– Steve Hitchen
CASA has published the first of the plain English guides to legislation, and long may they reign. If the messages contained in regulation are important enough to safety to penalise people for breaches, then they are important enough to be stated with clarity. Unfortunately, Federal government drafting rules are entrenched in legalese that is, for most part, the worst brand of language because it applies to a very broad audience, but can be understood by only a very narrow one. In 2010, the US government passed a law called the Plain Writing Act. It requires US federal agencies to use language that the public can understand. Australia would do very well to adopt something similar, but in the absence of any political will to do so, plain English guides are the best we can expect. Written in the style of the very practical VFRG, these guide are likely to be used in a similar way: as a respository for understandable answers. They're actually book-shelf material, so pilots and operators can justify adding them to their aviation libraries, something only commerical operators have ever done with regulations. They will supercede the over-worded regulations in day-to-day use, which calls into question the value of the legislative documents to anyone but the lawyers. The Americans seem to have understood that in 2010.
I have been following the Flaris LAR1 since it first turned heads at the Paris Air Show in 2013. Admittedly, not with a great deal of enthusiasm because I felt it would die of the same financial malady that killed off so many other VLJ projects. But it's still here. Only in the past few months have details emerged about how far the aircraft has progessed. That's not surprising given the Polish CAA gave flight test approval in only September 2020. Since then, the company has released some startling figures that, if correct, will see the LAR1 leave its competitors well behind it. There's still a long way to go and a lot more money to be thrown under the bridge before Flaris can say they have a product, but if the project is still alive after eight years and has come this far, there is clearly the momentum and energy there to get it to market. Having said that, there are several other sob-stories about light jets that have been in the position the LAR1 is now and never got a step further. Diamond D-jet is one (presuming it's actually dead and not just hiberating); the Spectrum S-33 is another. To get the LAR1 onto showroom floors, Flaris is going to have to overcome obstacles that were too large for many who came before to hurdle. Let's hope the money behind the project has the oomph to get it over the line.
Nominations for the 2021 CASA Wings Awards are set to open on 1 July via the Australian Flying website. After the success of the online system last year, we're going to repeat the process with some tweaks for 2021. As with every other year, if you're planning to nominate, make sure you check the criteria first, then answer the questions (all of them!) with the criteria in mind. Remember also that Col Pay Award nominations perpetuate; once nominated, always nominated. Those who missed out in 2020 and the years before are already in the mix for next year. We've made a change to the judging panel with the addition of David Pilkington. David has helped us in the past when we've needed an extra set of eyes and is in fact a former winner himself. I'd like to extend thanks to Andrew Drysdale from the Australian Division of the Royal Aeronautical Society, who has retired from the panel after seven years in the role. Andrew was instrumental in setting up the awards and did very valuable work early on, particularly when it came to setting the criteria. Thanks for your contribution, Andrew. And on topic, I'd also like to thank all those that pitched in and got the 2020 presentations done. It was tricky with COVID restrictions baulking us several times. Check out the presentation gallery here.
May your gauges always be in the green,