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European Commision LogoThe European Commission has released a working paper called "Roadmap For Regulation of General Aviation" in which it sets out proposals and recommendations to the EASA Committee to reduce over regulation in general aviation across the European Community.

 

The paper suggests a whole new approach to the regulation of general aviation based on a clear risk hierarchy. If adopted this will be the most significant change in general aviation for many years and will have long lasting benefits for owners and pilots.

"The approach advocates a move away from the traditional manner of regulating first Commercial Air Transport (CAT) and then basing the General Aviation (GA) rules on a slightly reduced set of CAT rules. Instead the new GA rules should be more "tailor made" and more "proportionate" to the type of GA‐activity, with additional "risk modules" based on safety analysis added to a basic rule set for more risky GA activities".

EASA LogoThe European Commission invites EASA to discuss these changes, which are principally to the lighter end of GA operations such as private flying and ownership, but makes the point that over time and with enough experience regarding the impact and effectiveness of such changes to the lighter side of aviation, the same principles could be extended to all GA operations and even some non-GA activities.

Briefly; The new approach suggests regulation based on the most relevant risks to GA rather than the current blanket approach, which is aimed to cover all possible risks including those risks associated with CAT. The blanket approach means pilots who fly occasionally are unable to remember all the rules, keep up to date with changes and often arbitrarily decide whether certain rules should apply to them. The impact is pilots become non-compliant and end up with an overall indifference to the rules, which is a major safety risk.

Up to now the answer has been to implement more frequent oversight, tighter regulations and higher penalties but these have historically proven to be ineffective and with severe pressures on resources is now impossible to continue with the current approach.

RISK

The paper seeks to define the difference between high risk, acceptable risk and an individual assessment of risk informed adults make - principally identifying those risk items pilots could responsibly take on board. The paper says that high risk factors should be related to the actual incidence of aircraft accidents and the reasons for their occurrence. Looking at accident data the following 5 areas have been identified as key safety issues where introducing a more successful intelligent method of educating pilots would have a major impact on Safety;

  1. Loss of control in VMC
  2. Controlled flight into terrain
  3. Low altitude aerobatics and low flying
  4. Loss of control in IMC
  5. Forced landing due to pilot error

The paper says that future regulatory policy should be more precisely targeted at the actual risks and avoid negative side‐effects. It should:
1. Be based on risks that have been identified as most relevant for improving safety
2. Be more proportionate to the risk awareness and risk choices of individuals, protecting primarily those with least involvement and awareness
3. Utilise non‐regulatory means where useful
4. Engage the General Aviation sector itself in safety work to off‐load the authorities and better reach the GA community
5. Use only meaningful data as a basis for decision‐making

 

You can view / download and print off a copy of the working paper by clicking here

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