Changes at EASA
Last month the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) management board announced some key leadership changes, including the naming of Trevor Woods (pictured) as Norbert Lohl's replacement as certification director when Lohl retires at the end of February.
Effective 5th January, Luc Tytgat was appointed director of the newly-created Strategy and Safety Management Directorate. Tytgat will take charge of “raising safety intelligence as one of EASA’s key priorities, and of developing a better and more agile regulatory framework.” He was previously director of the Pan-European Single Sky Directorate at Eurocontrol, after a long tenure at the European Commission and ten years in the Belgian Air Force before that.
Also effective 5th January, Olivier Ramsayer was appointed EASA resources and support director, with a remit to simplify, and raise the efficiency of, EASA support services. Ramsayer has worked for various EU institutions and was most recently head of resources and support for the European Food Safety Authority.
As of 1 March 2015, Trevor Woods will replace Norbert Lohl as certification director. Woods is at present flight standards director of the agency, a role that will be taken on by Wilfried Schulze, who is currently deputy flight standards director.
All of the new appointees are/will become members of the EASA Executive Committee reporting directly to executive director Patrick Ky, who joined EASA from SESAR JU last year and announced his restructuring plan on 1st September.
Commenting on the new appointments, Ky stated: “The new organization shapes EASA for the next decade. The management team is focused on the objective – to develop, for the benefit of travelling passengers, the safest possible aviation regulatory system, in partnership with the European Commission and the [EU] Member States and in support of the growth of the aviation industry.”
IAOPA meets with new EU lawmakers
In the latest (February) issue of AOPA UK’s General Aviation magazine, IOPA Senior Vice President Martin Robinson notes that he attended the EASA Advisory Board in Cologne in December. The EAB has a new chairman from the Aerospace and Defence Industries Association of Europe, Mr. Gilles Garrouste. This, observed Martin, “means that most of the debates are still around manufacturing.”
Greg Bowles of GAMA gave a presentation on EASA’s certification specification 23 to the group, but Martin’s observation was that “It may just mean that manufacturers can make profit from two or four seat airplanes… rather than it helping to lower training costs.”
The EASA Management Board has a new chairman, Mr. Pekka Hentuu from the Finnish Department of Transport. With this being a possible opportunity for change, Martin reported “general support for my comments about the need for the EAB to be more proactive rather than just being a review body, as we seem to spend most of our time reviewing the Management Board papers.”
Martin also reported attending the Industry Consultation Board (ICB) in Brussels where the main focus was the review of the Air Traffic Management master plan and the support that the ICB wants to give to it. “The proposed ICB wording, in its supporting document, focuses on ATM only. I pointed out that the Single European Sky project was about much more than ATM. The high-level political requirement is for safety to improve by a factor of 10. IATA agrees, but their priority is system costs and efficiency!”
Martin also attended the SESAR Strategic Planning Partnership. “[Here] I made the point that the GA view was that SESAR was only about delivering what Thales and Airbus want and referred to the lack of support for an ADS-B solution for GA [but, see article below on "See and avoid" trial].
“The airlines supported me when I again pointed to the high-level political objectives for SES, particularly safety,” he noted.
Finally, Martin reported meeting with Thomas Meyer, who heads up the European Regional Airports Community. “The primary purpose was to discuss our joint political lobbying effort for 2015, as we share a common resource.
“Also, with the changes to the Parliament and new members of the [Commission’s] Transport Committee, we wish to keep GA issues in the minds of European politicians.” He also noted the sad passing in December of Philip Bradbourn MEP, “a supporter of aviation development across Europe.”
German AOPA happy with energy tax clarification
Germany’s finance ministry confirmed in an e-mail to AOPA Germany on 26 January that, as of 1 February, operators of certain flights previously categorized from a tax perspective as for leisure can request exemption from energy tax for certain flights where they involve private business flights, but restricted “for internal company purposes.” As this decision is based on the EU energy taxation directive, it does also have an impact for the rest of Europe.
Corporate operators need to find a legal construction which is not considered as a commercial activity as defined in Article 3(i) of the Basic Regulation EU 216/2008, but as a commercial activity from a tax-perspective. This can be achieved because the Basic Regulation does consider flights for remuneration or other valuable consideration as non-commercial as long as they are performed under a contract between an operator and a customer, where the latter has control over the operator.
So aircraft owners should contact their tax-advisors to find a construction, in which the operator is controlled by the customer, and the customer receives invoices for the flights. Energy tax where it does apply is (per 1000 litres) €721 for Avgas and €654.50 for Jet A1, so for a typical King Air Corporate Turboprop we talk about savings of 200 € per flight-hour.
AOPA Germany stated that it was particularly pleased with the outcome, which was based on a number of court judgments which helped to clarify the position after the negative decisions of the European Court of Justice in the past years, which declared Corporate Aviation as private pleasure flying because no invoices go to third parties. The energy tax exemption is also applicable to flight crew training flights, demonstration flights (for example at trade shows and air shows), and test flights (provided they are not carried out by manufacturing or maintenance organisations, i.e. commercial entities).
"See and Avoid" equipment trial planned
AOPA UK is calling for pilots and aircraft owners to become involved in project EVA (“Electronic Visibility via ADS-B”), which aims to test prototype, affordable ADS-B transponders for improving traffic awareness. Supported by the SESAR
programme, the main partners in the winning EVA syndicate are NATS, Germany's Funke Avionics (FAV), TRiG Avionics of Edinburgh, Scotland and Eurocontrol. AOPA UK agreed to flight test the equipment with an estimated 180-200 hours of trials.
The first set of flight activities will be carried out using the prototype Low Power ADS-B Transceiver (LPAT) which has been developed by NATS with FAV. The equipment transmits and receives ADS-B signals and displays the relative position of other ADS-B transmitting aircraft on a small cockpit display.
AOPA UK has asked for pilot volunteers who can provide an aircraft for such flights, and says that some financial support will be available, at least for the cost of fuel and landing fees, although the details have not been finalized.
The UK activities will take place at a few airfields and en-route areas in the south-east of the UK initially. Flights are to be conducted with two pilots in each aircraft, one acting as an observer to record details of the flight. There will be an introductory session and a Flying Day to help prepare, and to work out how to fit the equipment.
Any light aircraft can be used for the trial so as to represent as wide a possible range of aircraft sophistication as possible, including both EASA and non-EASA/permit aircraft.
Several airfields are to be selected, with small and larger/busier airfields being represented.
Initial expressions of interest from pilots are being invited before the initial cut-off date of 20 February.
TRiG Avionics says that it has already achieved certification in the U.S. and is now close to obtaining STC approval from the FAA as part of the FAA's 2020 ADS-B mandate, for a software update to their existing TT31 and TT22 transponders. For those who already have these transponders, their path to ADS-B will cost comparatively little as it will involve only a software upgrade, although the aim of Eva is that new units in Europe will cost less than €1,000.
Eurocontrol hosts 8.33 kHz workshop
IAOPA Senior Vice President (European Region) Martin Robinson attended a Eurocontrol workshop on 27th January which explored the potential impact of mandated 8.33 kHz radios on general aviation. The wording of the relevant legislation, article 14 of EU Implementing Regulation 1079/2012, was discussed – in particular the Commission’s statement that there was no time limit on exemptions, which Eurocontrol accepted along with the fact that the temporary derogation would be open to individual negotiation with Member States.
At issue however is whether an exemption could have an impact on airspace; Martin asked whether G and E airspace could be considered as having little or no impact on the airspace “Network”, pointing out that there was no requirement to use radio in these Classes of airspace. “A European-wide exemption from 8.33 [in Class G airspace] could be a useful solution,” he suggested.
Martin also explained that it was the certification and installation costs that were the main financial burden on GA. As it stands, IAOPA/EAS is to be invited to take part in further discussion, with Jacky Pouzet from Eurocontrol leading this.
Meanwhile EASA, through its current efforts on CS STAN, intends to simplify the certification process using “some form of declaration process,” noted Martin. “This is positive as it may help to reduce the cost of certification for EASA aircraft. However, this will leave Annex II aircraft under NAA procedures.”
He concluded from the meeting that “as the Regulation requires States to inform the Commission 12 months prior to 31sst December 2017 if they intend to apply for a derogation or exemptions, we have some work to do through our national AOPAs.”
Finnish GA fees increase five-fold
Finland's transport and communication ministry gave unwanted gift to the country's GA community just before Christmas, when it decided to raise the administrative fees for Air Training Organisations/Registered Facilities (ATOs/RFs) by an average of more than 500%, with a maximum increase of 900%. Thus, one training facility is being told it has to pay an annual fee of €1,000, course fees of €300, plus €200 for additional training sites, and €500 for continuation of training permits, for a total of €2,000 for 2015. This compares with fees totalling only €150 for 2014.
AOPA Finland said that is has responded to numerous calls and requests to start to negotiate with the ministry. The association is setting up a meeting as soon as it can.
"The reaction to the fee increase has been appalling, and about two thirds of training organisations are considering shutting down," said the association, which explained that "due to recent ATO developments there are only four ATO's in Finland while the rest of the PPL(A) training organisations are Registered Facilities. Training organisations which might continue operation in 2015 will face replanning/scheduling/budgeting problems if they have any future students left after this short-sighted decision."
AOPA Finland supports reborn Wings magazine
Bimonthly Finnish aviation magazine SIIVET (“Wings”) has been relaunched with the support of AOPA Finland, with the first issue due out on 25th February.
The magazine was first published in 1986 and since 1987 was published by Apali Oy, covering all aspects of civil and military aviation in the country. However production ceased when magazine owner, founder and editor from the beginning, Mr. Rauni Vainio, passed away on 12 August last year, after a short illness.
In late November Jämi Fly In & Airshow, which has cooperated with Apali several times in the past, signed an agreement to acquire the magazine.
AOPA Finland has been cooperating with Wings magazine since 2012 and says it “will continue cooperation with the new publisher… to serve the GA community of Finland, which relies on general aviation aircraft to help make flight training and operations more efficient and successful, ensuring higher levels of flight safety.”
AOPA Finland adds: “Each Wings issue will provide in-depth analysis of timely matters, tips for owners, operators and flight training organisations, especially hot topics such as EASA-ATO and reorganization of Finnish airspace, and Standardised European Rules of the Air.
“Airspace reorganization seems to [somewhat chaotic] due to hasty and premature planning as well as disorganized implementation, due to poor documentation support – especially on charts.”
AOPA Finland says it “wishes the reborn Wings magazine all the best success in being the number one GA magazine in Finland.”
New Director appointed at AOPA Spain
José Manuel Pérez de la Cruz has been appointed as the new director of AOPA Spain, following board approval on 28th November last year.
Previously, José Manuel has held positions such as president of SENASA, and has worked for Acciona Airport, Aeromadrid and Corjet Maintenance. He is currently associate professor at UAB and is the UAM for the master of aviation management degree.
AOPA Spain said that he would strengthen the presence of the association in Madrid, and strengthen relations with the aeronautical institutions and public entities, and strengthen the name of AOPA Spain based on his extensive experience in general, commercial and executive aviation.
The association added that José Manuel will help "increase our presence in these sectors in order to reinforce the partnership as a reference for the defence of the interests of general aviation and aerial work."
Guernsey encourages visitors from all over Europe
IAOPA Europe eNews has been asked to let AOPA members know that off the coast of France is an enchanting island, once home to Victor Hugo, which can now boast Class D airspace and very reasonable fuel prices. Pilots are being encouraged to fly in to the 2015 Guernsey Air Rally, which will take place 19-21 June 2015.
With the customary hangar party and optional navigation competition, the entry fee is only £75 (around €90) per person for the first two people in each aircraft. Additional passengers will pay only £50 each. The entry fee includes landing fee, overnight parking for the two nights (if required) "and much more." For further information you can visit www.guernseyaeroclub.com, where online bookings can be made.
FAA and EASA
The draft annex to the U.S.-EU Agreement on Cooperation in the Regulation of Civil Aviation Safety that covers pilot licensing has been posted by the FAA on its website. The agreement is being developed jointly by the FAA and EASA. This is for information purposes only and the FAA and EASA are not seeking comments. However the FAA has given a contact for further information: Michael Brown, who can be e-mailed from the website link, or he can be reached by phone on +1 734 487 7420.
A farmer in Ninfield, Sussex, in the UK, has received £18,708 (around €25,000) from the Ministry of Defence after claiming that low-flying Apache helicopters had scared his chickens, causing them to stop laying eggs. Four other farmers were reportedly paid similar sums while a falconry centre in Derbyshire, UK, was paid £25,000 after eight birds died having flown into wire walls, supposedly because they’d been scared by the low-flying aircraft. The UK MoD apparently paid out some £1.1 million last year due to low-flying incidents. This may seem surprising, but according to one pilot heading up the A303 road past Boscombe Down last October, an Apache gunship came over so low he almost lost control. So it's not just the natural flyers that get a shock!
Message from the (new) Editor
As this is the first IAOPA Europe eNews of 2015 (there was too little news in January!) I would like to wish readers a belated Happy New Year and wish that your flying in 2015 lives up to your expectations. We are all looking forward to warmer weather and longer days. Meanwhile we should acknowledge the fantastic job that Pat Malone has done getting this newsletter out for the past few years. Pat is now happily slowing down, and enjoying spending more time at home in Cornwall (although when I last heard from him he was enjoying a factory tour in the south of France).
And finally, please do send in your ideas and contributions for the eNews, so we can keep everyone informed of developments around Europe. The next eNews will be published in the week of 2nd March so any contributions received by the end of February will be included.
With very best wishes for 2015,