The National Microlight Association of Ireland (NMAI) is the Lead Organisation in Ireland in a Pan-European application to the INEA (Innovation and Networks Executive Agency) for a grant to cover some of the costs of upgrading your aircraft or aerodrome radio. We estimate that there could be up to 550 aircraft or aerodrome radios eligible for upgrading in Ireland. This will have an estimated cost of €1.72 million. We have applied for a 20% grant amounting to €345,100 for the entire Irish General Aviation community. The application is part of a consortium led by the International Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (IAOPA) with the support of Helios, an independent consultancy company.
The European Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) No 1079/2012 of 16th November 2012 laid down the requirements for voice channel spacing within the Single European Sky. Whilst the focus has to date been on the coordinated implementation of 8.33kHz channel spacing above FL195, see Regulation (EC) No 1265/2007, it has been widely recognised that the only realistic option to resolve the medium to long-term congestion problem in the VHF band is the further deployment of 8.33kHz channel spacing below FL195.
Expansion of 8.33kHz below FL195 impacts General Aviation (GA) as this is the airspace most utilised by the diverse mix of aircraft and airspace users that comprise the GA community. This community gains no benefit from the progressive implementation of 8.33kHz expansion – only costs. However, in line with Single European Sky (SES) principle that the beneficiary pays, European funding has been made available to support the extension of 8.33kHz implementation below FL195.
If the consortium’s application is successful, a refund of 20% will be available to all claimants within European non-Cohesion States for all radio upgrades completed between 8th February 2017 and 31st December 2018. The application was made in February 2017 but it will be several months before we know if the application is successful.
The Irish Aviation Authority have issued and exemption from the requirements of this regulation. The purpose of this exemption is to allow aircraft which are not equipped with 8.33 kHz channel spacing capable radios to continue to avail of the safety benefits of VHF communication including flight information and ATC services. This exemption means that aircraft flying in Irish airspace will not be obliged to remove/upgrade their radio before 31st December 2017. It should be noted though that this exemption will be reviewed regularly and may be revoked or amended. Operators using non-compliant radios are encouraged to upgrade their aircraft radio to an 8.33 kHz channel spacing capable radio.
Aircraft operators are reminded that;
- the exemption mentioned above is only applicable in Irish airspace.
- when operating in airspace other than Irish airspace, it is important to check the local airspace requirements with regards to 8.33 kHz channel spacing.
- any radio replacement must be 8.33 kHz compliant.
- aircraft for which the initial individual Certificate of Airworthiness or Flight Permit is being issued must have 8.33 kHz channel spacing capable radio(s), if any radio is installed.
- flying under Instrument Flight Rules in Class A, B or C airspace currently requires an 8.33 kHz channel spacing capable radio.
In the meantime, the NMAI invites all aircraft owners or operators based within Ireland* to pre-register (see link below) and provide as soon as possible:
- Details on the aircraft / radio that requires retrofit / replacement;
- Estimated costs of replacement and installation;
- Dates by which the planned installation will occur.
*If your aircraft is not registered in Ireland, please see the list of eligible states below to see if you qualify for this application.
More details will be provided in due course., there is also Frequently Asked Questions below. For any information associated with the application, please do not hesitate to contact us. The NMAI would like to acknowledge the invaluable help of Ruth Bagnell from the IAA in supporting this application.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do I have to be a member of the NMAI to avail of this funding?
No. The application is open to all members of the General Aviation Community in Ireland. The NMAI have made this application as we think it’s very important for GA community in Ireland. If you’ve benefitted from this funding, we hope you’ll consider joining the NMAI and supporting what we do.
My aircraft is registered in a country other than Ireland, can I make a claim?
This application involves 19 non-Cohesion and Cohesion European states. For a full list click here. If your aircraft is registered in one of these states you may apply for the funding. Please note the UK are not part of this application. Owners of UK registered aircraft should contact the UK CAA for details.
What is a non-Cohesion and Cohesion state?
The Cohesion Fund is aimed at Member States whose Gross National Income (GNI) per inhabitant is less than 90% of the EU average. It aims to reduce economic and social disparities and to promote sustainable development. For the 2014-2020 period, the Cohesion Fund concerns Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Greece, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia. Ireland is considered a non-Cohesion state and therefore will refund rate of 20% will apply.
When will I be able to apply for funding?
A set of three “call” periods are planned, however it is not yet confirmed whether the calls will go ahead. The go-ahead will be dependent on an INEA grant being awarded to the European IAOPAs. The decision is expected in Q2-Q3, 2017. If the funds are allocated, the first claims will be considered back dated to 8th February 2017.
What level of funding is available for 8.33kHz radios?
The level of funding is to be confirmed when/if the INEA grant is awarded. However, it will be on a first come first serve basis. Once all funds have been claimed no further claims will be accepted. The level of funding remaining will be advertised at the start of each call and there will be an announcement on the website when only a limited level of funds remain.
How much funding can I apply for?
Claimants with aircraft registered in a non-Cohesion state can claim 20% of their purchase and installation costs. The following caps apply to the eligible costs of purchase and installation (refunds will be 20% of this):
- Combined Nav / Comms systems – €17,000
- Fixed Radio only – €7,000
- Handheld Radio – €1,500
A per claimant limit of €300,000 applies, meaning a maximum refund of €60,000 (non-Cohesion) can be received for a single claimant. A per aircraft limit of €17,000 applies, meaning a maximum refund of €3,400 (non-Cohesion) can be received for a single aircraft.
What is the eligibility criteria for applying for funding?
The following restrictions apply to claimants:
- Radios must be 8.33kHz channel spacing compatible
- New radios must replace 25kHz channel spaced radios i.e. not a like for like replacement
- Ground radio installations must be fixed at a licensed aerodrome
- The aircraft of the installed radio must be registered in one of the involved states (General1 or Cohesion2)
- The aircraft of the installed radio must be of CS-23 (light aircraft) size and below
- Each application must be unique i.e. the same claim cannot be made twice
- Installations must be carried out after 7 February 2017 and before 31 December 2018
Can I claim funds now and install later?
No. Claims will only be paid out once installation has been evidenced i.e. they will be on a refund basis. However, please pre-register and indicate the indicative amount you wish to claim to reserve funding.
But I can’t install new radios into my aircraft for another few weeks/months – can I claim funds if the installation is booked?
No. You can register your interest in making a claim, identifying how much you would like to claim; this will act as a reservation. However, you cannot make a full claim and receive a refund until the new radio is installed.
How do I make a claim?
You can make a claim through the website. We are yet to finalise the requirements for evidence to be provided. However, the following is a guide to the evidence that we would currently expect to see when processing your claim:
- Owner details, including address and bank details
- Aircraft registration details
- Invoice/receipts of purchase/installation
- Airworthiness certificate
- Photographic evidence of installation (before and after), including radio serial number
Do I need to pay to make a claim?
Yes. Unfortunately, a small administration fee is required to be paid at the point of the claim – i.e. when you have all the evidence and submit the claim for refund. This is non-refundable. This is expected to be 1.5% of the overall cost being processed. For example, if you claimed for a €2,500 purchase and installation cost, the administration fee would be €37.50. The full refund that would then be provided would be €500.00 (if non-Cohesion) or €2,125 (if Cohesion). This will not be paid to the NMAI but to Helios, the company that are administering the refund system.
When will I find out if my claim has been successful?
We will endeavour to assess each application as soon as possible. We cannot guarantee a response time, but we will aim to provide a response to each application within 5 working days of the claim being made.
If my claim is successful, when will I receive funds?
We cannot guarantee a refund timescale as this is determined by the European funding mechanisms. We anticipate the refund being distributed to successful claimants within 5 months of the end of the call period in which the claim was made. We will provide regular updates as to the status of each application and refund. Further details on refund timescales will be made known when the INEA grant decision has been made.