Primarily for general aviation discussion, but other aviation topics are also welcome.
The UK Civil Aviation Authority is today announcing the General Aviation Unit (GAU) and Remotely Piloted Aircraft System Unit (RPAS) teams will be formally integrated into one unit with Sophie O'Sullivan, the current interim Head of the GAU and current Head of RPAS, named as the permanent Head of this combined unit.

Sophie O'Sullivan, Head of Unmanned Aircraft Systems Unit & General Aviation Unit said, “Bringing the teams together over the past six months has shown there are many internal similarities on how the units run and huge benefits for the external communities in working collaboratively on shared challenges. These include the ability to collectively work together on airspace integration and collaborate on innovation through aspects such as the Future Flight Fund work and the Airfield Advisory Fund.”

This organisational change does also not impact our management of airspace nor does it impact our central services desk that process your applications. We want to make clear that how we make decisions within each team will not change, how we work with government will not change, there is to be no change in any amount of resource assigned to technical work and any independence will not be lost.

Both GA and RPAS are recognised as economic growth areas for the UK and as such we want to assure both communities, we are committed to continuing our ongoing working relationships with you.
Shame they couldn’t get the GAU in order first. Like responding to emails and enquiries in good time and not just ignoring them. But this is a CAA wide problem and as the monopoly holder, it’s clear to me (who used to work there) that they really don’t give a ****. (Insert expletive of your choice)

New broom sweeps clean etc etc. Or is that under the carpet?

Some new logos, letterheads, PR spin & thousands spent on a new corporate identity and everything will be ok.
Shoestring Flyer liked this
Not that it is of much relief to the majority of people here, but the CAA Engineer Licensing Department appears to be run by extremely efficient staff.

I recently emailed ELD with a question about my Part-66 licence renewal at 2130 hrs and the reply was received at 0732 hrs the next morning. Previously, the response has been similarly quick - one reply last year was the next day - a Saturday.

Turn round times for engineer's licences are also well within a reasonable timescale.

So, there are some good people at the CAA!
johnm, Kemble Pitts liked this
A long-standing problem for CAA oversight (not just GA, but GA may have less political clout than any other parts of the Transport portfolio) is the usually short tenure of the Junior Ministers ('Parliamentary Under-Secretaries of State') involved. They have often had little pertinent experience nor interest, and have made highly variable efforts to learn about GA during their tenures. Also, recently, they have been in the HoL when most of their Department colleagues have been in the HoC, which puts them even less in the public eye when answering Oral or even Written Questions.

One recent incumbent who did seem to make an effort, eg IIRC by visiting the LAA Rally, was Baroness Sugg:,_Baroness_Sugg

.. but she was soon moved on to another Department (FCDO with the Development Portfolio after abolition of DfID), from which she resigned last year after announced Development budget cuts. She was succeeded by a MP:

In that capacity he was the Minister responsible for announcing the 'GA Roadmamp' a few days ago, with lots of encouraging words (at least). ... -in-the-uk

He is a member of the Air League with Brize in his Constituency.

Of course, the current SoS is well-informed about GA, and has been in post for quite a while (both unusual); but he has a very large Portfolio, and is far more likely to be quizzed in the media about other parts, or about general matters of Government.
rikur_ liked this
kanga wrote:
Of course, the current SoS is well-informed about GA, and has been in post for quite a while (both unusual); but he has a very large Portfolio, and is far more likely to be quizzed in the media about other parts, or about general matters of Government.

Not what Mrs Shapps said... :lol:

I do think he and the AV minister are making all the right noises at least and I believe some interventionalist action is being taken too, particularly on airfields. Fingers crossed this new one in Kent can go ahead.

Shoestring Flyer wrote:It is the constant 'Merry-go-round' of people that come and go from the CAA coupled with fact that they all have so little knowledge or real experience of GA and its particular issues.
How it is allowed to happen time and time again without seemingly any actual accountability is shudderingly mind blowing.! :evil:

I think the root cause of why there is a merry-go-round needs to be looked at. Pants employer? Frustration at not being able to get anything done? I do know that some who really are GA enthusiasts are the ones that end up leaving because, presumably, they get fed up trying to do the right thing but getting frustrated with an antiquated system or they look on places like this forum and become completely disheartened. I know the latest casualty is the current GA Programme Lead in the GA Unit, a GA pilot of 25 years and former colleague of mine from many moons ago in a former career. He has lasted 18 months (which is longer then the sweepstake we had.....)

In my humble opinion it is the sign of a dysfunctional organisation when all the "better" people move on and the "comfort zone happy" ones stay put (being polite). This tends to mean that things get done the way they always have been and there is little positive change. I am (very) cautiously hopeful though, Sophie seems forward thinking but also has emapthy to the ever squeezed GA community, the AV minister is putting his money where his mouth is and just recently there has been a lot more transparency from the CAA with a new CAP1404, new Mythbusting leaflet, post consultation document from (CAP 2146) and some strategic changes to FCL being planned. It's not all bad.

Perhaps if the funding model was different - like most national aviation regulators who are funded by central government - there would be more flex for change and more rapidly.

The good news is that I've just used ORS 1484 to keep my license alive for another two years. Phew! So perhaps I'm in a good mood.

Happy Landings.