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LAA Chief Exec

Steve Slater, CEO of the UK Light Aircraft Association, spoke at a branch meeting I attended last week. I thought readers might be interested in a few of the topics covered, some may even affect those outside the UK. He talked for over an hour and I didn’t take written notes, so beware of possible errors and omissions due to ageing memory banks.

Quite a contrast to the previous CEO who spoke about 2 years ago. Long heritage in home built VFR aircraft and wants to preserve its tradition. Looked at budgets and hopes to avoid price increases, add scope of work (including exporting their expertise).

1) Demographics of membership have the same distribution as the previous survey 4 years ago, except the median age has increased by the same 4 years. Membership is dropping by about 2% annually, lot less than some other flying organisations, other sports such as golf etc. They currently have about 7800 members, of which ~2500 permit holders. The best time to attract new members has been shortly after gaining PPL, but this may change now that flight training is allowed in Permit aircraft.

2) They expect to become a “designated engineering organisation” very soon. No longer need to send paperwork to UK CAA to grant each Permit, can issue these directly.

The LAA do like some of the EASA proposals (never thought would say that), including Factory Inspections and common standardisation across Europe. The suggestion was that in the medium term, they could directly handle paperwork for EASA Permit to Fly aircraft from any country.

3) Night/IFR
Little said on this, but hinted we might hear some announcements around Night trials soon (eg this month). It was noted that not all LAA members see the reason to devote effort to this, which would benefit only a smaller number of members (I’d argue that it might attract new members, switching from CofA).

4) They plan to recruit an expert in new types of power units, including jet engines and electrical motors. Small jet turbines have been developed intensively to meet the needs of drones in recent years and some of these might well be feasible for LAA aircraft (e.g. Sub Sonex). [I wonder if these might come to market faster than diesel piston engines??]

EGBJ

Interesting, thanks for the update.
I have a personal interest in the IFR possibilities but am surprised to hear that the LAA don’t see it as a great incentive for more people to move to permit.

Forever learning
EGTB

except the median age has increased by the same 4 years

The same was reported from the USA, referring to the age profile of Oshkosh attendance.

The same was also true for the age of aircraft but I suspect that trend may have reversed now.

I have a personal interest in the IFR possibilities but am surprised to hear that the LAA don’t see it as a great incentive for more people to move to permit.

I get to hear of developments on that front. There are politics involved e.g.

  • as stated, some large % of members have no interest in IFR ever and don’t want the LAA to be involved
  • they got some consultant to draw up the criteria, and some of it is IMHO sensible and some of it isn’t
  • no matter where the acceptance line is drawn, some will be below it and will be p*ssed off
  • some avionics popular on the LAA scene are not acceptable due to inadequate performance or even misleading indications
  • some popular aircraft have been judged to have inadequate handling for flight in IMC
  • the project is proceeding confidentially, due to the above factors

They plan to recruit an expert in new types of power units, including jet engines

I wonder if they might accept the Lancair Evolution?

Administrator
Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom
some large % of members have no interest in IFR ever and don’t want the LAA to be involved

That they’re not interested is up to them, but why would they object to the LAA expanding its horizon?

I wonder if they might accept the Lancair Evolution?

I must be missing something here, AFAIU the Evolution is not a power unit, let alone a new type of the same.

@DavidC: thanks for posting!

EBZH Kiewit, Belgium

I was a member of the LAA since I bought my Europa in 2011 and decided to not renew my membership this year, since I fail to understand the approach – and neither their arguments – to not support the owners abroad any longer.

Well, I’m very happy with the dutch registration now

EDLE

DavidC wrote:

They plan to recruit an expert in new types of power units, including jet engines and electrical motors

Perhaps the next engine for my Auster can be a turboprop :-) Make for a great glider tug!

(It’s been done before – an Auster Autocrat was once fitted with a Rover turboprop engine)

Last Edited by alioth at 07 Mar 17:00
Andreas IOM
6 Posts
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