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G-KEST 8th Mar 2017 15:23

Airshows - a challenge from the CAA CEO Andrew Haines
Barry Tempest

A very IMPORTANT email from the CAA CEO and my reply. The challenge is there, NOW IS THE TIME to get YOUR FEEDBACK to Andrew Haines and for him to realise what a dreadful state so many are in, -


Once again thank you for the response.

Your comments on the air display charges are most useful however sensible suggestions made as part of the consultation exercise for the 2017/218 scheme of charges were, it would seem, ignored or rejected out of hand. That seems to me a cynical approach to any consultation where, perhaps, the final outcome was cut and dried before consultation started. Not even an acknowledgement to confirm that a submission had been received.

Cross subsidy was on the airlines agenda at the FAC back in my time with the CAA from 1984 to 1998. They never could accept the absolute fact that the majority of their aircrew came via General Aviation at no cost to them but at huge personal cost to those who wanted a career as an airline pilot. A modicum of cross subsidy would have done something to reimburse GA for their good fortune. As they always had great influence within the FAC their arguments prevailed.

I am not a Display Organiser though I was in the dim and distant past. My involvement in airshows has been mainly as a pilot with a DA and a DAE appointment. With some experience as an FDD and FCC member. Your challenge is for the Display Organisers and those owner/pilots who have but one airshow aircraft and who specialise in the small displays, invariably with only one item. The latter have been the hardest hit by the swingeing increase in charges introduced in the 2016/2017 scheme.

I will try to make them aware of your challenge and to get them to respond directly to you though I will forward any I get sent to me.

I welcome your challenge as part of the UK air display industry that has been my pleasure, profession and passion for nearly 60 years.

Kind regards,


Barry Tempest FRAeS
Vice President – Historic Aircraft Association
Armageddon Associates
Armageddon Associates have been actively involved in General Aviation for over 70 years. That includes nearly 60 years involvement in the Airshow Industry in the UK and Europe as a Display Pilot, Flying Display Director and as a Flying Control…

From: Haines Andrew
Sent: 08 March 2017 07:18
To: Barry Tempest;
Subject: RE: Devolution of Private, Sporting and Recreational Aviation in the UK


I took personal responsibility for challenging the team with relation to some of the air display charges. But we face a hard fact that our charges for air displays have not covered their costs for many years and in the post Shoreham environment our costs have gone up considerably. So the gap is getting bigger and we cannot lawfully just elect other elements of aviation to cover these costs however attractive that might seem to those directly affected.

In particular we looked at alleviation for air displays that have charitable purposes. But how many displays don't have such purposes in one form or another and would it be right for all the costs to be borne by that very small minority?

What we did last year and will do again this year is send out a very clear message that any show that is struggling to put its show on because of CAA charges should come to us on an open book basis and we will do all we can to find some form of alleviation.

Let me lay down a challenge. Show me one single air display in 2016 that cancelled their air display because of our increases in charges and who came to us to discuss their dilemma and where we failed to react sympathetically and constructively. I don't know of a single instance. I know of several where charges were mentioned as a contribution but where the organisers never even approached us to discuss alleviation and I know of quite a few that were honest enough to acknowledge that it was not CAA charges but insurances and other costs that turned out to be prohibitive.


robin 8th Mar 2017 18:17


From anecdotal evidence lots of airshows have been cancelled in 2016 and in 2017 on the grounds of cost. This might well not be as a result of CAA charges but certainly due to increased insurance premiums. Increased CAA charges only exacerbate the situation

airpolice 9th Mar 2017 20:11

Maybe if there was less evidence of the CAA not earning the money, there would be less reluctance to pay it.

Why did it take deaths at Shoreham to make someone look at the paperwork for the displays and the Hunter?

Given the various fees for licences, should the CAA not have enquired, with some rigour, into whether or not the rules were being complied with?

Tay Cough 9th Mar 2017 22:27

I operate at the weddings, funerals and bah mitzvahs level of the food chain (Fairford and Farnborough are unlikely to be troubled - would be nice if they asked!). I didn't apply for a DA last year as I saw no point.

I'm relatively new to the airshow scene (four displays now!!!!) and I have an interesting and relatively rare aircraft and would count myself as an experienced pilot (x thousand hours) but the few guys and girls who are already at this level understandably have that type of business sewn up.

To make it "pay" (and it has to), I need X for fuel, Y for maintenance and Z for fees. X and Y are fair enough and nothing has changed in that respect. Z however, I need to charge in advance for a "permission" and that has to be paid for no matter what. If I am then weathered off or go tech, it still has to be paid. It's a big deal to ask for someone to front up for a non-refundable 300 for a mighty (non-Spitfire) machine, who will then be charged another X+Y IF I'm able to turn up. Remember, this isn't RIAT.

If you want a number cancelled, they never were as they never happened, but I reckon about three or four.

In short, given the restrictions now applied and the extra costs, why bother?

There's your challenge, Mr Haines.

G-KEST 9th Mar 2017 23:55

That is exactly the kind of response that Andrew Haines needs. He should read and digest. You are another potential airshow act and pilot lost to the industry and that is indeed a tragedy. Will you put it into an email and let him have it with a copy to me at [email address via pm]

Lasjens 10th Mar 2017 13:33

Air displays yes, but not in the UK
I have had the pleasure of flying aerobatics in my CAP10c for a few years now, and was last year reeled into doing my first display, at a Danish airshow in Stauning.

As Denmark does not have a system set up for display authorizations I could do that within the law, on the basis that the display followed the rules laid down for displays in DK: The display program had to be submitted weeks in advance, the full program had to be practiced minimum two times the last two weeks before, no manouvers to go below 500 ft, a safety line for spectators and rules for manouvers towards the spectators depending on speed etc.

These rules seems like basic conditions for conducting an airshow in front of a paying audience, and it is tragic if similar rules for the Shoreham display were not in effect, or of the rules were clearly broken, leading to the disaster.

On basis of the UK system I can say that I thoroughly enjoyed doing my first display, but that I will not be going through the hassle and not least the cost of obtaining a UK Display Authorization; the few displays I can ever do per year will not cover that. Still I will be happy to do displays in Denmark and other places where I can do that safely without running into problems with the local CAA.

G-KEST 10th Mar 2017 14:45

I hope to bring this to the attention of those attending the DHMC Forum at Henlow on Saturday 11th March. Many of their members own historic aircraft and some have been hard hit by the charges. I think Andrew Haines might get quite a few responses to his challenge, but only if those affected make an effort to respond. Apathy occasionally rules in General Aviation. We all prefer to fly rather than bother about something that is already cut and dried.... But is it....???

G-KEST 10th Mar 2017 21:36

Essentially the system in Denmark is similar to the UK but without charges being levied. I too have given displays at Stauning in the past and their show regulation was good. I was on a JAR working group in the late 1990's which eventually came up with advisory leaflet number 22 that was signed up to by many European States who were part of the JAR.. It was based on the UK CAP403 with some changes due to national requirements. Few States have a DA/DAE system and few make charges as they are funded through general taxation. The CAA is virtually unique in having to charge civil aviation for the cost of its regulation. They get no government financial aid so screw it out of us...!!! I suppose it does fund my pension so perhaps I should not complain....but I do.

blueandwhite 10th Mar 2017 22:26

Dear old Andrew tied up his challenge quit tightly.
1) the display had to be cancelled due to charges
2) Someone had to talk to them about it
3) They had to fail to react sympathetically

He didn't get were he is by laying down a fair challenge.
So far no one has met his definition. So he will turn round and say "told you - no evidence of cancellations"

G-KEST 10th Mar 2017 23:03

You may well be right but I not take quite such a cynical view of the challenge. If those who have been affected in a bad way for whatever reason but especially those affected by the charges respond he will be aware of the situation among the single aircraft display owners and pilots. I see the challenge as an opportunity to make Andrew Haines and the CAA as a whole aware of the actual situation in the UK airshow industry. Both in the 2016 season and the one to come.

Collieflyer One 11th Mar 2017 19:55

In response to Andrew Haines' challenge:

I've been considering, for a couple of years, getting a display authorisation to display a 1960s midget racer. Due to the threefold increase in cost, it is highly unlikely that a church fete or village fair is going to book me for a five minute display. You cannot use the argument that they have not been in touch to "discuss their dilemma" because there will be at least ten individuals who have decided not to bother because they simply could not justify the expense.

I would point out that the DoT would never ban all traffic on a motorway (or motorways in general) after a multi-vehicle pile-up, which could easily cause as many fatalities as an airshow accident. To me, there seems to have been a knee-jerk reaction to one, albeit tragic, accident. It seems now that the professionals in the industry have decided to display in countries such as India and China where, although they have rules, the officials have not strangled the industry. I remember, as a child, going to fantastic airshows at Nottingham and Leicester, and I feel that these smaller airshows have been killed off by rapidly increasing costs and red tape.

G-KEST 11th Mar 2017 23:56

Collieflyer One- Thank you for the posting. I appreciate your comments. I flew in many Barnstormer displays at both Nottingham and Leicester in the past and also in the huge displays organised by the Leicestershire Aero Club. No more and such a shame as so many thousands of spectators enjoyed them in perfect safety. The escalating charges from the CAA and unrealistic changes in some regulations coupled to the bureaucracy have killed them off. If you have not sent an email direct to Andrew Haines I will ensure he gets a copy of your post.

G-KEST 14th Mar 2017 01:29

Another series of emails between the CAA CEO and myself -


A Yorkshireman and a Welshman sharing a good sense of humour and that is excellent news for us both. The cost of our exchanges is borne by you and your family, not the CAA as the times of your emails reveal. I salute your personal efforts Sir. We are both, to a certain extent, insomniacs.

Never having been a CEO of any organisation except my own consultancy I do realise the pressures that must inevitably rest on your shoulders but the Welsh rugby team have always been formidable opponents. Being from Yorkshire the form of rugby I prefer is League rather than Union but I enjoy watching both on TV.

No doubt you have noticed the URL for the website I recently established, Introduction - www.generalaviation-aero.co.uk Tony Rapson will envy the name I managed to obtain.

That disagreement on fundamentals could be partially resolved if only the CAA would seriously engage with the Air Display industry in a constructive manner before implementation of any further regulation and, indeed, charges. As a politician once said wisely “Talk, talk is better than war, war….!!!!” I am certain you will agree.

Thanks for referring my point to the Finance Department. Some 20 odd years ago, while I was employed by the Authority, I got to know the, then, Head of Finance quite well during discussions on the airshow permission charges implementation. I think she might still be with you in an even more senior role. If that is the case do please give her my regards from a former colleague.

Kind regards,


From: Haines Andrew
Sent: 13 March 2017 08:03
To: Barry Tempest
Cc: Wally Epton; John Turner; Tingle Chris; Rapson Tony
Subject: RE: Prune Airshow Post - THE HAINES CHALLENGE
Importance: High


I'm not going to comment on all you've said; in part because we disagree on some fundamentals and not least because we'd end up having to increase charges for the amount of time spent in correspondence with you ( joke!!). But I will get the finance team to comment on the implications of your charging proposition.


From: Barry Tempest
Date: Monday, 13 Mar 2017, 12:08 am

To: Haines Andrew
Cc: Wally Epton John Turner
Subject: RE: Prune Airshow Post - THE HAINES CHALLENGE


Just back from checking out on our Skybolt after a three year break. I am still smiling.

Thanks for the email. The real shame was the lack of opportunity to discuss the result of the consultation on charges before publication of the scheme. My suggestion of a charge for a single item and another for the up to three item events was utterly practical and would have materially assisted the seed corn of our air display industry. Very many current display pilots started that way but the present regulatory and charges regime is an enormous disincentive.

That was the way I started in 1958, a single Tiger Moth aerobatic display at a village fete for, then, the princely fee of 25. It cost me 2.50 and the balance went into more flying to improve my skills and consequently to improve safety for all. Yes, I do know it was illegal then, and would be now, as I only had a PPL but I imagine the statute of limitations applies to a confession of an offence some 59 years ago. Way before the CAA was formed in 1972. No doubt the Legal Advisors Department can advise in this respect. So maybe see you in court.

I would indeed deem it a favour if the Finance Department could evaluate my proposal for the ‘single item’ charge and the’ up to three item charge’ to see for themselves the sense of my suggestion. I would love to see their unadorned answer though I do accept that no change will be possible now the scheme has been published.

There was never a post display charge in the past and though any ‘no shows’ will not be charged the total bill to an organiser is astronomic. I was speaking to display pilots from Sweden and Switzerland on Saturday at the DHMC forum and there are no airshow charges whatsoever in their countries. All funded from general taxation to the national CAA’s. Yes, I know well the UK CAA has to get its funds from the industry but it does not happen often abroad. Winston Churchill did us a real disservice in, I think, 1922 when he said in Parliament “Civil Aviation has come of age and it no longer requires subsidy from the exchequer.” I know not if he was a Liberal or a Conservative at that time but he never was a Socialist. I do wish it were different.

Your comment on the AAIB recommendations post-Shoreham and their implementation by the CAA would cut more ice if you had done any consultation with the air display industry prior to mandating them. This in contravention of HMG’s ‘Better Regulation’ principle and to Grant Shapps ‘gold plate challenge’ campaign of a couple of years ago announced when you were present at Duxford. You impressed me then, as did Patrick Ky and, in his ebullient mood, by Tony Rapson. On the other hand Mark Swan left a bitter taste at that event, for me at least. My favourable impression is a bit tarnished now.

Thanks for listening.

Kind regards,


From: Haines Andrew
Sent: 12 March 2017 12:26
To: Barry Tempest
Cc: Wally Epton; John Turner
Subject: RE: Prune Airshow Post - THE HAINES CHALLENGE


Thank you.

The reason we split the fee to pre and post event fees is precisely to allow for the fact of risk of cancellations and reduce the burden.

And if we were to introduce the alleviation for charities that some understandably propose then individuals such as this will pay more as they would have to subsidise those charitable ventures as well.

I don't pretend this is easy but in the light of Shoreham and the AAIB recommendations, I make no apology for the enhanced requirements we have introduced.

Best wishes


From: Barry Tempest
Date: Sunday, 12 Mar 2017, 12:03 pm

To: Haines Andrew
Cc: Wally Epton ; John Turner
Subject: FW: Prune Airshow Post - THE HAINES CHALLENGE


This is the first post I am sending you. It merits your attention though not completely satisfying your conditions for the challenge. Many will be similarly affected.

Kind regards,

From: Anonymous but affected General Aviation pilot and owner
Sent: 12 March 2017 07:20
Subject: Prune Airshow Post

Hi Barry,

As requested. Please de-identify as appropriate.

I operate at the weddings, funerals and bah mitzvahs level of the food chain (Fairford and Farnborough are unlikely to be troubled - would be nice if they asked!). I didn't apply for a DA last year as I saw no point.

I'm relatively new to the airshow scene (four displays now!!!!) and I have an interesting and relatively rare aircraft and would count myself as an experienced pilot (x thousand hours) but the few guys and girls who are already at this level understandably have that type of business sewn up.

To make it "pay" (and it has to), I need X for fuel, Y for maintenance and Z for fees. X and Y are fair enough and nothing has changed in that respect. Z however, I need to charge in advance for a "permission" and that has to be paid for no matter what. If I am then weathered off or go tech, it still has to be paid. It's a big deal to ask for someone to front up for a non-refundable 300 for a mighty (non-Spitfire) machine, who will then be charged another X+Y IF I'm able to turn up. Remember, this isn't RIAT.

If you want a number cancelled, they never were as they never happened, but I reckon about three or four.

In short, given the restrictions now applied and the extra costs, why bother?

There's your challenge, Mr Haines.

Kind regards,

Name deleted at the writers request

Pittsextra 14th Mar 2017 06:43

The real shame with this is that the community have largely rolled over and accepted the case put by the CAA around its funding model and their assertion that suddenly their spreadsheet was so far out previously that charges have now sharply increased.

However that really could be countered by a view that it's less a case of a prior under payment but rather a payment for a service that actually wasn't delivered at all, wasn't delivered to the level expected or required. In any other business the executive wouldn't get a bonus and you'd get a refund and in some cases compensation.

G-KEST 15th Mar 2017 08:59


I have passed your post to Andrew Haines. It is well worth his time reading it. although not directly relevant to his challenge. It is the 'grass roots' single aircraft DA pilot owners who are most affected by the vast increase in the permission charge since the 2015 season. Many of the stars on the airshow circuit began as one of them and the increase in cost and the introduction of a time consuming and onerous bureaucratic system will put aspirants off starting their involvement in displays. The very 'seed corn' of future UK airshows.

Thanks for your thoughts

Proteus9 15th Mar 2017 14:31

I have very seriously considered a number of times purchasing another aircraft with which to display. However, post Shoreham and speaking to others I've been completely put off the idea, probably for the foreseeable future.
It's a shame as I think particularly the small displays do a great deal of good, not just for GA , but in encouraging younger people to take an interest in physics, engineering and aviation.

G-KEST 15th Mar 2017 15:03


I sincerely regret that the post Shoreham changes in CAA imposed regulations have dissuaded you from getting involved personally and financially in the UK airshow industry. Having had from 1948 to the present, some 69 years, as an iarshow enthusiast and active participant I can only say how much I have enjoyed it over the years. It really is a magic community and many of us are willing to act as mentors prior to any DA evaluation.

G-KEST 16th Mar 2017 22:27

The problem with the regulation changes for airshows was that there was no consultation with those who were to be affected. The CAA arbitrarily just did it and some in a disproportionate and 'gold plated' fashion. a few have some safety DIS-benefit. This is contrary to the governments declared policy for 'Better Regulation' and the 'Gold Plating' removal initiative by Grant Shapps MP.. On charging the cross subsidy argument is there. CAT gets most of its flight crew via GA at no cost to the airlines but at considerable cost to the aspiring airline pilot. Is that not worth a little cross subsidy. In addition sensible suggestion for rebalancing the charges were ignored without any explanation why, again no consultation took place. The CAA are frightened to death over Shoreham and the potential liability. It was a huge tragedy but so is the weekly toll of death and injury on UK roads yet that is accepted. How many innocent folk have lost their lives in football stadia since the early 1950's yet in airshows only those unfortunate people at Shoreham and they were not at the airshow anyway,. There needs to be a sense of proportion. Improvements can and will be made but the CAA actions are an overkill and overcharge.

airpolice 16th Mar 2017 22:36

Why is it so difficult for the CAA to simply, and effectively, implement the existing rules?

Had the extant rules been followed, it's likely that the Shoreham crash would have been avoided, as the hunter would not have been flying.

Do any of the readers here know anyone who has been fully checked by the CAA in terms of log book entries? I use this as just one example. Perhaps we could have more confidence that people are not faking hours, if there was a system whereby you would be caught by ALL records being checked. Tech logs for the aircraft, ATC logs and where possible, club records.

That's before we get to the "creative record keeping" of the Engineers. Are we really to believe that the fact that nobody from the CAA turns up and examines the books is not a driving force, however small, to cut corners? When you know you are not getting caught, then why not?

G-KEST 16th Mar 2017 23:54

From 1987 to 1998 I was Head of the Section in the, then, General Aviation Department that regulated and inspected the operational aspects if the entire UK civil airshow industry, both the aircraft and the pilots along with the organisations. We inspected three times the number of shows seen today by 'the man from the ministry'. We rarely had more than one person present and he was from the operations side. In the USA every airshow has a team of inspectors from the FAA. One operations, one airworthiness and two from ATC. I well remember one Biggin Hill Air Fair where I attempted to see all the paperwork, 90% of those on the programme could not produce some, or even all, of the required documents and I just had to accept the warranty in CAP403 that all the paperwork was correct otherwise there would have been a very small BHAF that year. The warranty system still exists. Had the show been in the USA those pilots would not have been allowed to fly and that knowledge meant they would make sure they had the required documentation. For ex-military aircraft on CAA administered Permits to Fly the provisions of CAP632 apply and record keeping is an essential part of that.
Can the UK CAA afford the level of inspection normal in the USA..?? I doubt it ever could do except at a cost that would virtually eliminate any but the very biggest UK airshows. Is that acceptable.... not for me or the countless thousands who attend UK airshows, large and small.
There has to be a much greater sense of proportion than at present in the CAA and the realisation that airshows are part of a long tradition of outdoor entertainment and spectacle enjoyed for over a century with an excellent safety record, not perfect but, in my opinion, acceptable. My heart still goes our to those bereaved at Shoreham but the weekly road kill of death and injury are just accepted, though the individual tragedy is the same.

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