What's hap­pen­ing at our air­fields, aero­dromes & air­ports

Pilot - - Notes -

(Not) Their Finest Hour

The All-party Par­lia­men­tary Group on Gen­eral Avi­a­tion (APPG) has pressed the CAA to speed up in­tro­duc­tion of GPS ap­proaches at UK aero­dromes af­ter the Author­ity ad­mit­ted that the four-year de­lay in ap­prov­ing them ‘has not been our finest hour’.

In a meet­ing in Par­lia­ment with CAA Direc­tor of Airspace Policy Mark Swan and Head of Airspace, ATM and Aero­dromes Jon Round, AAPG Chair Grant Shapps, MP, ex­pressed se­ri­ous con­cern that the UK is lag­ging a long way be­hind coun­tries such as France, Ger­many and the USA when it comes to em­brac­ing tech­nol­ogy which could im­prove flight safety.

Mark Swan and Jon Round ac­knowl­edged that the Author­ity has been too slow in pro­cess­ing ap­pli­ca­tions, ex­plain­ing that the is­sue had proven far more com­plex than it first thought, and ad­mit­ted that GPS ap­proaches “had not been their top pri­or­ity”. The Di­rec­tors promised the Par­lia­men­tary Group that they would now “get a grip” on the is­sue. Mark Swan added: “We ac­cept that (we have) been too slow to process ap­pli­ca­tions for GNSS ap­proaches at aero­dromes. This is go­ing to speed up, and de­ci­sions will be made in the com­ing months one way or the other. We too want to see greater use of tech­nol­ogy in the gen­eral avi­a­tion sec­tor, and we urge spon­sors to pro­vide as much in­for­ma­tion as pos­si­ble in their ap­pli­ca­tions, to al­lay le­git­i­mate safety con­cerns.”

Com­ment­ing af­ter the meet­ing, Grant Shapps said: “It’s four years since min­is­ters asked the CAA to ex­pand GPS tech­nol­ogy to en­hance flight safety at smaller aero­dromes. That re­quest was made to the Chief Ex­ec­u­tive of the CAA, and it beg­gars be­lief that so lit­tle has hap­pened in the in­ter­ven­ing time. Whilst I ac­knowl­edge that there are com­plex­i­ties in in­tro­duc­ing ap­proaches in other­wise non­reg­u­lated airspace, it is now ap­par­ent that the reg­u­la­tor sim­ply hasn’t put the time or ef­fort into de­liv­er­ing GPS ap­proaches. As a di­rect con­se­quence we now lag years be­hind more proac­tive coun­tries on this is­sue.

“If the CAA is not able to re­spond to the needs of GA, even af­ter asked to do so by min­is­ters, then Par­lia­ment must in­ves­ti­gate whether a bet­ter ap­proval process can be im­ple­mented. There are now 156 par­lia­men­tar­i­ans who take a keen in­ter­est in what the CAA is do­ing and the APPG may need to un­der­take an in­quiry if we don’t start to see real progress, quickly.

“In many ways, the GA Unit of the CAA has led the world in re­cent years, but this seems to be a blind spot and it can­not be right that nu­mer­ous air­fields have shelled out tens-of-thou­sands of pounds to try to nav­i­gate a GPS ap­pli­ca­tion process that the CAA now ac­knowl­edges was not fit for pur­pose. We ab­so­lutely ac­cept that this is a com­plex area and that ap­pli­cant air­fields need to pro­vide fur­ther in­for­ma­tion on the safety case, but de­lay does not in any way en­hance flight safety ei­ther.”

Air BP re­news Black­bushe fuel con­tract

Air BP has re­newed its fuel sup­ply con­tract at Black­bushe Air­port. Av­gas 100LL is avail­able from the air­port’s fuel stor­age fa­cil­ity, and

both Av­gas and Jet A-1 are sup­plied from mo­bile bowsers. Fuel is avail­able from 0800 lo­cal, seven days a week, and since late last year ro­tors-run­ning re­fu­elling for he­li­copters is avail­able by prior ar­range­ment. Cus­tomers can use their Air BP Ster­ling Cards to pur­chase fuel, in ad­di­tion to or­der­ing and pay­ing via the Rock­etroute Mar­ket­place plat­form.

Black­bushe’s Man­ager Chris Gaz­zard said: “Main­tain­ing a ro­bust and safe fu­elling op­er­a­tion is crit­i­cal for any aero­drome, and I am pleased that this will con­tinue at Black­bushe in col­lab­o­ra­tion with Air BP. Their ser­vice and equip­ment qual­ity has been sec­ond-to-none. We were sup­ported in our pre­vi­ous con­tract, ben­e­fit­ting from the much-needed in­vest­ment in the fu­elling fa­cil­i­ties. We can con­tinue to de­liver an ex­cel­lent qual­ity prod­uct.”

Black­bushe cur­rently han­dles more than 30,000 move­ments each year com­pris­ing a mix of train­ing, GA and busi­ness avi­a­tion air­craft.

(Black­bushe an­nounced a price in­crease for 100LL from 01 July to £1.46 + VAT per litre − Ed.)

Farn­bor­ough first ‘car­bon neu­tral’ bizav air­port

TAG Farn­bor­ough Air­port has be­come the world’s first busi­ness avi­a­tion air­port to be awarded car­bon neu­tral sta­tus un­der the Air­port Car­bon Ac­cred­i­ta­tion scheme run by Air­ports Coun­cil In­ter­na­tional Europe. Over the past decade the Hamp­shire air­port has re­duced those car­bon emis­sions over which it has di­rect con­trol by 42% and over the past five years has in­vested more than £1 mil­lion in en­ergy ef­fi­ciency projects. Projects have in­cluded up­grad­ing to LED light­ing at the air­port that at the con­trol tower alone saved 15% of to­tal elec­tric­ity con­sump­tion in the first two months. ‘Sus­tain­able travel’ across the air­port site has also helped min­imise liq­uid fuel use and a net­work of twenty charg­ers has en­abled the use of elec­tric ve­hi­cles rang­ing from small ground han­dling trucks to a Tesla Model S (and an even more en­vi­ron­men­tally friendly fleet of bi­cy­cles is also avail­able for ‘foot­print free’ travel be­tween build­ings). Fu­ture car­bon emis­sions-re­duc­ing projects in­clude re­plac­ing the air­field’s old tung­sten ground light­ing with an LED sys­tem.

These maps, il­lus­trat­ing progress made on in­tro­duc­tion of GPS ap­proaches in Europe and the USA, show that the UK has fallen well be­hind in in­tro­duc­ing this safety-en­hanc­ing tech­nol­ogy

Chris Gaz­zard, Black­bushe Air­port Man­ager (left) and Rus­sell Hal­ley, Air BP’S UK Gen­eral Avi­a­tion Sales Man­ager

TAG Farn­bor­ough staff with their car­bon neu­tral ac­cred­i­ta­tion cer­tifi­cate

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