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European Initiative for Improved General Aviation(GA)Safety


by Clément Audard, Support Officer, Safety Team, European Aviation Safety Agency(EASA)

The European General Aviation Safety Team(EGAST)is a partnership that was created between the aviation community and authorities and is aimed at improving the level of GA safety in Europe. EGAST is the third component of the European Strategic Safety Initiative(ESSI).

General aviation is a priority for the European Aviation Safety Agency(EASA). Each year, EASA publishes a review on aviation safety in Europe; the2007 edition reported 1 150 accidents causing 254 deaths in the GA sector.

EGAST was founded as part of an ambitious approach based on the partnership between the aviation community and authorities, responding to the need for a coordinated European effort.

EGAST was launched at EASA Headquarters in Cologne, Germany, on October 17,2007. Building on the initiatives of each country and of the aviation community, EGAST creates a supportive forum for sharing best practices, and seeks to improve data sources, and promote safety.

EGAST faces a challenge since the term "general aviation" represents a community composed of, among others, the following sectors:business aviation, aerial work, air sports and recreational activities. Air sports and recreational activities alone include a wide variety of aircraft with very different characteristics such as airplanes, balloons, gliders and motorized ultralights.

As stated at the meeting in April2008, "EGAST will promote and initiate for all sectors of GA best practices in order to improve safety [...].The team may make non-binding recommendations [...]. In addition, specific objectives and priorities may be defined at sector level, depending on safety importance and available resources."

Composition and structure
EGAST is composed of representatives of aircraft manufacturers, national and European civil aviation authorities, the aviation community, accident investigators, research agencies, and national and international organizations such as the Institut pour l’amélioration de la sécurité de l’aviation générale(institute for improved GA safety)in France.

EGAST has some 75 participants and is organized in three levels of involvement:

- EGAST Level1 is the core team that runs the project and is composed of about 20 members representing various GA sectors. They meet four times a year.

- EGAST Level2 is composed of around 60 members who are actively involved in achieving the objectives and who meet every two years to comment on the work program and to provide direction.

- EGAST Level3 represents the European GA community, which needs to be informed about the results.

EGAST Level1 is comprised of the following members:Aéro-Club de France, Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association(AOPA)Czech Republic/Piper OK, a.s., Association of the Aviation Manufacturers/ Evektor Spol s.r.o., BRP Rotax GmbH & Co. KG, Civil Aviation Authority(CAA)United Kingdom, Civil Aviation Office of the Republic of Poland, Direction générale de l’Aviation civile(general civil aviation directorate), European Aviation Safety Agency(EASA), Ente Nazionale per l’Aviazione Civile(Italian Civil Aviation Authority), Eurocontrol, Europe Air Sports, European Airshow Council(EAC)/European Council for General Aviation Support, European Business Aviation Association(EBAA), European Microlight Federation, Honeywell, International Council of Aircraft Owner and Pilot Associations(IAOPA).

The lists of participants, meeting schedules, and other useful information are posted and updated on the EGAST’s section of the EASA Web site at http://easa.europa.eu/essi/.

Cooperation
EGAST cooperates with the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration’s(FAA)General Aviation Joint Steering Committee(GA-JSC)and the Eurocontrol Airspace Infringement Initiative. Particular interest is given to the work of the EASA MDM.032 group, which is developing a regulatory framework that is better adapted to the characteristics of GA in cooperation with the representatives of European GA.

Conclusion
EGAST is a partnership between the aviation community and the European authorities, which aims to promote or initiate in each GA sector the sharing of better practices in order to improve flight safety. It looks like they’re off to a flying start!


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