Sir - I believe that your readers, the industry and the European Commission (EC) should be made aware that the Executive Committee of the UK Civil Aviation Authority intends to propose an amendment to the Air Navigation Order (ANO) (No2). This is in clear breach of EC Regulations, according to our legal advice.

The matter, item 5 on the agenda of the 27 July Executive Committee meeting on, was:

"EC Paper 57/97: - Proposal to change the ANO to prevent Single Engine Aircraft Operating at night or in IMC [instrument meteorological conditions] - presented by Mr P J Hunt.

8Mr Hunt's paper proposed an amendment to ANO (No2) which would deny operations at night or in IMC by single-engine Public Transport aeroplanes not registered in the UK. This would align the position for non-UK-registered aircraft with that for UK-registered machines. He noted that the UK industry was being very supportive of the CAA's position. A proposal from the Flight Department which would radically reduce the size of the amendment had been accepted though it was not yet captured in the paper.

9The paper was approved for presentation to the SRG [Safety Regulation Group] Policy Committee. With that Committee's approval it would be tabled for MPs [UK Members of Parliament] in September and could become law in late Autumn. It was seen as a test case for SRG's general ability to control safety issues within the UK."

To my knowledge and, as a council member of the General Aviation Manufacturers and Traders Association, there has been no official consultation with the industry and, following my recent exchange of correspondence with the CAA through Flight International's columns, there is general support for single-engined commercial operations in IMC both within the UK and the European Union (EU). The demand for these aircraft is unprecedented and is increasing daily.

The CAA is being discriminatory against other members of the EU and there is no question of safety being an issue. Presumably, it will permit overflight by these aircraft when operating commercially, say, from the Continent to Ireland, but will not permit them to land within the UK. If, as it says, control of safety is an issue, then it must legislate against private operations, which will still be permitted.

The second UK-registered Cessna 208B Grand Caravan is now in service with a Public Transport Category of Certificate of Airworthiness.This is flown throughout the UK and the EU by a commercially licensed pilot carrying boxes of fish for the aircraft's owner. How can this aircraft be any more or less safe than one carrying boxes of fish for hire or reward?

Throughout the EU and the world, the commercial operation of single-engined aircraft in IMC is tightly controlled in terms of maintenance, crew qualifications and duty hours. The CAA should recognise that other authorities, with more experience, have for many years approved such operations, which have proved to be safe, thereby supporting their own industries.

Under the terms of the 1971 Civil Aviation Act, the CAA was given the duty of "-encouraging the civil air transport industry of the United Kingdom and to increase the contribution it makes towards a favourable balance of payments for the UK and towards the prosperity of the economy of the UK".

Sadly, it would appear that the CAA has changed this policy without industry consultation or support.

To my knowledge, there is no other country within the EU which prohibits the overflight or landing of commercial single-engined aircraft in IMC conditions, yet now the CAA seeks to become the rulemaker for the EU in flouting recently introduced legislation.

Could the CAA, once and for all, recognise that times have changed, and propose a solution? Those who analyse the statistics fairly and responsibly appreciate that there is no problem with the safety of these aircraft. If there were, companies would not buy them in increasing numbers and pilots would not fly them.

Bob Crowe

Bob Crowe Aircraft Sales

Cranfield, Bedford, UK

Source: Flight International