LAA COVID ADVICE. 11th May 2020

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Steve Slater
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LAA COVID ADVICE. 11th May 2020

Post by Steve Slater » Mon May 11, 2020 9:01 am

The current situation remains unchanged. Government advice remains that recreational flying is not deemed an ‘essential activity’ under the COVID control regulations and we recommend that members do not attend airfields unless it is essential for maintenance or security reasons. We are pleased that almost all members have used their discretion in carrying out maintenance-related flights only – and this communal responsibility has put us in a stronger position in discussions with DfT and the CAA.

It is noted that some airfield operators are resisting allowing aircraft owners or visiting engineers access to airfields, based on their current interpretation of DfT COVID guidelines. Remember they face a likely financial penalty if they recall furloughed staff and restart paying wages while operational income is minimal. Airfield owners also have a duty of care to both airfield users and their staff, therefore they’ll need time to put in place appropriate guidelines for ‘social distancing’ and cross-contamination precautions to allow their operations to recommence.

In our discussions with Government we have made the case that prolonged aircraft storage and lack of pilot currency will increasingly present greater risk when returning to flight than that presented by COVID-19 transfer provided sensible precautions are taken. We have specifically recommended that the DfT advice be amended along the lines of “It is recognised that a phased return to general aviation flying and pilot training is now appropriate, commencing with essential maintenance and inspection work, and pilot continuity flights”.

However, until DfT and the CAA offer official guidance, we continue to recommend you minimise any flights or travel to airfields at this time. As soon as there is clarification we will respond immediately to circulate appropriate guidance via the LAA website, Facebook page and other forums.

Steve Slater
Stephen Slater

Nick Allen
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Re: LAA COVID ADVICE. 11th May 2020

Post by Nick Allen » Mon May 11, 2020 11:36 am

With respect, Steve, I think you should at the very least have waited until the government releases details of the next phase at 2pm today. This morning the situation is indeed (officially) unchanged; this afternoon, who knows?

If this afternoon it is announced that solo/household outdoor activities (e.g. angling) are permitted, then there really should be nothing to stop solo/household aviation, where this can be undertaken while maintaining isolation. As a first step, does that really require specific government clarification?

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Re: LAA COVID ADVICE. 11th May 2020

Post by kenkelso » Mon May 11, 2020 6:34 pm

As Nick says Steve I would hardly rate angling or playing golf as essential activities, other than for ones mental wellbeing, and lack of currency fishing or putting is not likely to be dangerous.
Ken Kelso

Bev Webb
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Re: LAA COVID ADVICE. 11th May 2020

Post by Bev Webb » Mon May 11, 2020 7:47 pm

My main concern is safety, and the self knowledge that I get rusty if there are lengthy periods without flying in my life. There was a very long period of bad weather over Winter with much reduced flying, and then one of our aircraft - a tail dragger - was grounded for major maintenance work adding to time out on that machine. Now with this lock down we have had a further enforced period of no flying for no very good reason, and I say that as someone with two post graduate medical degrees.
I cannot see how driving to an airfield and getting a plane out and flying can increase the risk of spreading this virus, which is less infectious than measles. Indeed texts and emails I've had from the States suggest that the best place to self isolate is inn the air!
And to suggest as the CEOs of the LAA and AOPA did at the outset that dirving to the field and flying increased t he risk of over whelming the emergency services was a nonsense, as there were considerably fewer cars on the road, and I was at no greater risk flying than I ever am.
I got an extremely rude reply from the CEO of AOPA when I dared put this dissenting view to him.
Our modern Stasi state!
We need to keep safe and alert and the way to do that is to keep familiar with our aircraft and keep exercising our skills.
I'm lucky. I can afford to get regular instruction which I will continue when my instructor is allowed to work again, but I suspect that this lock down means the end of flying for many GA pilots: they won't be able to afford it because they have lost there jobs or their businesses, and some will be at risk because of lack of currency as well as those whose flying schools will have gone to the wall.
The LAA should be mounting an urgent campaign to get a logical common sense approach to resuming unlimited light aviation on the grounds of safety and aircraft health.
Bev Webb

Brian Hope
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Re: LAA COVID ADVICE. 11th May 2020

Post by Brian Hope » Tue May 12, 2020 7:35 pm

Well Bev, that’s some post. Given the general situation over the past two months I don’t know whether I should be annoyed at your intolerance, or mildly amused by some of your logic. But if your information on self-isolation in the air came via texts and emails from the States (no tweets?), who am I to argue. Just take it easy on the disinfectant.
To cut to the chase, it is neither the LAA nor AOPA that will decide when and how GA will re-emerge, the CAA and DfT will make that decision based on government Covid policy. Being as the revision of that policy was only tentatively announced on Sunday evening and firmed up yesterday, you can hardly expect decisions to be have finalised already.
Quite why you assume the Association has been doing anything other than having reasonable discussion with the appropriate agencies on the safe return of GA activity, given that from the outset it has been involved, I do not know.
I am not a member of AOPA, but they do their bit. I cannot condone rudeness if indeed that was what happened but to suggest they behaved like the STASI is utterly ridiculous. It not only denigrates a worthy organisation, it shows an absolute disregard for the many unfortunate victims of what amounted to state sponsored terrorism in East Germany.
Like the LAA and other GA organisations, AOPA is doing its best to get GA back up and running as soon and as safely as possible. I can only hope that you will realise how offensive such comments are.
And I say that as somebody who received a certificate in primary school for swimming the 25 yards breadth of the Sheerness swimming pool. And my sister once had a three degrees album, if that counts for anything.
You need to chill a little.
Brian Hope

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Re: LAA COVID ADVICE. 11th May 2020

Post by 2greens1red » Tue May 12, 2020 9:11 pm

If we consider that an aircraft is a vehicle, then day trips could be permitted from tomorrow?
Richard Lyon

Matt Dovey
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Re: LAA COVID ADVICE. 11th May 2020

Post by Matt Dovey » Wed May 13, 2020 6:01 am

I think the LAA has done a good job in representing our interests with the various agencies during these difficult times. We will get back to flying within the near future I'm sure. Until that time just sit tight. Look on the Brightside. You ain't dead due to this poxy virus.
Brian, can you ask your sister if I can borrow her Three Degrees album?

Brian Hope
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Re: LAA COVID ADVICE. 11th May 2020

Post by Brian Hope » Wed May 13, 2020 8:23 am

Hi Matt, oh that I could. The inevitability of life was that she discovered boys and it was all David Essex and Cliff Richard. Try as I may, I couldn't steer her down the path of Dylan or the Stones, wrong sort of men apparently. As for the Three Degrees album, went the way of the Barbie dolls I'm afraid, can't say I felt it was any great loss if I'm honest.
Must go, there's a guy out the front in a white coat come to take me to the day centre.

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Re: LAA COVID ADVICE. 11th May 2020

Post by LSHAvenger18 » Wed May 13, 2020 9:23 am

Wednesday 13th May 2020:

Advice by Steppenwolf

Get your motor runnin'
Head out on the highway
Lookin' for adventure
And whatever comes our way…

Simon Heighway

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Re: LAA COVID ADVICE. 11th May 2020

Post by Bumble » Wed May 13, 2020 7:45 pm

I felt obliged to reply to this hot topic and understand Bev's frustration. It is ridiculous to allow travel to a golf club, garden centre or fishing lake which will all be teeming with people after lockdown and not allow us to travel to a remote airfield and continue our sport, respecting self isolation etc.
However, I understand and commend the LAA to lobby on our behalf as the French have done to allow recreational flying with 100k restrictions, very sensible to keep everyone current.
Brian Finch

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Re: LAA COVID ADVICE. 11th May 2020

Post by ChampChump » Wed May 13, 2020 7:59 pm

I've been struggling to understand the reasoning too, in such situations where staff are not employed. At many airstrips and smaller airfields contact can be eliminated completely. We are all used to sanitising supermarket baskets and trolleys and the like and apart from ones own aircraft, a fuel bowser is the only thing that one might need to touch. It is all right to drive to a park and sunbathe, so it's not about the exercise. Sailors and golfers are coping with a list of measures to enable them to have a round of their preferred activity; I think we are all well able to contemplate equivalent requirements.

The way the DfT statement reads seems to me to contradict the message from Boris on Sunday; for example it still mentions 'essential journeys.' That one size fits all no longer really applies to all GA as recreational activity is now a reason to go out. Common sense and doing your own risk assessments were mentioned by one of the gov. advisers in a Radio 4 interview...

Meanwhile, a few airfields have been open from today, either for residents or, in one case I know of, residents and visitors by air.

Confusion reigns from a great height & airfields that would otherwise have been opening for some sort of operations today have been changing their messages.

(Edited for clarity. I hope).
Nic Orchard

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