Balloon Repair Station

News update 10.10.14

Great news – EASA Committee accept the Amendment to Aircrew Regulation

Following the massive U-turn by EASA concerning the imminent implementation of the over-the-top training and licensing requirements across the GA (General Aviation) spectrum, following further debate and discussion and the crucial vote in Brussels, held over the 8-9 October, the Amendment to Aircrew Regulation has won through. This comes as a great relief to all members of the GA Community throughout most of Europe who have, since the bonkers inception of Training Organisations was introduced, seen flying clubs close and general aviation dwindle. In the UK the strong and impressive representation made by the Civil Aviation Authority, having worked very closely with all those clubs and organisations involved in GA, clearly helped immensely in the correct decision being taken by EASA. This though does not mean that EASA still won’t adopt some or all of the initial proposals and a great deal of work still lays ahead, however its all now stamped, dotted and official so GA has three years to convince them that everything was perfectly OK before. Praise indeed to all those that helped with the outcome not least to the CAA who represented UK GA in the most positive way possible.

Following the vote at the EASA Committee in Brussels, Tony Rapson, Head of the CAA General Aviation Unit, released this statement dated 9th October:

At the EASA Committee on 8th and 9th October 2014 the Member States voted positively for an amendment to the Aircrew Regulation. The UK has been actively involved in this work with staff from the CAA and members of the GA Community playing a significant role to achieve positive change against significant resistance, to ensure a better and more proportional approach for GA is achieved and enabled for the future. I have attached a short list of the items agreed. The definitive version will be the final text as issued which we will distribute when it is made available.

There was considerable text re-drafting over the course of the meeting to enable the amendment to be effective across a number of differing Member States requirements.

The positive vote means we have achieved:

A delay to the mandatory requirements for all Registered Training Facilities to become Approved Training Organisations by April 2015 until April 2018. The delay is to allow the development alternative options for private pilot training to continue outside of ATOs beyond April 2018. This will be an important workstream that we will need to actively support.

An increase in the permitted upper age limit for single pilots of commercial balloon flights under EASA rules from 65 to 70 years of age.

Rationalisation of the revalidation requirements for balloon group ratings to permit revalidation on the largest balloon the pilot intends to fly.

The continued use of revalidation examiner privileges.

Making seaplane rating revalidations more proportionate.

Rules to permit the holders of third country licences to take part in EU competitions and flying displays.

Tony Rapson