Memorandum submitted by Mr Peter Harvey
I am writing to you in support of the review
into the CAA, and in particular the impact that the CAA has on
I am an aircraft owner and member of AOPA and
hence have an interest in the outcome of the review.
First I believe that safety is best in the main
left to the not for profit sector and that there is definitely
a role for a non profit making body to oversee safety in this
sector. Generally it should also be acknowledged that the UK has
an excellent safety record and that it would not be in the interests
of individual pilots, their passengers or the general public to
undermine that past record. Having said that, no activity can
be made 100% safe, and its foolish to try. There has to be a sensible
balance between the cost of regulation and the risks involved,
that balance seems to have got out of kilter and now needs to
In addition to being a pilot I am also a keen
sailor, and one cannot but compare and contrast the safety and
regulatory environment between the two activities. As AOPA has
frequently stated a pilot whose training and experience is kept
constantly up to date and who knows the limitations of his/her
abilities is much less likely to get into trouble. Modern aircraft
are substantially safer than those built at the time the current
regime came into being. In the marine world the RYA has concentrated
its efforts and resources on training, with the result that their
training regime has world-wide recognition as the standard to
be followed. There are a number of similar aviation bodies, such
as the PFA that could no doubt be asked to take on a similar role,
thereby alleviating the public purse of this element of expenditure
and quite probably doing it much more cost effectively into the
I am not advocating that anybody should be entitled
to fly a light aircraft with minimal training but the current
system of checks and charges is out of all proportion to the threat"
that is being addressed; indeed the latest plans from the CAA
seem designed to drive much of the UK's GA activity out of business.
Until the very welcome review by the Select Committee, there seems
to have been no consideration by the CAA of cutting its cloth
to fit its means, instead there seem to be a working assumption
that demand will remain undiminished whatever the scale of charges.
If we were setting a department up from scratch
it seems unlikely to me that it would be deemed cost effective
to take in-house" the range of activities that the CAA currently
perform as more cost effective solutions could be found elsewhere.
In the commercial world companies are constantly needing to find
best in class solutions to the issues they face. The review of
the CAA should similarly seek to find best in class solutions
to the range of activities that the CAA currently performs, perhaps
by using existing Government agencies, such as DVLA, to handle
large elements of the process, or outsourcing non safety critical
activities to the private sector as has happened to so much activity
elsewhere in the public sector.
So, in summary;
Please don't compromise on safety, but most
of my interactions with the CAA have nothing to do with safety
and could be done more cheaply by other agencies.
Please recognise that charges are reaching a
crisis point in GA and the CAA is in danger of killing the industry
it is charged with regulating.
Please look at other models to ensure that the
UK has an ongoing thriving GA sector, employing large numbers
of people in high value added sector of the economy.