AOPA's Project Eureka Papers contain a lot of home truths, and that is going to make it a very unpopular document with a lot of people who cherish their egos and positions. It asks for a lot, but GA is in a state where a lot needs to happen. There is nothing in Eureka that serves as an eye-opener for general aviation, but a mountain of stuff that will open the eyes of people within the Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development. However, seeing is not doing, and history shows politicians often need a reason to make change beyond the need for change itself; some political imperative that forces their hand. What is it general aviation has to catalyse change? Whereas papers like Eureka are valuable to state positions, they so often don't have an impact for lack of an alterior motive running in support.
To keep the momentum going, AOPA has organised a rally in Tamworth for 6 May, which has attracted the attention of Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce, Minister for Transport Darren Chester and CASA Chairman Jeff Boyd. Coming just on the windward side of an election announcement, and scheduled for the Deputy PMs own marginal electorate, it is no wonder government reps are making sounds like they want to help. However, this is a good opportunity to make some noise, and the more voices that attend the greater weight behind the industry's issues. If you can get there, get there.
RAAus has confirmed they are chasing an increase to the max take-off weight of aircraft they are allowed to administer. They've been under a 600 kg weight limit for a few years now, and want to bump that up to a higher limit, believed to be around 750 kg (they're still coy on that). CASA is likely to give it to them. The increased weight will enable some GA two-seaters and rag-wing antiques to transfer to RAAus from the Australian Civil Register. However, the impact on GA of an increase to 750 kg for RAAus is likely to be minimal, given that most aircraft on the RAAus register are light sport aircraft (LSAs), which will still have a MTOW of 600 kg on the design. There may be some home-built owners who will "defect" to RAAus because it will allow them to do their own maintenance, but even so the numbers are not expected to be large given that 750 kg is still low MTOW for many homebuilts. That is unless CASA gives RAAus an even higher MTOW ... then the trickle may become a flood.
Matt Hall is back in track this weekend, and he's racing on the circuit that give him his maiden Red Bull Air Race win last year. There will be nothing but happy vibes coming from every corner of the Spielberg circuit, putting him in the right frame of mind to get his championship season square again. His eighth place in Abu Dhabi in Round One is not the way he would have been looking to start his season, and for sure he'll be wanting to leverage last year's winning spirit to put in another good performance this weekend.
A Perth production company has put out a call for pilots to participate in an observational documentary series. Called Outback Pilots, the series is being made for The Discovery Channel and will follow pilots throughout Australia as they service stations, towns and mines in remote areas. According to the production company "This character driven series seek to captures the daily dramas of a wide variety of outback jobs the pilots take on and provides an insight into the vital role they play in the survival of rural Australia." Does that sound like something you'd like to get your teeth into? If so, contact Nicola at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone her on (08) 9336 6006.
May your gauges always be in the green,