As the 31 December deadline looms, the industry is concerned that perhaps only half the mandated 25 to 8.33khz panel radio conversions have been completed – but there may be some wriggle room…
8.33 radios – the current story as we know it and where it might go in the near future
In September IAOPA reported that, just three months away from the official deadline for equipping with an 8.33 khz radio, a number of states are now officially confirming that they will exempt certain airspace users from the requirement. In its newlsetter, the association stated that ‘according to Eurocontrol the following states have notified exemptions: Ireland, Latvia, Portugal, Sweden, Finland, Netherlands, Slovenia, Croatia, Hungary, Malta, Estonia, Poland, UK, Norway, France, Spain and Denmark.’
In Finland the European Commission has approved a ten-year transitional period. In Denmark there will be exemptions for VFR traffic below FL 195 outside Copenhagen TMA. In Ireland IFR and VFR traffic in class G, and VFR traffic in class C is exempted until 2024. In Portugal any individual pilot or operator may request exemption before 1 December 2017. Where granted, this exemption will be valid only in Portuguese territory for uncontrolled airspace and uncontrolled aerodromes, except those operating 8.33 ground radio equipment.
Feedback from AOPA members suggests that in Switzerland, Germany and the Netherlands the avionics shops will clearly not be able to do all the conversions in time− Pilot is hearing the same thing in the UK, where one source estimates that only half the mandated 25 to 8.33khz conversions had been completed by the end of September.
“We are aware of a backlog in the availability of avionics engineers to fit new radios to the aircraft, which was partly the reasoning behind a number of exemptions that we submitted to the European Commission at the end of 2016,” says CAA Airworthiness Surveyor Paul Farrell in response to concerns
The UK plans to exempt around seventy frequencies... used by GA
raised by aircraft maintenance organisations. “We are conscious that many radio users within UK airspace are not required to carry a radio but choose to remain safe and able to communicate where necessary. The intention of our proposed exemptions is to spread the impact of a number of users upgrading across a greater period of time.
“As set out in the Regulation, a State may exempt ground stations from converting, ‘for cases having limited impact on the Network’. The UK exemption policy plans to exempt around seventy frequencies, primarily to address those used by GA operators and further information is available in CAP 1533 (the list includes most of the country’s GA airfields - Ed).
“There are two constraints to this. Firstly, due to the characteristics of VHF voice communication frequency assignments, an exemption cannot be assessed in isolation from the situation and plans of neighbouring states. Frequency planning is governed by the relative strengths of radio signals that have no respect for national boundaries and the retention of each 25khz channel has the potential to prevent the assignment of two adjacent 8.33khz
channels in the surrounding airspace/ airspace of neighbouring states.
“The European Commission has asked Eurocontrol, in its [formal] capacity as Network Manager to assess the potential impact of these exemptions as well as to provide recommendations to the Commission on the reviewing (or not) of the granted exemptions. At present, Network Manager has still not accepted the UK exemption plan. We believe this is due to assumptions as part of the assessment process and are working with Eurocontrol to resolve the issue before confirming the frequencies available.
“The second is the policy at each individual aerodrome operator/ats unit. A small number of aerodromes have already converted to 8.33khz capable radios and have been assigned an 8.33khz frequency. We are aware that a number of aerodromes have plans to convert also during 2018. We are seeking information from all radio-equipped UK aerodromes to understand what plans for conversion they have in order to best use the exempted frequencies that we have notified, and are confident that we will have this accepted by the Commission.
“Once we have this information, we expect to publish more definitive information on the exemptions, probably in early November. However an aircraft operator will not need to apply for an exemption−this will be given to a ground station. Equally an 8.33khz radio on board an aircraft will continue to be able to transmit on a 25khz frequency. There are a number of frequencies that will not convert to 8.33khz due to technical constraints (e.g. emergency distress/direction finding or frequency offset applications). Therefore aircraft operators are not obliged to convert to 8.33khz if they remain outside of airspace where the carriage of radio is required i.e. it will continue to be legal to have a 25khz radio in a UK aircraft after 31 December 2017.
“In the short term, a 25khz radio may be able to continue to transmit and be received correctly by a converted 8.33khz ground station using the ‘centre’ frequency of the three new channels created [although frequency drift of the radio transmitter may prevent this]. Once we start to assign the ‘side’ channels, the radio receiver may be subject to interference from these channels as the radio will continue to receive from a wider bandwidth. Also the 25 khz radio will not be able to transmit on the ‘side’ 8.33 khz frequencies at all.”
“In our opinion, what matters is that the adjacent 8.33 channels must not be assigned to another station,” says Amarjit Singh Bamrah−known to all as Singh−of Falcon Flying Services/ Bigginair Ltd. “Then the ground station can transmit on an 8.33 frequency which will be received by a 25khz radio in the aircraft. The aircraft can transmit and the ground station can receive−as long as the aircraft is not interfering with another station 8.33khz either side of the frequency being used. Can the CAA ensure that frequencies are not assigned in a way that would stop a 25khz radio being used?”
There has been much talk of ‘plug and play’ replacement radios, the functionality of such units being disputed by contributors to our Airmail section. “Slide in radios to replace existing radios are not available as per CAA suggestion,” contends Singh, who also disputes one other bit of CAA advice. “Handheld portable radios are not safe to use as a main
“In the short term, a 25khz radio may be able to continue to transmit...”
radio,” he insists. “We have no formal data available to know how many aircraft in the UK are still fitted with 25khz radios. Perhaps the CAA could make this information available [and] can the authority confirm we will not be prosecuted for using 25khz radios after 1 January 2018?”
Now there is an interesting question to end on, and one that drew an immediate response when Pilot put it to Paul Farrell: “my understanding is the the answer is no – it will be ‘illegal’ to transmit using a 25khz radio after January 2018 unless transmitting on the emergency frequency, 121.5 khz. [While] exemptions have been issued for ground stations to use 25khz radios, none have been issued to aircraft radio stations!”
Seven new aviation students have taken the first tentative steps on Dundee’s BSC (Hons) Professional Aviation Pilot
Practice programme. The group is the latest intake on the course run by Dundeebased Tayside Aviation in conjunction with Middlesex University and Aviation Skills Partnership. The new students, all aged between eighteen and twenty, are Zac Chiswell from Carluke; Alistair Cunningham from Stonehaven; Duncan Mills from Peterborough; Kieran Mcgregor from Stonehaven; Emily Horne from Broughty Ferry; Shaun Sewell from Newcastle, and Panchbhaya Rokayya from Dundee. They bring the total number of students currently on the course to 44.
‘Students not only require academic criteria similar to most degree courses but must also hold a PPL, proving their aptitude, ability and work ethic from the outset,’ says Tayside Aviation. ‘The course, which is the first of its kind available in Scotland, greatly increases and accelerates students’ chances of gaining employment as airline pilots. It aims to enhance students’ career progression within the industry and hopefully attract more females into the career who currently represent less than 10% of the UK’S commercial pilots. There are currently 39 students working towards their degrees, eight of whom are female.’
Degree students can also gain access to funding to help with the cost of flight training. Tayside’s three-year programme includes structured hours-building in addition to CPL, ME IR and MCC training.
The programme also involves partner airline Loganair, which operates Saab 340s, and 2000s, Dornier 328s and DHC Twin Otters. Tayside Aviation has supplied Loganair with experienced pilots on their pilot placement programme over the past five years. Tayside Managing Director Jim Watts said: “Academic recognition for all of the hard work behind becoming an airline pilot is long overdue. With all the partners in this process, we have a common interest in our approach, which was to reduce the cost of obtaining a licence and provide the best support to students in our care. I am delighted that we now have this programme airborne and look forward to working with this latest group of young students.”
The next student intake will arrive in April 2018. Tayside Aviation holds monthly open days to provide information and course overviews. For more details tel: 01382 644372 or visit taysideaviation.co.uk
Ben Akhtar, winner of Biggin Hill Airport’s 2017 Nick Davidson Memorial
Flying Scholarship, began his PPL flight training course with EFG Flying School in September.
Now eighteen, Ben took up paragliding at the age of fourteen and reached a high standard in the sport, becoming a junior member of the British team and competing throughout the UK and Europe. He has also tried his hand at paramotoring, and joined the Biggin Hill squadron of the Air Training Corps, reaching the rank of Cadet Flight Sergeant.
Holiday work as an assistant at EFG gave him an insight into flying training and encouraged his aspiration to become a commercial pilot. EFG CFI and Head of Training Ray Watson expects him to have completed all flying and ground examinations by the spring of 2018.
Twenty-six-year-old Leo Tang has been awarded the TAG Flying Scholarship
2017 which will provide him with training towards a PPL. Originally from Hong Kong, Leo studied Aerospace Engineering at the University of Bristol and, since graduating, worked in aircraft engineering before joining the National Air Traffic Services as an operational resource analyst at the Swanwick Air Traffic Control Centre. He will train with Phoenix Aviation at Lee-on-the-Solent airfield.
“I would like to thank TAG Farnborough Airport for providing me with this fantastic opportunity,” Leo said. “My ultimate goal has always been to pursue a career within the aviation industry, to become a professional pilot and ultimately to qualify as a flying instructor, allowing me to pass on my skills to the next generation of young flying enthusiasts and encourage them to chase their dreams. The support of the scholarship is invaluable and is allowing me to make my dreams a reality.”
The scholarship is part of TAG Farnborough Airport’s ‘Aviation to Education’ programme. Now in its tenth year, it works with schools and colleges within the local area to inform and educate about aviation. Each year, under the auspices of the Honourable Company of Air Pilots’ scholarship programme, TAG grants a scholarship with the aim of supporting young people who might otherwise not have the resources to gain flying experience. Over the past decade, scholarship recipients have progressed to a variety of professional roles within the aviation industry, including becoming airline pilots.
The CAA has published Trainingcom Autumn 2017 which contains news and advice for flight training professionals. This issue covers: Controlled Airspace infringements; stalling; booking skills tests; use of GPS during VFR navigation training; dual flight; assessment of ME engine failure after take-off (EFATO); instructor assessment of competencies; unannounced CAA flight examiner visits; and the Skyway Code. It can be downloaded at: http://publicapps.caa.co. uk/docs/33/trainingcom_autumn2017.pdf
Helicentre Aviation Academy has announced details of its 2018 helicopter
pilot scholarship programme, under which it will award two full scholarships to successful applicants: a commercial pilot (CPL(H)) scholarship, valued at £55K, and a flight instructor (FI(H)) scholarship, worth £19K. The CPL(H) scholarship will cover the entire cost of all post-ppl(h) hour building (including the chance to fly some hours at the company’s Winter Haven base in Florida, USA), the ATPL(H) theoretical knowledge course, and the complete CPL(H) modular flying course — a total of up to 145 hours flight time in a Guimbal Cabri G2. The FI(H) scholarship will pay for the complete thirty-hour flight instructor course and will reward the winner with a full-time flight instructor position with the Helicentre Academy upon completion.
This is the sixth round of scholarships offered by Helicentre, offering budding pilots a fast track to a flying career, and represents an investment by Helicentre of more than £380k in professional training since the scholarships launched in 2012.
“Our scholarship programme has been extremely successful, providing winners with much-needed funding in order to complete their professional training,” Head of Training, Captain Sarah Bowen explained. “It has also proved to be instrumental in identifying extreme talent and professionalism; this is not just in the winning candidates but also in the overall high calibre of unsuccessful applicants, many of whom have secured career opportunities with us as professional helicopter pilots. (The) programme was created to meet the ever-growing demand for helicopter pilots and has proven to be the biggest single investment in the future of our industry that we as a company have made.”
Entry criteria and the online application form are at www.helicopterscholarships. com. Anyone wishing to apply for either scholarship must submit their application and enrol on Helicentre Aviation Academy’s PPL(H) course before 31 December 2017. To be considered, applicants must complete their PPL(H) by 30 September 2018. Scholarship applicants also have the opportunity to apply for the Academy’s BSC (Hons) Degree course, in partnership with Middlesex University. If eligible for student finance, the cost of self-funding the remainder of the CPL(H) is reduced to a minimum. Helicentre Aviation Academy is headquartered in Leicester.
Three years after Panshanger Aerodrome closed, a crowd-funding campaign has
won the backing of pilots, politicians and business leaders who are determined to see flying resume at the site.
Panshanger Community Airfield’s Project Phoenix plan is to restore the aerodrome to flying operations and to regain its status as a vital community asset. Among those backing the campaign are Carol Vorderman, Pauline Vahey from AOPA and the General Aviation Infrastructure Network (GAIN), aviation insurance group Hayward Aviation, and local Member of Parliament, Grant Shapps.
Shapps, whose Welwyn-hatfield constituency includes Panshanger, said: “[The Welwyn Hatfield area] has been responsible for some of the most remarkable aviation achievements. From the Mosquito to development of the Comet, the world’s first jet airliner, our area has contributed to aviation in a manner that few other places can boast. In more recent years, the airfield became known for its extraordinary work for the local community, focusing on access for residents to the café, revival days, fireworks and in helping to inspire new generations of young aviators to look to the skies.”
Pauline Vahey said, “We will be giving them all the support and help we can to help return this valuable asset back to its role, not only in the local area but also nationally,” while Tim Proctor of Hayward Aviation added, “We are supporting Project Phoenix as we are a company who are strongly supportive of all aspects of GA and particularly on saving and if possible reviving airfields.”
As a result of support from local residents and former flying club members, space has been allocated for an aerodrome in the local plan that is due to be reviewed by a planning inspector. However, the airfield’s supporters are concerned that the local authority and developer are not fully committed to providing a sustainable airfield for the community. The core team behind Project Phoenix includes Nick Coplowe, Sue Hart and Haim Merkado who all have extensive backgrounds in aviation. It also includes members with extensive planning, marketing, finance and negotiating skills as well as local historians seeking to preserve the airfield’s heritage.
‘All are local residents who are committed to bringing Panshanger Aerodrome back to the community to ensure its sustainability for the longterm rather than solely for commercial gain,’ says the group. ‘The team’s vision is for a revamped Panshanger Aerodrome to raise the bar to new heights, making the aerodrome a source of delight and pleasure for both the local and aviation communities. It will provide a positive environment for nurturing the aspirations of the younger generation as well as inspiring the older generations, delivering public events from revival days to futuristic insights and a place where experts from all fields can share a warm community atmosphere. The objective of Project Phoenix and the reopening of the aerodrome is to let all people bring and share their passions, to enjoy fireworks and night drone racing, from cycling to aerobatic champions, and to ignite a sense of adventure and discovery alongside a sense of pride and honour in the community.
‘Start now by logging onto our website project-phoenix.org.uk, explore its content and sign up. Backers of the crowd-funding appeal will be kept updated with key developments and be invited to events relating to the airfield. Record a short video of your most memorable time at Panshanger, what flying means to you, how you would feel if it reopened as a community aerodrome, and what you would like to see at the airfield. The most touching, moving and inspiring videos will be shown Youtube. Join our Facebook group (project phoenix panshanger), or follow us on Twitter and Instagram.’
8.33 radio designed to fit the standard panel slot: Garmin’s GTR 225
Compact and popular for new installations, Trig’s 8.33 compatible TY91
An 8.33 handheld could be one work-around, pending fittment of an 8.33 panel unit
Trig’s 8.33 panel radio, the slimline TY96 is designed to fit the standard stack width
Aiming for professional careers, Dundee Professional Aviation Pilot Practice BSC students with one of Tayside’s PA-28S
Preparing for his first training flight, Ben Akhtar (right) with EFG’S CFI & Head of Training Ray Watson
Leo Tang (left) with TAG Farnborough Airport’s CEO Brandon O’reilly
Previous scholarship winner Callum Tinnion’s post-ppl(h) training (including his instructor course) was covered by Helicentre Aviation. He is now Base Manager at Helicentre’s Florida facility
Panshanger was a popular GA destination before its closure
Left to right: Sue Hart, Haim Merkado, Jane Quinton, Nick Coplowe (PHOTO: PETER STERLING)