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CAA tightens up air display regulations and proposes hike in fees

PUBLISHED: 13:52 15 February 2016 | UPDATED: 10:01 19 February 2016

CAA tightens up and consults on charges PHOTO: PETER R MARCH

CAA tightens up and consults on charges PHOTO: PETER R MARCH

Peter R March 2015

As a result of its wide-ranging review of airshow safety following the Shoreham Hunter crash, the CAA has made a number of significant changes to the regulations covering airshows. These are covered in CAP 403. Contributing Editor Bob Grimstead and fellow airshow pilot Lauren Richardson provide a summary:

'New rules may be introduced for formation flying' PHOTO: PHILIP WHITEMAN'New rules may be introduced for formation flying' PHOTO: PHILIP WHITEMAN

Pilots holding Display Authorisations (DAs):

Must provide a statement of knowledge, experience, competence, skill, history, physical fitness and mental fitness. The CAA will formally check if they have ‘the right attitudes and behaviours’.

'Changes to the air display regulations will affect all types, from warbirds to small piston-engined aircraft and gliders' PHOTO: PHILIP WHITEMAN'Changes to the air display regulations will affect all types, from warbirds to small piston-engined aircraft and gliders' PHOTO: PHILIP WHITEMAN

Will be required to declare whether they:

- have had any previous application rejected;

- have had an aviation licence revoked or suspended; are facing or have been convicted of any offences which could call into question their probity and/or suggest that they have an inappropriate attitude to risk;

- have a history of or are currently experiencing any physical or mental health problems, any behavioural problems like drug or alcohol dependency or have been interviewed about a matter of concern to the CAA or any other aviation regulator. (This list is not exhaustive and will remain under review.)

'Display lines may be moved further from the crowd' PHOTO: PHILIP WHITEMAN'Display lines may be moved further from the crowd' PHOTO: PHILIP WHITEMAN

DAs will be cancelled for pilots not holding a current EU Medical Certificate issued by an AME. (Preventing NPPL-holders from flying displays, however capable or experienced they may be — BG/LR)

The CAA will introduce a medical certification process for air display pilots based on the type, the manoeuvres; the increased physiological strain associated with high G-forces and the consequent risks.

'Air displays are the second most popular type of UK spectator event after football' PHOTO: PHILIP WHITEMAN'Air displays are the second most popular type of UK spectator event after football' PHOTO: PHILIP WHITEMAN

DAs for complex or high-performance aircraft will have increased minimum required hours.

Initial DA validation is required to be repeated after six months (as now) but also after another six months before becoming thirteen-monthly.

Every second year a DA holder must be re-validated by a new Display Authorisation Evaluator selected by the CAA.

Currency requirements will increase for pilots flying more complex aircraft and carrying out more complex manoeuvres.

Pilots performing above standard level aerobatics and in more than one aircraft category will be required to renew their DA in each category.

For pilots flying more than one type the CAA will specify the aircraft that the pilot must use when being evaluated.

When being evaluated for a DA, pilots must brief the DAE on their intended sequence, identify potential risks and mitigations. After flying their sequence, the DAE must require them to fly it again, but in a different order.

Aerobatic pilots must notify the Flight Display Director of their sequence. If this information is not provided, the FDD must not allow the pilot to fly. This sequence must include measures the pilot would take if they needed to diverge from their intended display, so that the FDD can identify if a display item is going to plan and take necessary steps to mitigate risks.

Display Authorisation Evaluators (DAEs)

All current DAEs will have their appointments cancelled on 31 March 2016.

CAA Flight Standard Officers will henceforth oversee flying displays and the DAE system.

No CAA employee can any longer be a DAE.

The CAA will put DAEs through a refined selection process, ensuring that a DAE remains competent, has an ‘appropriate attitude’ and demonstrates appropriate behaviours.

DAEs refusing, or even displaying reluctance to attend their annual seminar will affect the CAA’s assessment of renewing their DAEs.

DAEs must provide a statement of knowledge, experience, competence, skill, history, physical and mental fitness. The CAA will formally check if they have the right attitudes and behaviours.

They will be required to declare whether they have had previous applications rejected; have had an aviation licence revoked or suspended; are facing or have been convicted of any offence which could call into question their probity and/or suggest that they have an inappropriate attitude to risk; have a history of or are currently experiencing any physical or mental health problems; have a history of or are currently experiencing any behavioural problems, like drug or alcohol dependency; have had reason to be interviewed about a matter of concern to the CAA or any other aviation regulator. [Once again;] this list is not exhaustive and will remain under review.

Flying Display Directors (FDDs):

Must provide a statement of knowledge, experience, competence, skill, history, physical and mental fitness. The CAA will formally check if they have ‘the right attitudes and behaviours’.

They will be required to declare whether they have had any previous application rejected; have had an aviation licence revoked or suspended; are facing or have been convicted of any offences which could call into question their probity and/or suggest that they have an inappropriate attitude to risk; have a history of or are currently experiencing any physical or mental health problems; have a history of or are currently experiencing any behavioural problems like drug or alcohol dependency; have had reason to be interviewed about a matter of concern to the CAA or any other aviation regulator. [Again;] this list is not exhaustive and will remain under review.

FDDs will be required to renew their accreditation regularly. The CAA ‘expects’ (ie, requires) FDDs to attend its pre-season seminar.

For displays with more than seven acts the CAA notification period increases from 28 to 42 days.

FDDs and Event Organisers must submit to the CAA a formal risk assessment regarding: the proximity of major roads, congested areas and other nearby infrastructure, like railways.

The local Safety Advisory Group must be notified, so that local authorities and emergency services can start initial planning and provide early guidance to the event organiser and FDD. The event emergency plan is expected to comply with Local Authorities’ major incident plans and the Civil Contingencies Act 2004. Planning and discussions between the Event Organiser, FDD and these authorities should enable the creation of a safety plan for the air display.

This safety plan must include details of engagement with Highways England, local highways authorities and rail network operators, the local authority, emergency services and others to consider whether roads or railway lines should be closed, discuss Temporary Traffic Orders and alternative routes, and provide adequate avoidance information to the general public.

FDDs must identify any areas surrounding the air display site where the general public might gather, and detail how this risk will be mitigated.

The CAA will give permission for an air display only where it is satisfied these risks have been properly identified and mitigated.

Ex-military jets

The CAA is reviewing the criteria and requirements for the acceptance of ex-military jets onto the civil register, taking into account the level of support that was required to enable the Vulcan to join the civil register, requiring maintenance schedules for ex-military aircraft on the civil register to be provided to the CAA [in order] to harmonise and improve the standard of these documents.

The CAA is reviewing all ex-military aircraft required to have ejection seats fitted and active to ensure that they are necessary (for example, because the high stalling speed of typical swept-wing types precludes force-landing in the event of engine failure) and appropriately maintained.

Formations

The CAA continues to consider the additional risks that formation flying may pose and whether the current and new measures are sufficient to manage and mitigate the risks to the general public of formation flying.

Night

The CAA will consider whether specific guidance about night displays is necessary, and discuss this further in the next report.

Display Lines

The CAA is also considering increasing display line separation from crowd lines, and examining whether to restrict manoeuvres that result in the aircraft pointing directly towards the crowd.

Weather

The CAA is considering whether weather minima should to be altered.

Fees could be doubled.

In the most breathtaking aviation money-grab ever, writes Bob Grimstead, the CAA proposes to double their fees for not only everything to do with air displays and airshows (from big to tiny) but also for filming and photography permits, any low flying and flying for remuneration without an AOC.

As if this wasn’t extortionate enough, they also intend adding an entirely new charge for shows with more than six acts. For these small events they will add an extra, post-show charge of from £500 for smaller displays, up to a massive £15,000 for fair-sized shows of 31 or more acts. (Full details are published in CAP 1371).

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