Weekly news 27 April

BMAA News  27/04/2020

To all members

This is the second news brief from the BMAA during the current health problems. I hope that you have managed to avoid the virus and are keeping well otherwise.

We continue to carry on with as much as we can at the BMAA office and homes subject to the restrictions of being down on staff numbers at the moment due to furlough. However, we are here and keeping up with routine work, post and emails. I am also attending virtual meetings with CAA, GASCo, the Royal Aero Club and others as we keep the wheels turning to represent your interests.

Below I have made some comments on recent flying announcements from the Department for Transport and CAA for, hopefully, clarification. Also, some other items that might interest you.

Council Elections & AGM Proposals

The Council elections close at 1200 hrs on the 30th April. Please, if you haven’t voted in either the election for Council members or the AGM proposals do so and have your say. Up to the end of last week just shy of 10% of members had voted. As a members’ association it is important that you have a say in how it runs and who is running it. Ballot papers were distributed in the April MF magazine.

Q&A Friday 1 May 1800 – 1845 hrs

Each year at the AGM members have the opportunity to ask members of the Council and members of staff questions in an open forum. Because this year the AGM is going to be delayed, I’d like to give members the opportunity to put questions to me that they may perhaps have raised in the AGM. I’m trying to understand the technology but as a first attempt if you have a question please go to the link below and let me have your email address, name and membership number and question and I’ll try to set up a video meeting that can be shared with others. If you don’t have a question but would like to sit in please complete the form without a question.


CAA Extensions

I hope that you will be aware of the extensions to the validity of pilot licenses, instructor ratings and examiner authorities that the CAA has made available in recognition of the restrictions on flying in place at the moment. If you are not aware of the extensions the following link will take you to the document. http://publicapps.caa.co.uk/docs/33/ORS4No1378.pdf.

There has been a little confusion which I hope that I can clarify here.

You only need the extension if the validity of your document runs out before you are able to fulfil the requirements for revalidation due to being unable to fly or complete a test or assessment with an examiner. So, for example if your certificate of revalidation in your licence expires in May 2020 and you have been unable to fulfil the flight hours required to have it revalidated for another 24- or 13-month period then the validity period can be extended until 22 November 2020. To extend the validity the pilot must have a briefing conducted by an instructor or examiner before flying after the initial expiry date. The briefing must be recorded as having been completed. The same principle applies to instructor ratings and examiner authorities.

We will be publishing briefing guidance to instructors and examiners soon so that they can give standardised briefings to all pilots, instructors and examiners as necessary.

Recreational flights

The Department for Transport published its opinion that recreational flying doesn’t meet the Government’s criteria for leaving home in light of the possibilities of spreading Covid-19 and potential further pressure on the resources of the NHS. I think that this has generally been accepted and despite some of the best weather that we have had for a long time members have been staying on the ground.

The CAA released further guidance for flying when necessary for certain essential maintenance needs. This has led to some varied interpretation among pilots. Whilst there is no outright ban on recreational flying it can also be argued that there is no need for maintenance requiring a flight test at the moment. If that is the case there is no need for a ferry flight either.

Members are concerned that engines may deteriorate if not used for a long time. The publication states that “Engine health flights are only permitted, where required by the engine manufacturer or equivalent LAA/BMAA procedures for Permit-to-Fly aircraft”. The BMAA has no such procedures. Rotax recommends what is referred to as a wintering process to protect the engine during lengthy periods of inactivity. If this is what you might do in the winter then possibly a good idea to do it now too.

We hope that we can get back to normal, or near normal flying before the weather beats us again, but for now I think we have to adhere to the policy of not flying.

New Wings Courses

We have been preparing two new Wings courses for BMAA members.

Aerodromes and How to Use Them covers the basics of ground and flight operations around an aerodrome. The apparent lack of understanding of some basic procedures demonstrated by pilots of all types has prompted the course covering basics in what should just be a refresher. The course lasts a half day with both a ground briefing and flight practice. Details of the schools which offer the course will be published soon on the BMAA website.

The RT Refresher course is aimed at pilots who have an RT licence and feel that a refreshment of basics would be beneficial. This is a ground course which will count as a BMAA Wings Education Achievement towards any of the stages through the Wings awards.

And finally

Please stay safe.

Geoff Weighell