8.33 ra­dio costs

Pilot - - FLIGHT TEST -

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

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