The UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has appointed Rachel Gardner-Poole as the new Head of its General Aviation Unit. She will take up the post later this year following the departure of current head Tony Rapson after more than five years.
The CAA say that Rachel brings a wealth of aviation experience to the role, she is currently Portfolio Director at the Civil Aviation Authority. She began working for the CAA in the General Aviation Unit, where as Programme Manager she played a leading part in implementing changes following its launch in 2014; including working on the project to produce new PPL and LAPL syllabi which were adopted by the CAA in 2015.
Her previous experience includes working on counter-terrorism with the Home Office and as a scientific researcher in the defence sector, where she learned to fly. She also volunteers for a flying charity which delivers aid and emergency relief to remote locations. Rachel gained her PPL in 2000 and became an ATPL in 2009.
Mark Swan, Group Director Safety and Airspace Regulation, said: “We are delighted to make this announcement. Rachel is the right candidate for this role.
Her ability to deliver complex projects, combined with her strong leadership skills and wide-ranging aviation experience, made her the obvious choice. Many in the General Aviation community will already know Rachel and I am sure they will welcome her appointment.”
“Tony Rapson has done an incredible job leading the General Aviation Unit since its inception in 2014, and has delivered significant improvements for the General Aviation sector. We thank him for his hard work and dedication to date and look forward to continuing to benefit from his experience in the coming months, ahead of this change.”
Rachel added: “I’m really looking forward to working with the dedicated and professional colleagues in the General Aviation Unit. I’ve been passionate about aviation for many years and my first role here was as the General Aviation Programme manager where I used my flying knowledge and experience to implement positive changes. I’m delighted to be returning to the unit in May to build on the excellent work of Tony Rapson and the team.”
In a blog post on the CAA website in 2016 Rachel spoke of the ‘change programme’ within the CAA, She said this transformation programme was set to deliver further improvements and that the CAA are planning to improve their use of databases and collaborative technologies to help manage information better, as well as looking to bring more of its services online.
She wrote: “Our aim is that by 2020 we will be a CAA ambitious for what it can achieve, focusing on the things that matter most, clear and proportionate in our regulation, and with modern processes and systems. And we will contribute to a world where everyone who chooses to fly, as well as those who do not, has confidence in a safe and secure aviation sector that takes its responsibilities seriously.”
Rachel will work with Tony in the handover period ahead of her start date later this year.