More than 6000 GA pilots get EU grants to upgrade their comms

29 January 2019 / by the GAA team / Adventure, Costs, GA in general, Governance, News, Opinion, Overview, Safety

Funding provided by the EU has helped more than 6000 GA pilots and private aircraft owners to change from their 25 kHz radios to 8.33 equivalents.

This issue is essentially no different from New Zealand’s switch to ADS-B transponders, because in both cases GA operators must  incur costs for equipment in a change that profits commercial players in the aviation system, and provides little or no financial benefit to the private, non-profit people.

ADS B is rocket science. Deciding to help GA operators install it is not

All aircraft operated in the EU, that are required to carry a radio, had to be using equipment compatible with 8.33 kHz spacing by the end of 2018.

Claimants were allowed to apply for a 20 per cent grant on any purchase of an 8.33 kHz radio, either fitted or hand-held. The CAA originally applied for the funding from the EU in 2016 to assist with conversion of the UK GA fleet to 8.33.

The EU’s Innovation and Networks Executive Agency (INEA) accepted the application and made €4.3m available in several tranches. A dedicated team at the UK CAA has been processing claims since the first tranche of funds was made available in 2017.

The CAA’s project manager, Bob Liddiard, said: “We recognised the challenges that many GA pilots and aircraft owners faced in having to upgrade their existing radio equipment and the grants made available by the EU assisted a high percentage of our GA community.”

Note to CAA Director Graeme Harris: Can we talk again about that change to ADS-B in New Zealand?

Our authorities – the CAA, the Ministry of Transport and Airways Corporation – have an all-too-easy life, firmly stating when they intend to review their fees and charges (Airways being the latest to announce a pricing review), putting strict limits on user consultation and feedback and ultimately leaving their customers dissatisfied and feeling ignored.

Isn’t it strange that, whenever a major deadlined change such as ADS-B is imposed, they find it so difficult to consider the cost from the users’ point of view and seem incapable of imposing an in-house deadline to provide the obvious solution?