8.33 radio costs
The following letter was sent to Lord Ahmad, Minister of Aviation, on 6 March, copied to Pilot I am writing to you as Minister of Aviation regarding the required change of radio equipment to 8.33 khz frequency spacing from 1 January 2018. I am a UK GA aircraft owner and my aircraft, a 44-year-old, four-seat tourer, fully instrument equipped, and maintained under EASA rules, is affected. The cost of meeting the requirements, while retaining my aircraft’s existing facilities, is over £17,000 including VAT. This covers: Replacement equipment cost: £11,000
(2 nav/comms and 2 CDIS) Installation cost: £3,500 Certification fees: £300 VAT on above: £3,000 The CAA negotiated financial assistance for GA owners from the EU, which is very welcome and for which they are to be thanked. I have applied and may currently be entitled to receive nearly £2,000 towards the cost of the changes. However, there are a couple of points in the way the funding is applied:
a) My existing radio boxes include radio navigation capability, requiring a dedicated indicator (CDI) to guide the pilot for each nav/comm-type radio. The new radios are not compatible with the existing indicators so all four items have to be replaced. The CAA advises the assistance does not cover the indicators which represent over £3,500 (inc VAT) of the equipment costs in my case
b) The assistance does not cover installation costs or certification fees — around 25% of the overall cost.
My understanding is that the 8.33 requirement was driven by commercial traffic demand and not by GA needs. This demand led to safety concerns over communications although some countries (Ireland and France) opted out earlier this year of requiring 8.33 by 2018 in their lower airspace. The financial burden on GA owners may be high in some cases, especially for older, well equipped aircraft. It is my opinion that further assistance can only help to improve safety in the uncontrolled airspace where GA generally operates; owners may be more likely to retain or improve the capability of the equipment in their aircraft. I therefore request that you consider widening the assistance to cover replacement of navigation equipment, where the existing equipment would be defunct if retained; and installation costs, or part thereof — to assist further in the financial impact of this change. Martin Bennett