EASA changes tack on general aviation
‘Simpler, lighter and better rules for general aviation’. That is the promise coming from the European Aviation Safety Agency, which is agreeing openly for the first time that its approach to regulating GA has been inappropriate. Under its new Executive Director Patrick Ky, EASA says it is fully committed to changing its relationship with the GA industry. The Agency is publically acknowledging that transposing Commercial Air Transport rules across to general aviation has not worked. The new EASA promise is for simplified administration and operational procedures, with streamlined oversight. EASA will also establish a dedicated General Aviation Department which will be accountable for GA inside the Agency.
EASA’s change of heart has been welcomed by International AOPA Senior Vice President Martin Robinson, who says: “We will give EASA one hundred percent support to help turn these fine words into action. We have argued vociferously for the past ten years that risk-based regulation with proportionate oversight was the only workable way to handle GA. Now that EASA has come round to our way of thinking, we will do everything we can to assist the Agency.”
The change at EASA came after Patrick Ky visited the United Kingdom, where domestic GA regulation is undergoing a transformation. The Civil Aviation Authority is fully behind an initiative by a senior Member of Parliament, Grant Shapps, to slash the red tape surrounding GA oversight. Britain has announced its intention to become the most attractive country in Europe to operate a GA business or to fly as a general aviation pilot. It recognises that regulation must take a business case into account, and that safety and business opportunity must go hand in hand.
During his visit Patrick Ky met with Grant Shapps, and with CAA Chief Executive Andrew Haines, among others. M. Ky has set up a group of European regulators with GA knowledge to work with EASA, to be chaired by Tony Rapson, the recently appointed Head of UK GA. EASA has given itself three years to put right the problems that have been created over the previous 10 years. To start the ball rolling, EASA will be hosting a meeting on May 15 and 16 to discuss how to simplify the Approved Training Organisation rules for Registered Facilities. In the past, the approach has been to write regulations for big organisations and expect small ones to somehow comply, but EASA now recognises that is not a tenable approach. It has mooted the likelihood that Safety Management Systems will be removed from the requirements, and the audit system will be simplified. IAOPA will be represented at that meeting by Nick Wilcock of AOPA UK.
Martin Robinson says: “IAOPA believes EASA is now on the right track. There are a number of ways in which we can help. Member states must support the new approach, and we can bring pressure the bear on them. The Basic Regulation which governs EASA must be amended, and there is an opportunity to do that. And EASA must understand the risks they need to regulate. Even after ten years they still don’t have the data they need to do that, and again, this is where states must assist.
“While we are told that no new regulatory proposals are being planned, we learn that EASA is discussing a possible requirement for a cockpit voice recorder for light aircraft. Practicality, cost and efficacy must be carefully weighed before any such moves are made.”
AOPA Spain continues to expand
AOPA Spain has announced the commissioning of two new sub-divisions following its restructuring which came into effect this year. After a year of working together, the Spanish Aerial Works Companies Association AECTA has been integrated into the AOPA Spain TA division by a merger agreement confirmed by their respective Boards. AECTA is an association founded in 1999 which counts among its members companies who mainly perform aerial work tasks such as photography, advertising, tours, agricultural work and other aerial work unrelated to commercial passenger transport. Through this merger and integration into AOPA Spain, the members hope to achieve stronger representation in negotiations with Spanish Authorities while also becoming part of the international network of AOPAs, for whom Aerial Work is considered to be general aviation. After elections, Dora Hernandez, Vice President of Aecta, has joined the AOPA Board as Vice President for Aerial Work.
The AOPA Spain AD division has also been formed, following AOPA’s initiative in staging the Second Meeting of General Aviation Airfields in Madrid. In the AD division, ten Spanish GA airfields have been integrated, while more are under consultation. This division will be responsible for the protection and promotion of restricted and general aviation-focused airfields, in order to enhance its infrastructure and to coordinate joint operations leading to a complementary network of GA airfields. Project GAFA – General Aviation Friendly Airports – will create a pilot information system and a database on the economic impact of General Aviation in Spain. In this first phase, the list of airfields joining the project are Castellón, Garray, La Cerdanya, Manresa, Marugán, Matilla de los Caños, Mutxamel, Requena, Robledillo de Mohernando and Andorra-La Seu.
Shortly, the website of AOPA Spain (www.aopa-spain.org) will reflect these new divisions with business directories and associated aerodromes where more information can be found. You may contact AOPA Spain via email@example.com
AOPA Finland runs MEP online survey
AOPA Finland has launched a web poll for all Finnish MEP candidates in order to discover the most favourable pro-GA candidates for European Parlament. AOPA has chosen as a service provider ZEF Ltd, which has more than 700 satisfied customers of all sizes from many industries around the globe, including media houses CNN and Al Jazeera. AOPA Finland is using their Evaluation engine to pose 30 questions where the candidates can reveal their thoughts on topics varying from EASA, the national aviation authority, air traffic management service providers to microlight aircraft, rulemaking and other important questions related to GA. The poll results will be published to the GA community in Finland before the electon on May 25.
Election may save Reykjavik airfield
With municipal elections coming up in May, hopes are high for that the new ruling party or parties will listen to the people of Iceland and stop all nonsense regarding the Reykjavik’s downtown airport at Vatnsmyri. Property developers are trying to get their hands on the airfield, and local government officials have been smoothing the way for them.
According to latest polls 81.3% of Icelanders are in favour of the preservation of the airport at its present location. Many of those people have also signed an online petition at www.lending.is and thereby manifesting that opinion. AOPA Iceland has made enormous efforts in discussions with highest level officials in both the city and government, but with limited success. While the government talks of a new airport, there is neither the place nor the money to build it. So why not keep it as it is, asks AOPA Iceland, as well as the majority of voters. Hopefully, democracy will end the crazy debate.
IAOPA in Lebanon - EU conference
International AOPA has been instrumental in setting up the first EU – Lebanon aviation conference, which will be held on May 14 and will be addressed by EU Aviation Commissioner Matthew Baldwin and IAOPA Senior Vice President Martin Robinson. IAOPA was asked by the Lebanese CAA, through AOPA Lebanon principals Hadi and Haytham Azhari, to help make arrangements for the conference.
EASA now has an office in Lebanon and is promoting to Middle East countries the idea of allying their regulatory systems to those of EASA in order to make European transits easier. At the same time, the Lebanese CAA is divorcing from the country’s Transport Department, creating a split between policymaker and regulator.
Cyprus CAA head Mr Demetriou dies
After the Lebanon conference Martin Robinson and Matthew Baldwin will be flying to Cyprus to speak at the Flight Safety Foundation’s two-day safety conference. The Foundation’s President is Mr David McMillan, the former head of Eurocontrol.
The Director of the CAA in Cyprus, Mr. Iacovos Demetriou, passed away on April 21. He was instrumental in opening Cyprus up to Lebanese general aviation, following a concerted campaign by International AOPA. Martin Robinson, who met with Mr. Demetriou several times, says: “He was a very fair and reasonable man who worked hard to help us overcome the obstacles we faced, and we will miss him greatly.”
Elba airport and AOPA members
AOPA Italy is pleased to announce the renewal of agreements with Alatoscana, operators of the airport of Marina di Campo (LIRJ) on the island of Elba. Rinaldo Gaspari, AOPA Italy President, reports that all pilots who are AOPA members will enjoy discounts on airport handling at Marina di Campo. The agreement also covers discounts on hotel bookings. For details, contact the secretariat of AOPA Italy: firstname.lastname@example.org
AOPA Italy has also signed another important partnership agreement with FLYEUROPE, www.flyeurope.tv an important new media platform which is advising AOPA on the production of video content related to general aviation and is seen by AOPA Italy as an important opportunity to make our voice heard across Europe. The platform is integrated with a space for the sale of aircraft, www.flymarket.tv where AOPA members have special conditions for their ads. Fly Market have implemented a number of exclusive coupons for AOPA (enter AOPA6947 in the loading procedure of the ad) which will allow AOPA members around the world to enter one or more ads free until June 30 2014. In future they planned to continue providing ad service to AOPA worldwide with a discount of €10.
Athens Flying Week: Participation list now open
As soon as the participation form appeared on the website of AOPA Greece last month, participation requests for Athens Flying Week started to come in. Athens Flying Week Fly-in, from September 15 to October 5, represents a unique opportunity to enjoy flying in the Greek islands with all the help that AOPA Greece and the local aviation authorities can give you. At the same time you can attend the Air Show at Tatoi airfield in Athens from September 26 to 28 to experience the thrill of the greatest air show in south east Europe with 50,000 other spectators. Follow the announcements of the organizing committee on the AOPA Greece website www.aopa.gr. More airports are expected to announce their participation by mid May, and details of hotels and car rental offices will be published. See you in Greece in September!
IAOPA Europe Regional Meeting
AOPA Iceland is looking forward to holding the IAOPA Europe Regional Meeting for the first time in Reykjavik on May 10. Haraldur Diego of AOPA Iceland says: “Hopefully, the weather will co-operate and allow us to take fellow AOPA members up in the air over Iceland.”
Ulrich Stockmann, the former German MEP who is now heading IAOPA’s lobbying effort in Brussels, will be attending his first Regional Meting, while Frank Hofmann, IAOPA’s representative at ICAO, will be reporting on progress in Montreal and Kevin Psutka of the Canadian Owners and Pilots Association will be there to discuss pilot recruitment.
IAOPA World Assembly, September 2014
Final arrangements are being put in place for the 27th IAOPA World Assembly to be held in Beijing from September 9 to 15, 2014. Full details of what is planned are available online at http://www.aopa.org.cn/zt/iaopa
Plenty on view at Aero Friedrichshafen
The annual Aero extravaganza was a great success as always, with businesses reporting a well-organised and professional show.
Lots to see, good to catch up with our AOPA friends, and some great photo opportunities. Highlights for us included the Daher Socata TBM 900 and the Piper Archer DX launches.
Check out some great photos from the show on Airsoc.com here or upload your own if you were there.