As 2014 draws to a close it is good to have a lot of matters to mention that show a continuing influence of the Group when it comes to European Regulation and to report on the very significant changes that have taken place in the way in which EASA has reinvented itself into a far more user friendly organisation.
The latest manifestation is the new Professional Pilot Training advisory group which has been formed and which will have its first meeting in January. As a direct result of the invitation that Trevor Woods received to came and speak at the EATS conference in Berlin, and the extension of that event to start a day earlier with a specific meeting of Heads of Training which EASA attended we now have a new Industry Group solely to examine and resolve the problems encountered by our members and to seek to have these resolved in a proper manner including issues resolved in as quick and satisfactory way as possible.
To look at the new Group which was put together by Thomas Leoff and myself under the direct guidance of Trevor Woods I should point out that the criterion for membership were set forth by EASA to cover the spectrum of our sector of the industry. Thus we have large and small organisations, Fixed Wing and Helicopter, Type Rating and ab-initio Training organisations, Ground school and Flying, Airline training departments, European and non-European based companies as well as the two organisations representing the training industry, IPPTG and IAAPS. Yet all this is concentrated into a ten person Group. In addition to industry the Group will be chaired by EASA and it will call on EASA technical staff specifically needed for particular problems – a total maximum of 14 individuals in the room! There will be no National Authority representatives.
The Group is a direct result of the stated intention of Patrick Ky to move on from the EASA of the past to a more industry proactive organisation and to recognise that the rules have to be made by EASA in their own right and without the involvement of those who have to apply the regulations. At a recent meeting with Patrick Ky it became apparent that EASA was now fully recognising that Europe needed a properly regulated yet successful aviation industry that could resolve issues quickly and in a satisfactory manner. Only time will tell but I firmly believe that we will witness a much changed approach from Cologne over the next 12 months. It is interesting to note that the majority of the membership of the new Group is from IPPTG membership.
It does seem that there is a huge wind of change blowing through the aviation Regulators in Europe, and it started in the UK where the CAA has been completely restructured and streamlined and become more industry friendly. Gone are the days of Regulator dictatorship to be replaced by consultation and co-operation, yet still seeking to maintain the highest levels of safety and standards of training – the identical remits of the restructured EASA. Now it is for industry to make it a success.
The year has seen many improvements in the problems affecting the European training organisations and when attending the various important Groupings in Cologne we see significant improvements in attitudes and real understanding of where the regulation has led and forced industry into avenues which are sometimes unacceptable. These days most issues causing new concerns affect the PPL and LAPL areas and new issues in our arena are much less frequent.
Many feel that we should be classed as ‘General Aviation’ and in truth that is the arena in which we operate BUT our remit is to provide first class training and testing for the airlines and professional aviation well. I believe that the words should be changed to read ‘Leisure Aviation’ and this would make it clear the sector in which we operate and whom we serve.
Two major reviews will start early in 2015. The first is the complete review of parts J & K of EASA FCL – in other words trainers and examiners. This has already begun in an informal manner but is the leading issue to be resolved and hopefully will produce some results within the coming year. The other subject is the introduction of Evidence or Competency based training – a stated intention of EASA to introduce but which will be much fought by many National Authorities who feel that this will lead to a loss of their control and a reduction in standards. It will happen and must be achieved. IPPTG has representation on both Groups.
All however is far from perfect and the fiasco of FCL002 must never happen again. Interestingly EASA announced last week that they would have the NPA from FCL002 issued in 2014 – and I believe that they will do their level best to achieve this. It is a very large document which will generate thousands of responses – yet it is the most important document and all will be well advised to read it carefully and make responsible comment. A key point will be the way in which EASA deal with the comments – one hopes that this is something that they have learned from the past and use experts from industry to review and decide.
We are witnessing great change and 2015 will be a very interesting year. The slow change from a National Authority dominated EASA to an independent regulator that is itself responsible to those responsible for the safety and operation of aviation and uses the National Authorities as their agent to ensure proper and uniform compliance. This can only be to the good of aviation in Europe. The hiving away of what is regarding as General Aviation into a lighter regime is probably the right thing for those trying to ensure the revitalisation of leisure aviation, but we will continue to be viewed as a very essential link in the chain to ensure Professional aviation Safety.
I would like to thank all those in the Group who have provided guidance and help over the past year and to warn that your help and guidance has never been less required than now as we move to the next stage.
My best wishes for a Happy and Successful 2015
Peter Moxham FRAeS
Chairman 16th December 2014