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 Statement clarifying NMAI Position

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Paul
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Number of posts : 351
Location : Offaly
NMAI Number:(if any) : 2034
Registration date : 2008-01-28

PostSubject: Statement clarifying NMAI Position   Thu Mar 18, 2010 5:22 pm

Being willing to compromise is clearly appropriate in most circumstances. We recognise that many people, especially outside of microlighting, think that “a compromise” is a good idea when it comes to microlight licensing and training in Ireland.

When pilot observers outside of the NMAI suggest that we should “compromise” with the IAA this invariably means that they do not understand what is going on in Ireland and how unfavourably it compares to other European countries.
Instead they seem to think that it only takes a willingness to compromise in order to arrive at a resolution.

However, the problem is that the behaviour and apparent objectives of the IAA are simply inconsistent with what takes place elsewhere in European recreational aviation, most notably in relation to microlights. Compromise, as some see it, would simply mean turning microlights into a “light” version of a traditional GA aircraft.

Such an outcome is unacceptable to the NMAI and the vast majority of our members - for many, many good reasons. Because of this the NMAI members attending our recent meeting in Tullamore voted unanimously to demonstrate outside Aviation House to protest at the lack of progress over the past 15 years.

The NMAI has been greatly encouraged by the response of our European colleagues when we explain our problems. We are also pleased to discover that more and more recreational pilot organisations in Ireland are now stating clearly that they have similar difficulties with the IAA, whatever their type of sport aviation.

It is therefore important to be clear about what is going on. We are fighting to preserve the low cost and easy access to recreational aviation that has been a fundamental part of microlighting since its birth. We are fighting to avoid the continuing growth of non-compliance with regulations. We are fighting to create a context within which regulatory compliant pilots will be able to fly in the same manner as our European colleagues. We are fighting to improve microlight training so that we can achieve what our European colleagues have achieved.

The NMAI does not agree that the problems - which have now lasted for around 15 years - is an unwillingness to compromise on our part. The real problem is rather a lack of basic understanding, genuine dialogue, good faith and mutual respect between the parties.

During our demonstration outside Aviation House on Monday last (March 15th) the IAA issued a Press Release that demonstrates how our discussions and letters over many years have taken place in a context where the Authority had apparently decided, without telling anyone, that the approach of other European countries is simply unacceptable to them. Simple as that.

The NMAI does not think that lack of a will to compromise is the fundamental problem here. Something, or someone, else is causing the problems.

In the meantime, does anyone really believe that the motivation of the IAA for the positions they adopt towards recreational pilots is really driven by safety considerations - as they claim in their Press Release? What is it about the IAA that puts them uniquely in a position to reach radically different safety and licensing conclusions from countries such as the U.S., Canada, Australia and all other European countries? In reality the IAA has an Agenda all of its own.
Their Agenda can be seen by simply reading their Press Release of March 15th in which they tell us that ALL Irish licences have to meet the requirements of ICAO Annex I, even where the ICAO Annexes do not require this (as is the case with microlights). Why would the IAA adopt such a course of action? That is the real question. The IAA has not been providing much in the way of explanations for its position, and they are not likely to change.

The IAA Press Release is available in the following post for you to read. We suggest you read it carefully and reach your own conclusions about the claims made by the IAA, including the bizarre notions that the licence issued by the UK CAA is in some way inferior to an Irish licence and that the accident to which they refer is unrelated to our current problems!
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Paul
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Number of posts : 351
Location : Offaly
NMAI Number:(if any) : 2034
Registration date : 2008-01-28

PostSubject: Re: Statement clarifying NMAI Position   Thu Mar 18, 2010 5:44 pm

IAA Press Release of 15/03/10

One of the primary functions of the Irish Aviation Authority is the safe conduct of all aircraft operations. Within that function is a responsibility to ensure the safety of persons on the ground, who have no influence or input into a decision by a person to get into an aircraft and fly. People on the ground can be affected by that decision in the event of an accident causing serious injury to them or their property.

This is a major consideration when issuing licences to private pilots seeking to fly for leisure purposes.
All licences currently offered by the Irish Aviation Authority are issued in accordance with the guidelines set out in the International Civil Aviation Authority, Standards and Recommended Practices contained in International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) Annex I - Personnel Licensing.

The National Licence issued by the United Kingdom Civil Aviation Authority is not issued on the same basis as it does not require the holder to meet the ICAO minima with regard to flying hours completed, medical requirements or radio telephony.

The Irish Aviation Authority does offer a facility to Non-Irish licence holders to validate their licences for use within Irish airspace. A similar facility is not offered by the United Kingdom Civil Aviation Authority.

On the basis of recent safety analysis The Irish Aviation Authority is conducting a review of the current requirements for the award of a Private Pilot Licence (Microlight) with a view to possibly reducing the minimum requirements. This has included consultation with the National Microlight Association of Ireland and other interested stakeholders and a "Request for Comment" document was posted on the Authority's website on Friday, 5 February 2010. The closing date for this phase of the review was Monday, 8 March 2010 and the Authority is currently studying the responses that were submitted with a view to publishing the outcome on Friday, 16 April 2010.

With regard to the Safety Recommendation issued by the Air Accident Investigation Unit following an accident involving a microlight aircraft, the Irish Aviation Authority as the statutory body charged with regulatory oversight of aircraft operations within the State is the only body required to respond to the Safety Recommendation. This has partly been addressed by the review of microlight policy as detailed in the preceding paragraph.

It must be pointed out, however, that the accident involved a pilot electing to fly a microlight aircraft without holding any licence or having completed the necessary training. Additionally, the aircraft, which was not registered in the State, was flown by the pilot without obtaining the relevant certification of its fitness to fly either from the Irish Aviation Authority or the State of Registration.
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