History gives us a context within which to set current events. Rooting through some boxes, I came across a copy a UK CAA Safety Regulation Group in-house publication called “Aviation Standard” dated March 1991. I kept it because it had a picture of me as a newly joined young airworthiness surveyor. At the time the aviation industry was suffering the effects of recession and the Gulf War. Pressure was on to keep fees and charges low but not to let up on essential safety activities.
What’s interesting is that 28 years ago the news was that the Joint Aviation Authorities (JAA) Headquarters was to move from London Gatwick to Hoofddorp, near Amsterdam Schiphol. The 18 JAA Countries had decided to move from sharing office space with the UK CAA at London Gatwick to a new building in the Netherlands.
The staff newspaper had a large page describing the work of the CAA’s Systems and Equipment Department. At that time, the department that I joined had 22 specialist design surveyors and supporting admin staff. There were 5 technical specialist sections, addressing hydromechanical, cabin safety and environmental systems, power plant installation and fuel systems, and electrical and avionics. This department covered all types of aircraft large and small, helicopters, airships and even hovercraft.
Contrary to the belief of some people, The UK has played a major part in shaping how aviation safety regulation developed in Europe. What we have is as the result of concerted efforts over more than a generation. It saddens me greatly to think that we are in the process of trying to dismantle that achievement. An achievement that is recognised worldwide.
Back to the current challenge of Brexit and how it’s being exacerbated by political indecision and pure folly. New Aviation Safety legislation has passed into European law ready to come into force if there’s a No-Deal Brexit. The effects of this law are to create a breathing space so that companies can re-establish the approvals they need to operate.
Also, a new UK Aviation Safety Statutory Instrument (SI) was passed by both the House of Commons and the House of Lords and published as UK law.
The UK industry group; ADS has published a useful summary that is available on their website. No doubt this will be updated as we discover if the planned leaving date of either 12 April 2019 or 22 May 2019 is to happen, or Brexit gets cancelled or delayed again. Whatever UK Parliamentarian do it doesn’t seem the No-Deal Brexit outcome has yet been killed off for sure.