On Air, Issue 19: The EASA General Aviation Roadmap - Editorial

GA Community: bringing people together in a team beyond EASA
Dominique Roland, Head of EASA General Aviation & Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS) Department

This year’s AERO (Friedrichshafen, 18-21 April 2018) was again a success for the EASA GA Roadmap team and the European GA community representatives who, for the past years, have been working relentlessly for easier, better and lighter rules for the General Aviation community. The milestones and latest achievements of the GA Roadmap, which has now come close to completing its original list of actions[1], were presented at our stakeholder & press event at AERO. The reactions to the event were encouraging – “enlightening, confident, open in a mutual manner, motivating to take on the challenges and opportunities of the future in a positive and curious spirit” – these were some of the impressions given.

We already created a light, flexible and resilient regulatory framework – it is now up to the Member States to endorse and support this!

The way forward from here is a common vision and strategy for General Aviation involving us all. We already created a sound basis with the new lighter and more flexible regulatory framework coming into place that will support GA in Europe and make it more resilient and adaptive to new demands. The timeline varies depending on where in the legislative process the action items are.

To take one example: With the Opinion for a lighter Part-M, we proposed a smart, resilient and flexible rules framework to the Commission and the Member States. It is now up to the Member States – the representatives of your countries - to endorse and adopt them!

Currently, we still face considerable challenges when it comes to implementation of the GA Roadmap at the national – the Member States’ - level. For European GA to really be successful and ‘take off’, we need to improve this cooperation. What culture do we want? One of separation and division or one where we work together and feel and act as the community we really are? Things will really start to happen when we decide for the latter.

Innovation, research, data, young people – for all this we have to bring people together and create a team beyond EASA!

While most GA Roadmap action points have been tackled and solved, we cannot sit back. We need to move on, review the Roadmap, adjust and adapt continuously (this is also a requirement of our new Basic Regulation) – and we have to focus on the future: on our future pilots; on new and innovative technologies such as electric & hybrid propulsion; but also on drones, airspace usage, and new business models of flying. Data collection & analysis and research, for example, are powerful tools that help us staying on top of things.

For all of this to ‘fly’, a few conditions need to be met. Firstly, we need to talk to each other and do so as a community. We have to draw the attention of potential new aviators and future pilots. EASA’s recently launched safety promotion activities all target GA: the EU-wide airspace infringement campaign; Sunny Swift, the cartoon on mitigating risks and better flying; or the GA community site that invites everybody to participate in discussions and share information about all kinds of topics within GA.

The general feedback to our efforts in communication and safety promotion have been positive. Safety Promotion does not only explain safety rules – in some cases, it may even replace certain rules (where such rules would serve only to further complicate things without adding any safety-related added value). However, to be really successful at this, again, we cannot do it on our own. We need the whole GA community’s – your - ideas and participation! This will make safety promotion effective – it is practiced Safety Together!, our new slogan for safety promotion activities.

Whether it’s the common work on the rules, their implementation at national level, sharing data, ideas and research activities or working together on safety promotion: To gain confidence and trust, to face the future in a positive and optimistic spirit we absolutely need to strengthen and truly act as the community we are! The simplified rules already pave the way for a different mind-set - where we as EASA, all NAAs and associations offer a tailored approach taking into account the specificities of GA activity. We can improve and work on this vision, together!

Dominique Roland
Head of EASA General Aviation & Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS) Department

[1] Two items still need to be covered – Part-21 and the PPL for instructors