De­fend­ing the CAA

Pilot - - AIRMAIL -

I feel I have to write some­what in de­fence of the CAA, as a fel­low pro­fes­sional in the cer­ti­fi­ca­tion field, due to the ‘Pre­flight’ ed­i­to­rial (Fe­bru­ary), where the cer­ti­fi­ca­tion process was crit­i­cised (al­beit only mildly). I’m sure the CAA is grown-up enough to re­spond it­self but I am un­com­fort­able that there seems to be a ‘them and us’ at­ti­tude be­tween pi­lots and the CAA, and items like this one don’t help to break that down, so I wanted to make it clear that there are pi­lots out there who do em­pathise with the CAA to some level.

The is­sues re­gard­ing one air­craft man­u­fac­turer elect­ing to strengthen con­trol rods and another tak­ing a quicker and cheaper op­tion just to fit end stops is not a CAA re­spon­si­bil­ity but is down to the man­u­fac­turer. One might be of the opin­ion that the CAA could have pro­vided ex­am­ples of air­frame de­sign that would have been ac­cept­able as com­pli­ant so­lu­tions but that would pos­si­bly sti­fle the de­sign free­doms or com­pe­ti­tion, and would pos­si­bly pass re­spon­si­bil­ity for the de­sign risk to the CAA, rather than it stay­ing with the man­u­fac­turer.

The abil­ity to think out of the box is one of the fac­tors that makes a com­pany suc­cess­ful and com­pet­i­tive, usu­ally by hav­ing knowl­edge­able, ex­pe­ri­enced and imag­i­na­tive staff, and find­ing a sim­ple but ef­fec­tive so­lu­tion (like con­trol end stops) is what gives a com­pany the ad­van­tage. The cer­ti­fi­ca­tion bod­ies, such as the CAA, are only check­ing that a de­sign meets the nec­es­sary cri­te­ria, they do not act as de­sign­ers.

Mar­tin Jewell, Lon­don

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