Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Some personal comments on the proposed Safety Code -- John Godwin

1. General comments:

It's a pity the idea of enlightened common sense has disappeared.

The code has moved away from the concept of Giving Advice to that of Being Prescriptive.
The proposed code does not encourage members, clubs and SIGs to act responsibly. It appears to assume that they must be told what to do. Surely the people on the ground have more insight into what is safe at their sites and what is not, than a central body? The job of the central body must be to apprise local operators of best practices, not prescribe detailed procedures.

2. There are some aspects of the proposed code that are impractical and/or incapable of being enforced. There is a danger in such rules. Members simply won't follow them, and if one rule is seen to be invalid, the whole code looses its authority. Rather have a few rules that are obeyed than many of which some are suspect. I mention again the idea of enlightened common sense.

Some impractical rules are:

Clause 1.1 7). The restriction on flying from a SAMAA registered or sanctioned field.
What about ad hoc safe flying on a private farm? Is it really practical to say a SAMAA member may only fly from a SAMAA field?
Rather re-phrase this rule to draw members' attention to the consequences and additional responsibility of flying from a non-SAMAA field.

Part 2 a). The restriction on the number of aircraft/helicopters airborne at any one time. What about the various slope soaring events run around the country? Here many more than five aircraft may be in the air at any one time.
Rather re-phrase the rule to allow the site operator to determine the number. However, suggest a best practice for conventional power sites of not more than five flying at once.

Part2 p). The restriction to one operating runway.
Strict adherence to this rule is not possible at JOMAC where power aircraft and gliders fly from the same site simultaneously. There is no absolute reason why a site should not operate two runways. It just depends on the local geography. Having said that though, for most sites this is a best practice.

3. I support the recommendation of getting special dispensation and insurance for a public display or event.

4. The code should state clearly that failure to follow it will not invalidate SAMAA insurance. Or if it may do so, the circumstances must be spelt out in unambiguous terms.

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