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Archives for May 2016

Live within your means – Minister Brownlee’s promise after the 2012 review

Brownlee may have gone away, but we haven't

Brownlee may have gone away, but we haven’t

I’ve already expressed my view that the CAA’s proposed new levies on commercial general aviation are some of the most draconian steps I have ever seen attempted, although I am assured they rank up there with the epic pricing debacle of the early 1990s.

Well, it would appear our former Minister of Transport nailed the CAA’s feet firmly to the ground when he said:

for the period of the next funding review (that is 2015-2018) the Civil Aviation Authority will look to decrease costs so that fees and charges reflect full cost recovery from 2015/16 and the need for further increases is reduced or removed…”

It’s time to deliver.

Has the CAA looked to decrease its costs? To be fair, it’s a mixed bag – some “ups” pushed by such things as the agreement with Airways on the AIP ($2m plus CPI adjustments) and SMS; and some “downs” such as shared services with AvSec.

BUT the net effect has been, as disclosed in the CAA consultation document, to push up the full cost recovery hourly rate calculated on the same basis as in the 2012 review to $466 per hour. Under the Treasury and Audit Office guidelines on charging for public services, this is the rate CAA should be charging industry – and could charge, unless costs are controlled at the 2019 review.

There was a quid pro quo in 2012 – Ministers formed the view that the industry had to “suck up” the increases – but there would be no more. The clear message: the CAA must live within its means.

We do agree that its “means” are pretty gold-plated compared to what we ordinary people in industry are used to, but nevertheless the message from Ministers was clear: Enough is enough.

Ministers come and go and Minister Brownlee handed the reins to Minister Bridges. But the problem remains.

Our lobbying programme is reminding everyone of the Cabinet’s undertaking.

For those who have responded to our survey and wanted further action, we have drafted letters for them to send to their MPs. We have also been in contact with and spoken to many more commercial GA companies. Each has been grateful for the assistance we are providing.

We are not suggesting that commercial GA shouldn’t continue its contributions towards the costs of running the CAA, but we are opposing the imposition of any new levies.

Levies are taxes that reduce financial accountability. They are the beginning of the slippery slope towards future revenue hikes. An hourly rate of $466 is simply ridiculous.

Let’s be clear:-

  • The CAA does not need $1.792m from GA commercial – present reserve levels are almost 300% higher than stated as required in the 2012 Cabinet paper.
  • Minister Brownlee’s 2012 assurances were an undertaking to reduce costs and remove the threat of further increases.
  • The CAA is not delivering value for money – commercial General Aviation is reporting little if any improvement in services.
  • The new levy “pays” for services which commercial GA already funds via the participation levy.
  • The CAA’s communication of proposals was too complex, lacked the critical financial information justifying the $1.792m increase, and occurred during peak season.

A quick reminder of the increased charges being proposed;

  • Introduction of new levies for commercial General Aviation (3-year phase-in):
Parachuting/Paragliding operators $2.50 per descent
Commercial Passenger operators (Medium/Large aeroplanes) $5.50 per flight hour
Commercial Passenger operators (Small aeroplanes and helicopters) $6.50 per flight hour
Adventure Aviation operators $12.50 per flight hour
Freight only operators $3.00 per tonne
Agricultural operators $0.87 per tonne

 

  • Existing levies (Passenger and Participation) to be retained.
  • Removal of hourly rate charging for all CAA audits.
  • A claimed 30% reduction in the pilot medical certificate application fee, which on closer examination was proved to be CAA sleight of hand: The Authority first increased the existing fee by 23% (to $404.71) and then reduced the new total by 52%, to $210.45. A genuine 30% reduction would put the charge at $162.76.
  • CAA annual income requirement projected to increase from $38m (2016) to $43m (2019)
    • o Removal of hourly rate audit charge – $2.24 m
    • o Reduction in medical cert fee – $0.8m
    • o Passenger levy + $6m
    • o New GA levies +$1.792m
  • CAA actual reserves $10.2m; targeted reserve $3.6m

We understand the CAA Board has considered and reconsidered the final recommendations. Adjustments to the levy rates have been flagged but the CAA continues to pursue the new levy on commercial GA.

There are now well over 50 letters with key Ministers and MPs. Each of them requests a one-on-one meeting with the MP to raise “parliamentary awareness” of the issue.

If you are opposed to these new levies and want to join our campaign, let us know and we will help you. We know we still have a bit more time as the Minister hasn’t received the CAA’s final recommendations. We will only overturn these levies if we speak with one voice and deliver the same message:;

LIVE WITHIN YOUR MEANS – deliver on Brownlee’s undertaking

We are not going to go away, and we will use every possible avenue to get these new taxes on commercial GA removed.

 

Now the CAA puts small aviation businesses in its sights

Drop 'til you pop - the CAA will grab $2.50 every time someone falls out

Drop ’til you pop – the CAA will grab $2.50 every time someone falls out

Many of us may be thinking that, this time around, GA has been let off lightly in the CAA’s triennial funding review. But we could be very wrong.

Did you know, for example, that the CAA is reducing charges for many big operators such as airports and airlines, but plans to radically increase them for many small GA commercial operators, if it can convince the Minister of Transport?

Take a look at this little-known article: http://www.sunlive.co.nz/news/123994-bureaucrats-threaten-skydivers.htm

The CAA could once again inflict serious damage on the little guys – but this time there will be knock-on effects for local businesses and our country’s important tourism sector.

We think this needs a closer look, and we are asking commercial GA operators for some pretty urgent assistance. The GAA has already written to Transport Minister Simon Bridges about this (and, for good measure, we reminded him of the harm done to GA by the last round of increases signed off by his predecessor, Gerry Brownlee).

The GAA is asking commercial GA operators:

1 – Do you support the introduction of a new levy on GA commercial?

2 – The CAA’s proposal is that you will no longer pay for regular audits. How much do you presently pay (on an annual basis) for CAA audits?

3 – Looking at the table below, what could be the cost to your business of the new charges? Remember to remove the annual cost of your routine audit(s).

CAR 121/125/135 Freight only$3.00 per tonne plus participation levy
CAR 121/125 less than 20,000 pax $5.50 per flight hour plus participation levy
CAR 135 $6.50 per flight hour plus participation levy
CAR 115 Adventure Aviation $12.50 per flight hour plus participation levy
CAR 115 Parachute/Paraglide $2.50 per descent
CAR137$0.87 per tonne applied plus participation levy

 

The estimated cost to my business would be: $

4 – Are you aware that charges for all other certificate holders (e.g. Airlines paying pax levy, Airports, Airways, Engineering, Aviation Training Providers, Registered Cargo Agents) will be reducing? Do you consider this fair and equitable?

5 – Do you wish to participate in further work we do in opposing these new levy payments?

If these proposed charges affect your business, we invite you to respond by simply sending an email to airfabrico [at] xtra [dot] co [dot] nz with the following info:

1 – yes or no

2 – $ amount

3 – $ amount

4 – yes or no

5 – yes or no

Add any comments, if you feel inclined…

Confidentiality is guaranteed.

We will use this information to prepare more opposition to the CAA proposals.

The GAA is asking the Director to reveal details of all 111 responses to the second stage of consultation. We know that the CAA has already given that information, in a neatly bound document, to a select group of its customers.

We are also collecting information on whether you are receiving “value for money” from the services CAA presently provides. We’d welcome your comments (either positive or negative) on this subject.

When the CAA comes calling: Part 1

Know your rights and obligations. Ignorance could be costly

Know your rights and obligations. Above all: Beware!

In view of recent developments in Health and Safety law for which the CAA is responsible, Angela Beazer – the leading expert on New Zealand aviation law – has permitted us to publish two articles from The Legal Lounge, about dealing with the CAA.

Here is Part 1, and you can find Part 2 on a separate page.

Rights and obligations when responding to CAA regulatory investigations

In the Christmas 2011 edition of NZ Aviation News, I wrote an article about the grounding of the MV Rena on the Astrolabe Reef off the coast of Tauranga, and the parallels that may arise in the aviation context.

In this article I want to reinforce and expand on some of the comments that I made in that article about your rights and obligations when dealing with CAA investigators, particularly in the context of an aviation accident or incident.

It is imperative that participants understand that aviation accidents and incidents may be subject to different and sometimes multiple concurrent investigations, and that the objectives of these investigations, and your rights and obligations in responding to those investigations, differ.

Safety investigations

A safety investigation will broadly follow the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) Annex 13 mandate, which is not to apportion blame, but to establish the causes of an accident or incident to try to identify safety improvements so as to prevent the same thing happening again. This would particularly be the case in New Zealand for any investigation carried out by the Transport Accident Investigation Commission (TAIC). It is generally mandatory to comply with a TAIC investigation; however certain safeguards exist against prosecution, and use of evidence obtained by TAIC by other government agencies for other purposes is generally prohibited.

The CAA may also conduct a safety investigation pursuant to Part 12 of the Civil Aviation Rules (CARs). Part 12 imposes certain mandatory obligations on participants, including to report accidents and incidents, and to take all steps to preserve physical and electronic records on the aircraft at all times. Failure to meet these obligations could result in prosecution action. Operators may also be obliged to carry out their own internal investigation into an accident or incident.

However a CAA safety investigation does not necessarily have the same safeguards against use of evidence obtained during that process, for other purposes. Participants and operators should in particular be aware that information supplied by any person to a CAA safety investigation may be made available under CAR 12.63 for prosecution purposes if the safety investigation reveals conduct that amounts to unnecessary danger. There is also nothing preventing information obtained by a CAA safety investigation being passed on and used by CAA operational units, which could lead to other regulatory or “administrative” investigations or interventions by the CAA.

While participants may be obliged to cooperate with a CAA safety investigation, it is important that participants are wary of the CAA’s multiple hats. Participants should take particular care in “self- analysing” what occurred or proffering up explanations as to why “mistakes” were made. Unfortunately, I have seen this occur and have seen prosecution or other action being taken by the CAA, largely as a result of information volunteered by a pilot following the aftermath of an accident or incident.

In this regard I wish to repeat, with some minor modification, a comment I made in my earlier article:

It is not uncommon when a pilot is suffering from shock, and particularly if he or she is feeling embarrassed or responsible for having caused damage to an aircraft or to persons or property, for the pilot to volunteer they were ‘at fault’ or to attempt to ‘explain’ how they have made a mistake or error of judgment that has caused the accident. Such statements may not in fact reflect the reality of the situation that occurred and may simply be driven by the emotions and feelings of the moment. Proffering such explanations could, however, be very damaging and may be used against a person in supporting a prosecution action.

I have acted for a pilot who fell into exactly this trap, of unnecessarily attempting to explain, while still recovering from post-accident injuries, why the accident occurred and hypothesising as to what he had “done wrong”. Unfortunately, he did so in the mistaken belief that he was being interviewed by CAA safety investigators when he was in fact being interviewed by CAA law enforcement investigators – more on this below. I stress that, even in the context of a safety investigation, while there are certain obligations to co-operate and provide information, participants do not need to attempt to come up with an explanation as to exactly what they have done wrong or why – that is the CAA’s job.

Law enforcement investigations

It is not mandatory in New Zealand to give a statement to a law enforcement officer investigating a possible civil aviation offence. While it may be advisable or in a participant’s interests to give a statement to a law enforcement investigator in some cases, this decision is best made after legal advice has been sought. In the context of an aviation accident or serious incident, it is in my view vitally important that the person(s) involved take legal advice before agreeing to be interviewed for law enforcement purposes.

In this context, I must also caution participants to be conscious that the first contact with the CAA following an accident or incident may not necessarily be from a CAA safety investigator, and that the CAA may not in fact carry out a safety investigation at all. Any participant who receives a visit from a CAA investigator should therefore ask questions to establish why the investigator is there and in what capacity they wish to interview you.

In the aforementioned case I mentioned, the pilot concerned received a visit from two CAA investigators in the weeks immediately following a serious accident, when he was still suffering from his injuries. The pilot was not explicitly told that he was being interviewed by law enforcement investigators or for law enforcement purposes. He was told that he was being interviewed for the purposes of a CAA regulatory investigation. He was also explicitly told that they were interested in establishing whether any safety improvements could be identified to prevent a similar incident happening again, and in that context, he was encouraged to provide as much information as he could. He accordingly obliged, and was oblivious until the day he received a court summons, that he had been interviewed by law enforcement investigators whose sole or at least dominant purpose of interviewing him, was to ascertain whether he had committed any offence against the Civil Aviation Act (the Act) or CARs.

The CAA did not in fact conduct a safety investigation into that accident, and a prosecution case was mounted largely based on the pilot’s own statements. To be fair, he was cautioned – that is, he was told he was not obliged to say anything and that anything he did say could be used in Court – this is usually a tell-tale sign that you are about to be interviewed by law enforcement investigators.

However the subsequent overtures made clearly drew some reference to the objectives of a safety investigation and in the circumstances, my client unfortunately believed that he was being interviewed by safety investigators. That is not necessarily to say that the outcome of that case might have been any different, or that he would have declined to be interviewed. I trust that the point is made – ask questions to establish why an investigator is present and wants to talk to you – and seek legal advice if you are being asked to give a statement to a law enforcement investigator. Even if you think you would like to give a statement, you are not obliged to do so immediately, and a few minutes spent talking to a lawyer is well worth the time and cost.

Participants should be aware that the CAA does have powers to require certain information to be provided, including for law enforcement purposes, and it is mandatory to co-operate to that extent. This generally relates to the obligation to provide any information that is required to be kept under the Act or the CARs. Beyond that, while there may not necessarily be a mandatory obligation to provide other information, the CAA does have the ability and, if it considers necessary, will seek a Court warrant to search and seize other relevant evidence. This does not tend to be a pleasurable experience. Legal advice should therefore be sought if you have any questions or concerns about whether or not to provide information requested as part of any law enforcement investigation.

Administrative/regulatory investigations

It is possible that a participant may also find themselves subject to administrative investigation under s15A of the CA Act. Such investigations will be directed to determining whether an operator or individual participant has complied with the Act and CARs, and/or as to whether any person is or remains fit and proper to exercise the privileges of their aviation documents or senior person roles. In my experience this can be a complex and difficult process, and deciding how to respond to such investigations involves many and sometimes conflicting considerations. It is not a process I would advise any participant to go through without seeking specialised legal advice and representation.

 

Angela Beazer is a lawyer and Director of AMC Legal Services Ltd, a law firm specialising in aviation and public law matters. Previous articles from The Legal Lounge series may be viewed at www.amclegal.co.nz

Disclaimer: The information and views expressed in this column are necessarily general and do not address any specific individual or entity’s circumstances. This column may not be relied on or construed by any person as the provision of advice within a lawyer and client relationship. Legal or other professional advice should be sought in particular matters.

When the CAA comes calling – Part 2

It's a minefield, so take extreme care and if in doubt, seek legal advice

It’s a minefield, so take extreme care and if in doubt, seek legal advice

In Part 1, New Zealand aviation law expert Angela Beazer provided an overview of the New Zealand civil aviation regulatory structure, including the statutory powers and functions of the Minister of Transport, the Civil Aviation Authority (as represented by the Board) and the Director of Civil Aviation.

Dealing with the CAA: Statutory Powers, Rights & Obligations (Part 2)

In this second part, I focus on the Director’s statutory powers to carry out inspections, monitoring and regulatory investigations of civil aviation participants, and how this is done in practice.

  1. Statutory authority of Director to delegate powers and functions

A point which I find is often not fully understood within industry is that the Director of Civil Aviation may, and routinely does, delegate most of his or her statutory powers under the Civil Aviation Act 1990 (CA Act) to CAA personnel, and in some cases, to external delegates. This includes the Director’s power to carry out inspections, monitoring and regulatory investigations of participants, and even to make decisions to suspend an aviation document. The power to revoke an aviation document is in most circumstances reserved only to the Director and cannot be delegated.

Participants should therefore bear in mind that a decision made or a power exercised by a CAA staff member or appropriately authorised external delegate will generally be binding on a participant and, as a matter of law, will be treated as the actions of the Director, as though he or she had exercised the power directly. As a general rule, the Courts will also usually presume that a CAA official is acting pursuant to a valid and lawful delegation unless evidence is produced to the contrary.

A further point that sometimes causes confusion among participants is that this power of delegation does not derogate from or abrogate the right of the Director to exercise any of his or her statutory powers at any time. The Director may therefore exercise his or her powers to affect a different outcome from an earlier decision or action taken on his or her behalf, provided the subsequent decision or exercise of the statutory power is lawful, and objectively reasonable. The Courts have also held that a statutory decision maker may change his or her mind even on the same information, provided there is a lawful and objectively reasonable basis to do so.

  1. Section 15 inspection and monitoring powers

Section 15(1) provides the Director with the power to require participants, in writing, to carry out or undergo such inspections and monitoring as is considered necessary in the interests of aviation safety and security. Section 15(2) provides a specific power to the Director to conduct inspection and monitoring activities against participants (note there is no requirement under s 15(2) for prior written notice). These powers extend to persons holding aviation documents, or persons who otherwise operate or provide “aviation related services” (refer to s 15(1)(b) for more detail).

The CAA “Use of Regulatory Tools Policy”, May 2012 version (The Regulatory Tools Policy), available on the CAA website under Policies, states that such inspections and monitoring activity may include audits, inspections, no-notice checks, and focused special purpose audits or inspections.

It is stated that these activities may result in formal findings, corrective actions, follow-up action to support risk reduction through a willing return to compliance, or assessment of the need or otherwise for further interventions (such as law enforcement action or further investigations or administrative action).

Section 15(3) authorises the Director to require, in writing, from any person subject to inspections or monitoring activity carried out under s 15(2), “such information as the Director considers relevant to the inspection or the monitoring”. For this reason, inspections carried out on notice under s 15(1) will also usually refer to and rely on the inspection power under s 15(2).

It is important that participants comply with any lawful request from the Director or his or her delegates under s 15(1) or s 15(3), as failure to do so “without reasonable excuse” is an offence under s 44A of the CA Act. If participants have any doubts as to whether information requested under s 15(3) is relevant, I would suggest erring on the side of disclosure, or if you have serious concerns, seek legal advice. You should also be aware of the CAA’s powers under s 24 of the CA Act (discussed below) to access facilities and seek records, when deciding how to respond to any request under s15.

  1. Section 15A investigation powers

Section 15A is a specific power of investigation of aviation document holders, and is linked to the Director’s “administrative” or “regulatory” powers to suspend, revoke, or impose conditions on aviation document holders under ss 17 – 19 of the CA Act.

The Director may, in writing, require an aviation document holder to undergo an investigation under this section if the Director –

♦ considers that the privileges or duties for which the document has been granted are being carried out carelessly or incompetently; or

♦ has reasonable grounds to believe that the holder has failed to comply with any conditions of an aviation document or with the requirements of section 12 of the Act.

Section 12 of the CA Act sets out the fundamental requirements for all participants, including the requirement to hold an appropriate aviation document; to comply with the relevant rules, regulations and the CA Act, and any conditions on the aviation document; and to ensure all activities and functions to which the aviation document relates are carried out safely and in accordance with prescribed safety standards and practices.

Pursuant to s 9(3) of the CA Act, it is a condition of every aviation document that the holder is and remains a fit and proper person to exercise the privileges of that document. The fit and proper person criteria are specified in section 10 of the CA Act. In practice therefore, the focus of most or all section 15A investigations will be on compliance with Sections 12 and 10 of the CA Act.

The process will usually involve an investigation carried out by a panel comprising of two or more investigators, who will obtain information and investigate the aviation document holder’s affairs, with a review to reporting to the CAA management and Director on their findings. The subject will usually be invited to attend an interview with the investigation panel to discuss the issues under investigation.

Current practice is for the investigation panel to simply set out their investigation and findings, without making any formal recommendations. The subject of the investigation will be given an opportunity to comment on a draft s15A report from the panel, before this is finalised and elevated to the Management to consider. The relevant Manager will review and provide any further comments and recommendations to the Director on any action or proposed action to be taken. The applicable General Manager will then review the report of the Manager to ensure compliance with The Regulatory Tools Policy in the conclusions reached and recommendations made by the Manager. The report and recommendations will then be forwarded to the Director for a final decision.

If the Director proposes to make an adverse decision to suspend, revoke or impose conditions on an aviation document, this must first be notified to the participant under s 11 of the CA Act, and there will then be a further opportunity to make submissions before a final determination can be made by the Director.

This is a complex and often daunting process to go through, and I strongly recommend legal advice be obtained by any person subject to a s 15A investigation or s 11 process at the earliest opportunity. For more information, review The Regulatory Tools Policy on the CAA website. The s 10 fit and proper person criteria and s 11 process are also discussed in previous issues of the Legal Lounge, which can be viewed at www.amclegal.co.nz/Articles, under Fit and Proper Persons issues.

  1. Section 24 rights of access and entry

Section 24(1) of the CA Act permits any person duly authorised by the Director to have a right of access at any reasonable time to any –

♦ aircraft, aerodrome, building or place (except a private dwellinghouse or marae); and

♦ document or record concerning any aircraft, aeronautical product or aviation-related service

– for the purposes of carrying out his or her functions, duties or powers under the CA Act, Rules or Regulations.

Section 24(2) permits duly authorised persons to enter at any reasonable time any aircraft, aerodrome, building or place, to carry out an inspection, if the person has reasonable grounds to believe that –

♦ a breach of the CA Act, Rules or Regulations is being or is about to be committed; or

♦ a condition of an aviation document is not being complied with; or

♦ a situation exists or is about to exist that constitutes a danger to persons or property.

What amounts to a reasonable time under s 24(1) and 24(2) will depend on the circumstances and facts of each case. As a general rule of thumb, you should consider yourself to have a duty reasonably to assist in any request for access or entry under these powers. Obstruction of a person lawfully exercising these powers could lead to prosecution under s 50 of the CA Act, and attracts a maximum term of three months imprisonment.

Any person exercising the powers to access or enter any aircraft, aerodrome or building may, pursuant to s24(3), require any person in possession of any document that is required to be kept under the CA Act to produce or surrender it. Failure of a participant to comply with lawful requests to produce or surrender documents under s 24(3) is an offence under s 50A of the Act, and attracts a fine of up to $1000.

These powers do not apply and cannot be used to gain a right of access, inspection, or to require surrender of, any record that is subject to an investigation by the Transport Accident Investigation Commission. A judicial warrant must also be obtained in order to gain access or entry to a private dwellinghouse or marae.

Personnel must also have a valid warrant of authority issued by the Director and must carry it with them when exercising any of these powers. If exercising a power of entry under s 24(2), they must produce and show the warrant of authority, and proof of identity, if practicable before first entering, and whenever subsequently reasonably required to do so. In any other case, although it is not explicitly stated in the CA Act, they should generally be able to produce it when reasonably asked to do so. Failure to produce a valid warrant of authority may not necessarily invalidate a subsequent decision or action taken by or on behalf of the Director, but could lead to issues of admissibility of evidence, or give rise to a separate cause of action if the proper process was not followed during the initial exercise of the s 24 statutory powers.

If you have any concern about the exercise or proposed exercise of any of these powers by a CAA official or external delegate, seek legal advice at the earliest opportunity. If that is not immediately practicable at the time when a power is sought to be exercised, it would probably be wise to err on the side of co-operating and complying, and seeking legal advice later if you have any concerns.

 

Angela Beazer is a lawyer and Director of AMC Legal Services Ltd, a law firm specialising in aviation and public law matters. Previous articles from The Legal Lounge series may be viewed at www.amclegal.co.nz

Disclaimer: The information and views expressed in this column are necessarily general and do not address any specific individual or entity’s circumstances. This column may not be relied on or construed by any person as the provision of advice within a lawyer and client relationship. Legal or other professional advice should be sought in particular matters.

Goodbye PPL Medical – and good riddance (but not in New Zealand)

96% of UK pilots backed the scrapping of the PPL medical. Is the NZ CAA deaf?

96% of UK pilots backed the scrapping of the PPL medical. Is the NZ CAA deaf?

The UK Civil Aviation Authority has announced the virtual end of the PPL medical.

Requirements for private pilots are to change in line with the CAA’s top level principles for GA regulation. They do not apply to pilots with commercial licences or those displaying at airshows, who will still need to be approved as fit to fly by a specialist aviation medical examiner.

The move – supported by 96% of respondents in a public consultation – will lead to cost and time savings for pilots and, in most cases, even remove the need for General Practitioner or Authorised Medical Examiner involvement.

Once the change takes place later this year, the medical requirement for UK private pilot licence and national private pilot licence holders will be to meet the same standard as that required to hold a DVLA Group 1 Ordinary Driving Licence. Existing medical options (for example, a UK declaration with GP countersignature) will remain available. The same options will also be available for private balloon pilots.

To take advantage of the change, pilots will need to complete a form on the CAA website to declare that they meet the DVLA medical standard. Pilots under 70 will need to do this once, while pilots over 70 must confirm their declaration every three years.

The changes are planned to come into effect in late northern summer 2016 when a new version of the UK Air Navigation Order will be published, containing these changes and other significant amendments for general aviation.

Currently, pilots with a NPPL licence are required to comply with DVLA group 1 or 2 standards and have their self-declaration of fitness countersigned by their GP. Holders of a UK PPL currently need an EU class 2 medical or the NPPL medical requirements if they only use the privileges of an NPPL licence.

The change is supported by a study of the risks associated with GA flying, together with a review of the causes of light aircraft accidents and the likelihood of these being triggered by a pilot being medically incapacitated. The risk to third parties has been considered and the regulatory approach taken by the Federal Aviation Administration in the USA, which mirrors the UK proposal, was also reviewed.

The consultation response document can be seen at www.caa.co.uk/cap1397.

More detail on the CAA’s GA activities and the work of the GA Unit are available at www.caa.co.uk/ga.

The FAA has a bill passing through Congress which will give PPL privileges on a driver’s licence medical.

Could we soon see the walls of our own CAA Medical Unit begin to crack under the weight of global common sense?