Note from the Editor
Dear fellow aviator,
As AOPA was going to announce that the aviation industry has overcome the Covid Pandemic to a large extent, new travel restrictions to/from southern Africa, including Namibia have been put in place because of the new Covid variant Omicron that has been discovered in South Africa. The aviation industry now faces a return to the uncertainty of shifting rules and public-health developments that threw customer plans into chaos and undermined demand earlier in the pandemic.
In this edition, we will be reporting not only on some of the achievements and social events that took place since then, but all the challenges that lies ahead of us.
A big thanks goes out to our members who are providing valuable input to this Newsletter. You can read more in this edition.
AOPA Namibia CEO
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AOPA Namibia Annual General Meeting
AOPA held its Annual General Meeting (AGM) at The Hangar, Lake Oanob Resort on the 9th October 2021. AOPA’s President, Mark Dawe welcomed all to this important event. He expressed his gratitude to Hilko Marshall and his team for accommodating AGM during the flying event.
He further went on to elaborate on the history of AOPA NAM. In 1994 AviaNAM was founded with the primary purpose of representation of pilots, aircraft owners, aviation operators and aviation professionals in Namibia.
In 2010 AOPA Namibia was founded as the need arose for a single point of contact between the Aviation Industry and the Regulatory authorities (specifically the NCAA and the Transportation Commission), on matters of safety, regulations and aviation standards.
It must be recognized that a vital function of AOPA is to assist and guide the NCAA to achieve its mission “to enhance, control, regulate and promote a sustainable, internationally compliant industry”, while working against overregulation and overcharging of the industry. Mark touched on:
Past lessons learnt:
- Slow and partially ineffective results on matters of advocacy as a result of a lack of funding and the absence of full-time management.
- The perception by key government entities that AOPA NAM is not representative of the aviation industry at large and can therefore not be consulted as a single point of contact with the industry.
- The lack of organized technical skills within AOPA to address a wide range of advocacy issues.
- The lack of a formalized governance structure that eliminates conflicts of interest and ensures the independent and systematic representation of aviation/member issues.
What are the priorities?
- The appointment of a formal board of directors comprising of individuals who are not affiliated with aviation businesses and thus not compromised. Such individuals will have specific experience and skill sets in their respective fields of expertise and that are aligned with the skills required at the board level, that have been identified to possess skills in Aviation law, Aviation Advocacy, Finance and Media/Public relations.
- The President of AOPA is the Chairperson/Chairman of the board.
- The following members were elected unanimously
- Nono Tjihepo
- Tom Newton
- Claude Bosch
- Shaun Ellis
- Kathrin Schneider
- Riaan Burger
- Juline Boois
- The drafting and ratification of an Aviation Charter in line with the NEEEF SectorCharter requirements. The Aviation Charter is to be developed in consultation with all aviation role players in Namibia. Charter to be recognized and approved by Government.
- The employment of permanent and salaried staff members and the establishment of essential administrative function by:
- Employing a CEO
- Employing a group Secretary
Members also agreed to amend the AOPA Constitution as follows:
- Paragraph1.3.3 – Replace “The Namibian Time Act, 1994 (Act No. 3 of 1994)” with The Namibian Time Act, 2017.
- Paragraph 8.5 – Replace the first sentence to read “There shall be three categories of Membership, unless otherwise decided by the members at an AGM orSpecial General meeting, being…”. This change was suggested in order to accommodate the new categories of membership as presented and accepted at the Bush Bar general meeting.
In order to move the way forward, the following needs to be addressed:
- The expansion and solidification of ties with IAOPA (International) to enhance advocacy skills and provide more “muscle” in dealing with aviation challenges.
- The development and structuring of more inclusive technical subcommittees headed by the CEO.
- Continued assistance towards Aviation Operators with the management of the Pandemic fall-out.
- Focus on Safety, Technical Knowledge and Skills within the industry with the objective of expanding Namibian capacity and ensuring the growth rather than the demise of the aviation industry.
- Coordination and organization of social events to ensure a sense of community and drive towards our common goals.
- Supporting all sectors of Namibian Aviation, including:
- Light SportAviation
- Micro LightAviation
- Glider Operations
- Balloon Operations
- Parachute and Paramotor Operations
- Drone Operations
- Cabin Crew
- Aircraft Maintenance Industry
- Airport Owners and Operations
- Aviation Medical Service Providers
From the CEO’s Desk
Just as the Namibian aviation industry was recovering from the body blow of the COVID-19 pandemic, the global economy has taken yet another hit from the Omicron variant of the virus, which has led to a raft of new travel restrictions.
At the onset of this pandemic, AOPA reaffirmed its commitment to being operationally resilient to continue meeting the needs of its members. Although the horizon has been difficult to see at times, AOPA remains focused on its strategic ambitions as the underlying principles of its mission and objectives are highly relevant.
Our members continue to be at the centre of everything that AOPA does, i.e. strive to provide an environment where our members can deliver on their full potential, supported by an inclusive culture that respects and maximizes the contribution of all our people; our aim remains to be atop-tier player in the aviation industry; and finally, we continue to build upon our diversified and resilient platform. In 2020, our limits were tested as an organization, and through the diligence, passion and commitment of our leaders and members,AOPA came out stronger.
The aims of the association will never waver; we need to keep aviation safe and affordable and we need to have a public image that is beyond reproach, not just for ourselves but for future generations who will share our passion.
AOPA needs to develop strategic partnerships that support our members and provide economic and other collateral benefits for all parties.
AOPA needs to be visible and viable in world of aviation; a voice that represents the majority of people who are involved in flying on all levels and whose voice needs to be heard and heeded in matters that concern us.
However, this cannot be achieved if individuals and companies do no join AOPA. The response for membership so far received is rather disappointing. Online applications can be made via this link new AOPA Namibia website application form. Since we have automated the database, you might receive duplicates.If you already applied and paid, please ignore any future email regarding membership.
AOPA has already a sound working relationship with the NCAA. It is working towards the same objective with the Ministry of Works andTransport and last but not least regional councilors and other politicians.
Last, but not least. There is no reason not to celebrate Christmas. I am pleased that the NCAA has issued the required Authority to Fly to Santa Clause:
We from AOPA wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
Message from the Aerodrome Technical Committee
AOPA, together with a delegation from the Namibian Civil Aviation Authority and the Ministry of Works and Transport went on an aerodrome familiarization tour of selected aerodromes on the 04 November 2021.
These included Otjinene, Tsumkwe, Otjikoto, Otjiwarongo and Mount Etjo. The selection of aerodromes was chosen to find a benchmark as what can be expected at a rural, a corporate, municipal and private aerodrome.
The purpose of the tour was to create awareness of the practicalities surrounding aerodrome operational conditions and the concomitant 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. The objective of the inspection tour was to:
- Assess the varying operational conditions prevailing among rural aerodromes in Namibia.
- Discuss and assess issues of aerodrome maintenance at a practical level.
- Assess the strategic role and importance of rural aerodromes in the areas visited.
- Assess and discuss issues of aerodrome custodianship and management.
- Assess and discuss emergency response procedures pertaining to rural aerodromes.
- Discuss and resolve the establishing of regulatory compliance of aerodromes on the SMS ALARP principle without compromising minimum standards of operational safety.
The tour was made possible by the courtesy of Desert Air and undertaken was in pursuant
to AOPA’s policy of constructive engagement with Government and the Namibia Civil Aviation Authority on issues of mutual concern. It is AOPA’s firm belief that this tour was very fruitful and of mutual benefit to all stakeholders, public and private.
A report, which will form part of the aeronautical study, has been drafted and will be finalized shortly.
Namibia Airports Company (NAC)
It appears that not much progress has been made after the promises made during a consultative meeting with the NCAA on the 06th July 2021.
AOPA has been inundated with further issues to be addressed with the NAC regarding the use of its airports. A group of tourists arranged for a flying safari in Namibia. Their itinerary would haven taken them via Lüderitz, which happens to fall over a weekend. Unfortunately, they could change their itinerary without incurring huge costs. In addition, the restrictions isolate the town from any weekend visitors on excursions.
An air ambulance could not land at Keetmanshoop during the night because of lack of night landing facilities. The patient (a baby with complications after birth) had to be transported by road to Mariental, where the aircraft could land to pick her up for a flight back to Windhoek. A similar incident occurred when an ambulance flight at night inbound to Ondangwa on the 29th November 2021 was unable to land as the runway lights could not be switched on. After various attempts, the aircraft returned to Eros without the patient.
A businessman in the south, who considered buying an aircraft and housing it at Keetmanshoop, had to reconsider his options, because of the restrictions at the airports.
AOPA has now engaged the political leadership in those regions. Fruitful discussions were held with the Councillor for !Nami#Nus (Lüderitz) constituency the Honorable Mrs. Suzan Ndjaleka on the 30 November 2021. She already addressed a letter to the CEO of NAC. AOPA also invited the Karas Regional Councillor, Honorable Agnetha Frederick for similar discussions.
Namibia Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA)
AOPA has noted a positive improvement in the working relationship with the NCAA, although there are still many challenges.
The list of challenges that requires urgent attention are amongst others:
- 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 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
(also refer above).
- Directives impacting on the industry, issued without prior consultation as to practicability.
- Inflexibility on the part of NCAA personnel, sometimes leading to enforcing personal viewpoints. Onus on industry to prove them wrong.
- Lack of a State Safety Programme, including a lack of progress reports on the latter.
- Lack of progress with the authorisation of Aviation Maintenance Organisations to issue Certificates of Airworthiness, a common practice in other countries. Inspectors do not have the in-depth knowledge to assess each aircraft type. This knowledge vests in the AMO's whose personnel have undergone the required type training and have gained the necessary experience.
- Bulky format of the newly issued Certificates of Airworthiness and Registration.
- Lack of an obstacle limitation database of airfields and concomitant outdated
- Lack of filing of differences from ICAO standards and recommended practices. Alternative means of compliance are seldom, if ever, considered.
- High turnover among senior staff at the NCAA. Loss of expertise.
- No substantive Executive Director appointed. Publication in the media, suggesting that a lowering of the standards for appointing an ED is being considered.
- No progress with implementing Risk Based Assessment principles in the renewal of AOCs, a common practice in other countries, including South Africa.
- No progress and/or feedback with the formulation of new operational regulations e.g. Parts 91, 96, 121, 127,135, etc.
Another disturbing occurrence was an audit that was conducted on one of the operators in the week of the 15 November 2021. The entire audit was done on approved manuals submitted in 2015. They could not find the copies of the approved manuals submitted in 2018/2019 and 2021 March.
On a positive note, AOPA has been invited to various consultative meetings, discussions and seminars:
- 01 October 2021—Meeting with flight operations and discussed:
- Brief over view of our mandate and introducing the Flight Ops team
- To share our divisions objectives and target goals that we set for this year
- The challenges that they face as a division and plans/progress to address them (Ops
draft regulations, proposed fees etc. ).
- The achievements in the past year as we preparations for the ICAO audit
- The importance of us having a good working relationship with the industry.
- Some of the concerns that were raised by Operators (financial statements, recertifications etc.), we will also discuss those that will be brought up in the meeting.
- 09 Oct 2021 - ANS assisted with the FPL logistics during the fly-in by sending FPL’s to events office.
- 18 - 19 Oct 2021 - Consultative meeting to discuss the draft regulations (Parts 60,61,64,65,66,67 and 141).
- 21 Oct 2021 - Meeting with the AGA section.
- 03 Nov 2021 - Attended the National Airspace Committee Meeting.
- 11 and 19 Nov 2021 - Meeting with ANS to revise the procedures for glider activities in Namibia (see page on the SSN activities).
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Reporting Incidents Without Fear
Recent years have witnessed a growing concern over the issue of safety culture within an aviation organisation. There exists considerable disagreement among safety professionals, both within and across organisations, as to how safety culture should be defined and whether or not safety culture is inherently different from the concept of safety climate.
The rapid development of new technology in air traffic management (ATM) has fundamentally changed the nature of work and has increased the complexity of systems to manage air traffic safely and expeditiously. It requires a tight coupling between both technical and human sub-systems. The failure of either subsystem can often cause a failure of the entire system.
One of the few remaining ways of reducing and preventing air traffic incidents is to establish non-punitive reporting systems. The identification of errors hazards and incidents is a fundamental element of any safety management system. However, many air incidents go unreported because those involved are fearful of management or the regulatory authority.
Reporting systems, as well as other safety initiatives can only be effective in an environment that adopts a non-punitive culture. The unrestricted flow and exchange of information is vital to improving safety. In order for reporting systems to be effective, a non-punitive environment must prevail, a just culture must be created.
A just culture starts at the top of an organisation and is a culture that needs to be adopted and practised by the organisation as a whole. Every employee, not just those involved in safety, can influence the establishment of a culture. A cornerstone in the creation of a just culture is the establishment of voluntary reporting systems.
A good reporting culture is one in which personnel have sufficient trust in the system that they are willing to report their errors, thereby providing a valuable contribution to safety. The primary focus of reporting systems is to prevent incidents or accidents and in order to be effective, users of these systems must have complete confidence that they will not face retribution as a result of disclosure.
Properly collected and analysed aviation safety information can be a powerful tool, with the potential for great benefit. One of the major concerns, however, is that like any powerful tool, it can cause extensive harm if used improperly.
The classic characteristics of an Air Navigation Service Provider (ANSP) that takes safety seriously are:
- Informed – managers know what is going on in their organisation and the workforce are willing to report their own errors and near misses;
- Just – the ANSP operates a ‘no blame’ culture within the constraint that some actions can be agreed by all to be totally unacceptable and worthy of approbation;
- Wary – the ANSP and its constituent individuals are on the look out for the unexpected, maintaining a high degree of vigilance;
- Flexible – the ANSP operates according to the demands, so they can provide both high tempo and routine modes of operation and can change when required by circumstances;
- Learning – the ANSP is ready to learn in order to improve and be capable of implementing what needs to be done to reform.
Human actions are almost always affected by circumstances outside a person’s control and in a just culture, it must be recognized that errors are consequences rather than causes, which cannot easily be avoided since they were not intended in the first place. The best people can make mistakes given the same circumstances.
A just culture does not guarantee immunity from consequence, but does suggest fair treatment of individuals. ICAO encourages the investigation of latent and immediate factors so that accidents can be prevented, recognising the system failure resulting in an accident, not an individual’s error.
Those occurrences involving dereliction of duty, reckless behaviour, persistent breaches of company standards, or deliberate failure to report, should be handled in accordance with individual company disciplinary procedures. Procedures for dealing with instances of non-compliance must be agreed and established.
Aviation safety can be enhanced by the establishment of a just culture, the focus of which is safety rather than the apportionment of blame. To be successful, it should form the basis of all incident and accident prevention initiatives.
Along with its rebranding, the airline announced new daily connections between Eros to Namibian tourist destinations including the Etosha National Park, Sossusvlei in the Namib desert, and the coastal holiday town of Swakopmund, as well as daily flights between Katima Mulilo and Victoria Falls as of April 2022. This was announced by Chief Executive Officer Henri van Schalkwyk during the launch of Fly Namibia. He further stated that they also launched a bursary scheme.
“We have used every business opportunity to invest into the skills development of our staff and in the aviation infrastructure at Eros airport” Van Schalkwyk said. “This infrastructure becomes part of what Namibia has to offer and it is our goal to ensure aviation related services become an export product that we can all be proud of.”
Westair Aviation started out as an aircraft maintenance facility and flying school in
1967. It originally operated charters, trans-border overnight express airfreight between Namibia and South Africa, aerial surveys all over Africa, and medical evacuation. It launched its first
scheduled air transport application with the then South African Transport Com-
mission in 1980, but was only awarded scheduled carrier status after independence by the Namibian Transport Commission and started operating as Fly Westair on June 24, 2019.
Speaking at the same event, Namibia's Deputy Minister of Environment, Forestry, and Tourism — Heather Sibungo — emphasised that tourism was a priority sector for economic development in Namibia and had been one of the most successful and fast-growing sectors of the Namibian economy in recent years.
Tourism arrivals grew from 560,000 in 1999 to a record-high of 1.5 million in 2019, she said.
She further stated that the ministry has highlighted accessibility to the main tourism destinations as a priority programme in its Tourism Recovery Plan for the next three years. In light of this, the Safari route is coming to the market at the right time.
News around the World
Environmentally Friendly Aviation Gasoline
Textron Aviation on October 25 announced that many Cessna piston-powered aircraft are now approved to utilize a more environmentally friendly aviation gasoline (AvGas). Owners and operators of Cessna 172 Skyhawk, 182 Skylane can utilize 91-octane unleaded (91UL),
94UL or 100VLL (very low lead) fuel in their aircraft wherever it is available. The 206 Turbo Stationair HD aircraft is approved for 100VLL. Unleaded and lower-leaded fuels burn cleaner than higher-leaded fuels currently used on most piston aircraft.
“Textron Aviation is committed to sustainability, and this announcement is an excellent opportunity for aviation enthusiasts to minimize their carbon footprint while continuing to enjoy the journey of flight,” said Chris Crow, vice president, Piston & Utility Sales, Textron. “We have produced more than 75,000 of these three piston aircraft models, and this gives owners and operators around the world a chance to take action in reducing emissions.”
All three Cessna models utilize engines manufactured by Lycoming Engines, a Textron Inc. business. Lycoming recently approved the use of unleaded and lower-leaded fuels after completion of a series of tests. The fuel is compatible for both new production and legacy Cessna piston aircraft.
Mavic 3 Folding Drone
DJI on November 5 introduced its new Mavic 3 folding drone, described as the most comprehensive improvement to the drone series in three years. Redesigned from tip to tail, Mavic 3 includes a 4/3 CMOS Hasselblad camera and 28x hybrid zoom camera, as well as omnidirectional obstacle sensors with a maximum 200-metre range and redesigned batteries
that provide up to 46 minutes of flight time.
Mavic 3’s upgraded hardware and software can process 5.1K video at 50 frames per second with heightened low-light sensitivity, and support 4K/120fps for higher-quality results for slow-motion footage. An enhanced Mavic 3 Cine edition offers Apple ProRes 422 HQ encoding for video processing, with an internal 1TB SSD onboard for high-speed data storage.
“Creating the Mavic 3 was an arduous journey for our engineers who tackled complex technical problems to serve the goal that the Mavic series has always met – build professional-quality imaging and flight technology into a compact consumer drone,” said Ferdinand Wolf, Creative Director, DJI Europe. “The result is incredible. Mavic 3 enables users to effortlessly make epic shots without compromising on small size, stunning performance, pervasive flight safety, and dazzling image quality.”
Safety Management System Policy
The Aircraft Owners and Pilot Association (AOPA) of Namibia is committed to be compliant with the NCAA Safety Management System (SMS) policy, whilst also meeting all relevant national and international regulatory obligations as an Association.
AOPA will minimize operational risk thereby reducing the probability of accidents and incidents to a level “As Low As Reasonably Practicable” (ALARP) within Namibia and beyondthrough the implementation of a formalized and effective AOPA SMS.
AOPA will meet and where possible exceed the minimum acceptable level of safety as defined in Namibian Civil Aviation Regulations (NAMCARS). AOPA will protect the welfare of its members, partners, visitors and customers by providing a healthy, safe and sustainable working environment.
AOPA will ensure that no commercial, operational, and/or environmental pressures shall override aviation safety.
“More than anything else, the sensation of flying is one of perfect peace mingled with an excitement that strains every nerve to the utmost. If you can conceive of such a combination.” – Wilbur Wright
AOPA will support the application of appropriate environmental standards by meeting statutory
and regulatory requirements.
The AOPA SMS policy will be achieved by proactively:
- Sourcing and deploying sufficient suitably skilled expertise as required,
- Allocating responsibilities and accountabilities to members consistent with their competency level,
- Identifying hazards, analyzing and mitigating risks, and the disseminating of lessons learnt,
- Setting, achieving and reporting against objectives to demonstrate continuous performance improvement,
- Promoting a receptive “no blame” culture so as to encourage open and honest reporting of aviation safety incidents, and
- Promoting the communication of safety values and practices to all members to support the maintenance of a sound safety culture.
Light Sport And Amateur-Built Aircraft Association Of Namibia (Lisama)
Lisama had its Annual General Meeting on the 04 December 2021 at Swakopmund.
Some issues highlighted at the previous AGM held in 2020 were amongst others the challenges faced with the NCAA.
Lisama has spent over 14 months and 300-man hours later to draft and get a new MOP approved by the NCAA. Most of the challenges were the shifting of goalposts and the lack of feedback from the airworthiness section. Airworthiness requires that all the authorized persons working either under an AMO or be an actual qualified AME, amongst others, which completely defies the purpose of non-type certified aircraft.
Flight operations was extremely motivated to get the MOPs approved, because they wanted the oversight function to move away from them. They preferred that Lisama take responsibility of the oversight function of the non-type certified community. Through the process, a good working relationship was established with them, the section within the NCAA that approves the ARO. Lisama has submitted 6 revised versions of the manual to the NCAA for approval.
At this year’s AGM, the chairlady presented her report amongst others. Here are some extracts from the report:
Finally, after two full years, we received our ARO status back, which was unfairly withdrawn from us! What an unbelievable feeling when I heard the news! We had so many meetings, telephonic discussions, Emails etc. It just not fell in place. Every time we handed in the required list to NCAA, they wanted something new! But not giving up and lots of working hours paid off! Thanks to all and every person who believed in us and assisted us!
Our MOP is certainly too comprehensive and we will have to thin it out! We only have to renew the ARO certificate in time each year and not to forget the renewal date!
We had a very successful Uis Fly-In from 11 to 13 June 2021 even within the confiners of the Covid 19 restrictions. The fly-in scheduled for next year will take place from the 10 to 12 June 2022
She closed off by extending her appreciation to all for their tireless support for Lisama and for hosting the AGM.
Soaring Society of Namibia
The Soaring Society of Namibia (SSN) hosts the annual soaring season from 01 November in any given year to 31 January the following year. This is an annual event and is in all probability the single most major tourism event in Namibia.
Namibia is internationally recognized as one of the world's foremost soaring destinations as is evidenced by its international ranking, which often sees our country occupying the top spot, as well as by the number of world records achieved here dating back for decades.
Throughout this year the SSN has prepared for this 2021 season in the wake of a disastrous 2020/21 season, courtesy of the Covid-19 pandemic. This season promises to be a return to normal and the four glider bases, Bitterwasser, Kiripotib, Veronica and Pokweni have applied for the required overflight and landing clearances well in advance.
The annual gliding season brings in some 70 gliders and 400 pilots, not only from Germany, but also from countries such as Italy, Austria, the Netherlands and France to name a few. Over the 90 day period in question, the visitors contribute valued foreign currency to our forex beleaguered country. The soaring season also serves to market our country as a foremost and hospitable tourist destination.
The NCAA has conducted its statutory oversight and the SSNs Aviation Recreation Organization (ARO) approval which has been issued, again well in advance of the commencement of this year's season.
However, the SSN faced a challenge as the required overflight clearances where not issued in time for the season to start. This created a problem as visitors already in the country were effectively grounded until further notice. It placed our country’s years old tradition of international
soaring in jeopardy.
AOPA and the SSN together tried to resolve this stalemate, even going to the higher authorities. At the end, patience prevailed and the authorizations were granted on the 04 Nov 2021. AOPA has taken this issue up with the AIM section of the NCAA, who assured that the current procedures in place work very well. However, this was an isolated incident due to circumstances outside their control.
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