The CAA is looking at ways to improve its interaction with its clients, in this case the aerodrome license holder and -operator, into meaningful relationships where the role of the CAA as "safety policeman" could evolve into that of "safety facilitator".
To achieve this goal active participation of our clients is needed in the following:
· Suggesting ways to improve safety oversight through constructive feedback on inspections, Manuals of Procedure, conduct of our inspectors, etc.
· Taking ownership of safety by implementing internal verification procedures on the aerodrome.
· Accepting that as an aerodrome operator/license holder you are the CEO of all safety activities on the aerodrome, including those of your tenants.
In order to discourage continued non-compliance to the most basic requirements for operating a safe aerodrome, the CAA is investigating a fine structure. This structure should be aligned with fines imposed by other Aviation Authorities across the globe. The CAA does not consider this to be its primary tool in assuring compliance with requirements and would rather see the aerodrome operator applying common sense and a consultative approach in solving problems with non-compliances.
The unfortunate truth is that fines are sometimes necessary in face of persistent non-compliance.
The CAA encourages licensing of the smaller category 1, mainly general aviation aerodromes for the following reasons:
· Assurance of CAA oversight over the minimum safety infrastructure.
· The possibility of insurance disputes in case of accidents.
· Publication of aerodrome data in the Aeronautical Information Publication (AIP).
· The availability of data to non-resident pilots and the assurance to such pilots that an aerodrome complies with minimum requirements. This makes a larger number of aerodromes available to general aviation with a consequential increase in safety in general.
· The applicable license fee for Cat 1 aerodromes is very low.
Currently the requirement for Cat 1is for 230 litres of water and 10 litres of class B foam and the ability to discharge these within 1 minute. This can be achieved through mounting an old oil drum, together with a small capacity water pump on a trailer, old half tonne LDV, etc. An average handyman can fabricate a suitable foam mixer and there is no need to purchase expensive equipment. Plans for such equipment can be discussed with Bertie van Seventer (referred to under SECTION D), who has a lot of other cost saving ideas as well.
Aerodromes that accommodate Cat 2 and 3 traffic on occasion may find the frequency of such operations too low to warrant larger equipment. In such cases the CAA may also accept a written agreement with the local municipality, council, etc. to have a fire-fighting vehicle present for the duration only of the larger category movements.
The ICAO requirement for runway lighting is very specific with regards to lens radiation patterns, luminosity, etc. A definite requirement exists with the private operator, small businessman, etc. for less expensive and "more informal" lighting to be legalized to allow for occasional night use of a small aerodrome. Current regulations does not provide for this but the CAA will certainly consider ideas for amending regulations to allow for certain "non ICAO spec lighting" to be used in cases where no commercial operations occur.
Thoughts can be cast along the lines of light fittings available from local hardware stores. Remember:
· Talk to pilots – they will have good ideas on what may suit the purpose.
· Any fitting proposed must not pose a danger to aircraft striking it. It must be frangible. What about mounting it on a piece of plastic conduit? CAA would like to include, into any amendment, guidelines on acceptable "non-standard" lighting, so some form of standardization will be needed.
· A backup circuit will be required. Maybe every alternate light should be connected to one of two power sources. One would not want a pilot to loose all lighting 5 feet off the threshold!
· Colored class covers can meet color requirements.
· Think of ideas on lighting layout. Edge lights, end and threshold will be the minimum.
This area can sometimes cause a non-compliance on the part of the aerodrome operator. The driving principle behind security requirements is to ensure safe aircraft maneuvers within the aerodrome area and to avoid the transportation of illegal substances and devices especially where such material can end up on a larger domestic or international flight. In case of the smaller aerodrome, the following basic requirements need to be addressed:
· A fence commensurate with the threat of interference with aircraft in the area. An aerodrome on a farm in the Karoo will be probably be adequately protected by an animal fence while an aerodrome in the vicinity of an informal settlement, especially on a footpath, will need a 2.4m fence with an overhang.
Access control. Persons must not be able to gain
access to unlawfully interfere with aircraft. A locked gate may adequately
· Baggage and passenger screening. Again logic will dictate the action. The private person commuting to another small aerodrome will not need any screening. However, if he/she was to transit to a domestic carrier upon arrival, screening will be needed at the destination aerodrome. In such cases his/her aircraft will have to be parked away from commercial aircraft and movement of passengers from such aircraft will also have to be separated from screened passengers by physical means. At this point it will become an issue for the operator of the destination aerodrome to deal with.
The above three ruling principles will have to be satisfied in the mind of the CAA Security Inspector before he/she will consider an aerodrome to be compliant with minimum requirements. By applying logic thinking an aerodrome operator will be able to identify his/her own shortcomings well in advance.