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AOPA UK : Full Return to Flight Training
I have been frustrated by the lack of progress from the DfT and CAA to support all flight training being restarted. More of you, our members, are telling me the same and that you are seriously concerned that you will go out of business before the go ahead is given.
Working with a small group of our corporate members, we produced a set of proposals for restarting Flight Training and copied these to the CAA on 6 May 2020. We have not had any acknowledgement or response from the CAA or DfT since.
Finally, yesterday, 4 June 2020, I took part in a remote video conference set up by the CAA and DfT, with participants from the CAA GA Alliance. We were given a short PowerPoint presentation which contained much of the content of the proposals sent to the CAA (although with no acknowledgement of AOPA's input!).
While participants have been asked not to publicise any specific date from which a full return to flight instruction can begin, I am happy to say that the end to excluding training and revalidations for Private Pilots, or Students training for non-commercial licences or ratings, is in sight. You may find a reason to celebrate US Independence Day this year! I hope that any such lifting of restrictions, all subject to ministerial approval, will be applicable to the whole of the UK. We understand that driving schools and hairdressers will be able to restart business on July the 4th.
I would therefore recommend that any ATO or DTO that has not already resumed training for commercial licences and ratings should start to prepare for a return to business, which will require risk assessments, compliance with measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and the procurement of protective equipment. All Pilots and passengers, including Student Pilots, will almost certainly need their own personal headsets if they don't already have them.
I have provided links below to the various documents I sent to the CAA, which may help in your preparations:
Note that the dividing screen was just part of the trial and is not a necessity, going forwards, given the use of face masks.
Neither the CAA or DfT will stipulate which type of PPE equipment or what to include in the content of a risk assessment. We recommend that you brief on the measures you put in place to all your staff, instructors and customers and get a signed acknowledgement that they have had the briefing, understand the details and will abide by them. The Risk assessment and procedures should be formally reviewed weekly and updated where necessary. Keep an audit trail of what what actions have been taken and changes to procedures. Re-brief all your staff, instructors and customers.
Social distancing remains and you will need to follow hygiene advice, have a no contact environment on the premises and also management of the numbers of people inside at any one time.
These documents provide guidance on the minimum precautions to be taken. You may of course determine that a higher level of precautionary measures are needed.
If you have already restarted training for commercial licences and ratings and are happy to share your risk assessments, procedures and experiences to help others please email these to me: email@example.com.