Defending the CAA
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