On Air, Issue 15: General Aviation - Editorial

The importance of General Aviation
Trevor Woods
Image caption

Trevor Woods, Certification Director, EASA

General Aviation (GA) is among EASA’s top priorities. The Agency has dedicated a large amount of resources and effort to develop simpler, lighter and better rules for GA. In partnership with the national aviation authorities, EASA created in 2014 the roadmap for Regulation of General Aviation (known as the GA Roadmap) as a contribution to a safer European aviation system.

The Agency aims at bringing positive change to the GA community by simplifying existing regulations where possible, introducing flexible measures where necessary and developing safety promotion to address safety risks when rules are not necessary.

The task to develop simpler, lighter and better rules for GA will take time to be completed and it cannot be done by a single party.  It can only be the result of a series of coordinated and harmonized actions from EASA, the European Commission, Member States, National Aviation Authorities, but also by operators, private pilots, flying clubs and associations.

During this year’s edition of AERO, the biggest GA trade fair in Europe, held in Friedrichshafen, Germany, EASA presented several strategic key objectives of the GA Roadmap which have already been reached: alleviations for training schools and better access to Instrument Flying for GA pilots, the stand-alone OPS rules for Balloons and Sailplanes, the single set of rules for specialized operations, simplified maintenance rules and specifications for changes and repairs. EASA has also re-written CS-23 certification rules for small aircraft that aim to enable innovative solutions enhancing safety and reducing time and costs.

And it was not all about rules: I handed over the type certifications for BlackShape TC 115 and Socata TBM 910 and the Charter on Safety of non-commercial GA flights with light aircraft with the flight sharing companies COAVMI, Flyt.Club and Wingly. The size of the show, the number of very innovative products, composite materials everywhere, electrical and hybrid propulsion, avionics and affordable glass cockpit solutions are a sign of how dynamic the GA market is.

All the people I met at the show had encouraging words about the EASA efforts to simplify and improve GA regulations in Europe: this is an encouraging picture for the future; be certain that we will pursue this effort.