Call­ing air­field op­er­a­tors

Pilot - - NOTES -

Given that there’s strength in num­bers, how is it that just thirty of you have signed up to the Air­field Op­er­a­tors Group?

Over the past few years the Air­field

Op­er­a­tors Group (AOG) has grown, now em­brac­ing over thirty air­fields, in­clud­ing Good­wood, White Waltham, Popham and Comp­ton Ab­bas. ‘But it needs to have more, as there re­ally is a need to have a strong uni­fied voice,’ says the Group. ‘Vi­tal to the well­be­ing of gen­eral avi­a­tion in the UK are the safe and well run air­fields from which pi­lots op­er­ate (hope­fully) for most of the year... Over the years air­fields have sur­vived with­out the ben­e­fit of di­rect in­for­ma­tion ex­change or a plat­form for group dis­cus­sion and/or sup­port which, with the com­plex­i­ties and dif­fi­cul­ties faced, is re­ally quite ex­tra­or­di­nary.

‘To this end we are ask­ing that all

medium and small air­fields join the AOG. We have al­ready had suc­cesses, one be­ing ne­go­ti­at­ing a sig­nif­i­cant re­duc­tion of the AFPEX costs to air­fields. With other changes in the pipeline that will af­fect us all, it’s even more im­por­tant that we pull to­gether now, and make an early con­tri­bu­tion to the rules and reg­u­la­tions that af­fect us. It is free to join, there are no subscripti­on fees, and you will find the forum is a great way to share in­for­ma­tion. The AOG would hap­pily em­brace the busier un­li­censed air­fields as there... are many com­mon is­sues to be shared. Meetings can be held in suit­able ge­o­graph­i­cal lo­ca­tions through­out the UK to en­able lo­cal as well as na­tional is­sues to be dis­cussed when the need arises.

‘If you are an air­field owner/op­er­a­tor and would like a voice in the fu­ture of GA in the UK please visit air­fiel­d­op­er­a­tors­ and sign up to the forum, and email [email protected] air­fiel­d­op­er­a­tors­ with your name, ti­tle and the air­field you are as­so­ci­ated with.’

The De­part­ment for Cul­ture, Me­dia & Sport (DCMS) is in the last stages of up­dat­ing the Town and Coun­try Plan­ning (Gen­eral Per­mit­ted De­vel­op­ment) (Eng­land) Order 2015 No 596, which will make changes to the no­ti­fi­ca­tion process where telecom­mu­ni­ca­tion mast ex­ten­sions are pro­posed.

‘This change re­moves the op­por­tu­nity for aero­dromes to be con­sulted on ex­ten­sions to ex­ist­ing mo­bile masts where the ex­ten­sion is up to 5m in height, pro­vid­ing a max­i­mum height of 25m AGL,’ says the CAA. ‘Although Tele­com Code Op­er­a­tors are re­quired to “no­tify” the CAA and aero­drome op­er­a­tors, this does not con­sti­tute “con­sul­ta­tion” and there is no re­quire­ment on the Code Op­er­a­tor to act on any ob­jec­tion or re­quest for a re­duc­tion in height. The CAA, MOD and NATS had met with DCMS and De­part­ment for Trade to raise their con­cerns re­gard­ing the re­moval of the prior ap­proval process and its po­ten­tial im­pact on avi­a­tion safety, es­pe­cially where a tele­com mast ex­ten­sion is po­si­tioned close to the bound­ary of an aero­drome. The DCMS was sym­pa­thetic to con­cerns raised, but ad­vised that min­is­ters had al­ready agreed the change, con­clud­ing its con­sul­ta­tion process.’

To mit­i­gate against any po­ten­tial risk to avi­a­tion the CAA, MOD and NATS have con­trib­uted to the op­er­a­tors’ Code of Best Prac­tice on Mo­bile Net­work De­vel­op­ment in Eng­land which can be found at mo­ pdf/cobp-mo­bile-net­work-de­vel­op­ment.pdf ‘Whilst this is not as ro­bust as the sys­tem pre­vi­ously in place, it does pro­vide an op­por­tu­nity for con­sul­ta­tion,’ says the CAA. ‘Aero­drome op­er­a­tors are asked to be dili­gent in their safe­guard­ing pro­cesses and mindful of the fact that a tele­com mast ex­ten­sion may ap­pear with­out prior warn­ing. Where such a sit­u­a­tion arises, the op­er­a­tor should con­duct a safe­guard­ing as­sess­ment and, if it is iden­ti­fied (that) the mast presents an un­ac­cept­able risk to avi­a­tion, take ac­tion to en­sure avi­a­tion safety is not com­pro­mised un­til such time as a fur­ther eval­u­a­tion can take place or ar­range­ments are in place to re­duce/re­move the mast.’

The CAA will be in­ter­ested to learn of any sit­u­a­tion in­volv­ing masts that has been ex­pe­ri­enced by an aero­drome op­er­a­tor at: as­d­[email protected]

There is a move to pe­ti­tion the Prime Min­is­ter of France to try to stop re­moval of Cus­toms fa­cil­i­ties at around fif­teen

aero­dromes across France, in­clud­ing: Abbeville, Agen-la Garenne, Amiens-glisy, An­nemasse, Be­sançon-la Vezé, La MoleSaint Tropez, Lan­nion, La Roche-sur-yon, Le Castel­let, Lognes-emerainvil­le, Mont­bel­liardCour­celles, Nev­ers-four­cham­bault and Vichy-charmeil. Any Pilot read­ers who use these might like to sign the pe­ti­tion at:à-l-ex­clu­sion­im­mi­nente-de-13-aéro­ports-de-provinceco­mme-points-de-pas­sage-frontal­ier.

Lognes-emerainvil­le Air­port is one of the French air­ports that may lose Cus­toms fa­cil­i­ties

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