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  1. #41
    Captain Randombloke's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jetlag View Post
    Now I'm confused. Roger, you say the Air Creation family can be sold into the UK as kits and self build, to be flown as a two seater, but, not as a factory built machine ready to fly. Now, I am not the sharpest knife in the drawer and recon I've missed something, I must have.

    If I'm not mistaken, then how can a machine, bought in kit form, put together by a.n.other in a garage be acceptable as a two seater when the same machine put together by professionals will not be considered "fit to fly".
    This is the madness of the amateur built fudge we have got ourselves into because otherwise a large proportion of the aircraft we fly are not economic to produce as factory builds...

    I have been to the Air Création factory, it is the epitome of cleanliness and process planning, but as the Sales Manager observed, I can build it in my grubby back garden shed but not buy it professionally built from their factory.

    A fair proportion of the aircraft on the LAA and BMAA registers can only be amateur built.

    The venerable Paul D is at this point in time changing the UK versions of Skyranger aircraft from home built to factory in the UK.

    Flylight are the importer for the Tanarg and other aircraft in the range, with BioniX/Ixxess wings. However, unlike France where you can match Ixxess/Nuvix/BioniX wings with Tanarg/Skypper trikes, here in the UK only certain combinations are allowed. Skypper/Nuvix wings are not part of any combination.

    Aircraft in the range have to be built from kits supplied by Flylight, with inspections before kick off and at scheduled intervals.

    If you care, you can have a look at the BMAA HADS range of leaflets.

    I would disagree that the factory quality control process for a build is the same as an amateur one with inspections. Most factories have some kind of ongoing QC in place, every manufacturer of PG cloth or paragliders themselves has had something put in place. Just without massively costly gold plating..

    You have only to look at a build manual that suggests drilling a number of holes in a fibreglass or Lexan sheet, then look at ten examples of the aircraft made with that process to see that a factory process with templates and post template QC isn't the same as someone drilling a few holes. Mind you, we have no evidence to suggest any there is any safety penalty to the home built approach.
    Steve U.
    PG, HG & microlights
    "Weekend bimbler, day to day car driver & genuinely undeserving Southern oik who has never done anything of any worth"

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  3. #42
    Wannabe Pilot Shadow's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jetlag View Post
    Now I'm confused. Roger, you say the Air Creation family can be sold into the UK as kits and self build, to be flown as a two seater, but, not as a factory built machine ready to fly. Now, I am not the sharpest knife in the drawer and recon I've missed something, I must have.

    If I'm not mistaken, then how can a machine, bought in kit form, put together by a.n.other in a garage be acceptable as a two seater when the same machine put together by professionals will not be considered "fit to fly".

    Joan, I agree, it shouldn't just be France v GB, for my part I have no knowledge of microlighting outside France. There are others living and flying in other parts of the world, but, maybe to get them to comment we need to be a little less personal in our responses to their comments. If we are misinformed, and I certainly frequently am, forceful responses will only serve in making some reflect as to the wisdom of posting. I'm trying .... we need to be a little nicer to each other.

    The tambourines and singing around the campfire will start immediately after the "agent provocateurs" have left the building.
    Having built and restored 4 aircraft (now on the fifth) in Germany/Switzerland/Holland i can assure anyone that the Amateur built aircraft are more rigourously inspected than factory built ones. Reason, The builder is not generally a Quality control expert and he doesnt necessarily understand fully all the rules and regulations concerning building/restoring that are flying around. The inspectors are also normal Joe's but mostly with an aviation background. Now for instance, in Germany the build/restoration is registered with the Oscar Ursinus Verein (same as the LAA), they will send an inspector to you who will assess the build either on hand of the documentation, drawings etc. He will inspect the Working area and if the builder has the tools sufficient to carryout the build. The builder will be quizzed as to his knowledge (generally about the project in question). The inspector then writes his report and sends it to the OUV who then assess and give the go ahead or decline. They then put together a build plan and documents which the builder has to follow to the letter describing how and when the stage inspections take place and are signed off. This happens right up to the point where the final inspection comes around. For the test flight, the OUV designate a test pilot for the initial flight and define the various points for the aircraft documents such as VNe, VSo etc. The test programme is written and off the builder goes and flies the test programme until the final day and then it is signed off and fully registered. Then within a year, the builder has to have a noise certification test carried out and he has to pass or it is grounded until corrected. This whole process can and does take more than 3 years or even longer and of course there is the matter of the obligatory "shekels" to be passed around for each and every department brought into play.

    The Swiss BAZL doesnt recognise the existance of Microlights and to fly in Swiss airspace you will require permission from them. Just as much as they dont recognise Gyros either. There is only 3 swiss registered Gyros and they are classed as Test beds for some technology or other.

    I have built 2 Benson Gyros in Germany and was baffed when the OUV told me it isnt recognised in Germany (15 years ago) even though they designed the damn things back in the 30's. I had to get them registered on the Austrian register (well 1 of them) the other only flew hops and was then hung up in a ford dealers.

    I am now building a single seater which was started under the Swiss regime, then went to the irish system (much more accomodating, I only saw my inspector once and then he disappeared. And now it will continue under the French RSA system.

    Companies dont build and inspect each aircraft. they build 2 or 3 for certification. Once awarded, they have to builld them all to this certification and have inspections of parts as they are produced and then a final sign off inspection. This is the reason why factory builds are so expensive. The buyer is paying for the Quality control which amounts to at least 1/3rd of the cost if not more. I work in the medical device industry and i am a QC inspector.

    Roger


  4. #43
    Captain Randombloke's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shadow View Post
    Having built and restored 4 aircraft (now on the fifth) in Germany/Switzerland/Holland i can assure anyone that the Amateur built aircraft are more rigourously inspected than factory built ones. Reason, The builder is not generally a Quality control expert and he doesnt necessarily understand fully all the rules and regulations concerning building/restoring that are flying around. The inspectors are also normal Joe's but mostly with an aviation background.
    Mostly is not the same as always. Quality and safety are defined not by the highest common factor but by the lowest common denominator. It's the weakest link in a chain you worry about, not the strongest. Historical evidence is that, at least in the UK, issues have arisen where inspectors did not have a strong technical background. So, before saying that the normal Joe does a better job than someone who does something every day and is highly practised at it, you'd have to provide some good evidence for going against agreed wisdom. It's this that makes me debate that someone building something daily in the Air Création factory with experience and all the right tools would not be better than "an average Joe" in a shed building something for the first time.

    Quote Originally Posted by Shadow View Post
    Now for instance, in Germany the build/restoration is registered with the Oscar Ursinus Verein (same as the LAA), they will send an inspector to you who will assess the build either on hand of the documentation, drawings etc. He will inspect the Working area and if the builder has the tools sufficient to carryout the build.
    Kit built aircraft aircraft come with fairly good instructions now, and the rag and tube ones can be put together with basic tools like screwdrivers, spanners, pop riveters and hole cutters. It would be different if you were building a Falco from plans, but as far as I can tell for the BMAA, the home builds are all from kits, not plans.

    Quote Originally Posted by Shadow View Post
    The builder will be quizzed as to his knowledge (generally about the project in question). The inspector then writes his report and sends it to the OUV who then assess and give the go ahead or decline. They then put together a build plan and documents which the builder has to follow to the letter describing how and when the stage inspections take place and are signed off. This happens right up to the point where the final inspection comes around. For the test flight, the OUV designate a test pilot for the initial flight and define the various points for the aircraft documents such as VNe, VSo etc. The test programme is written and off the builder goes and flies the test programme until the final day and then it is signed off and fully registered. Then within a year, the builder has to have a noise certification test carried out and he has to pass or it is grounded until corrected. This whole process can and does take more than 3 years or even longer and of course there is the matter of the obligatory "shekels" to be passed around for each and every department brought into play.
    Build plans and documents for the same are a prerequisite in the UK for the kit being offered as a home build, so by the time the home builder wants to buy and register the kit with an association to build it, this paperwork must have been done for the required certification. The same is true of inspections, by the time the kit is legal to buy in the UK, all this is already in place.

    One thing I have to give the BMAA credit for is that if the build and paperwork are done properly, amateur built aircraft can be built and flying very quickly. Most of the stuff you outline in your statement above doesn't have to be done, as things like Vne, Vso and other parameters are already set in the home build certification done by the importer and are simply checked against the master document by the test pilot.

    In other branches of aviation where I am more conversant with airworthiness requirements, it appears that the German regimes often involve far more regulation with little or no safety dividend to show for it. In the case of the Europe wide EN regulations for paragliding, they decided to stick to their own certification regime, which, whilst having a lot of commonality with the EN standard technically had more general approvals stuff which made it harder for firms outside Germany to compete.
    Steve U.
    PG, HG & microlights
    "Weekend bimbler, day to day car driver & genuinely undeserving Southern oik who has never done anything of any worth"


  5. #44
    Test Pilot Paul Dewhurst's Avatar
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    There is a lot of diversity in regulation around Europe and the world.

    for airworthiness in the UK the system is an ‘oppency’ - the applicant has to provide evidence of compliance with an approved code and that is checked before the type is accepted.

    production in the UK requires approval - a bit like an ISO approval but bespoke to aviation.

    The production approval is either grantees to a company - or an association that can administer a form of it for members to build their own.

    in France the system is declarative. The details are not checked. There is no production approval.

    Czech Republic has a similar system to the UK - but their CAA has delegated all oversight to the Czech LAA who do all the approvals on their behalf. They have both airworthiness and production approval. But all done by the association fees are lower and it’s more pro active than CAA. Despite what some might perceive as a conflict of interest the Czech Republic has the most successful industry in the world and more pilots per capita of population than any other EU country ( if not the world)

    germany functions much like UK but without formal production approval. The CAA is in charge but there are two associations that do all the technical approval checking.

    Spain has their CAA in charge and airworthiness approvals are not easy - the situation is more difficult than the UK just now.

    UK is somewhat unique in having the lowest regulation for single seaters. I don’t believe anywhere else in EU has the equivalent freedom of our sub70 category.

    So so there are areas where UK is more stringent than most of EU ( production approval), it follows the average in airworthiness approval ( but maybe more detailed for mods), but has a lighter touch than most for single seat.

    we are seeing a reasonably fast rate of change though with CAA releasing more and more to the associations - that can do things faster and less expensive than CAA. And we have constant progress in reduction of regulation where we can prove it has little or no benefit. So the direction of travel is in the right direction.

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  7. #45
    Captain Roger Mole's Avatar
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    Thanks for that Paul. But there appear to be two elephants in the room. Why can't the UK support more than a handful (and a small one at that) of manufacturers and why can't foreign manufacturers be bothered to jump the hurdles put up by the UK 'system' and sell their products in the UK?

    The direction of travel may be the right one but I'd suggest that it's pitifully slow and totally divorced from the needs of the market and the real requirements to meet the genuine needs of health and safety.

    The words 'Ivory' and 'Tower' come to mind.


  8. #46
    Test Pilot Paul Dewhurst's Avatar
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    Hi Roger

    i think the UK has got it right in many ways. The outstanding barrier though is production approval and the requirements and costs for that.


    French manufacturers aren’t exactly growing either - quite a decline actually, one might say a crisis. Most of the three axis manufacturers have gone ( one notable one to the UK!) and trike manufacturers pretty much reduced to just one of note.

    so set against numbers of pilots the manufacturing output of France is very low.

    maybe that’s mostly down to other aspects of French regulation - mainly social taxes meaning the cost of employing staff is the highest in Europe..

    The irony is that the ease of being able to sell into the French market has resulted in imports from countries where labour is less expensive being dominant.

    and with France deciding to go with lower weight
    limits than the majority of EU is moving too it will make it more difficult for French manufacturing to compete in export.

    I think that as a model the Czech system is most successful. It’s not a free fir all and standards are high and enforced. But in a helpful way with CAA out of the picture, and government actively supporting the industry with diplomatic initiatives.


  9. #47
    Captain Roger Mole's Avatar
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    Hi Paul, I'm not quite sure what is going on over here at the moment. Given that France has probably the most relaxed flying regime in Europe, at least for ULMs, it's noticeable that there's distinctly less flying going on than when I arrived 7 years ago. Lots of lovely airfields are totally deserted when you fly in and as many are supported by the local communes, there must be a real risk if this continues that many will be lost. And this must translate through into the market, especially for new machines, being more depressed. I don't have any feel for the numbers but I think that it could all be down to personal and family budgets coming under increasing pressure. Macron is increasing taxation but doing nothing to reform the economy which still has a huge, bloated public sector, so the outlook in France cannot be especially encouraging for the French manufacturers.

    I'm not sure that the market for light aircraft has really recovered in any European country since the 2008 financial crisis and one wonders what the prospects are for it doing so in the medium or even longer term given current trends.

    Certainly the UK regime for production approvals can do little to bring about any renaissance there and as things stand the prospects for any kind of market improvement must be gloomy to say the least.
    Last edited by Roger Mole; 22-07-19 at 21:58 PM.


  10. #48
    Co-Pilot jetlag's Avatar
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    As I mentioned previously, when I had a conversation with fellow French pilots and my French instructor they were astounded to hear of the SSDR system in the GB. Nothing similar exists in France, it has an engine, you must have a licence which means you have a theoretic exam and training with a recognised qualified instructor.Strange, how different countries view risks and personal liberties. Must say, not sure I agree with the idea of being legally able to buy and fly without instruction.
    F-JRIB LF1751 Corme Ecluse

    Today is the tomorrow you worried about yesterday.

    Phil.


  11. #49
    Wannabe Pilot Shadow's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jetlag View Post
    As I mentioned previously, when I had a conversation with fellow French pilots and my French instructor they were astounded to hear of the SSDR system in the GB. Nothing similar exists in France, it has an engine, you must have a licence which means you have a theoretic exam and training with a recognised qualified instructor.Strange, how different countries view risks and personal liberties. Must say, not sure I agree with the idea of being legally able to buy and fly without instruction.
    Jetlag, i dont think that is quite correct, you still need a licence for SSDR. Maybe for the sub 70 class that is not the case. The SSDR only exempts you from all the red tape with inspections and permits etc, but not the licence.

    Roger

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  13. #50
    Co-Pilot jetlag's Avatar
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    Thank you for the clarification Roger, often confused .. that's me. Still, if under 70kg no licence but at 75kg a licence is required it's still a little bizzare (me thinks). A machine and pilot of some 160kg+ can still create a rather painful "coming together" not to say expensive.

    Hope you are settling in well, have you decided your base yet?
    F-JRIB LF1751 Corme Ecluse

    Today is the tomorrow you worried about yesterday.

    Phil.


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