New OPS Rules Now in Force
On 25th August 2016 the new EASA OPS regulations for non-commercial operations came into effect in all EASA countries. Here is an overview of the most important changes:
VFR in Typical Non-Complex GA Aircraft (NCO Regulation)
For VFR flying in typical GA aircraft the changes in most countries will be limited. Some of the noteworthy items are:
Cost sharing of direct costs for up to six private persons is now allowed (EU 965/2012 Article 6 item 4(a))
Carrying articles which otherwise would be classified as dangerous goods is now permitted “where carriage aboard the aircraft is advisable to ensure their timely availability for operational purpose.” This is “regardless of whether or not such articles and substances are required to be carried or intended to be used in connection with a particular flight.” This means that, for instance, the carriage of extra oil, de-icing liquid and other operationally relevant items is now permitted. (NCO.GEN.140 amended July 2016)
It is now possible to develop a Minimum Equipment List (MEL) to fly with equipment which is out of order. The MEL does not have to be approved but it must be sent to the Competent Authority and it must be based on a Master MEL from the manufacturer/type certificate holder (ref. NCO.GEN.155)
The oxygen requirements are now more operational so the previously defined hard limits at 10,000 feet and 13,000 feet are no longer binding, provided the crew can operate safely and the passengers are not harmfully affected. (NCO.OP.190 amended July 2016)
For IFR in Typical Non-Complex GA Aircraft (NCO Regulation):
For IFR in typical non complex GA Aircraft (NCO regulation)
Pay attention to the requirements for the selection of alternates since these requirements may have changed for pilots in many countries. Basically the destination or alternate must be ‘weather permissible’ meaning at or above the operational minimums at the time of intended use. (Ref. NCO.OP.140 and NCO.OP.160).
If the weather at the destination is forecast to be VMC from one hour before to one hour after the expected time of arrival no alternate is required.
Pilots in several countries will find that the equipment requirements for IFR have been eased and made more operational. One altimeter and one radio is sufficient unless airspace requirements dictate otherwise. For navigation equipment you must have the necessary equipment to fly according to your flight plan and in case one instrument fails there should be sufficient left to allow the flight to be completed safely, even if not according to the original plan. (ref. NCO-IDE).
Note that the RVR requirement for take-off may be a bit hard to deduce since is not directly mentioned in part NCO. The minimum for most GA pilots will be 400m RVR for take-off since you will need a specific Low Visibility approval in order to go below this limit for take-off. Note that this this is quite a but more restrictive than it has been previously in many countries.
For landing a Low Visibility approval is required to go below 550m RVR and further guidance on RVR is found in GM4 NCO.OP.110. As guidance material this not binding, but surely a good starting point. If the State has published a minimum RVR for a procedure this must of course be respected as 'State minima'.
New Rules Will Require Carriage of PLBs, Documents...
NCO.IDE.A.170 Emergency Locator Transmitter (ELT)
(a) Aeroplanes shall be equipped with:
(1) an ELT of any type, when first issued with an individual CofA on or before 1 July 2008;
(2) an automatic ELT, when first issued with an individual CofA after 1 July 2008; or
(3) a survival ELT (ELT(S)) or a personal locator beacon (PLB), carried by a crew member or a passenger, when certified for a maximum passenger seating configuration of six or less.
(b) ELTs of any type and PLBs shall be capable of transmitting simultaneously on 121.5 MHz and 406 MHz.
(a) Helicopters certified for a maximum passenger seating configuration above six shall be equipped with:
(1) an automatic ELT; and
(2) one survival ELT (ELT(S)) in a life-raft or life-jacket when the helicopter is operated at a distance from land corresponding to more than 3 minutes flying time at normal cruising speed.
(b) Helicopters certified for a maximum passenger seating configuration of six or less shall be equipped with an ELT(S) or a personal locator beacon (PLB), carried by a crew member or a passenger.
(c) ELTs of any type and PLBs shall be capable of transmitting simultaneously on 121.5 and 406 MHz.
NCC.GEN.140 Documents, Manuals and Information to be Carried
(a) The following documents, manuals and information shall be carried on each flight as originals or copies unless otherwise specified:
(1) the AFM, or equivalent document(s);
(2) the original certificate of registration;
(3) the original certificate of airworthiness (CofA);
(4) the noise certificate; (5) the declaration as specified in Annex III (Part-ORO), ORO.DEC.100, to Regulation (EU) No 965/2012;
(6) the list of specific approvals, if applicable;
(7) the aircraft radio licence, if applicable;
(8) the third party liability insurance certificate(s);
(9) the journey log, or equivalent, for the aircraft;
(10) details of the filed ATS flight plan, if applicable;
(11) current and suitable aeronautical charts for the route of the proposed flight and all routes along which it is
reasonable to expect that the flight may be diverted;
(12) procedures and visual signals information for use by intercepting and intercepted aircraft;
(13) information concerning search and rescue services for the area of the intended flight; (14) the current parts of the operations manual that are relevant to the duties of the crew members, which shall be easily accessible to the crew members;
(15) the MEL or CDL;
(16) appropriate notices to airmen (NOTAMs) and aeronautical information service (AIS) briefing documentation;
(17) appropriate meteorological information;
(18) cargo and/or passenger manifests, if applicable; and
(19) any other documentation that may be pertinent to the flight or is required by the States concerned with the flight.
(b) In case of loss or theft of documents specified in (a)(2) to (a)(8), the operation may continue until the flight reaches its destination or a place where replacement documents can be provided.
Included in the EASA documents is one which provides guidance on the acceptable means of compliance.
Template Manual for Small Operators of Complex Aircraft (NCC Regulation)
Operators of complex aircraft such as small jets and aircraft over 5,700kg are now required to file a Declaration, stating that they have an Operations Manual and Safety Management System in place.
Particularly for the very small operator, with maybe just 2-3 persons involved in the flight operation, this can be a challenge.
To help these operators IAOPA Europe has published a template for an NCC Operations Manual which is written from the ground up with the intent of fulfilling all relevant requirements in Part-NCC and Part-ORO in a simple way that is suitable for the very small NCC operator.
Through extensive use of references to relevant regulation and appendices the core Operations Manual has been kept down to just over 20 pages. Further, the most common variable items are all listed in the “Operator’s Reference” section at the beginning of the manual. This should make the implementation quite an achievable task even for a small NCC operator.
The NCC light template manual can be downloaded here.
For larger operators please refer to the more extensive template manual at www.iaopa.eu
Relevant links for new OPS rules:
Link to EASAs consolidated version of the OPS regulation from May 2016 incl. EU Reg. 965/2012.
Careful! The above document is 1683 pages. For Non-Complex aircraft you should refer to Part-NCO. For Complex aircraft refer to Part-NCC and Part-ORO.
Direct EASA link is HERE
Link to Part-NCO alone (extract)
Link to the latest amendment of the OPS regulation from July 2016.
Direct European Law link is http://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/PDF/?uri=CELEX:32016R1199&from=EN .
This amendment contains important alleviations regarding for instance oxygen requirements, an exemption for twin turboprops below 5,700kg so they can operate according to Part-NCO, and removal of the requirement for an operator to have a special approval for PBN operations such as GPS & LPV approaches).
Medical Alleviations on The Way
EASA has now published Opinion 09/2016 revising Part MED: https://www.easa.europa.eu/document-library/opinions/opinion-092016
The most significant changes are shown in the Draft Annex, a direct link to which is at LINK
It revises medical standards and introduces several important changes. One alleviation that IAOPA has been pushing for is solving the issue where, for instance, a CPL holder today cannot legally exercise the PPL privileges of his license unless he holds a Class I medical.
The proposed new wording is as follows:
(b) An applicant for a Part-FCL licence shall hold a medical certificate issued in accordance with Part-MED and appropriate to the licence privileges applied for.
(c) When exercising the privileges of a:
(1) light aircraft pilot licence (LAPL), the pilot shall hold at least a valid LAPL medical certificate;
(2) private pilot licence (PPL), a sailplane pilot licence (SPL), or a balloon pilot licence (BPL), the pilot shall hold at least a valid class 2 medical certificate;
(3) SPL or a BPL involved in commercial sailplane or balloon flights, the pilot shall hold at least a valid class 2 medical certificate; and
(4) commercial pilot licence (CPL), a multi-crew pilot licence (MPL), or an airline transport pilot licence (ATPL), the pilot shall hold a valid class 1 medical certificate.
This will solve the issue for the CPL and ATPL holder but forgets the PPL with respect to a LAPL medical.
Since the CPL and ATPL has full LAPL privileges (FCL.305 and FCL.505) a commercial pilot can downgrade to a LAPL medical and happily exercise his LAPL privileges on his commercial license, whereas a PPL holder cannot do the same thing since - for unknown reasons (probably forgotten when the LAPL was introduced) - the PPL has no LAPL privileges (FCL.205.A).
The consequence is that where a CPL holder can fly with a LAPL medical the PPL holder must have at least a Class II medical for the same operation. This makes no sense and IAOPA will push to have this problem resolved before the new rules goes into effect.
Note: This problem arose due to the differences in Class Rating and Type Rating validity and LAPL recency requirements, which also differ between aeroplanes and helicopters.
In its response to NPA 2014-29(A), submitted to EASA almost 18 months ago, IAOPA (Europe) proposed a simpler solution to that being proposed by EASA.
IAOPA simply suggested that, if you have a licence other than a LAPL and wish to fly within LAPL privileges only, then you should only need a LAPL Medical Certificate and a valid Class or Type Rating (as appropriate), which can subsequently be revalidated or renewed in the conventional non-LAPL manner with which the pilot will be familiar.
The Comment Response Document for NPA 2014-29(A) is expected later this year, nearly 24 months after the NPA was released.
EASA to replace RF with 'Declared Training Organisation'
EASA proposes European-wide simplified pilot training standards for leisure flying.
One of the goals identified by the General Aviation (GA) Road Map is to create an option to provide training for GA-related non-commercial licences outside an Approved Training Organisation (ATO).
With Opinion 11/2016, the Agency proposes to introduce a new regulatory framework which requires training organisations for LAPL, PPL, SPL and BPL not to seek prior approval but to simply declare its training activities to the competent authority.
This new ‘declared training organisation’ (DTO) also benefits from simplified organisational and oversight requirements, all in all granting extensive alleviations to GA training providers.
The Opinion contains the following proposals:
* A new Annex VIII (Part-DTO) to Regulation (EU) No 1178/2011;
* Amendments to Annex VI (Part-ARA) to Regulation (EU) 1178/2011 (new provisions on declaration process and oversight of DTOs);
* Amendments to Annex I (Part-FCL) to Regulation (EU) 1178/2011 (additional provisions with regard to DTO as well as revision of existing provisions to contain references also to DTOs, where necessary).
Later on, additional AMC/GM material will be issued for the following:
* AMC/GM to the new Annex VIII (Part-DTO) to establish acceptable means of compliance and guidance material for the provisions of this new Part;
* Amendments to AMC/GM to Annex VI (Part-ARA) to establish additional acceptable means of compliance and guidance material for the new provisions of Part-ARA related to DTO;
* Amendments to AMC/GM to Annex I (Part-FCL) to add references to DTO, where necessary, and to revise AMC related to the PPL theoretical knowledge instruction and to the refresher training for renewal of class and type ratings.
See also EASA FCL Update article, below.
Your Radio May Already be 8.33 Capable
Soon (in the UK) the CAA is expected to announce the application process for obtaining funding assistance for updating aircraft radios to 8.33kHz channel spacing. The CAA has been discussing the fairest way to allocate the available funds and has advised AOPA UK that they've been thinking along similar lines. IAOPA is not yet aware of the situation in the rest of Europe but would be interested in hearing your experiences so far!
You'll be pleased to learn that the UK CAA is absolutely adamant that none of the funding will be wasted on complicated administrivia; their clear aim is for funding to be given to the GA end-users and nobody else!
However, it has come to our attention that some pilots, who have already acquired 8.33kHz channel radios, don't actually know whether the 8.33kHz function has been enabled.
Some radios, such as the Trig TY96, have front panel indication of whether 8.33kHz or 25kHz has been selected and a simple means to switch channelling, but others do not.
Neither is selecting 8.33kHz very simple for those not familiar with menu-driven configuration selections. For example, with the Garmin GNS430, you have to select the AUX page group, then select SETUP 2, enable the cursor, scroll down to 'COM Configuration', select that to view the channel spacing field, select 8.33 and press ENT.
Not all that difficult if you're familiar with the system, but not something you'd want to have to do in flight, I would suggest!
Once you've selected 8.33kHz, there should be no real need to change it. So if you're not sure whether or not 8.33kHz has been enabled in the radio of the aircraft you're about to fly, do check before you find yourself being unable to select the frequency you've been assigned.
If you're not sure how to check, ask someone who does; all instructors should make sure that they can brief pilots accordingly.
Carl Aero and Air Plains Join Forces for 182 Engine Upgrades
Carl Aero, located in Germany, has agreed to cooperate with Air Plains Services, of Kansas on Cessna 182 engine enhancements.
Air Plains specialises in engine performance upgrades for Cessna 172, 180 and 182 aircraft and is called upon by some of the biggest names in aviation.
Although Air Plains is located in central US the company can ship upgrade kits worldwide. Offered for the Cessna 182 is the ultimate performance package.
Replacement of the existing engine with fuel injected Continental IO-550 engine, new propeller, and the all-inclusive 300 horsepower performance kit.
The conversion has proven to be extremely popular among skydive operators, said Air Plains, as it drastically reduces operating costs while it increases efficiency at the same time.
Typically the stock 182 requires 35 to 45 minutes per lift while the Super Skydive 182 will do the job in 15 minutes at only two thirds of the cost.
Customers frequently tell Air Plains that the conversion pays for itself after a surprisingly short period of time.
Meanwhile in some places, notably Europe, noise has always been an issue. With the conversion, which includes a special noise reduction system, the noise footprint of the steep climbing Super Skydive has been reduced to a fraction of the stock 182.
Therefore customers can operate in areas and during hours often prohibited for skydive operations.
Visit Air Plains on the web: www.airplains.com contact by email firstname.lastname@example.org
Visit Carl Aero on the web: www.carl.aero or contact by email: email@example.com
Funding Released for Satellite Approaches
The European GNSS Agency (GSA) is funding 14 projects to encourage the implementation of European Geostationary Navigation Overlay Service (EGNOS) based operations and localiser performance with vertical guidance (LPV)-200 procedures at the continent’s regional airports.
The projects will involve the design, development and operational implementation of EGNOS-based operations, including LPV-200 procedures, at several European airports, heliports and aerodromes.
The selected projects fall under GSA’s 2015 Aviation Call for Grants GSA / EEX.0030/2015.
The 2015 Aviation Call intends to support the development and deployment of global positioning system (GPS) / EGNOS-enabled avionics, as well as airworthiness certification for required navigation performance approach (RNP APCH) procedures.
“These grants will ensure more European airports and more European operators are able to take full advantage of EGNOS procedures,” said GSA.
The call also aims to obtain the approval of air operator certificates (AOCs) for the LPV operations of aeroplanes that are already implemented with satellite-based augmentation system (SBAS) capabilities.
GSA market development head GG Calini said, “These grants will ensure more European airports and more European operators are able to take full advantage of EGNOS procedures, meaning increased safety and more accessibility for everyone.”
The total budget for the 2015 Aviation Call for grants was €6 million. It is expected to provide 40 LPV procedures at 18 airports, 15 point-in-space (PinS) LPV procedures, 44 retrofitted aeroplanes, four avionics solutions (STC), three flight simulator-type upgrades, two RNP 0.3 routes, and EGNOS navigation and surveillance sensors for remotely piloted aircraft systems (RPAS) applications.
AOPA Netherlands says that all pilots flying to or passing through the country should be aware that the Dutch government has chosen to convert to 8.33kHz radios early. In short, you can only operate VFR with a 25 kHz radio in class G airspace and small airfields in class G airspace.
An operator shall not operate an aircraft above FL 195, unless the aircraft radio equipment has the 8.33 kHz channel spacing capability; An operator shall not operate an aircraft flying under instrument flight rules (IFR) in airspace class A, B, C, or converted airspace in the Amsterdam FIR, unless the aircraft radio equipment has the 8.33 kHz channel spacing capability.
With regard to the carriage requirements of 8.33 kHz channel spacing radio equipment identified in the previous paragraph, an operator shall not operate an aircraft flying under visual flight rules (VFR) in areas operating in 8.33 kHz channel spacing, unless the aircraft radio equipment has the 8.33 kHz channel spacing capability;
From 01 January 2018 an operator shall not operate an aircraft in airspace where carriage of radio is required unless the aircraft radio equipment has the 8.33 kHz channel spacing capability; All operators and agents acting on their behalf shall ensure that the letter Y is inserted in item 10 of the flight plan for aircraft equipped with radios having the 8.33 kHz channel spacing capability.
DO NOT insert the letter Y in your flight plan if you do not have an 8.33 radio and you wish to operate in airspace or land on an airport for which 8.33 is mandatory! The Dutch ATC will not reject your flight plan because the flight planning goes through Eurocontrol. They will not match 8.33 with your route of destination.
And if you enter airspace or land on an airport for which 8.33 is mandatory and you do not have an 8.33 radio, you will be fined. Fines start at 2,500 Euros.
The fly-in and airshow gathered aviators and aviation enthusiasts to spend wonderful weekend of 16-17 July at Jamijarvi airfield in Finland.
Altogether almost 8,000 visitors enjoyed the airshow in sunny weather on Saturday and Sunday.
Among performers there were North American P-51D Mustang, Swedish Air Force Historic Flight team with Harvards and a Texan.
A special guest star was a Jakovlev Jak-3U shown by pilot Rick van der Graaf. Mihail Mamistov flew an Extra 330XL in a wonderful freestyle program on Saturday, ending his show with a few fly-bys, much to the delight of the audience.
Finnish team Arctic Eagles performed tremendous show with their four aircraft. The team consists of pilots Raimo Nikkanen, Tapio Pitkänen, Miikka Rautakoura and Jyri Mattila flying two Pitts Specials, one Ultimate and an Eagle. The diverse flying expertise of the team members aligned perfectly with the unique components of their overall performance.
Phil Lawton was flying with VL Viima providing the perfect slow-speed performance for the audience. The DC-3 dropped parachuters and four Harvards escorted this former Finnair passenger aircraft.
On the Saturday evening a North American T-28 Trojan was completing its validation flight for the Sunday show when its engine malfunctioned and pilot-owner, Mr. Sten Svensson, had to make a forced landing in a field a few kilometers from airfield. Fortunately both the pilot and his passenger were unhurt.
AOPA Finland was attending the Jami Fly-In & Airshow with its own booth and stand, and was updating pilots with the latest EASA regulations as well as national GA news.
Training sessions for the EasyVFR application was organised for those interested and several flight plans were submitted directly to AFTN system.
A national feature in flight plan submissions is that as soon as you have entered your flight plan information and pressed the Send button on Finavia’s web system, you need to make a confirmation call to EFHK Briefing to ensure your flight plan processing.
EasyVFR sends your flight plan without any hassle directly to the AFTN system, making things easier.
AOPA Finland Cooperates with PocketFMS Foundation
After two successful years, AOPA Finland has decided to co-operated for a third year with PocketFMS Foundation. The common target is to improve flight planning and GA safety by providing the EasyVFR application as a member benefit for a minimum fee to all aviators.
EasyVFR has become widely popular in Finland among pilots who have adopted electronic applications so far. Continuous development of EasyVFR application has been welcomed by users while they are requiring more and more features similar to TSO units.
The major Summer 2016 update of EasyVFR has been available since 22nd July. This new release provides more convenience and connections. The EasyVFR Virtual Radar feature is an advanced and reliable tracking system for friends and family at home that functions even with very limited network coverage.
EasyVFR has improved convenience by implementing many speed, stability and interface tweaks. Tabs fly faster, and many icons and buttons were redesigned and relocated to be more clear and convenient. New icons provide instant information on obstacles ahead. Most of the recent comments have approved these enhancements.
PilotAware Looking Up
Recent development of low-cost electronic platforms has produced some positive results for general aviation.
The entire PilotAware system, developed by Lee Moore, is based around a Raspberry Pi B+ motherboard running Debian Linux, in conjunction with an IOS Application running on either an iPad or iPhone.
A number of peripherals are required as part of the system, since the Raspberry Pi B+ features and performance is limited. The Pilot Aware unit is an inexpensive electronic positional awareness system that is carried onto your aircraft to help you see other aircraft and you to be seen by other aircraft. This can be a GA, permit aircraft, microlight aircraft, hang glider or paraglider.
PilotAware will provide only advice on the position of suitably equipped aircraft in the vicinity of your aircraft, however it contains no algorithms that calculate the best or any action to take to avoid a collision.
PilotAware software is provided for use under Visual Flight Rules in Visual Meteorological Conditions only and is not certified to any standard.
EasyVFR and PilotAware
As briefly described the PilotAware system it is compatible with most electronic flight planning applications, like EasyVFR, Air Nav Pro and SkyDemon, among others.
The installation of PilotAware will differ from aircraft to aircraft, depending on the design, class and licensing authority of the aircraft.
In its simplest form PilotAware has been designed as ‘carry on equipment’ that is classified as a temporary installation and therefore does not need installation approval.
This is similar to the fitting and using of a hand held radio in the aircraft. The golden rule is that the antennas and the GPS must be able to ‘see’ out of the aircraft and the unit itself must be securely fastened within the aircraft. On conventional aircraft this will usually be in front of the pilot and passenger(s), however this will differ from aircraft to aircraft.
EasyVFR settings has to be modified for the PilotAware by activating Flarm and entering details according to specification. As soon as PilotAware hardware has been installed and EasyVFR set-up has been completed you’re ready to test the system.
PilotAware outputs the Flight Number/Aircraft Registration alternately every 5 seconds (by default) or it can be hard-set to display either. This applies to traffic detected via ADS-B or P3i.
Aircraft which are transmitting Mode S will display on your moving map detailing the transmitted code, the relative altitude to your altitude and a colour coding based on signal strength using RAG (Red-Amber-Green) colour banding.
Renovation of EFVL Airfield and Fly-in
Even as Helsinki City is shutting down the lights at Helsinki-Malmi airport, EFHF, in other parts of the country there is some good news. Recently Hailuoto municipality refurbished its community airport, EFHL, but the most recent news is from Vaala municipality. Vaala airfield has long history since the WWII, when it was used as a fighter base. The community decided to purchase the piece of land where the airfield is located and renovated its gravel runways and cut down all the bushes.
Summertime is the promised season of festivities in Finland and a celebration called FestiVaala too place recently, promoting aviation and the cultural heritage of the municipality.
FestiVaala started with a fly-in organised by AOPA Finland at Vaala airfield with 15 aircraft from the vicinity and more than 200 local visitors.
Local pilots are interested in developing Vaala airfield due to its central location, with 12 airfields/airports within three and a half hours’ flight time. It is also centrally located about half way between Helsinki and Lapland.
The long term plan (or dream!) is to develop an air park at Vaala airfield where hangars and accommodation is available for all aviators.
Kuhmo Experimental Fly-In 2016
The traditional Kuhmo Experimental Fly-In, organised by Kuhmo Flying Club, has been arranged every year in July during the Kuhmo Chamber Music Festival, with the fly-in weekend being just before the start of the Festival.
In 2012 there were 70 planes attending the fly-in but this time the weather prevented arrivals before noon on Saturday while the ceiling was only 500-800 feet AGL, with drizzle.
In the afternoon the sky was quite clear but the star visitor, the Saab Safir, encountered fog on its route and had to turn back. In the end 30 aircraft from all around the Finland made the fly-in at Kuhmo airfield (EFKH)
Saturday’s program consisted of speeches and presentations, and the AOPA Finland representative introduced the audience how to use EasyVFR for flight planning and how to derive the maximum benefit from it when flying.
The Air Navigation Pro application and other current aviation-related activities were also on the agenda. Mr. Timo Hyvönen, who is also a chairman of Friends of Malmi Airport, made a presentation, “Flying Experimental Aircraft Abroad.” He shared his experiences flying his RV-8 from Spain after purchasing it there.
Saturday changed to Sunday with open-air dances in the hangar, but without dusk or dawn because the midnight sun was shining round the clock! The rest of the Sunday was reserved for recovery and packing up gear before the return flight home.
AOPA UK Celebrates 50 Years at AeroExpo, Sywell
By George Done (pictured below cutting the cake, with Mandy Nelson).
What a great day it was in the AOPA marquee on the Saturday at the recent AeroExpo at Sywell! AOPA UK celebrated its 50th year of operation by hosting a lunchtime barbeque for members, guests and friends - the collage of photographs within these pages gives an idea of how pleasant the occasion was.
The burgers and hotdogs were hugely popular, as were the accompanying refreshments and, especially, the opportunity to sit down and relax after touring exhibitors’ stands. The al fresco dining area in front of the marquee was abuzz with conversation and, apart from one heavy shower, we were blessed with sunny weather.
A massive ‘thank you’ is due to Dave Impey, our energetic Head of Advertising, for liaison with the event organisers, and the subsequent management and arrangement of all the facilities. His charming assistants, Charlotte and Louise, helped promote AOPA throughout all three days of AeroExpo, with the distribution of the AOPA Flying Directory to visitors. Thanks are also due to Jeppesen for their invaluable sponsorship.
Others who provided major contributions were Mandy Nelson, from the AOPA office, who, as well as being involved in the setting up arrangements, found herself cooking over a hot stove! She was aided initially by Board member and co-chef Mick Elborn, who had spent some time on the Friday puzzling over the assembly of the stove. The indefatigable Dave Impey later took over from Mick. Board member Chris Royle performed a sterling job as roving barman.
Over 300 members, friends and guests visited the AOPA marquee on the Saturday (we know from the number of burgers consumed!). On display was the picturesque 50th birthday cake, or rather cakes, large and small – arranged like a group of aircraft in formation.
When the time came to cut the cake, a moment of serendipity occurred with the arrival of one of our esteemed Vice Presidents, Jack Wells, accompanied by his wife Cynthia. Jack was easily persuaded into doing the honours. He had started flying in the 1960s and later on became heavily involved with AOPA under the chairmanship of the late Ron Campbell. Together with David Ogilvy, he was instrumental in creating, and then promoting, the General Aviation Awareness Campaign, which subsequently became the General Aviation Awareness Council (GAAC).
I was present on the Friday and Saturday, and the loyalty and support of our members revealed was impressive. It was particularly gratifying to meet members whom AOPA had helped with specific problems, particularly those who had suffered with maintenance or engineering issues, my own particular area of interest. They were all unanimous in their support and praise of the activities undertaken by AOPA, parting with the wish “…keep up the good work…!” And that objective is, without a shadow of doubt, what we shall continue to aim for!
Code of Practice for Maintenance & Repair
By George Done, Chairman, AOPA UK
When the AOPA UK Maintenance Working Group first met in October 2010, one of the main objectives was to provide a forum for discussion of maintenance issues to the mutual benefit of aircraft owners and maintainers.
One of the objectives of the WG is to discuss and/or provide help with maintenance problems encountered by a number of aircraft owners; in the past year these numbered 15 of which 3 were complex and expensive.
Considering that the 2,000-to-3,000 aircraft owned or partly owned by AOPA members visit a maintainer for an annual or periodic regular check at least twice a year, the relatively small number of problems arising clearly indicates a high degree of overall owner satisfaction with their maintainer generally.
Nevertheless, the WG members decided in 2012 that it would be a good idea to draft a Code of Practice for Maintenance and Repair that they themselves follow and could be recommended to other light aircraft maintainers. In particular, in cases where aircraft change hands and the new owner transfers to a new maintainer, the latter will take nothing for granted, and unforeseen extra costs may arise. In this case of the owner having had had no previous dealings with the maintainer, the C of P can be used to establish a basis for the future business relationship between maintainer and customer.
If a maintainer is happy to indicate to a wider world that he/she has ‘signed up’ to the C of P, then an email or letter indicating as much should be sent to AOPA* and the organisation name will be added to the list on the AOPA website. Any such request will be independently verified to ensure integrity. For those who have signed up, a certificate for display along the lines of that shown is available on request. The Code of Practice appears below.
* Letters should be sent to AOPA at 50a Cambridge Street, London, SW1V 4QQ and emails to firstname.lastname@example.org. A sample request letter appears on the AOPA website.
AOPA CODE OF PRACTICE
We will endeavour to contact you at least two weeks in advance of any scheduled maintenance due to fix a mutually acceptable time and date to receive your aircraft at our facility.
A full explanation of any mandatory requirements ADs, SBs, etc. that you need to have carried out when your aircraft is with us, in addition to the routine scheduled work, will be given in detail.
Any additional work requested by you will be agreed at the time of booking.
Estimates and quotations can be provided upon request and before any work is carried out if required.
Accepted methods of payment will be confirmed prior to any work commencing. (For lengthy or expensive projects stage payments may be agreed)
We will agree with you the parts to be used. Should you wish to source and pay for parts directly this can be discussed and we may be able to agree, subject to the inclusion of a suitable administration fee to cover the approval of any necessary paperwork that you need to provide.
All parts supplied by us remain our property until we are in receipt of cleared funds.
Replaced parts will be made available to you for examination upon request. (Unless required for part exchange by our supplier.)
The quality of any subcontract work e.g. avionics, weighing, welding etc. remains our responsibility unless purchased directly by yourself.
Any additional work found to be needed, during the maintenance procedure, will be advised to you in writing or by email, and will be required to be prior authorised by you, unless otherwise agreed.
All elements of the work carried out will be explained in full upon collection/delivery.
Final invoicing will clearly show labour, parts, additional charges and VAT. Once our explanation of the work is complete payment is due upon collection/delivery, which should be within seven days. Thereafter, a daily storage charge may be raised.
Aircraft must have valid insurance whilst within our custody
We ensure that all our staff are competent to carry out the work within their responsibilities.
A competent member of staff will appropriately supervise trainees.
Appropriate equipment is used to carry out the work we undertake.
All work is carried out in strict accordance of the National Airworthiness Authority regulations appropriate to your aircraft.
In the event of a complaint our Chief Engineer or Accountable Manager should be informed immediately.
EASA FCL Update
By Nick Wilcock
More fascinating news from the highly exciting world of EASA Flight Crew Licensing (as written for the August issue of Aircraft Owner & Pilot. Please note that there are some more recent developments that will appear in the October issue of AO&P).
New EASA HQ
EASA has now relocated across the river from its old site to the new building at Konrad Adenauer Ufer 3, close to the main railway station. Well, perhaps not exactly ‘new’ as it’s one of the few which largely escaped Bomber Command’s attentions in 1943, although badly damaged.
Later to become the headquarters of German Federal railways, the building was acquired for development in 2011 and the interior has been completely rebuilt.
Rather austere at present and with a few teething issues, such as the problematic electronic access gates which don’t always work reliably.
There’s not much colour and something of a lingering smell of new concrete in places. But there’s a lot more interior space than the old building offered, enabling larger meetings to be programmed more easily.
RMT.0657 Training Outside an ATO
A ‘Decision’ is imminent concerning the future for ‘Training Outside an ATO’. Older readers may recall that back in 2014 under Notice of Proposed Amendment (NPA) 2014-028, EASA proposed a simpler form of regulation for ‘Non-Complex Approved Training Organisations’ conducting PPL-level training activities, which it later decided to suspend due to another EASA group, the ‘GA Road Map’, having had other ideas.
Following work by the Rule Making Task (RMT).0657 group, this GA Road Map initiative eventually led to the concept of the ‘Basic Training Organisation’ under NPA 2015-020. Although oversight was proposed to be pretty light and IAOPA Europe was largely supportive, others said «Non!».
So, earlier this year, RMT.0657 came up with the idea of a ‘Registered Training Organisation’. Again a certain EU Member State’s National Aviation Authority said «Non!», apparently because it might expose them to some legal risk thanks to Napoleonic Law. No prizes for guessing who! However, RMT.0657 then came up not with an ATO, nor a BTO nor an RTO, but this time a ‘Declared Training Organisation’.
Unfortunately, IAOPA Europe wasn’t able to attend the workshop which agreed this, so we weren’t able to support it at the time as we simply didn’t know what was being proposed. However, now that we have seen the proposals, we have informed both the GA Road Map section and the UK CAA of our support, provided that any oversight is both proportional and performance-based.
At present the scope of DTO activity appears to be LAPL, PPL, night, aerobatic, towing and mountain ratings only. Of course, this won’t affect NPPL and IR(R) training, which remain outside the scope of EU Regulation.
RMT.0677 Easier Access of GA Pilots to Instrument Flight Rules (IFR) Flying
The GA Road Map recently provided clarification regarding their intent for the ‘Basic IR’ proposal which has been under development since mid-2015. The aim now is for easier access to an IR for the purpose of typical A-to-B planned IFR flights, so the original concept of BIRs with partial privileges to suit other needs has been reviewed. IAOPA (Europe) considered that there was still a need to provide a simpler instrument flying qualification to support the needs of a pilot needing to regain VFR after encountering IMC and although it would have been possible to incorporate this into the BIR proposal as a first module, to have done so would probably have delayed BIR progress to an unacceptable degree. So it has been agreed that proposals for a simple VFR-to-IMC-to-VFR rating, perhaps similar in nature to the Sailplane Cloud Flying Rating, would be better considered under a separate rule making task. The BIR Task Force has made good progress with theoretical knowledge examination requirements, the basic idea being not to duplicate anything already learned at PPL level and only to include items considered essential for supporting the practical needs of the IFR pilot. The opportunity is also being taken to ensure that Performance Based Navigation requirements are included; the RMT.0677 Task Force also agree that, with suitable oversight caveats, BIR training should fall within the scope of a DTO. Hopefully the NPA will be released in Q3/2016.
RMT.0596 Review of Provisions for Examiners and Instructors (Subparts J & K of Part-FCL)
Although the EASA Flight Crew Licensing Implementation Forum (FCL-IF) has had an extra-Agency Working Sub Group reviewing current instructor and examiner requirements for some time now, the formal EASA Rule Making Task group has yet to form. However, the Terms of Reference (ToRs) have now been drafted and the RMT.0596 Task Force should start work soon. With the agreement of the RMT.0677 chairman, agreed lighter proposals for instrument flying training and testing at BIR level have already been forwarded to the coordinator responsible for the group’s activities. In addition, concern at the ability of industry to maintain a supply of flight instructors has also been noted, largely caused by the disproportionate requirement for PPL-level FIs to have passed the CPL exams. The UK’s interests will be represented by the UK CAA, in whom AOPA UK has every confidence. Yes really we do!
RMT.0678 Simpler, Lighter and Better Part-FCL Requirements for General Aviation
EASA has accepted that progress on many aspects of GA flight crew licensing aspects has been somewhat tardy, even when the issues in question have been non-controversial. So a new Rule Making Task Group will form shortly as RMT.0678, to consider a wide range of GA topics highlighted as needing quicker action. Many of the items stem from IAOPA (Europe) points raised at the FCL-IF, the ‘TAG/SSCC/FCL’ (now renamed the ‘mTeB FCL-SSC Aircrew Group’....) and the LAPL Review Board. I have been nominated as the IAOPA (Europe) representative on RMT.0678; we have already reviewed the ToRs and have included the RMT.0677 recommendation for a simple VFR>IMC>VFR aeroplane safety qualification to be included within the scope of ‘Activity XIV - Other GA issues’.
So it’s not all doom and gloom! We should soon see work on simpler requirements for PPL-level training, the Basic IR, lighter requirements for instructors and examiners and resolution of various other GA training issues leading to a considerably less onerous regulatory regime for general aviation.
EASA Certification Proposal
EASA has issued its proposed rewrite of certification rules governing light aircraft; the new European CS-23 regulation could be released later this year. The U.S. FAA had already proposed to rewrite its Part 23 certification rules. The NPA anticipates a three-month consultation period followed by a final decision in the fourth quarter.
Cessna TTx Receives EASA Certification
Cessna announced at AirVenture Oshkosh in late July that its new TTx single-engine piston aircraft had received EASA certification approval the previous week. Coincidentally, Aircraft Owner & Pilot headed up to Cambridge Airport to fly the aircraft on the Saturday before Oshkosh (23rd July) - and was given the news "on embargo". The aircraft, which is the fastest fixed-gear aircraft in its class (235kt high-speed cruise), is now certificated in more than 40 countries.
Particularly impressive is the capabiltiy of the aircraft’s Garmin G2000 avionics, giving the TTx an all-glass touchscreen cockpit, so any business jet pilot would be as at home as an experienced PPL who has had a few hours to get used to the relatively easy-to-learn avionics. The TTx also has an all-composite body and wing, and push-rod controls rather than cables. It is powered by a 330hp twin-turbo Continental IO550 engine and with pilot Peter Herr we took the aircraft to 11,000ft and 200kts TAS, while burning less than 20gph. A technical report appeared in the June issue of this magazine.
Electronic Conspicuity, or “See and be Seen!”
Alan Burrill (formerly of NATS) explains how in-cockpit devices are developing and allowing pilots to have far better awareness of other traffic.
As VFR pilots we are taught from day one to maintain a good lookout outside the cockpit. This is not only to help us to navigate but also to look for other aircraft – which could be anything from balloons to gliders to commercial aircraft.
A new concept is being explored which provides an additional aid in the form of an electronic “conspicuity” device. This will allow an aircraft to transmit its position electronically while also receiving signals from other aircraft, decoding the information to provide an indication in the cockpit of aircraft in the vicinity.
The gliding community has already made use of products such as FLARM to improve situational awareness of other gliders, especially when “thermalling,” so this is not an entirely new concept.
Some “powered” pilots have also taken to using FLARM devices in their aircraft, especially where they interact on a regular basis with areas of intense gliding activity.
The CAA set up the Electronic Conspicuity (EC) Working Group in 2013, with representation from AOPA, NATS, LAA, BMAA, BGA, BHPA and the RAF. Less than a year later, NATS started the European-funded Project EVA (Electronic Visibility via ADS-B) with participation of AOPA, F.U.N.K.E. Avionics and Trig Avionics, to demonstrate the benefits of EC to the GA community. In parallel, NATS also initiated the use of uncertified GPS conn ected to Mode S. Both these activities are described further below.
Uncertified GPS as a Source for ADS-B Out
ADS-B is usually associated with a Mode S Transponder that has Extended Squitter. There is also a non-transponding type of ADS-B transmitter, which is explained in the LPAT section below.
The ADS-B based technologies allow the routine broadcast of traffic information including: Aircraft Identity, quite often the aircraft registration, the ICAO allocated aircraft address; Pressure altitude based on the 1013.2 hPa (29.92 inch); and the Latitude and Longitude position from a GPS source.
The information is broadcast by the transponder on a timed basis and is therefore not restricted by the need for an Secondary Surveillance Radar (SSR) interrogation from the ground.
The Mode-S GPS trial to encourage the connection of a Mode-S transponder with extended squitter to non-certified GPS equipment has proven very successful and the final report from NATS, who monitored aircraft with this configuration, have concluded that the position data is comparable with that received from Commercial Air Transport using certified GPS. This has resulted in the CAA agreeing that connecting non certified GPS to a Mode S ADS-B enabled transponder can continue and is available as a minor mod for Annex 2 and certified GA aircraft as well as gliders, microlights etc.
Low Power ADS-B Transceiver (LPAT)
This is a device (pictured above) developed by NATS and F.U.N.K.E. Avionics, which has been evaluated in the UK and Germany. AOPA has played a key role during development of this device by enlisting volunteer pilots to explore the safety benefits of the device in the average GA aircraft. It provides an ADS-B transceiver broadcasting aircraft identity and location plus the ability to receive ADS-B signals and display relative location to pilots, and is also able to detect Mode S and Mode A/C transponders, and FLARM signals, providing alerts (but no direction).
The LPAT device will be ideal for those aircraft who have no capability for the fitting or powering of a conventional transponder. The device does not provide the means to provide a conventional response to an SSR interrogation so is currently limited in ability for the information to be displayed to ATC.
However, ADS-B is under trial in a number of countries as it reduces the requirement for a complex and expensive radar installation. The Dutch have mandated the use of ADS-B in an area of the North Sea to assist in the provision of Air Traffic Services and, with NATS having a trial system in the UK, the future of ADS-B is moving forward. That said, LPAT does not provide an acceptable means of compliance for an aircraft to operate in an area mandated for ADS-B.
A second LPAT device is under development by Trig Avionics to provide similar capability, and in addition to the work on the LPAT there are a number of devices currently on the market providing traffic alerts based on devices able to detect the aircraft response from SSR transponders, Mode-S and Mode A/C, as well as ADS-B and FLARM. The following is a summary of these.
FLARM was developed for the gliding community as an aid for pilots to maintain situational awareness and specifically provides tactical information on gliders climbing and descending in thermals where a number of gliders will be operating in close proximity to gain that all-essential height.
It operates in the unregulated and unlicensed frequency band around 868 MHz, and while initially a low-powered device with a range of a few kilometres further developments have resulted in the production of devices that can be fitted to certified aircraft, powered from the aircraft electrics, and able to achieve longer detection ranges. ‘Power FLARM’ is popular where powered aircraft and gliders operate together.
The FLARM community has perhaps the most experience of displaying electronic proximity warnings to pilots and therefore a range of display types and methods have developed. The range of displays include overlays on an electronic chart displayed on a tablet providing GPS locations as well as detected traffic, to a ring of LED which provide a simple direction to look and a possible range and height of any target. Software filters are often included to promote the targets of threat and therefore interest to filter out a multitude of detected targets.
While FLARM may at first appear to be attractive only to gliders it has developed an extensive following in Europe, including the UK, especially as it has been in existence since 2005. A number of suppliers, including the FLARM manufacturers, have portable and installed versions of FLARM transceivers incorporated with ADS-B, Mode S and Mode A/C reception with threat detection and display integrated with the FLARM display products.
Relatively new to the GA scene, the PilotAware (PiWare) product is based on a Raspberry Pi single-board computer developed for educational purposes, but which is now finding a multitude of uses in many projects (including a trip into the Space Station).
A number of interested pilots acted as beta testers during the development of the PiWare and over the winter of 2015/2016 a hardware development of a plug-in device to provide a transmission on the unregulated and unlicensed frequency band around 868 MHz was undertaken.
The Pilot Aware uses off-the-shelf components comprising USB versions of DVB-T receiver, GPS and WiFi together with the proprietary PiWare ‘Bridge’ which transmits a GPS location on the unlicensed frequency and can detect other PiWare devices. The DVB-T receiver is used to detect ADS-B and Mode-S Transponders.
The unlicensed frequency is not the same as used by FLARM and the differences in the protocols used mean that FLARM and PiWare transmissions are not compatible and therefore aircraft are invisible to each other unless they also carry an ADS-B or Mode-S Transponder.
The PiWare device is able to be linked through WiFi to a number of tablet GPS applications, SkyDemon, RunwayHD, Easy VFR and a number of other applications and therefore does not incorporate its own display or filtering software. Targets are displayed as an overlay to the GPS map chosen by the user and any alerts for target proximity are part of the GPS application selected.
Traffic Alert Devices
A number of Traffic Alert devices have been on the market for some years and were marketed as Portable Collision Avoidance Systems (PCAS) and detected conventional SSR transponder transmissions. These have developed in to more sophisticated devices which incorporate the ability to detect ADS-B, Mode-S as well as Mode A/C transponders. Some even incorporate FLARM receivers.
ADS-B obviously provides the device with a means of indicating a relative height and position while Mode-S and A/C transmissions, lacking the GPS data, generally are displayed as an alert based on estimated range and any relative height information from the Mode C response.
Uncertified GPS and LPAT both use the conventional SSR transponder frequency, 1090 MHz to transmit and receive and here lies a challenge. While the reception of the 1090 MHz signal can be achieved relatively easily using off-the-shelf tunable radio receivers i.e. in a USB DVB-T dongle, transmission is regulated by the authorities and therefore the availability of low powered devices able to transmit on this frequency is limited and currently expensive. The UK CAA has released a document, CAP 1391, outlining requirements for a low powered 1090 based transceiver and interested manufacturers are investigating the possibilities of low cost devices.
There are devices including FLARM and Pilot Aware which provide a broadcast of an aircraft position using a low powered transceiver operating in the unregulated and license free frequency band around 868MHz. These devices have been developed independently and currently cannot detect each other. Generally, however, they can see the ADS-B transmission on 1090 MHz.
Presentation of the information is a significant consideration and certainly the Glider Community has the most experience based on the development of the FLARM Product.
While some pilots may prefer the display of detected targets as an overlay to their chosen GPS solution, others may decide that a separate display with simple indications of direction and relative height and distance provides the information to prompt the direction of lookout. Certainly an audio alert to conflicting traffic is well worth considering as an additional prompt.
In all instances the key thing to remember is that these devices cannot provide information or warnings of aircraft with no EC device. Therefore, pilots are still required to maintain a meticulous scan at all times.
These devices should provide assistance to VFR flight by prompting pilots to scan outside of the cockpit more often. Traffic information displays must be readily comprehensible with a brief glance, otherwise they may degrade a pilot’s scan by keeping the pilot’s eyes inside the aircraft for longer than is necessary.
In choosing a device pilots should consider the environment in which they operate. If there is heavy glider activity then FLARM may be the answer while the other devices may be more suited to conventional powered traffic with conventional transponders.
Electronic Conspicuity has one major theme and that is SEE and BE SEEN because of the mutual obligation to separate ourselves from one another. If an aircraft is not transmitting any information either by choice or lack of equipment then they cannot be seen electronically by other pilots or by ATC.
Electronic conspicuity will become more prevalent as an aid to the pilot’s visual scan and devices including LPAT, FLARM, Pilot Aware and Traffic Alert systems provide the pilot with alerts of detected aircraft to supplement situational awareness.
The most important point is that these devices are pilot aids and still require the visual scan to maintain situational awareness and avoiding action.
Flying Over the Pacific
How to Find Your Orientation Using Your Watch ('Back to Basics' Could Save Your Life)
By Sotirios Antonopoulos.
When I was a young man, first class cadet of the Hellenic Air Force Academy, I had been taught a simple trick to find my orientation using only my watch and a little bit of celestial navigation, namely the sun’s position. Ever since I remember myself, for some reason I am apt to put in my mind things that most students consider as unnecessary and ignore. However, many times my little individuality has been life-saving.
By the end of October 2015 I had a new job, a year contract with Hansen Helicopters, flying as a “tuna pilot” in the western Pacific. The company’s helicopters were fitted with only a compass and a GPS designed for floating vehicles rather than aircraft. There was no other means of navigation.
The environment of the Pacific is whimsical. The weather during the vast majority of the days was scattered to broken clouds based at 1000 to 1500 feet AMSL. The sun during the wet season is not always discernible due to haze. There is a total lack of any kind of landmarks or sky-marks. The sea, of course, is a blue surface without any deviation of the color of it, when it comes to fathomless oceans.
On the first day of my first trip, I was ordered by the fish master to take off and fly 50-60 miles ahead to check the radio. Every boat was using their own frequency in order to avoid information leak concerning the location of the fish. The helicopter was indeed used as a “chess pawn,” among its other main purposes. It was therefore absolutely vital that no other vehicle could get any information transmitted and we had to ensure privacy.
After departure I drew on my GPS a straight line beyond the boat’s stem, following the same course as the boat. I still remember that we were cruising from Majuro in the Marshall Islands to the intersection between the international date line and the Equator, which was 135°.
Fifteen miles later, my GPS went caput. I had an easy task turning around approximately 180° to find the boat. I roosted the bird on her perch and had the electronics fuse checked. The problem was solely attributable to salt water in the electronics compartment. The GPS came back to life, so I took off again to accomplish the mission.
However, having flown 22 miles I again had a GPS failure. At this point it is important to cite that the GPS was my only means of navigation. The compass – as I mentioned before – didn’t work, and the requested replacement came at the port 45 days later, when the boat returned to unload. As a result, post my second landing, I deemed it prudent to teach Chen, my Chinese radio operator, how do a kind of “ground controlled approach” (GCA). Using the simplest English words, I explained to him that all he had to do was to find on his radar screen the approximate shortest angle between the helicopter’s heading and the boat; then divide it by three (that would be the amount of seconds required to turn in order to make the heading change using a rate-one turn); then ask me on the radio to “turn Left or Right...now,” while simultaneously starting to count down the seconds found by the division. Finally he had to re-order me to level my wings and go straight when his countdown was over.
As a matter of fact the trick was not very accurate; the bank angle I used was about 10° (found from the formulae: Bank for 1 rate turn = TAS/10 + 7, for a helicopter cruising at 60 KIAS at 1000’). However all I needed was a rough direction.
My third-ever takeoff from a tuna boat in the Pacific was right after the conversation with the radio operator. The GPS again failed about 35 miles after departure, but I kept my heading, did the job and flew back following the instructions from Chen.
By the second and third days we had arrived in the fishing ground in Kiribati waters. I was launched to run after schools of tuna and I was finding my way back by virtue of Chen’s GCA. Before the evening of the third day, I was about 50 miles west of the boat. Frankly, I wasn’t sure about the boat’s location in relation to us at all. Both Jerome, my fish spotter, and I were looking for fish. All the maneuvering around schools of tuna, floating logs and transition to hovers to deploy satellite buoys, was very disorientating. After about one hour and ten minutes of flying I glanced on the GPS and radio panel to realize that I had lost both!
The Hughes 369A helicopter, fully refueled, with 380lbs had an endurance of two and a half hours. Therefore, I could keep in the air for a maximum of an additional one hour and twenty minutes!!!
I was dismayed because for the first time in my career I had no way of finding my orientation and this had happened in a place where ditching is certainly not a good idea. I started circling and staring at the horizon for other vessels. I was sure that my boat, Kwila888, was at least 50 miles to the west, but in the absence of a clearly visible sun I couldn’t even guess where was west!
Utterly disappointed, I stared for a moment at the helicopter’s floor. There I noticed a slight shadow formed from the door’s strut. In the heat of the moment I recalled an old trick taught to us from a navigator when we had our first navigation classes in the Hellenic Air Force academy.
This trick can be used anywhere on Earth during the day and when the Sun is visible.
In the Northern Hemisphere:
1. Lay the watch flat and face up on your palm so that it is parallel to the ground.
2. Point the hour hand in the direction of the Sun. Turn the watch, your hand or your entire body so that the hour hand of your watch is pointing directly at the Sun. The time on the watch doesn’t matter, as long as it’s accurate. If you have a hard time lining the hour hand up with the sun exactly, you may want to use a narrow object’s shadow to help you. Stick a twig or narrow post into the ground so that the shadow it casts is clearly visible.
Then, line the shadow up with the hour hand of your watch. An object’s shadow is cast away from the Sun, so lining your hour hand up with a narrow shadow is essentially the same as lining it up with the Sun itself.
3. Bisect the angle between the hour hand and the 12 o’clock mark to find South. This is the tricky part. Find the middle point of the angle between your hand and the 12 o’clock mark on your watch. Before noon, you will have to measure clockwise from your hour hand to the 12 o’clock marking, while afternoon, you will have to measure counterclockwise from your hour hand to the 12 o’clock marking. The middle point between the two marks South, while the point directly across from it marks North.
For example: If it is exactly 5 o’clock in the afternoon and you have lined up your hour hand with the Sun, South is the direction exactly between the 2 and 3 o’clock marks and North is the spot across from this point (exactly between 8 and 9).
Note that during Daylight Saving Time, your watch is most likely one hour “off” from the “real” time. If this is the case, substitute 1 o’clock for 12 o’clock before finding your North-South line.
In the Southern Hemisphere:
1. Hold the watch horizontal, as in the Northern hemisphere.
2. Point the twelve o’clock in the direction of the Sun. The key difference between the Northern and the Southern Hemispheres when it comes to using a watch as a compass is that in the Southern Hemisphere, it is the 12 o’clock mark, rather than the hour hand that you must line up with the sun. Reversing the orientation of your watch relative to the Sun allows you to account for the difference in the Sun’s orientation between the two hemispheres.
3. Bisect the angle between the hour hand and the twelve o’clock mark to find North. The 12 o’clock mark and the hour hand on your watch marks North, while the point directly across the face of the watch from it marks South.
For example, if it is 9 o’clock in the morning and we line the 12 o’clock mark on our watch up with the sun, the midpoint between the 10 and 11 o’clock markings is North and the point across from this (between the 4 and 5 o’clock markings) is South. The Daylight Saving time correction applies here too.
In my case, on the day in question, we hadn’t crossed the equator yet. So I used the first technique to find that the West was indicated to my left. I informed Jerome. I also wanted his opinion as he had spent his entire life in tuna boats in the Pacific.
His response was disappointing. He was under the impression that the boat was somewhere in the exact opposite direction. I replied “OK, bro, I trust you because you have more experience. Just so you know: in case you are wrong we have no chance to fly to where I said. I also briefed him: “If we find another boat without helicopter on the deck, we will land there. If we find a boat with a helicopter on the deck, then we will hover until they come out to watch us ditching. If we find nothing, at two hours and twenty minutes past our takeoff time, I will transit to a hover, you will deplane, deploy the raft, get in and watch me ditching a safe distance away.”
The moment I finished my briefing, Jerome white-knuckled, said: “Bro, I am not sure about the heading I suggested. You are a pilot and I trust you better. I think we should fly towards the direction you said to me”.
I felt horrible. In fact I was not a hundred percent sure about the “mathematics” I did with my watch, I couldn’t “Google” the trick to make sure it was correct and there was not a handbook to read. It was only us, our knowledge and experience.
The scenery was giving us an extra feeling of desolation and the task of flying back had started to look insurmountable. I took the decision to stick with the watch-hand trick.
I recalculated our heading to find that my initial choice was the correct direction to the west.Then I repeated the aforementioned emergency briefing and asked Jerome to search the horizon for boats with his binoculars. 40 minutes later, he noticed there was a boat on the horizon. While approaching it we didn’t see any helicopter on the deck and to our great relief, it was our boat, Kwila888!
A Risk-Based Approach to Airspace
David Wood, head of training at GoFly, Old Sarum Airfield, UK (pictured left), asks if it is it time for a rethink on airspace infringements by GA pilots. [Note: although this article appeared in the August 2016 issue of Aircraft Owner & Pilot and is aimed at infringements in the UK, it may also be of interest to readers in the rest of Europe and elsewhere. We would be interested to know if any similar methodologies to the one suggested is being used already somewhere in the world!]
There can be very few GA pilots who have not noticed that the subject of infringements into controlled airspace or danger areas is hot news. It may be getting even hotter. The CAA has just published CAP 1404 which focusses on Infringements and Remedial Actions. It has also fairly recently published CAP 1074 which outlines the enforcement regime designed to keep us all honest.
The message is that the problem of Infringements must be addressed and that enforcement action is likely to become more common. But having read these and having also recently attended a workshop on the subject with NATS, I found myself asking whether the CAA is looking at this problem in the wrong way. Is CAP 1404 on the right lines, or is it time for a rethink about our approach to infringements? Perhaps even time to think the unthinkable?
Firstly, let’s get this straight. I am not condoning infringements into controlled airspace or danger areas by anyone at any time. Each time it happens it represents failure at some level. However, let’s get real; no-one is perfect and there can be few of us who have not committed an infringement somewhere at some time. I certainly have, albeit momentarily. It happens, and it will probably always happen to some degree.
Perhaps that is the first unthinkable point to make: let’s be realistic in our aspirations. We will never totally eradicate infringements and it is foolish to expect that we will. What we can do is bear down on the problem and reduce it to more acceptable levels. We can also ensure that every infringement, not just those that make the headlines, becomes a learning opportunity.
The second unthinkable point to make is that it is not all the pilot’s fault. There are few who would argue with the fact that the structure of controlled airspace in much of the UK is so complicated, so layered and, in some cases, so downright illogical as to make it very difficult to circumnavigate the irregular blocks of three-dimensional airspace without a real risk of infringing some anomalous corner or jutting ledge. Add to that the real-world impacts of weather and VFR choke-points and it is undeniable that the very design of controlled airspace is a significant causal factor in the overall problem of infringements. Indeed, a cynic might suggest that controlled airspace in the UK seems almost purpose-built to catch out the unwary or the distracted. Frankly speaking, it’s a dog’s dinner. Nonetheless, we are where we are and so we need to work out how best to address the problem that faces us now, rather than the problem that we might wish was facing us.
So why do infringements matter? Well they matter, we are told by the CAA, mainly because of their impact on the other controlled traffic operating within controlled airspace, some of which is passenger-carrying commercial traffic.
The primary responsibility of Air Traffic Control is of course to manage the safe transit of traffic operating under its control. To do this controllers have prescribed separations that they must maintain between traffic. To do all of that neatly, efficiently and safely is an impressive act of three-dimensional choreography. And so clearly an infringer blundering into controlled airspace un-bidden, who is by definition not under control, causes controllers additional problems as they struggle to manage the remaining traffic in order to ensure that no conflicts occur and that the prescribed separation is not lost. The poor controller is also a human being like you and me. His or her job is difficult and stressful enough without some infringer spoiling their day. But, unlike you or me, it is worth remembering also that if a controller fails to maintain the prescribed separations then he is likely to be immediately suspended and his very job may be on the line.
So it is quite understandable that the message that infringers cause danger and cost money is rammed down GA’s throat at every safety seminar, and of course that is absolutely right…to an extent. And, at the risk of repeating myself, I am not saying that infringements are not a problem. They are a problem. But it begs the question, how much of a problem need they be? Also, are we going to find the solution by focussing on these Effects, or on their Causes?
The CAA Approach
Currently the CAA views the problem of infringements principally through the prism of the effect they cause. CAP 1404 makes this clear, stating that prior to action infringements will be reviewed and filtered on the following basis:
Did the infringement have a direct safety impact; was there a service disruption? These are both Effects. They are nothing to do with the Causes.
Ranking by Effect is a perfectly valid way of ranking infringements. But it isn’t the only way, and it may not be the best way. It also skates over an important and uncomfortable issue; that is, if the problem is in the disruption caused, then does an infringement need to cause quite so much disruption?
Well, obviously this depends greatly on the nature of the infringement. But it is also defined to a large extent by the mandatory responses of the controller. The scale of this may come as a surprise to you. So let’s diverge for a moment and look at what the controller has to do if a non-communicating infringer (the worst case) enters controlled airspace. If this happens then the controller must immediately impose a sterile area around the infringer. In other words, if he can’t control the infringer then he must control everyone else and keep them separated from the infringer.
What may come as a surprise is the staggering dimensions of the separation that the controller is required to maintain. A controller is mandated, yes mandated – and his very job depends on him achieving this – to keep a separation of five miles laterally and five thousand feet vertically between the infringer and any IFR traffic under his control.
Now let's just think about that. That’s a sterile area of potentially 13 square miles (a circle with a radius of 5nm) in a vertical block extending 5,000 feet above and in theory 5,000’ below the infringer – potentially ten thousand feet high. It is an enormous block of airspace. And it is hardly surprising that such a huge block of airspace attached to a hapless pilot chugging unbidden around a control zone is going to cause problems for controllers.
But why does it need to be so large? After all, the average GA aeroplane is likely to be doing 90-120 kts on a good day and it probably has a maximum rate of climb of less than 1000 feet a minute. Even a GA ‘hot-ship’ is unlikely to be doing more than 160 kts and is unlikely to be able to climb at more than 2000’ a minute. So to have to immediately apply up to 26 cubic miles of exclusion zone around the infringer seems hugely disproportional to the real-life capacity of the infringer to endanger anything on the periphery of such an area.
Furthermore, in many cases an infringer may simply clip the corner of a control zone while maintaining a steady track and altitude, or may inadvertently climb into the base of a control area while otherwise flying normally.
It may be perfectly clear to the watching controller that the infringer is behaving rationally and predictably and so it seems absurdly harsh to impose such an enormous sterile area around this sort of infringer when any objective risk-based assessment of the hazard would indicate that a very much smaller sterile area should be sufficient.
But these risk-based judgements are not permitted. The controller is required to assume the worst case. He must assume that, notwithstanding the infringer’s previous behaviour and notwithstanding the feeble performance of his steed, that the infringer is potentially agile, unpredictable and whimsical and that he may suddenly climb several thousand feet, abruptly change direction and speed, and otherwise do his very best to endanger other traffic.
Not only is this assumption illogical but it is also oddly inconsistent with the CAA’s own approach to risk-based assumptions. For example, if a non-altitude-reporting, non-communicating aircraft is detected beneath the base of controlled airspace, or indeed over the top of it, then the controller is entitled to assume that it is flying clear of that controlled airspace. That seems quite sensible.
Furthermore, if you think about it then you will see that to assume otherwise would risk paralysing much of the controlled airspace in the UK for much of the time. So, it seems entirely appropriate for the system to make that assumption. But it is intellectually inconsistent to take in the case of such traffic the least-burdensome assumption, i.e. to assume in the absence of any other evidence that a potential infringer is clear of airspace, while at the same time making the most burdensome assumption in the event of an infringer inside CAS, which is to assume - in the absence of any other evidence - that such an infringer is likely or indeed able to leap five miles laterally or 5,000 feet vertically.
Being inconsistent isn’t a crime but it seems to me that as a result of this inconsistency, the CAA is guilty of creating a problem where there may not actually be one. So my next unthinkable thought is this: it is not actually the infringement per se that causes the disruption; it is the controller’s mandated response that achieves that.
If we limit the response then we limit the impact. That doesn’t solve the problem of infringement, of course, but it does potentially reduce its impact in terms of time and cost. And if we reduce the hysteria about the time and cost effects of infringements, then it allows us to focus on the infringements themselves, and to work out what to do in order to reduce their number.
In other words, if we persist in measuring the seriousness of infringements on the basis of the disruption that they cause, then we owe it to ourselves to be sure that the disruption isn’t at least partly self-inflicted. And in this case it seems that it is. So, the logical deduction is that there ought to be a mechanism by which we can distinguish between those infringements that are genuinely disruptive and those that are not. For example, in the case of an aircraft that inadvertently climbs a hundred feet and infringes the base of an airway after following an otherwise steady track and level, then it ought to be possible for the controller to take a risk-based view of the hazard posed by such an infringement and to adjust the separation required accordingly.
To mandate such a controller to apply an enormous one-size-fits-all sterile zone seems utterly disproportionate and creates self-inflicted disruption. After all, the same aircraft was flying 100 feet below the base of the airway the controller wouldn’t be required to assume that he might suddenly climb 5,000 feet and endanger an airliner. Indeed, the controller may not even see it because it is not flagged up in his display. But if that aeroplane nudges into the base of the airway even for a moment then the controller will certainly see it and must assume exactly that. That’s inconsistent and illogical.
But before I go on, let me re-state, for the third and final time: I am not condoning this or any other form of infringement. I am merely pointing out that:
1. Not every infringement need be as disruptive as it currently is;
2. That the disruption is largely a function of the controller’s mandated response, over which he has little choice;
3. And, more importantly, that if we measure infringements on the basis of the disruption that they cause then we risk missing the far more important causal factors.
Without addressing those causal effects (ie, tackling the root of the problem) we have little chance of reducing the incidence of infringement.
So let’s look at the problem from the other end; the causal end. If we are not going to rank infringements on the basis of their disruptive effects, as CAP 1404 currently does, how might we more usefully classify them? Well, it seems to me that we’d be better off classifying them on the basis of their broad causal factors. After all, if we want to stop infringements then we’re much better looking at each through the eyes of the infringing pilot so that we can understand why they happen rather than getting hung-up on how much disruption they caused.
With this in mind, I would split down infringements into three categories (see box); and note that each of these categories is centred on the infringing pilot himself since it is he that sits at the root of the causal factors. I would classify infringements according to the motivations and/or skill deficiencies that caused them.
Notice that in taking this approach I have not given any weight to the effect of the infringement. After all, any particular infringement’s effect could be huge or could be nothing, and in any case will be quite independent of its category. On the contrary, these categories are grouped according to their main causal factors, centred on the pilot.
A Category A Infringer is, frankly speaking, a menace. The causal factors are the pilot’s own indifference or recklessness. There is little point considering re-training or re-education with such a person. If caught then he should be subject to the full force of regulatory enforcement action now outlined in CAP 1074.
On the other hand, the causal factor in a Category B Infringer is simply inadequate skills and/or incomplete knowledge. He is doing his best but for whatever reason he lacks the skills or the knowledge required to safely operate near controlled airspace. He can and should be taught those skills, or re-taught them if he has forgotten them. Once he has (re-)acquired them he is far less likely to infringe in future.
Finally, the causal factor for a Category C Infringer is simply inattention. In all other regards he has the necessary skills but he has made a mistake, maybe just momentarily. He may or may not benefit from training. It is likely that he just needs to be more careful in future.
So, what would I do? Well, to start with I don’t happen to think that it helps for the good people in the CAA to just shout louder and louder about how terrible it is that there are infringements. Nor does it help to mutter about tighter rules, or threatening harsher penalties. After all, apart from those very few whom I have categorised as Category A Infringers, no-one else sets out to infringe. Those who have done so are usually either Category B or C infringers and will invariably feel a sense of self-admonishment that surpasses anything that the CAA can do.
So that isn’t the answer. Nor, incidentally, does it help to endlessly list infringements on the various occurrence reports without, it seems to me, giving much thought into why they are happening.
Nor, I’m afraid, do I think that CAP 1404 currently hits the nail on the head, although it is a start in the right direction and does contains some useful points. After all, as previously mentioned, CAP 1404 is still primarily focussed on looking at infringements which are ranked on the basis of their effect.
I would suggest that solving the problem of infringements requires a two-pronged attack. The first lies with the CAA, which should take a clean-sheet view of the response that they require controllers to take in the event of an infringement. Critical to this is that it must be risk-based. It cannot be sensible to apply a one-size-fits-all response to each and every infringement, since they are often very different in characteristic and threat, and so they should be responded to differently.
Until the CAA does this then it should stop belabouring GA with the argument that infringement causes disruption since, to be blunt, that disruption is largely self-inflicted at present. In parallel with this the ongoing efforts to simplify and rationalise controlled airspace must continue, since the current architecture of controlled airspace is a significant contributor to the problem.
The second prong is to take a firmly causal-factor based approach to each and every infringement. There is no rocket-science here. The first step should be, just as CAP 1404 advocates, a questionnaire sent to every infringing pilot asking him to provide information on his or her infringement. The reply to this, together with the MOR (Mandatory Occurrence Report) submitted by the controller, forms the basis of the evidence surrounding the infringement.
However, I depart from CAP 1404 when it comes to the next steps. Just to recap (for those who haven’t read it), CAP 1404 currently advocates a stepped process that can be summarised as follows:
Collate the facts from the point of view of the infringer and the controller.
Review and filter each case on the basis of its effect. NB: by implication, take action most readily in the case of the most disruptive events.
Determine the need for the infringer to take an online tutorial and test.
If necessary, suspend the pilot’s license while he does so.
If he fails the test, take further action.
Without repeating myself on this issue of cause and effect it seems to me that CAP 1404 is getting ahead of itself and is making two important mistakes. The first is that in focussing mainly on the disruptive infringements it risks skating over other potentially more interesting infringements that may not have generated such effects and thereby slipped under the radar (no pun intended).
The second is that it seems unlikely that a full understanding of the factors at play in an individual infringement are likely to be collated from the two main written sources envisaged by CAP 1404: the pilot’s report and the controller’s report. There will almost always be much more to each infringement than meets the reader’s eye. Such nuances only emerge on examination of the event.
Finally, the vast majority of infringements are caused by a pilot’s poor skills, gaps in knowledge, or inattention. These can be readily addressed by better training or, if necessary, re-training. But this training is much, much more than just filling in an online test. I’m sorry to say that this online test approach smacks literally of box-ticking.
Since each infringement is likely to be different from the next, its solution will also be different. To suggest that a pilot’s deficiencies in skills, knowledge or attention can be addressed by completing an online test is ludicrously over-simplistic.
CAP 1404 then goes on to suggest that if an infringing pilot fails the online test then he will be required to complete one of three options:
1. A viva-style Q&A with a CAA Staff Examiner; or
2. Retake the Air Law and Operational Procedures exams; or
3. Unspecified re-training at an ATO.
And here at last, in Option 3, I believe that CAP 1404 gets to the right answer, having exhausted all the wrong ones first. Options 1 and 2 miss the point utterly and are really not worth considering further; the solution lies in Option 3.
The only way in which the right lessons can be drawn from an individual pilot’s individual infringement will be when he has an opportunity to sit down with someone appropriate to talk it through in a non-adversarial, collaborative way. This should be the second step of the whole process, not the last one.
So, in my view, CAP 1404 is on the right track but has over-complicated matters and drifted towards an over-centralised, over-processed, and (dare I say it) rather red-taped solution.
It could and should be much simpler. The process should simply require that any pilot who has committed an infringement (to the extent that it has generated a MOR) should be required within, say, one month of the infringement to spend an hour of time with a Flight Examiner at his local ATO specifically to address the issues around his infringement. That hour might merely be an opportunity to talk though how it happened and tease out the reasons. The matter may end there, or it may expose knowledge or training gaps that need to be addressed.
The FE should then be able to mandate the completion of such training within a given time period, just as he might currently mandate additional training in the event of Skill Test failure. Once the additional training has been completed and signed-off then the matter ends.
The first stage of this approach would also quickly identify whether the infringement was (Category A, B or C, for example).
If it is a Category A infringement then the matter should be passed back to the CAA for further enforcement action on the recommendation of the FE. But for the vast majority of infringers who are in Category B or C, completing the process means that they are likely to have learned something positive and helpful from their experience in this way.
Vitally, it engages the GA community in solving the problem, one infringement at a time, rather than just threatening or coercing it. Such an approach would be a welcome and productive de-centralised and personalised way of ensuring that whatever individual piloting defects led to the infringement are addressed in a timely and sensible manner.
It would also reap useful data about where the common deficiencies lie in terms of skills and knowledge. These would, in time, inform better initial training.
As a bi-product, the CAA’s workload would be eased and the problem of tackling infringements, which are everyone’s problem, would be passed in the first instance out into the wider GA community under the stewardship of Flight Examiners, allowing the CAA itself to focus only on the real problem cases. This is how problems get solved.
My proposal is the stepped approach (see box, below) that would modify the process outlined in CAP 1404.
In summary therefore my conclusions are these:
• Infringements are a problem, but if we measure the problem solely by its impact only then we risk missing the important causal factors. Without addressing these factors we will not reduce the incidence of infringements.
• Lessening the impact of infringements is important, but this is largely a matter for the CAA, not the GA community. The solution is for the CAA to permit Air Navigation Service Providers to take a more logical risk-based approach to managing infringements on a case-by-case basis.
• Identifying and rectifying any causal factors arising from the structure of airspace is a parallel problem for the CAA to solve, although we should all recognise that this is a slow process.
• Identifying and rectifying the pilot-orientated causes of infringements is very much GA’s problem. To achieve this requires that the various forms of infringement be separated out and each dealt with appropriately.
• Category A offenders should be dealt with firmly. There is no place in the GA community for such people.
• The key to addressing the others (Cats B and C which, after all, represent >99% of all infringements), is training. Such training needs to be targeted, timely and relevant; an online tick-test simply does not fit the bill. Nor does an over-centralised approach.
• The CAA should empower FE’s to mandate remedial training for pilots who infringe, based on a collaborative investigation designed to unearth the need (if any) for such training.
• Such training (if required) should then be delivered promptly by ATOs and recorded appropriately.
• Once the mandated remedial training (if any) has been completed then the matter should be closed.
Solving the problem of infringements is more complicated than some might wish and is likely to take longer than many might hope. Responsibility for so doing is also not confined to GA pilots, even though it is they who commit the majority of infringements; other parties also have their parts to play. Like a long journey that must be made one step at a time, solving the problem of infringements is a long process that must be made one pilot at a time. The sooner we start, the better.
PROPOSED INFRINGEMENT CATEGORIES
These are infringements where the pilot has deliberately entered controlled airspace without a clearance. Perhaps he had already asked for and been denied one. Perhaps he just thought that no-one would notice if he ‘nipped across’.
Believe it or not, there are pilots who commit these sorts of infringements; indeed, some of them are serial offenders. I would therefore group together this type of (thankfully rare) infringement into one category which can then be addressed specifically. The defining characteristic is that the infringement is a deliberate act of a pilot who may be perfectly competent and might be situationally aware but who, for whatever reason, has simply elected to infringe.
In a nutshell, a Category A Infringer is well aware of the controlled airspace, knows the rules but just disobeys them. There are thankfully few of these pilots around, but just one is one too many.
These are infringements where the pilot has accidentally entered controlled airspace as a result of perhaps not recognising it as controlled airspace; or not being sufficiently spatially aware to avoid airspace that he knew about; or not being sufficiently accurate in either the planning or execution of his flight. I would group together all of this type of infringement into one category whose defining characteristic is that infringement has been caused by defective planning, defective knowledge and/or defective navigation by an otherwise responsible pilot.
A typical Category B Infringer may be a conscientious pilot and might in many respects be perfectly capable. He may be doing his best but he simply lacks some of the skills required to fly safely in close proximity to controlled airspace. Sadly, there are lots of these pilots around.
Finally, these are infringements where the pilot has accidentally entered controlled airspace that he knew about and was intending to avoid, perhaps entering it marginally and only for a brief period. Such an infringement is most likely to be the result of a minor navigational or piloting error, either laterally or vertically. I would group infringements of this type together since their defining characteristic is a minor defect in the piloting skills of an otherwise competent and situationally aware pilot.
A typical Category C Infringer will have simply made a momentary lapse in concentration.
STEPS IN HANDLING INFRINGEMENTS
Collate the facts from the point of view of the infringer and the controller. Exactly as set out in CAP 1404.
Require that any infringing pilot must attend a meeting with a Flight Examiner (FE) at his local ATO within thirty days, the purpose of which is to tease out the causal factors behind the infringement in a non-adversarial, collaborative way.Prior to that meeting, they should provide to the FE the MOR and any other information including any relevant information; for example, the pilot’s previous infringement history and any CAA comment which might include reference to other factors including the effects.
Require that the pilot to complete whatever ground and/or flight training is then mandated by that FE on the basis of what he has identified during the meeting. This might be none at all, or it might be a complete revision of the rules around controlled airspace, or navigation revision. It will depend entirely upon the circumstances of that individual infringement and the degree to which the infringer has already learned from his mistake.
Complete that training (if required) within a reasonable period (perhaps a further thirty days), and then have it signed off by the FE.
Close the matter at that point unless, as a result of the FE’s investigation, it is clear that the infringer is what I have classified a Category A infringer, or if the infringer refuses to cooperate in the process in a collaborative manner, in which case the matter should be passed back to the CAA for enforcement action.
Such an approach would be relatively quick, relatively easy and genuinely useful in terms of helping the infringing pilot avoid infringing in the future. It would also provide a lot of very useful information about common causal factors. It would also counter any drift towards centralist habits which are evident in CAP 1404.
Flying to the Festival of Speed
Goodwood has started to grow the presence of aviation at its iconic motoring events, the Festival of Speed and the Goodwood Revival (which takes please this weekend, 9-11 September).
By Ian Sheppard
When a friend from Biggin Hill’s Heritage Hangar, Paul Campbell, suggested that we try to fly to Goodwood again for the Festival of Speed I was concerned at the cost of the landing. He had two tickets courtesy of Biggin Hill Airport, which was a sponsor of the event, so flying in would be the best way to avoid the traffic - and more fun!
In fact the last time we flew in it was for the Goodwood Revival last September. This magazine had been invited by Shell to cover the opening of its new fuel station. Having been to the Festival once, in 2014, it was interesting to see the difference of the Revival event. For one it is down at the airfield (which has the racetrack going around it), whereas the Festival is up on the hill near Lord March's house and the other main buildings, and the famous test hill.
The Revival is a period event with more classic vehicles, whereas the Festival of Speed also has many modern vehicles. In terms of aviation the Revival sees far more going on at the airfield with Spitfires and other historic aircraft. The Festival is a case of turning up a the airfield and taking a courtesy car up to the house, where there is a huge area each side of the test hill with exhibitors showing off their latest cars, along with the paddock and areas with different kinds of cars. This is all fascinating even for someone who is not a complete petrol-head (luckily Paul is, and is always good for spotting any famous racing drivers!)
So how did we get to fly in again? Well, the very nice people at Goodwood were happy to be covered even if we are only a fairly obscure magazine as far as car enthusiasts are concerned.
The aviation area is something that seems to have great potential - manufacturers, dealers, flight schools and others had flown their aircraft into a temporary landing site and the aircraft had been towed to an exhibition area just over a footbridge from the main Festival site.
Goodwood Aviation may not be an AOPA Corporate Member any more but we live in hope that they will rejoin! There is no denying that the airfield is an important GA one although they had a torrid winter, with this grass-only airfield suffering badly. When we landed in the Cessna 172 (from Thurrock) it was the Sunday lunchtime and the ground had firmed up but all around the site there were signs of the mudbath they had endured at the Festival.
Heading out, we (Paul, my car-loving 14-year old son Sebastian - who was helping Paul with pictures) and I got the flash courtesy car back down to the airfield. In contrast to the last time we came, there was no queue of aircraft to depart and we were soon away. I dropped in to Biggin (always PPR before leaving by the way, even if you are with one of their own!) and then we repositioned the aircraft back to the little hard runway at Thurrock. I hope to fly to the Revival in September, and may even dress up!
How to get an FAA licence using your EASA/CAA one...
Many UK/European pilots head to the US to fly and broaden their experience/have fun. Andy Torkington explains how he went about it.
Have you ever dreamt of some fair weather flying in the USA? Perhaps you are considering a new rating to your existing licence as rain and wind beat against the window? Well, if it something that you have thought about, then what’s stopping you? Lack of knowledge? Bureaucracy? Cost?
It’s easier, quicker, more efficient and certainly cheaper than you might think. Would you be surprised if I told you that to validate your EASA/CAA Private Pilot Licence for an FAA licence with the same privileges, it would only cost you £43.00 and about an hour of your time using only the contents of your regular flight bag?
I went through the process myself and was amazed at the simplicity of the process. I have converted my UK CAA/EASA PPL (single engine SEP) to the FAA equivalent.
All of the information is out there, but research is required to pull all of the information from various sources together. This guide will talk you through the whole process. Here is a comprehensive guide on how to do it:
There are three main bodies that you will need to communicate with:
The UK CAA;
The US FAA; and The US Flight Services District Office (FSDO) in the region that you are intending to fly.
The process is simple and consists of the following steps:
Complete CAA Form SRG1160.
When completed you email it back to the CAA along with the fee (currently £43). At the same time as completing the above, you must send a similar form to the FAA (Form 8060-71) to make the official request to the CAA for verification. There is no fee for this service and the form is self-explanatory. You simply complete the form and email it to the FAA.
It is worth noting, that on this form, you must specify which FSDO (Flight Standards District Office) you intend to present yourself at in the USA. You will need to look on the FAA website and select the correct FSDO, as once this is submitted it cannot be changed, unless a further letter and instruction is issued by the FAA. So don't nominate Florida if you are planning on flying in Alaska!
There is then an email of acknowledgement from the CAA reminding you to send the FAA a Form 8060-71. It’s then a waiting game. The CAA processed my payment after about three weeks, so I knew the process was moving forward. This was over the Christmas holiday period too, so I would expect at other times of the year it may be even more expedient.
Approximately one month from initial submission of your CAA and FAA forms you will receive a letter (Form AFS-760) from the Airmen Certification Branch of the FAA in Oklahoma City confirming the verification of your UK PPL and relevant medical certificate. The letter of certification is valid for six months and details the FSDO you have specified on your earlier form 8060-71. It also worth noting that the process can take up to 90 days to complete, so leave plenty of time.
You must then contact the FSDO (Flight Standards District Office) in the area that is relevant to where you intend to enjoy your flying.
The website lists all of the FSDOs and the areas that they cover. For example, I flew from the UK into Boston, Massachusetts, although I was to be flying in New Hampshire. So for me, it was the Burlington, Massachusetts FSDO.
You need to go back on to the FAA website and download a further form, FAA 8710-1. You complete the details of your current hour totals and other personal details. They recommend bringing this, completed in the main part, on a USB flash drive, so they can complete their sections and print it off during the following appointment. http://www.faa.gov/documentlibrary/media/form/faa_8710-1.pdf
The appointment takes approximately 20 minutes and involves an examination of your UK licence, UK medical and passport by their on-duty inspector.
There is no charge for this service or licence issuance. Your licence will be issued during the appointment.
(NB: You could bypass the appointment in person with the FSDO in the USA and complete this part of the process in UK. I obtained the details from AOPA UK, and the FAA gentleman I communicated with could not have been more helpful. Unfortunately the cost for this service is £385, yet it is free once you arrive in the USA. So I chose the latter!)
SEVEN STEPS TO FLYING IN THE USA
1. Email a completed form SRG1160 to the CAA.
2. Payment to the CAA for the verification process (currently £43).
3. Email a completed Form 8060-71 to the FAA with your choice of FSDO (Flight Standards District Office) included. This is where you present yourself to collect your licence in the USA.
4. Email of acknowledgement from the CAA and processing of the £43 fee.
5. Receive your letter of confirmation AFS-760 from the FAA.
6. Make an appointment with the relevant FSDO.
7. Present yourself and form FAA 8710-1 at the nominated FSDO for final verification and issuance of FAA licence.
Flying in the USA
So you are an EASA/CAA-licensed pilot and you want to fly in the U.S.? If you follow the advice in the Get Into Flying Step-by-Step Guide to validating an EASA/CAA licence (see above), now it is time to enjoy some general aviation flying in the USA.
Here is what you need to do and some handy tips to take with you on your trip. Much of what you are about to read is based on my own personal experience in June 2016, where I flew in New Hampshire.
Make sure you have your renters’ insurance to hand, as your FBO will need to see that too. They’ll also advise you in advance of how much cover is required. Look no further than AOPA for all your Renters Insurance needs.
I searched around and did my homework, but I do not think that the service I received from AOPA could have been better. I am sure that many people reading this article will be members of AOPA UK (If you are not, then please join - without a doubt the finest and most influential aviation membership association), so you will already know just what superb service, advice and information this organisation provides.
AOPA arranged my US membership (free for the visiting pilot) and arranged my Renters Insurance, which began on the day that I landed in the USA. You obtain the insurance for a period of one year, but please note, if you cancel your policy within 6 months of its inception, you will receive 50% of your policy back, as this is designed to help the foreign pilot reduce costs and fly that extra hour Stateside, rather than run an insurance premium long after they have returned home. A truly outstanding service.
Airspace is categorised differently in the USA. Sectional and Terminal Charts are different from UK Charts. Many abbreviations are the same on both sides of the Atlantic, however the USA METAR and TAF facilities are more detailed than in the UK. It all makes perfect sense when you understand it, it’s just different from what we, in the UK are used to looking at.
I would strongly recommend checking out the Boldmethod study courses. For a nominal cost, you can study Airspace, Weather Reports and VFR charts from your PC, Phone or tablet. The courses are interactive and fun, with section checks and final exams at the end. You can even email your prospective FBO your results should you wish.
My groundschool in the USA was significantly shorter as a result of having studied before I flew. Again, I strongly recommend you check out the website. It is a fantastic site, with lots of tips, advice and videos about all things aviation.
You will have likely considered purchasing USA Sectional Charts before you travel and it's a wise decision. Sporty’s has everything that you will need and the cost is far less than the equivalent UK charts and Airfield Directories. You will need the Sectional Charts(s) for the areas you intend to fly and the Terminal Area Chart.
The Airport Facilities Directory (AFD) is invaluable if you are looking to get a few extra airports in your log book. Crammed with information on each and every facility, this is a book you cannot do without. Two charts and the AFD will cost you no more than £20 at today’s prices.
Where to fly?
It is fair to say that the choice of a suitable FBO in the USA is vast. If you want to experience flying across mountains, you can. Alaskan Glaciers, no problem. The clear blue skies of Florida, why not? Simply stunning New England, you’d be crazy not to!
From Pilot’s Paradise in Florida to Emerson Aviation in New Hampshire, there are hundreds of FBO’s in between. That said, Get Into Flying would advise that if in Florida, then you should utilize Pilot’s Paradise for all things aviation.
Similarly, if in the New England area, you absolutely must check out Emerson Aviation, Laconia Airport, New Hampshire. Emerson Aviation is nestled amongst one of the most scenic parts of the world I have recently discovered. They have it all, from mountains to lakes and beautiful airports and airfields in abundance. I cannot wait to fly in Autumn (the Fall) on a subsequent trip!
You’ve chosen your FBO. With all the relevant documentation in place and your flight bag bristling with charts and an AFD, it’s time to get down to your FBO for your check out.
Emerson Aviation at Laconia Airport, New Hampshire were outstanding. From the moment I sent my first email, many months before my visit, until the moment I chocked N40812 for the final time, I was made to feel extremely welcome. An online scheduling system meant that my rental time was booked well in advance and I received email updates and reminders about my flying. It was effortless.
You will require a check ride before you are permitted to solo rent their aircraft. My check ride with one of their fantastically competent Flight Instructors (FI) was great fun. We departed Laconia for some upper air work, stalling, slow flight and such like over Lake Winniepausakee. Make no mistake, I was tested! We did three full stop landings at Laconia and a glide approach from the downwind. I was shattered at the end.
The following day I returned and flew three cross-country legs with a different FI. There was no requirement for me to do this, but it was invaluable as a first time flyer in the USA. There are no overhead joins in the US. Instead, you join at circuit height, 45 degrees on the downwind leg and join the active circuit. It isn’t a difficult procedure to get your head around, it’s just different. That second day of tuition was well worth it and I strongly recommend it.
Many airports offer a CTAF (Common Traffic Advisory Frequency). Many Municipal Airports, although offering lengthy asphalt runways and approach lighting / Instrument Approach Facilities, are not towered and therefore you advise other traffic of your position and intentions. It is worth that extra instruction and I quickly became comfortable with it. Many airports use the same CTAF frequency, so it’s important to always use your airport name on each transmission.
You will also learn about the Flight Following Service. Essentially, I took off from Laconia Airport and spoke to Boston Approach. In order to request a flight Following Service, you provide them with:
• Their call sign (e.g. Boston Approach).
• Your Type and tail number (e.g. Archer 40812)
• Your 3D position (position, heading and height)
• Departure point to destination point (e.g. Laconia Airport, New Hampshire to Manchester Airport, New Hampshire)
• Request Flight Following
You will be given a squawk code and acknowledgement of the service and then advisories about other traffic in your area as you fly en route. I landed at Manchester, NH, taxied and took off, followed by a landing at Concord, NH, with another taxi and take off without having to request Flight Following again. A professional service indeed, but worthy of practical demonstration in company with an FI.
The biggest surprise for me was the Weather Briefings. An amazing service that is free. You dial 1800 WXBRIEF and after a short animated message are connected to a weather briefer in person, who will provide you the most detailed and professional weather briefing I have ever known. You’ll get everything at your current location, your en route and destination airports. NOTAM’s are detailed and information on any Temporary Flight Restrictions (TFR’s), such as Government Flights, natural disasters or other special / unusual events.
1. Validate your EASA/CAA licence
2. Arrange your Renters Insurance through AOPA.
3. Complete Boldmethod Online courses on Airspace, Charts and Weather.
4. Order your charts and Airport Facility Directory from Sporty’s.
5. Ensure you have the current FAA charts for Airbox RunwayHD.
6. Collect your Temporary Airman’s Certificate, Check Ride and FLY!
Flying in the USA is wonderful. The weather and Flight Following Services are excellent, as is the level of instruction and the abundance and quality of the airports, airfields and aerodromes.
The cost of validating your EASA/CAA licence to an FAA one is £43.
Renters insurance is approximately £170 (in my circumstances) of which I have received £85 back.
Rental costs for an SEP are between $100 and $130 an hour.
One question remains. What are you waiting for?
Andy Torkington is a contributor to www.getintoflying.com, a social enterprise promoting aviation and all things aerospace. Please follow Get Into Flying on social media and check out the website content.
Redhill Youngsters Take to the Skies!
On Sunday 26th June 24 youngsters were airborne from Redhill Aerodrome to see what life in the air has to offer.
For some of them it was their first time ever to take to the skies. No less than 12 Youth Club Members and friends mixed with 4 Scouts, and 8 Cadets from the Redhill & Reigate Squadron ATC for the “Young Eagles” event held at Hangar 9, part of the popular “Pilots' Hub”.
The children and youngsters, aged from 7 to 15, were accompanied by parents as well as Officers from the Air Training Corps Squadron.
On arrival at their local aerodrome, the young flyers were given a safety briefing to learn about the special aviation environment and the importance of safety and awareness when near to light aircraft.
After this there were four 15 minute interactive workshops in the hangar amongst a dozen or so aircraft where they were given basic information about How Aircraft Fly, Different types of Light Aircraft, Instruments and Navigational Aids and lastly Pre-flight Checks and Vital Actions.
Then on to the main event! Eight local pilots flying seven different aircraft volunteered their time and aeroplanes to give every member of the group a flight from the airfield with a route from Redhill to Dorking then east to Westerham and back to Redhill via Edenbridge.
Each one of the youngsters sat in the front of the cockpit for their entire 20-minute flight and everyone was able to see under supervision how the controls worked.
The aerodrome was also very supportive as it continues its positive engagement with the local community through initiatives such as the Young Eagles flying and last year’s Redhill Aviation Festival.
Everyone had a wide grin on their face when they landed including those parents who were able to occupy the rear seat (but only with their offspring’s permission!). The Air Cadets were a real credit to their Squadron helping with the setting up and acting as escorts taking passengers to and from the waiting aircraft. Needless to say they were rewarded with a flight as well.
In a world where commercial flying sometimes involves travelling to distant major airports and always lengthy check-ins, it illustrates how convenient, fun and productive private flying can be from the local neighbourhood facility!
“Young Eagles” comes from USA where the concept of offering a flying experience to youths between 8 – 17 began. Over there is a huge fleet of private aircraft and so far the scheme has allowed almost 2 million youngsters the opportunity to discover the wonders and pleasure of independent aviation.
The organisers want to thank the pilots, and briefing personnel who gave their time and flying entirely without charge. Additionally, to Redhill Aerodrome for their support in providing the use of the terminal building and free landings. Lastly the help of all the cadets and officers from the Air Training Corps Squadron whose help was invaluable.
In particular thanks should go to local pilot and aircraft owner Martin Cundey, who was the main organiser for the event (and has graced the pages of Aircraft Owner & Pilot with his trips to Iceland and Norway).
France’s DGAC Restricts Cost-Sharing Flights
The controversial new EASA cost-sharing rules under Part-NCO have encouraged apps that allow pilots to advertise flights to would-be cost-sharing passengers (Skyüber, Wingly etc).
The costs shared can only be direct costs (fuel, oil, landing fees, rental price).
But now things have become more difficult for any cost-sharing involving flights within, to or from France after the French regulator, the DGAC, on 22nd August placed unilateral restrictions on such flights due to safety concerns.
IAOPA does not endorse or otherwise cost-sharing flights or the providers of them, and is planning to debate the issue at its upcoming Regional Meeting in Romania on 8th October.
However, IAOPA aims to keep newsletter readers and website visitors informed.
Some European AOPAs are clearly suspicious of the EASA cost-sharing rules and these sites, while others see them as a welcome way to make flying affordable and to widen its appeal and those that can experience flying.
The situation now is that in all EASA states except France, pilots are allowed to do cost-shared flights and advertise them on flight sharing platforms as long as they make no profit out of it and limit the number to six people in the flight.
France decided to issue an derogation using Clause 14.1 of the governing EASA Regulation.
This clause allows a member states to react immediately to anythng they believe to be a safety problem. For a link to the DGAC decision click HERE.
France has limited pilots who post flights on sharing platforms (and otherwise advertised to strangers, which could also include aeroclub noticeboards) as follows:
All flights have to be conducted in VMC. If you have a CPL or ATPL, there is no other extra experience conditions.
- If you do a flight that is less than 30 minutes and that goes in less than a 40 km radius from the airport then you need at least to have 200 hours since you had your PPL and 25 hours in the last 12 months.
- For all the other flights, you need an Instrument Rating (IR) or a Flight Instructor Rating.
It is worth noting that France's position 6 months ago was that flights conducted through a flight-sharing platform are commercial/public transportation and an AOC would be needed.
Today, with this exemption they have agreed that this kind of flight remains private and are legal for private pilots.
Now the sector is waiting to see what is going to happen at the European Commission.
Next Steps in the Process:
Before 25th of September, EASA will set out its position to the European Commission. The real issue is whether there is a safety problem.
If EASA says there is no safety problem it will ask to the DGAC to withdraw its restrictions.
If France doesn't comply, the decision will then be subject to a vote by the member states of EASA.
If EASA says there is a safety problem then it directly goes to the vote of the member states.
Some are saying that EASA will find no safety issue and also there are some claiming that the limits set by DGAC are based on commercial reasons to protect incumbent operators who have protested against the new EASA rules:
- About the 40km/30 min; this protects the “Bapteme de l’Air” in aeroclubs by setting the same limits.
- Asking pilots to have an IR, some suggest is due to pressure from a French union looking to protect the air taxi market.
Either way, the new limitations reduce the market to a small percentage of the total one, at least where there is any element of flights in French airspace.
One cost-sharing site said the DGAC is "taking away the most important part of the project which is helping private pilots to fly more, which will allow them to be more experienced and therefore safer pilots."
The same site claimed to have asked some other EASA state authorities, "and they said that they will not change anything, and that they find the French regulation not suitable at all."
It is believesd that EASA will set out its position around 20th September as it wants to act fast on this matter.
Note that such advertised cost-sharing was banned in the US via a Court ruling last year, although there is an appeal being made.
Pictures from Slovenia
Following the IAOPA Europe Regional Meeting held in Slovenia in mid-April (see Report) we were lucky enough to tour some GA airfields in the country, including Bled (pictured left) and the magnificent Lake Bled nearby. Please click HERE to open the article in PDF form (this also appeared in the August issue of Aircraft Owner & Pilot). The Slovenia hospitality was excellent throughout the visit and it's certainly somewhere to consider visiting (Note: For example, AOPA Switzerland arranged with AOPA Slovenia for several aircraft to visit and tour the country's airfields earlier this year).