. 20/04/2020:
CAA issue guidance for maintenance check flights. 28/04/2020:
AOPA host a video conference with a small group of corporate members to develop proposals for a return to Flight Training 05/04/2020:
AOPA share proposals for a return to Flight Training ahead of “GA Recovery Planning Workshop” with the DfT and CAA. No response to date for the AOPA proposals from DfT or CAA. 07/05/2020:
AOPA participate in CAA led video conference “GA Recovery Planning Workshop” 15/05/2020:
DfT Publish updated guidance to allow recreational flying in England (Solo or with someone from the same household.)
CAA confirm that Commercial Flight Training can resume. 27/05/2020:
CAA Publish CAP 1924: COVID 19 – Preparing to Return to Normal Flying Operations for General Aviation Pilot Training Organisations (‘Flying Clubs and Schools’)
AOPA - WORKING FOR YOU
If you have an aviation related problem please use the Ask AOPA service.
AOPA Members Working Group (MWG)
The next AOPA MWG will be held on 18 July 2020 via a Zoom video conference. Timing will be
- 09:30 Meeting opens for general chat and testing connections
-10:00 Meeting formally starts
-13:00 Meeting closes
There will be major updates including Q&A from
- Martin Robinson, CEO, about AOPA UK’s current activities and direction
- Nick Wilcock about regulatory changes including dispensations for CV-19 as well as EASA’s ongoing rule making
- John Walker who closely monitors issues involving airfields
The number of attendees is limited, so please register with David Chambers if you would like to participate: firstname.lastname@example.org
Zoom meetings now employ AES 256-bit GCM encryption and only Zoom clients on version 5.0 or later, including Zoom Rooms, will be able to join Zoom Meetings.
600 kg Aircraft and Helicopters on the Horizon
The CAA will be bringing aircraft up to 600 kg under national regulation, in line with what is going on in the rest of Europe.
We also expect the CAA to to allow, again in line with Europe, the use of sub 600kg Helicopters.
Use of Amateur Built Permit to Fly aircraft for ab-initio Training
The CAA consultation on the use of Permit to Fly aircraft has concluded and the CAA will in all likelihood be going ahead with permitting ab-initio training in home built aircraft. The CAA along with the BMAA / LAA plan to develop a system of oversight. AOPA has supported factory built aircraft even those on permits but we have concerns about amateur built aircraft.