Tecnam's new P2002 Sierra MkII has turned out to be a diamond amongst a week of coal. This beautiful new LSA gives us something to think about other than the political storm that has beset general aviation over the last few days. It's the sort of thing I look for when selecting news for the weekly newsletter: a story that reminds us of the good things about general aviation and makes us look forward to going flying at the next available opportunity. Unfortunately, I don't always get one.
The fire-fight this week pits AOPA against CASA in an argument over the ADS-B extension and whether or not CASA has properly consulted over the issue. AOPA CEO Ben Morgan says there has been "NO genuine discussion, NO genuine consideration and NO genuine consultation by CASA." CASA sees it differently, and has referred to the original consultation over ADS-B and AOPA's initial support for the deadlines. Interestingly, those involved in the original ADS-B project are getting behind CASA, and saying there was consultation aplenty, and that includes the AOPA team of the day. Now, if we were to refocus the argument on consultation over the deadline extension only, the AOPA bucket suddenly carries a lot more water.
Morgan also widened the AOPA warpath with a letter to Minister Darren Chester calling on him to take action over the Forsyth recommendation to restrict the ASIC requirement to secure areas of airports only. This recommendation was actually outside the scope of the review, and was not agreed to in the government response. They noted it, and promised a review. As late as yesterday, the minister himself introduced legislation to the House of Representatives that tightened security at major airports, and back in August, did something similar to strengthen the ASIC requirements. There, I think, is the government's answer given before the question was even asked.
And now the inner suburbs of Melbourne have jumped on the GA-bashing Bandtwagon with Greens MP Adam Bandt wanting flights within 5 km of MCTY restricted to above 6500 feet. No, this is genuine, it's in the draft legislation. That means a ban on joy flights, city orbits and pretty much anything Mr Bandt thinks is not in the best interests of his constituents. Of course, this is all about noise, in particular the bone-shattering roar of 180-hp engines at 1000-1500 ft drowing out the soothing whale-sound hum of traffic up Punt Road. But that's not all: if you read the draft legislation, Mr Bandt also wants Airservices to review any flight path at the demand of any and every member of the public who is affected by it.That's effectively giving residents the power to direct Airservices resources at a whim and canceling out any benefits of track-shortening and Performance-based Navigation (PBN). In reality, this legislation is as big a mutt as it gets, and if it scrapes through the House of Reps, is likely to get X'd in the Senate anyway.
May your gauges always be in the green,