As 2023 has officially begun, it's important to reflect on 2022 so AOPA Namibia members know just how hard our advocacy organization has been working to protect General Aviation (GA) and your right to fly here in Namibia.
The following report comes from the desk of our CEO – Christian J Sell — and reflects the activities of his office and secretariat since our previous Annual General Meeting (AGM) was held on the 9 October 2021.
Below is the sequence of aviation events, meetings, correspondences, and seminars that have been held between 9 October 2021 through to the end of 2022 (with links provided where possible):
AOPA Namibia's GA Advocacy in 2022:
18 & 19 October 2021 - Attended a consultative meeting with the Namibia Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) to discuss various draft regulations.
21 October 2021 - Attended a meeting with the NCAA Aerodromes & Ground Aids (AGA) section do discuss the upcoming airfield inspection trip to selected aerodromes.
1 November 2021 - Follow up meeting from 21 October 2021 with the NCAA AGA section.
3 November 2021 - Attended the National Airspace Committee meeting at the NCAA.
4 November 2021 - AOPA Namibia, a delegation from the NCAA, and a delegation from the Ministry of Works and Transport (MWT) went on an airfield inspection trip to Otjinene, Tsumkwe, Otjikoto, Otjiwarongo and Mount Etjo on 4 November 2021.
The purpose of the inspections was to create awareness of the practicalities surrounding aerodrome operational conditions and the associated challenges of aerodrome maintenance and management in a quest for compliance with minimum operational safety standards in terms of the amended NAMCARS Part 139 regulation and technical standards.
At Otjinene, the delegation was met by Hon. Erwin Katjizeu of Otjinene Constituency – the acting CEO of the Otjinene village council – and Councillors amongst others.
At Tsumkwe the delegation met Control Administrative Officer – Ms. Regina Hamukoto – of the Tsumkwe constituency.
11 November 2021 - Attended a virtual workshop on the future of drones and the potential of unmanned aviation within the General Aviation (GA) industry.
19 November 2021 - Attended a meeting at the NCAA with Air Navigation Services (ANS) and the Soaring Society of Namibia (SSN) to discuss how to improve the communication between Air Traffic Control (ATC) and the glider pilots.
30 November 2021 - Meeting held with Hon. Suzan Ndjaleka – Councillor for !Nami#Nus (Lüderitz) constituency – to solicit political support to keep the airport open from sunrise to sunset.
Apart from serving the tourism industry, it is also the only major facility in the Southwestern region to serve a variety of industries and accommodate, cargo, medievac and agricultural aviation operations.
It is also the only airport in this region providing aviation fuel and related facilities.
4 December 2021 - Attended the Light Sport and Amateur-built Aircraft Association of Namibia (LISAMA) AGM in Swakopmund.
9 December 2021 - Consultative meeting held with the NCAA and various stakeholders to discuss the revised/additional fees as published in Aviation Notice 3/2021 dated 27th August 2021.
15 & 16 December 2021 - Attended a Controlled Flights Into Terrain (CFIT) Workshop presented by International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).
15 December 2021 - Letter written to NCAA subsequent to the consultative meeting held on 9 December 2021 to consider postponing these charges until the aviation industry has significantly recovered from the pandemic.
17 December 2021 - AOPA Namibia was invited by the NCAA to nominate members to serve on the State Safety Program (SSP) Steering Committee. Juline Boois and Chief Thomas were nominated to serve on the committee.
14 January 2022 - Meeting held with Phillip van der Merwe (Aviation Commercial Manager at EMEA & Asia Pacific) and Juan Thessner (Aviation Commercial Manager of Puma Energy) to discuss the improvement payment methodology for fuel delivered to customers.
Puma Energy experienced fraud and theft at their aviation depots and want to protect both their customers and themselves.
24 January 2022 - Letter sent to the NCAA requesting the withdrawal of Government Notice 293 of 2018, Part 139, subpart 4 & 5.
On 8 November 2018, the amended Part 139 of the Namibia Civil Aviation Regulations were published by means of Government Notice 293 of 2018. In terms of this notice, the regulation would have come into effect on 1 January 2019. This amended regulation represented a dramatic departure from the existing Part 139 regulations which had been in effect since 2001. — especially with regard to commercial operations of aircraft into Category “E” aerodromes.
The promulgation of the regulations have been postponed twice already, the most current postponement in force until 31 March 2023.
8 June 2022 - Meeting held with the Chairman of the NCAA Board – Mr. Mujetenga – and NCAA management to express our concerns on the challenges faced with them. Issues raised amongst others were:
- The NCAA is not in a position to successfully conclude the certification process of aviation companies, owing to the acute shortage of skilled staff and the lack of suitably qualified and signed-off inspectors.
- Slow response and lengthy turnaround time from NCAA regarding applications and documents submitted for approvals or amendments. One applicant has been waiting for assessment of Manuals of Procedure in anticipation of the issuing of an Air Operator Certificate (AOC) for four years and has now assigned an attorney to take the matter to Court.
- Lack of feedback regarding progress with processing of documents, applications and/or requests.
- Loss of documents often resulting in requests for re-submission.
- Directives impacting on the industry, issued without prior consultation as to practicability (Aviation Directive 1/2/3-8).
- Inflexibility on the part of NCAA personnel – sometimes leading to enforcing personal viewpoints rather than gazetted law – leaving the onus on industry to prove otherwise.
- Lack of progress with the authorization of Aviation Maintenance Organizations (AMOs) to issue Certificates of Airworthiness, a common practice in other countries.
Inspectors do not have the in-depth knowledge or skills required to assess each aircraft type. This knowledge vests in the AMO, whose personnel have undergone the required aircraft type maintenance training and have gained the necessary experience and are therefore far superior that of the inspectors, but their input is either entirely disregard or not respected.
- Bulky format of the newly issued Certificates of Airworthiness and Registration.
- Lack of an obstacle limitation database of airports/airfields, concomitant with outdated charts.
- High turnover among senior staff at the NCAA and loss of expertise.
- Audits conducted 3 days prior expiry of AOC. Operators required to submit Corrective Action Plans (CAPs) before expiry of an AOC.
- An AMO booked a conformity inspection with Airworthiness on 26 April 2022 to be conducted on 5 May 2022. When enquiries were made, NCAA claimed no knowledge of the booking (proof is available).
- An operator is trying to arrange for a wet lease for his game capture operations, yet the NCAA insist on a dry lease.
- Various operators received letters of demand from Air Traffic and Navigation Services (ATNS) for outstanding payment on aviation safety charges.
In terms of the NAMCARS Part 187, paragraph 187.00.23 (3), the civil aviation safety charge becomes due to the Authority by a holder or participant and inclusive of an owner or operator, providing air services on the departure of a flight from an aerodrome within the territory of Namibia.
The Air Services Act 51 of 1949, describes that an air service is any service performed by means of an aircraft for reward and includes an air transport service (a service by aircraft for the carriage of passengers or goods for reward and includes such a service on charter terms).
21 June 2022 - Letter sent to the Executive Director (ED) of the NCAA requesting feedback on previous letters sent dated 16th and 24th May 2022 respectively, requesting exemption to use the aircraft type Van's RV-9 for flight training until such time the the draft regulations in Government Notice 76/2020 and published in Government Gazette No. 6874 of 15 April 2019 come into force.
The regulations in paragraph 96.01.1 (1) make provision for amongst others:
a) non-type certificated aircraft engaged in flight training or commercial air transport operations within the Republic of Namibia
b) non-type certificated aircraft registered in the Republic
c) Persons acting as flight crew members of non-type certificated aircraft registered in the Republic and engaged in flight training or commercial air transport operations; and
d) persons on board a non-type certificated aircraft engaged in flight training or commercial air transport operations
NB: On 23 Dec 2022, the United States Government and Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) just eliminated the 2021 requirement that flight instructors obtain a Letter of Deviation Authority (LODA) for giving and receiving flight training in experimental aircraft.
"The [LODA requirement] directive received immediate backlash from the aviation community, as it effectively grounded nearly 40,000 pilots and subsequently reduced the number of available flight instructors and negatively impacted aviation safety in the experimental category." - AOPA USA
AOPA Namibia advocates that the NCAA should follow suit and remove equivalent barriers to flight training in experimental aircraft as – just like the U.S. GA industry experienced – such requirements increase cost, negatively impact safety, and detrimentally impact the number of aircraft and instructors available to train General Aviation pilots in Namibia.
28 June 2022 - Invited to the announcement of the new ED of the NCAA – Ms. Toska Sem – previously the Strategic Executive: Business Strategy of the Namibian Airports Company (NAC)
4 July 2022 - Responded to the request by the Chairperson of the NCAA Board to provide more information on:
- NCAA enforcing personal viewpoints and victimisation of individuals and companies.
- Overregulation by the NCAA, requiring certification in excess of ICAO Annex recommendations.
- Interference with the role of the flight schools.
5 July 2022 - Attended the first meeting of the Civil Aviation Regulations Technical Advisory Panel (CARTAP) subcommittee for the amendments of NAMCARS Part 139.
13 July 2022 - Attended the inaugural Aviation and Connectivity Forum steering committee meeting at the NAC.
11 August 2022 - Meeting held with the ED of the NCAA and senior manager to discuss the long outstanding issues regarding the exemption of using non-type certified aircraft for commercial training. The ED promised to provide feedback within 7 days.
11 August 2022 - AOPA Namibia assisted the events organiser with the Lake Oanob aviation event scheduled for 8 October 2022.
18 August 2022 - AOPA Namibia attended the official launch of the Namibia Aviation & Connectivity Forum at a breakfast held at the Windhoek Country Club.
24 August 2022 - Attended the 3rd CARTAP sub-committee working session on NAMCARS Part 139 (2018) at the NCAA.
5 September 2022 - AOPA Namibia assisted the Microlight Association of Namibia (MICAN) to amend their Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs), which was approved by the NCAA without comments.
15 September 2022 - Attended a follow-up meeting of the 3rd CARTAP sub-committee working session on NAMCARS Part 139 (2018) at the NCAA.
12 September 2022 - Attended the Steering Committee Meeting on the Namibia Aviation and Connectivity Forum at the NAC headquarters.
15 September 2022 - Attended an NCAA consultative workshop to discuss the draft NAMCARS Part 139 regulations. The aforesaid stakeholder consultation was attended by a number of stakeholders, including AOPA Namibia, airlines, members of the tourism industry (such as the Hospitality Association of Namibia) and members of the hunting industry.
During the stakeholder consultation meeting, the ED of the NCAA mentioned that the Hon. Minister of Works and Transport will only consider postponing the commencement of Part 139 if presented with sound reasons.
A letter was sent by AOPA Namibia to the Hon. Minister of Works and Transport on 26 September 2022, and the Hon. Minister subsequently postponed the regulations until 31 March 2023.
26 September 2022 - Meeting with NCAA Flight Operations and Safety and LISAMA to discuss the challenges faced with the renewal of LISAMA's Aviation Recreation Organization (ARO) certificate.
LISAMA, whose previous ARO certificate expired on 22 September 2022, applied for their ARO renewal on 1 August 2022 by submitting their renewal application package via email (as per CARs & CATs 149) well in advance of the required 30 days before expiry.
The NCAA acknowledged receipt of LISAMA's ARO renewal application submission on 8 August 2022.
Unbeknownst to LISAMA, additional documents were required, which appeared to be part of an internal NCAA checklist that was not shared with LISAMA. The internal NCAA checklist was only shared after enquiring on multiple occasions.
The rest of the documents were submitted on 25 August 2022. NCAA acknowledged receipt of the documents on the 2 September 2022. With every email and phone call, LISAMA requested an audit date multiple times without any feedback.
On Monday 5 September 2022, LISAMA received the first official notification from the NCAA of the intention to conduct the ARO Renewal Base Inspection on Wednesday the same week (with only 2 days notice).
The NCAA inspectors arrived on Wednesday 7 September 2022 for the audit. They wanted to inspect gyroplanes and microlights during the audit amongst others, but this was not possible due to the logistics of arranging aircraft on such short notice. Arrangements were made later, but the inspectors did not arrive for the inspection.
Furthermore, the fact that LISAMA's Safety Officer and Chief of Training were not present for the inspection (due to their person being out of the country on training), the inspectors were not able to conduct the closure meeting of the audit.
28 September 2022 - AOPA Namibia invited the Namibian Police Force (NAMPOL) and the Namibian Air Force to take part in the annual fly-in event at Lake Oanob on behalf of the event organisers. Unfortunately NAMPOL and the Namibian Air Force declined due to other commitments.
29 September 2022 - Attended a Safety Workshop presented by the NCAA in Swakopmund.
4 October 2022 - AOPA Namibia wrote to the Personnel Licensing (PEL) section of the NCAA to resolve a matter regarding validation of Aircraft Maintenance Engineer (AME) licenses.
The NCAA is placing an enormous handicap on Aircraft Maintenance Engineers and maintenance facilities due to the fact that the NCAA is limited with exam papers and therefor claim that additional AME licenses cannot be granted on practical experience only.
What's more, AME type rating exams for the Kodiak are not yet established by the NCAA. It was suggested that the engineers write an exam from an approved Aviation Training Organisation (ATO) – which none are available in Namibia on that type – or other civil aviation authorities.
AOPA Namibia is of the opinion that the NCAA should grant an exemption in terms of NAMCARS Part 3, subpart 3, which describes the procedure for granting exemptions and acceptance of alternative methods of compliance.
5 October 2022 - LISAMA received their ARO license renewal after AOPA Namibia intervened to assist. An appeal was written directly to the ED of the NCAA on 4 October 2022 to intervene on LISAMA's behalf as no progress had been made since a previous meeting on 26 September 2022.
Without any ARO approval, LISAMA could not have attended the Lake Oanob aviation event on 7-9 October 2022.
21 October 2022 - Met with Dr. Eline van der Linden and her partner (pilot and member of the Botswana Civil Aviation Authority Board). She has been tasked to facilitate a 5-year Integrated Strategic Business Plan (ISBP) for the NCAA. This includes independent consultations with key stakeholders, like AOPA Namibia.
Furthermore, the ISBP includes a Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats (SWOT) analysis, organizational review, technical issues outlook, market assessment, prioritization of strategic interventions, as well as a financial model and financing plan.
9 November 2022 - Attended the National Airspace Committee Meeting. Unfortunately, the committee has not accepted AOPA Namibia and the SSN’s working paper to extend the general glider flying area to the northeast of Windhoek.
AOPA Namibia expressed its concern that no clear guidelines are given as the NCAA keeps demanding new requirements since the paper was first introduced in February 2022.
7 December 2022 - The AOPA Namibia Board of Directors tabled the following resolutions:
- Riaan Burger to sit as Acting President on the AOPA Namibia Board of Directors in President Mark Dawe's medical absence until the next AGM.
- Deviate from the AOPA Namibia Constitution (to hold an AGM once per 15 calendar months), so the next AGM can be held on 3 February 2023 (due to the absence of the President/Chairman Mark Dawe, CEO Jochen Sell and resultant force majeure situation).
- Amend the constitution to allow for inactive board members to be removed from the board after not attending 2 meetings without apology, or alternatively after not attending 3 meetings without 1 apology during their tenure as an AOPA Namibia Director.
- Amend the constitution to replace the term “Chairman of the Board” to “President of the Board”.
- Amend the constitution to add a Vice-President role to the Board of Directors who will automatically become President should the current President not be able to complete their tenure of office.
8 December 2022 - Attended the CARTAP Sub-committee NAMCARs Part 139 Amendments follow-up meeting. Some progress was made with the categorization of the aerodromes. Comments were invited by the GA Industry in order to submit the final draft on 6 January 2023.
13 December 2022 - AOPA Namibia fulfilled a request by the Indonesian Embassy in Windhoek to facilitate a visit by a delegation from the Directorate of African Affairs in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Indonesia to various maintenance and training facilities at the Eros Airport.
The visit is a result of interest shown by an Indonesian company PT Dirgantara Indonesia (Persero) – also known as PTDI – for possible investment opportunities in Namibia. It is one of the aerospace companies in Asia with core competences in aircraft design and development, aircraft structure manufacturing, aircraft production, and aircraft services for both civilian and military of light and medium turboprop aircraft.
AOPA Namibia is now represented on the following committees:
a) Project Steering Committee of the NAC Aviation and Connectivity Forum:
- The inaugural Namibia Aviation and Connectivity Forum is an initiative brought about by the need to reimagine the direction to be taken by the Namibian aviation industry.
The Namibia Aviation and Connectivity Forum seeks to bring together players in aviation and related industries, primarily in Namibia, and seeks to tackle the key issues faced by the industry today.
b) Global Reporting Formation (GRF) National Committee of the NCAA:
- This is a forum to globally harmonize methodology for runway surface conditions assessment and reporting.
c) State Safety Programme Steering Committee of the NCAA:
- This committee will provide the ED of the NCAA with informed, objective high-level advice on current, emerging and potential safety related issues that have, or may have significant implications for aviation safety
d) The Civil Aviation Regulations Technical Advisory Panel (CARTAP) as established in terms of Part 11.01.1(2)(a) of the Namibian Civil Aviation Regulations of 2001:
- This panel will advise the ED of the NCAA on proposals to introduce, amend or withdraw any Regulations, Technical Standards and Aviation Directives.
e) Eros Airport Security Committee:
- This committee will provide the Eros Airport Manager with informed, objective and high-level advice on current, emerging and potential security related issues that have, or may have significant implications for security at the Eros Airport.
f) Eros Airport Safety Committee:
- This committee will provide the Eros Airport Manager with informed, objective and high-level advice on current, emerging and potential safety related issues that have, or may have significant implications for safety at the Eros airport
g) Eros Airport Facilitation Committee:
- This committee will implement the aerodrome facilitation program pursuant to NAMCARS Part 111. The committee will examine challenges arising in connection with the clearance of aircraft, crew, passengers, cargo, baggage and mail to and from Eros Airport.
Well done, Christiaan and the rest of the AOPA team. I am not even aware of most of the actions taken by AOPA. The reflection on 2022 shows AOPA’s commitment to serving the aviation industry and making a positive contribution to keep the skies open and safe.
Thank you so much for your membership and support Victor! Together we are protecting aviation and our right to fly in Namibia.