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AOPA Current Aims and Objectives Header
AOPA Current Aims and Objectives

Below are our current aims and objectives for the benefit of all GA

AOPA Current Aims and Objectives

AOPA will continue to provide support to pilots, whether for pleasure or business purposes, and will engage with the CAA in order to support the rights of licence holders.

Not every private pilot is a “recreational pilot” or only wishes to fly a sub 2000 kg aircraft. The CAA must stop encouraging the view, especially within the DfT, that GA flying is only recreational.  

AOPA supports a move to simplify the current licensing system. AOPA would like to see:

  • Harmonisation of ‘ANO’ and UK Part-FCL PPL licensing
  • Harmonisation of NPPL and LAPL licensing, including the restoration of pre-8 Apr 2018 conversion criteria, into a UK LAPL
  • Leave Microlight licensing in its current form, but restoring NPPL(M) to LAPL conversion criteria
  • No obligation for any pilot to convert any existing licence into any new licence unless they wish to do so

AOPA supports the option for Pilots to make a PMD where they meet the medical conditions set and any restrictions on licence privileges. For the current CAA Review of the PMD Consultation, we support the current system, but with consideration of the following variations:

  • Currently the only student pilots who may fly solo using a PMD are NPPL students flying non-Part 21 aircraft if they meet the ‘up to 5700kg’ criteria. We strongly recommend that this should be extended to all NPPL / LAPL students flying non-Part 21 or Part 21 aircraft who meet the ‘up to 2000kg’ criteria.
  • There needs to be a note on the PMD declaration form stating that if the applicant has been declared unfit for a Part-MED medical then the CAA may require further information from the applicant before the declaration is accepted. We understand that this has been happening, so it shoud be made clear to anyone making a declaration.

We do not believe it to be fair that there is no independent process to appeal medical decisions made by the CAA and will press for a solution for this.

AOPA will continue to lobby the UK Government to establish bilateral agreements with the EU to restore the following:

  • The rights of LAPL holders, or any UK successor, to fly in Europe.
  • Recognition of Pilot Licences - possibly by the introduction of "piggy-back" licences to allow Pilots to fly aircraft not registered in the state of licence issue.
  • Recognition of training standards.
  • Recognition of UK issued Class 1 and Class 2 medicals for Part-FCL licences regardless of state of issue.
  • Recognition of licensed engineers and approved maintenance organisations.
  • Recognition of aircraft certification and approved modifications.
  • Recognition of factory built aircraft operating under a CAA permit to Fly that were originally approved by EASA.
  • Keep pressure on the UK Government to restore an LPV signal to allow smaller airports and aerodromes to introduce lower cost GNSS approaches.
  • Keep pressure on the CAA to stop blocking or stalling applications for GNSS approaches at smaller airports and aerodromes.
  • AOPA’s position is that the onus of separation and collision avoidance must rest with the operator of the drone.
  • We do not accept the extension of CAS to accommodate drones.
  • We do accept that to co-exist there is a case for a known environment. However, if that requires the mandatory use of new avionics on board a GA aircraft the cost should be borne by the commercial drone operators.

AOPA lobbies for proportionality when regulating Part-21 aircraft, with the aim of light touch and low cost regulation. AOPA, working with IAOPA Europe, were influential in the development of Part-ML for Part-21 aircraft maintenance, which has reduced the regulatory burden on aircraft owners using aircraft for non-commercial work.

The AOPA Maintenance Working Group members worked with the CAA to produce the Airworthiness Code: A maintenance guide for light aircraft.

We continue to lobby for:

  • Further reductions in the regulatory burden which unnecessarily add cost to aircraft ownership.
  • Acceptance of STC’s approved by other National Authorities without question
  • A level playing field where non-Part 21 aircraft are approved for commercial work and flight training.

Through the AOPA Maintenance Working Group:

  • Monitor the progress on producing a cost effective lead free fuel to replace AVGAS 100LL as a direct alternative.
  • When a solution is available we will lobby the CAA to accept STC’s issued by EASA or the FAA for the use of alternative fuel in Part-21 aircraft.
  • We will lobby government to support the take up and availability of alternative fuels by reducing Duty on the fuels for a period of time to offset higher costs of fuel and any costs to adapt an aircraft to use the fuel.
  • For the future sustainability, AOPA UK will establish relationships with developers of zero carbon fuels for GA and alternative means of propulsion.

AOPA is keen to promote the use of unleaded fuels:

  • Make unleaded aviation fuel more generally available and at an attractive price.
  • Gain DfT support to encourage airfield installations, national fuel distribution and a temporary tax break.
  • Make it easy for pilots to know whether their aircraft can use unleaded aviation fuel. eg placards by fuel filler caps and new information added to G-INFO to facilitate lookup.
  • Encourage people buying new aircraft to only consider models that are clearly capable of running on unleaded fuel.
  • Pursue the authorisation of a higher octane unleaded fuel for those aircraft not able to run on the current unleaded variants. A leading European contender is under trials and should be prioritised.
  • Encourage the introduction of electric aircraft charging facilities widely at airfields.

AOPA maintains that airspace should be available to all users. Unless there are compelling reasons otherwise, any airspace should be classified at the lowest possible level above Class G where control is required and be of the minimum vertical and horizontal limits. 

Any controlled airspace should be open to regular review, with a view to returning CAS to a lower classification if not Class G.

AOPA will apply these principles to any Airspace Change Proposals (ACP) that would be detrimental to access by GA.

Where an ACP has a local impact we will seek input from members who use that airspace and are affected by the ACP. Without an impact statement based on real users it is often difficult to oppose an ACP or propose options to minimise GA impact.

Through the GAAC and our members, AOPA maintains a watch on threats to Airports and Aerodromes used by GA.

Our aim is that there should be a viable and protected network of Airports and Aerodromes, licensed and unlicensed, available to GA at reasonable cost. The network must cater for all GA needs including; flight training, aircraft maintenance, hard and grass runways of sufficient dimensions for safe operations, procedural approaches (primarily GNSS based with the restoration of LPV), aviation fuel of all grades, flight planning facilities, food and refreshments.

Where there is a threat to a viable Airport or Aerodrome we will seek input from members who use the facility in order to develop a valid response.

As part of the strategy to make the AOPA brand more widely recognised and to widen the appeal of GA as a career choice:

  • We are working with the organisers of GA Events to increase AOPA’s presence to attract our members to attend and introduce their non-member friends to AOPA.
  • We have appointed a STEM Ambassador to advise the Board of Management where we can be involved with STEM events, aimed primarily at young and new entrants to aviation.
  • We have sponsored the 2021 and 2022 Young Aviator Events at Sywell and are working with our STEM Ambassador to run an event in 2023.
  • We want to involve both individual and corporate members of AOPA in local STEM events, including bringing the Young Aviator Day model to other locations in the UK to attract a wider audience.
  • We will consider sponsorship of local STEM, or other relevant and inclusive, events. Priority will be given to events that are led by our members.