Examination of witnesses (Questions 746
WEDNESDAY 28 APRIL 1999
HUMPHREYSON and MR
BILL G SCULL
746. Good afternoon to you, gentlemen. I
am very grateful to you for joining us this afternoon. I wonder
if you would kind enough to identify yourselves. Mr Scull?
(Mr Scull) I am Bill Scull, Vice-Chairman of the
General Aviation Safety Council.
(Mr Humphreyson) Roy Humphreyson, Executive Manager
of the UK Flight Safety Committee.
(Captain Kerr) Steve Kerr, current elected Chairman
of the UK Flight Safety Committee.
(Mr Martin) I am Peter Martin. I am the Solicitor
and the Honorary Legal Adviser to the Flight Safety Committee.
747. Can I ask either Mr Scull or you, Captain,
if you have any introductory remarks you would like to make.
(Captain Kerr) The UK Flight Safety Committee
is a non-executive organisation made up of the membership airlines,
members of the Civil Aviation Authority and professional bodies
associated with the broad mandate to promote aviation safety by
means of exchange of safety information. That is our main cause.
We meet eight times a year in full Committee and we have a series
of working groups which are working in the background throughout
the year on special projects.
748. Which produce policy papers you then
(Captain Kerr) Policy papers which we offer to
the industry authorities as advisory matters. We have no executive
power as such; it is purely advisory information.
749. That is very helpful. Mr Scull?
(Mr Scull) The General Aviation Safety Council
is a registered charity and it brings together all the aviation
disciplines both manufacturing and aviation related supporting
disciplines too. We meet four times a year and interchange safety
problems, if you like, look at problems collectively and get ideas
from each other with a view to continually seeking to improve
750. Do you then circulate not only your
members but, say, aviation magazines? How do you disseminate your
standards of good practice?
(Mr Scull) Most of our material goes out through
our flight safety bulletin which is sent free to all flying instructors
and all registered owners of light aircraft. Only one copy goes
to each aircraft although often there are syndicates. We do this
with voluntary subscriptions from the member organisations and
we actually sell to subscribers a limited number. We publish about
14,000 each issue and we sell about 1,200 of those. The rest go
free to interested parties.
751. That is extremely helpful. What are
the main safety issues confronting your sectors of the aviation
industry? Let's try you, Captain Kerr.
(Captain Kerr) Safety issues as we see them at
the moment are probably coming to terms with the advent of the
Joint Aviation Authority, the JAA, and the move of the regulatory
aspects into a European system as opposed to a national system
here and identifying the areas of difficulty for airline operators
in the changes which are necessary in the way they do their business
to become more self-regulatory and to put into place the mechanics
to achieve that.
752. I think we will come to that in a minute.
What is your relationship with the Safety Regulation Group of
(Captain Kerr) We have a very close relationship
with the Safety Regulation Group. They provide several advisers
and members to our committee meetings. Most of our work with the
SRG is informal. We have privileged access to individuals and
the opportunity to debate aspects of regulation and safety with
them at the planning stage as opposed to once regulation has been
put into place.
753. Let me ask you, Mr Scull, what is your
relationship with the Safety Regulation Group?
(Mr Scull) It is good. Most of our work is involved
with the Safety Regulation Group itself and within that group
the General Aviation Department because that is what we are dealing
with. They have a good open door policy and generally we have
easy access so if we have a problem we want to talk about and
if they think we have got a problem we have to talk about, they
tell us, and we in fact have a Management Committee within the
General Aviation Safety Council with the CAA person on it, the
head of GAD.
754. To what extent do either of you think
the Safety Regulation Group is under-staffed? Mr Scull, are you
going to pick up this prickly branch?
(Mr Scull) One does find on occasion that it takes
a while to get an answer to a letter. On the other hand, you can
often pre-empt the letter by making a phone call and getting the
same information that you will eventually get in the letter.
755. How long?
(Mr Scull) They do occasionally notify us that
it will be a month before they answer the letter.
756. They send you a letter to say it will
be a month before they answer your letter?
(Mr Scull) Yes, if you push them.
757. If you do not?
(Mr Scull) Sometimes you will get that information
by virtue of a phone call asking what happened to the letter I
758. What impact does that have on your
(Mr Scull) Generally speaking, not serious. I
think it is difficult. I have had fairly close liaisons down a
lot of years and I know the staff cutbacks and the pressures and
I know that there are within Flight Crew Licensing, for example,
ebbs and flows which increase the demand and therefore cause delay
if you have got an issue to debate.
759. Captain Kerr, do you want to comment?
(Mr Martin) May I comment.