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IAOPA Europe Enews September 2012 - Welcome to the IAOPA Europe enews which goes to 23,000 aircraft owners and pilots in 27 countries across the continent

Costly transponder AD rescinded

IAOPA has saved aircraft owners millions of euros by successfully petitioning for the removal of an Airworthiness Directive which was as costly as it was unnecessary. The AD concerned Mode C and S transponders and should have applied only to commercial air transport aircraft. Instead, it was extended to all aircraft, and over the last six years owners have spent something like €20 million unnecessarily to comply with it. Now, thanks to the work of Dan Åkerman of AOPA Sweden, EASA has agreed to cancel the AD. George Done, Chairman of AOPA UK, explains the background:

"On 30th August 2006, EASA issued an Airworthiness Directive No. 2006-0265 that concerned Modes C and S transponders. It was to address a problem of false advisory altitude reporting that had led to a loss of aircraft separation during TCAS manoeuvres. It followed on from a much earlier AD issued by the FAA in 1999 that applied to Transport Category aircraft with Mode C and was subsequently modified to apply only to aircraft above FL240. As a result of test data that had been collected in the meantime showing that the repetitive testing required for compliance was unnecessary, the FAA AD was cancelled in April 2000.

The UK CAA issued their own equivalent AD as a result of a TCAS incident involving two Boeing 747 aircraft shortly after the FAA one. This was superseded in 2000 by an AD that applied to all aircraft equipped with Mode C or Mode S transponders. At a stroke, this prime example of gold-plating took in a large proportion of the several thousand GA aircraft in the UK. It was singularly unfortunate that EASA took over this AD in August 2006 from the UK CAA in good faith, thereby extending the scope to many tens of thousands of GA aircraft in Europe. The EASA AD had been up for consultation, but, probably because the wording appeared to limit the scope to transport aircraft, no comments were received during the two-week consultation period. The AD calls for testing every two years using a nine-point check that would maybe take an avionics engineer the best part of an hour. Four sample altitudes are to be checked for accuracy to within a 125 feet tolerance, the highest being 31,000 feet, somewhat on the high side for most GA aircraft! Over the six years that have elapsed since the AD was issued it is easy to see that the owners of the GA aircraft concerned have probably spent on the order of €10 or €20 million in compliance.

On 21st August 2012, EASA issued a Notification of a Proposal to cancel the AD with a closure date for consultation of 31st October 2012. It seems unlikely that there will be any objections. The person we must thank for this welcome outbreak of common sense from EASA is Dan Åkerman of AOPA Sweden. Dan is an aircraft owner and has worked in the aviation business for 25 years as a systems engineer, structures designer and accident investigator, as well as having operated a CAMO for a year before frustration with Part M as interpreted by the Swedish CAA caused him to withdraw. He is the IAOPA representative on the GA Task Force that is currently addressing Part M for GA aircraft. In December 2011 he wrote a letter to Eric Sivel, EASA Rulemaking Deputy Director, raising several questions and proposing amendments to the AD. It is a matter of great cheer that EASA took the comments of the expert seriously and acted upon them, leading ultimately to the cancellation of this vexatious AD. Well done, Dan!"

‘EASA is shaping up!’

These are the words used by Dan Åkerman, the IAOPA representative on the EASA GA Task Force, following the recent Notification of a Proposal to Issue a Certification Memorandum on Service Bulletins and Airworthiness Directives (CM-21A-J-001 Issue 01, 9th July 2012). The Task Force was set up following a Part M GA Workshop held in October 2011 at which the strength of feeling expressed by the GA attendees and presenters, that many aspects of Part M as applied to GA aircraft were inappropriate and grossly over-burdensome, stunned the EASA and many National Aviation Authority representatives present. It first met in February this year and has so far had three meetings, with two more scheduled. The twelve-member Task Force includes experts from the various sectors of GA from gliding through to business aviation as well as a small support team of EASA staff.
The subject of the Certification Memorandum is 'Service Bulletins (SBs) related to Airworthiness Directives (ADs)'. It is aimed at addressing problems of interpretation in Part M by many, if not all, NAAs which led them to go for the most restrictive requirement where it was perceived there was a choice. The result was that SBs issued by design approval holders were in many cases treated as mandatory by NAAs, leading to unnecessary and inappropriate maintenance tasks unrelated to actual risk or proportionality. The CM has addressed these problems and is itself a model of clarity. It makes it quite clear that SBs (including Service Advisories, Service Letters and equivalents) are non-mandatory, even if they are described as such. It is only the AD, issued by EASA or competent authority, which is mandatory. The AD may be issued following the publication of an SB that highlights an airworthiness problem and provides remedial action.
Included are 18 pages devoted to describing how to produce user-friendly SBs and other related topics aimed at cutting out ambiguities and improving clarity. This may seem like going overboard on these aspects, but the content is relevant and is itself reader-friendly. Illustrative examples are provided with three-dimensional diagrams.
This first output example from the GA Task Force is a good start; it indicates that EASA is taking advice from expert advisers to heart, and that we can look forward to further improvements to the application of Part M to GA aircraft.

Transair Banner

AOPA Finland fights to save Helsinki-Malmi airport

Helsinki-Malmi, the general aviation airport of the Finnish capital, is under threat from property developers, and AOPA Finland is asking you to sign a petition in favour of its retention as an airfield. Malmi is one of the best-preserved of Europe's early civil aviation airports and provides a general aviation outlet for one million people in the Helsinki area. It is also a vital link in the pan-European chain of general aviation airports. As well as providing flight training and engineering education it is home to the Finnish border guard, rescue services, air force and police, and it represents a rare and valuable bird sanctuary and wildlife oasis in north-eastern Helsinki.
Those fighting to save the airport have put together a list of ten reasons why Helsinki-Malmi must be retained for aviation. Not only is it vital for general aviation - the activities at Malmi could not be dispersed, only destroyed - but it is an important part of the cultural heritage of Helsinki. The first aircraft landed at Malmi more than 75 years ago. The airport enjoys widespread local support, with more than 50,000 Finns having signed the petition. You can read the list in English at www.pelastamalmi.org/en/index.html, where there is a lot of interesting historical information about Malmi. You can also sign the petition online.

AOPA Germany helps Meridian and Jetprop DLX pilots

AOPA Germany has been successful in its attempts to have EASA treat the Piper Malibu Meridian and Jetprop as a single type for rating purposes, which will save pilots who fly both aircraft significant expense in check-rides. Together with the Malibu owners group, AOPA Germany pressed EASA to consider the PA-46 Jetprop DLX and the PA-46-500TP Malibu Meridian as variants for a single licence endorsement, and the Agency's Operational Evaluation Board has agreed to treat them as one. The Jetprop DLX is an after-market turbine conversion of the Malibu. The Board's report says that while there are differences in horsepower, empty weight and fuel capacity, and while aircraft performance differs, cockpit interface is similar and most operational procedures are identical. For currency purposes, take-offs and landings performed on either the Malibu Meridian or the Jetprop DLX are to be valid for both variants. Dr Michael Erb, Managing Director of AOPA Germany, says: "This has been an expensive problem for a small number of pilots, and we are grateful to EASA for reconsidering the issue and making this welcome change."

Come to Duxford for the AOPA UK Bonus Day

AOPA in the United Kingdom is holding a Bonus Open Day at Duxford Airfield near Cambridge on Sunday September 23rd, and all AOPA members everywhere are cordially invited. Duxford is a very welcoming GA airfield which is home to the magnificent Imperial War Museum aircraft collection, one of the best aviation museums in the world. There will be a series of lectures and presentations in a purpose-built auditorium, with refreshments and lunch being served in the Concorde meeting room. Speakers include general aviation advocate and warbird pilot Cliff Spink, IAOPA Senior Vice President Martin Robinson and IAOPA's lobbyist in Brussels, Lutz Dommel. There will also be a number of 'help and advice' stands where AOPA experts will answer your aviation questions.

It will also be possible to join a free expert-led guided tour of some of the exhibits at the museum - perfect for your guests if you want to attend the presentations. The Imperial War Museum website is at www.iwm.org.uk/visits/iwm-duxford. The museum contains many of the most iconic aircraft of the 20th centure, including Concorde, Flying Fortress, English Electric Lightning, SR-71 Blackbird, TSR-2, MiG-21, P-51, F-86, Spitfire, Hurricane and dozens more. The landing fee has been discounted to £7, and pilots flying in will find the airport personnel friendly and helpful. The day is open to both AOPA members and non-members. Go to www.aopa.co.uk to book tickets, landing slots, pay landing fees and make bookings for limited free hangar tours. 

Mysia Aviation Fest, 14-16 September, Edremit, Turkey

AOPA Turkey is participating in the first Mysia International Aviation Fest, to be held at Edremit Airport in Balıkesir, Turkey from September 14 to 16, and all AOPA members are welcome to visit. The event, organised by the Istanbul Aviation Club, comprises three days of air displays and parties - details are available in English on the website http://mysiaaviationfest.com/en/. If you need more information you can contact AOPA Turkey President Erdogan Menekse via email.

A licence to learn...

This article, from AOPA Let's Go Flying, appears on Airsoc.com.
When you’re doing your initial training, the statement that a pilot certificate is just a license to learn must seem like a foreign concept.  Those who have completed initial training and have certificates must know something, right?  Well, of course they do.  But you’ll be surprised at how much each additional rating shows you what you don’t know about flying.  And how much you’ll want to go and learn that stuff! I try to practice what I preach.  After the instrument rating, I began a quest to visit as many corners of the aviation envelope as I could find.  And there are plenty!  Multi-engine aircraft.  Seaplanes.  Flying upside down. For several years, I didn’t need to get a flight review because a new certificate or rating resets the clock on flight reviews.  In fact, I went months at a time carrying a paper temporary certificate for this or that because the plastic certificates couldn’t keep up. It’s not that I gave that up.  I shot a movie about aerobatics, got more involved in CAP, and flew competition aerobatics myself.  But I hadn’t gotten a new rating in some time...  Continue reading here