BMAA news roundup 26 June

BMAA News 26/06/2020

Dear BMAA Member

Hello everyone. Once again on behalf of the Directors and Staff of the BMAA I hope that this newsletter continues to find you well and managing to cope with the difficult conditions that we all find ourselves in. At least the weather is good for nearly all of the country with record temperatures ahead of the inevitable storms to come. Oh well, it could be a lot worse.

Return to dual flying in England

Following much discussion with the Department for Transport (DfT) and the CAA I am delighted to let you know that in England from 4 July dual flight can resume which allows flight training to resume. The relaxation of distancing and other Covid-19 protection measures for England announced this week by the Prime Minister has enabled the lifting of the dual flight restrictions. At the time of writing this doesn’t yet apply in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland, but I expect they will follow suit when their distancing measures are relaxed in line with those in England. As always, I will let members know as soon as I have any information on that.

For those in England who will want to start dual flying as soon as possible there is some guidance that must be followed to allow it. There are a couple of links below provided by the DfT and we expect some more aviation specific guidance ahead of the 4 July. The allowance doesn’t mean that distancing can be ignored, you will still have to take precautions.

For the avoidance of any doubts this is the text from the DfT sent to us at 1300 today.

Dear all
Following the Prime Minister’s announcement earlier this week about changes to lockdown measures, I can confirm that the reopening of GA businesses and the safe restart of General Aviation dual and instructional flights will be permitted from 4 July 2020 in England.
We will be publishing updated guidance around recreational GA flying on the GOV.UK website as soon as possible. In the meantime, it may be helpful to view the COVID-19 Secure guidelines that the Government has recently published which set out guidance to help employers, employees and the self-employed understand how to work safely during the coronavirus pandemic.
Many thanks for all your engagement on this and other matters over the last few weeks and months – we know there is a lot going on and more to do – and it has been appreciated. Please feel free to circulate to your members.

David Harding. Deputy Director, General Aviation, Skills, Safety and CAA Division

I had a meeting with David earlier this year to tell him all about microlighting, the BMAA and the member’s passion for what we do. He’s a top bloke.

Getting back to flying Wales

It is still unclear what the Welsh Assembly’s position on recreational flying is. However, the DfT and CAA have made it clear that the regulator for flying within UK airspace is Central Government through the CAA. This means that it is not against any rule to fly over Wales, the same applies to Scotland and Northern Ireland. However, local rules on being allowed to travel for leisure purposes may restrict access to airfields for many. Ultimately it seems to be left to the individual.

 Safely getting back to flying

Since the 15 May when recreational flying in England was allowed to start again there have been several accidents and incidents that could be attributed to lack of currency leading to a deterioration in skills. Please think carefully about your early post-lockdown flights. Don’t be too adventurous to ensure that you stay within your degraded skill limits. It happens to everyone. It happened to me a while ago. Having stopped teaching in late 2006, after 23 years as a full-time job and with around 9,500 microlight hours, I started pleasure flying from a local farm strip. In the next few months, I flew rarely; mistakes made, many. Mistakes included, taking off with the trimmer on full fast which didn’t help getting over the far hedge; almost hitting the far hedge on landing because I wasn’t paying attention; forgetting how to change squawk codes on the transponder when in flight, and the list goes on. We all forget. There is some helpful advice on the BMAA website page, please take a few minutes to read it. Also the GASCo presentation on their website

 EASA and microlights

Following last week’s reversal of advice on the ability to use three axis microlights to maintain an EASA PPL (A) SEP Class Rating I now have the following from CAA:

The EASA AMC covers the recency requirements for the LAPL(A) and SPL and the revalidation requirements for the SEP and TMG Class Ratings. As it is an AMC it would be for the Member State to implement as this is an acceptable means of compliance.

The reference to the LAPL is clear, and when delved into so is the reference to SEP Class Ratings, it just took a bit of delving. Three axis microlight hours can be used toward the requirements for maintaining an EASA PPL (A) with an SEP Class Rating. The end!!!

Well almost. The CAA also confirmed that microlight hours cannot be used towards gaining flight hour experience ahead of taking a Commercial Licence course.

Other BMAA work

Everyone of the staff is still working flat out to process applications from members, answer queries and keep the BMAA going as strongly as possible.

Among other things I have been a member of a small working group looking into airspace infringements to try to determine causes so that guidance can be published to prevent similar occurrences in the future. This is the third year that we have done this and a report will be published as soon as the work is done. There are no surprises really. A mixture of poor planning and pilot overload due to inexperience or distraction covers most of the events.

We are about to start a CAA initiated review of our airworthiness approval, BCAR A8-26. At first glance my initial thought is “Why what’s broken?” There will be a significant amount of time and effort required and I’m not sure that it is warranted. The LAA are in the same position and we have already set up a meeting for next week to develop a joint approach.

SSDR Rally

We are planning to go ahead with the SSDR Rally at the end of July. We have a meeting on Monday with Enstone Flying Club to agree how it will work. Obviously, we want to make sure that it is Covid-19 safe. Please keep an eye on the BMAA website events calendar for any details or changes.

The LAA announced today that their annual rally has been cancelled.

600 Kg

Please refer to the Q&A page on the BMAA website for details of progress on the 600 Kg project. As different questions come in, we update it so worth a second look; and of course, there is a link to the Flyer interview that I gave last week too.

Meet the BMAA

The next members’ ZOOM meeting is on Wednesday 8th July at 1900.

If you would like to take part please go to the page on the BMAA website linked below and complete the form. Please submit any questions so that I can prepare the answers. I will send out the Zoom invitation around midday on the 8th July.

I hope that you find these newsletters useful. We will try to keep you up to date with any news as it happens. We also share it on:

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and of course, through both Microlight Flying magazine and the electronic newsletter eMF

Stay safe.

Geoff Weighell