– Steve Hitchen
Enabling legislation for Basic Class 2 medical has a sting in the tail: we have to tell passengers that we are flying to a lower medical standard. This brings reminders of the Jabiru engine restrictions when similar demands were made of aircraft owners. The problem as I see it is that it can do nothing but put the frighteners on passengers who didn't know the pilot was subject to a medical standard in the first place. One thing I try to never do is scare people with an aeroplane, and I suspect not even CASA would think that a good idea. The requirement probably stems from the regulator's desire to protect the general public from perceived risk, but in demanding we tell passengers that we're on a lower medical standard is the equivalent of demanding we tell them we're not as safe. Personally, I don't think this is the case at all. It does make me wonder (again) if CASA believes aviation is inherently a dangerous thing to do.
Fun and games are on early next week in Wagga Wagga. The AGAA general aviation summit has managed to attract most of the associations and lobby groups within the community as well as some high-ranking politicians. Inevitably, the politics from the floor has already started well before the opening coffee session. There is a lot at stake here: representatives of both the government and the opposition are saying they will back a change to the Civil Aviation Act 1988, but are asking for consensus from the industry before they take any action. Consequently, those who would seek to influence the change according to their own policies are manoeuvring to get their position best heard. All that's natural, unfortunately; when you get involved in politics you need to be a very good political animal or you get re-branded "collateral damage". As someone who has been bleating about the need for consensus within the industry since I wrote my first ever blog, my largest fear is that this summit will be sidelined by politics and not-so-hidden agendas that will swamp the idea of getting the Act changed and do nothing but demonstrate to the government that we just can't work together. If that happens, federal governments to the end of days will use it as an excuse to do nothing. I seriously hope I am wrong about this.
If you have a look on our website you'll find a very good article about LSA maintenance written by Foxbat Australia's Peter Harlowe. He contends that even though owners of RAAus-registered aircraft can do their own maintenance, the wisdom of actually doing so need to be questioned in many cases. The attraction of cheap maintenance is one of the things that attract people to RAAus, but that's no consolation at all if you and your aeroplane end up the object of curious cows in a paddock somewhere. Learning to do your own maintenance is a great idea if you have the skills and acumen, but if you're short in either of those, getting someone more qualified and able is always a good idea.
Don't forget nominations for the 2018 Wings Awards close on 13 July. By now your submission should be needing only some polishing This is already an extension, so there won't be anymore time allowed to get submissions in. Don't be late; don't be disappointed.
May your gauges always be in the green,