Dear Ian... the CAA replies

CAA friends
Photo by Toa Heftiba on Unsplash

In the latest issue of FLYER, Ian Seager writes an open letter to the CAA, pointing out various things in a friendly but firm way. Now the CAA has replied in similar fashion.

Ian’s original letter can be read here. Here’s the CAA’s reply:

Dear Ian…

Thanks for the letter, it’s always good to talk about relationships and making sure we all understand each other’s positions. You’ve absolutely not upset us – you should see some of the questions we get from others!

I hope you know you can always ask us anything, you normally have ?. It’s just sometimes we need to prioritise and things can take a little longer. Sometimes your friends who are in real trouble, for example due to the current pandemic, need more attention than normal. And difficult questions need thorough answers that take longer to investigate to try and get you as much information as possible.

And we do still talk a lot, maybe that’s part of the problem. We have so many touchpoints and engagements with GA it’s hard for everyone to know about them all and we get spread pretty thin because of it. And maybe some of our other friends in GA that we formerly meet could be a bit better at telling the community about these and the discussions we have with them.

Glad you liked most of the virtual roadshows, we’d much prefer to be out there in person and that’s what we planned but at the moment it was our only option. It’s also really clear that there is a significant portion of the community that don’t live on forums or belong to associations and we’re trying to reach out to them directly as well.

While we’re talking friend to friend and difficult subjects, let’s talk about drones. We understand that some of the language our innovation team and its stakeholders use is a bit different to how GA works and we also absolutely want integrated airspace not segregated. But drones are another airspace user just like all the others. We hear from GA stuff like ‘Am I allowed to shoot them down?’ or ‘just keep them out of my airspace’. Is that really any different to what GA thinks commercial air transport is doing to GA? A few years ago, we tried to bring the two communities together to share experiences and resources. We will still keep pushing this as we think there are significant gains in GA and drones being good friends. The drone industry is still developing, and GA could be a good friend to it to help guide it.

On infringements, we never want to be, or should be, in the position that someone does something unsafe because of what they feel or have been told.  Only a really small percentage of GA will ever have contact with us around infringements, and we have to look at everything reported to us, but we realise that all of that needs to be professional and correct. We have reviewed our entire work in this area and are now introducing a series of changes.

Can we finish with a friend to friend request of our own? A lot of our people are heavily invested in GA and do play an active part in the community. That means they read all the publications, look at forums and social media. We know there are times when we don’t get it right and we should receive criticism and questions around that. But friends never make it personal. Some of our colleagues have been individually targeted with abusive behaviour and I know you share our view that it isn’t right.  We’ll all get much more out of it if we support each other and are constructive in what we say and do, with everyone involved using their voice and influence to be clear that personal abuse and inappropriate behaviour and language has absolutely no place in such a great activity we all love.  We want to thank all those in GA who have already stated this, publicly or privately, to help.

Let’s keep in touch. Love, the CAA

Image top: Photo by Toa Heftiba on Unsplash

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