e-news, November 2008
Welcome to the bi-monthly e-news
of IAOPA-Europe, which goes out
to 23,000 AOPA members in 27 countries across Europe.
Flight Crew Licensing
EASA’s deadline for comments on its plans
for Flight Crew Licensing has been extended to December 15th,
largely because its proposals on Operations have not yet been
published, and one should not be considered in isolation from the
Jacob Pedersen of AOPA-Denmark reported to the
IAOPA-Europe Regional Meeting in Zurich in October that there’s a
lot of good in the EASA proposals. In particular, EASA will revert
to ICAO medical requirements, which the JAA abandoned, causing
much misery and dislocation in general aviation. All those who
lost their licences to JAR medical requirements would be able to
retain them under EASA. It also reintroduces the PPL instructor,
killing off the need to show a “CPL level of theoretical
knowledge” before you can be paid to instruct.
is a certain amount in the NPA that is truly dreadful and is being
strongly opposed by IAOPA. The proposals would effectively render
it impossible to base an N-registered aircraft in Europe and fly
it on an FAA licence, which would render the FAA Instrument Rating
useless here. IAOPA’s position is that the reasons why so many FAA
licenses, ratings and aircraft are in use in Europe is because of
the manifest deficiencies of European regulation, and these
fundamental problems cannot be ignored. European pilots have been
forced by bad regulation to go abroad for their flight training,
and the solution is to improve the regulation, rather than simply
to ban the better system.
It is expected that the Operations
proposals will make the problem worse, requiring
foreign-registered aircraft to conform to EASA rules, even if they
invalidate their Certificates of Airworthiness. Removing the
opportunity to operate on an FAA IR would be especially harsh as
EASA’s own moves towards a reasonable and feasible IR seem to be
running into the sand. EASA cannot be allowed to take the easy
option (for them) of banning third country aircraft and licenses.
Such an action would impose massive costs and disruption on
general aviation, and make flying in Europe less safe.
was making common cause with the business aviation lobby, with
flight training organisations and with companies like
FlightSafety, who would be effectively forced to close down if
EASA has its way.
Five more concerns with
the EASA FCL Proposal
Apart from foreign-registered aircraft and licenses, there are
five main issues of concern in the 647-page FCL document on which
IAOPA Europe has established a common position.
The extensive requirement for management
and quality control systems will be completely overwhelming for
small training organisations. The current “registered facilities”
will have to be fully compliant with much more onerous
regulations, while the definition of “commercial operation” seems
to include a number of activities that used to be considered
non-commercial. The full text on this is, however, not yet
Some of the provisions of the new Leisure
Pilots Licence for SEP aircraft up to 2000 kg would seem to raise
safety issues. The basic LPL allows a pilot to take a passenger
after 20 hours flying, ten of them dual. Is it sufficient? Emanuel
Davidson of AOPA-France said the French brevet de base, with
similar requirements, was not noticeably more dangerous than an
ICAO-compliant licence. While some delegates thought the law
should prevent a 20-hour pilot flying an aircraft as big and
complex as a Seneca V, others thought it should be left to the
good sense of the GA industry; no buyer of a Seneca V would fly it
with 20 hours experience, and no renter of Seneca Vs would let him
have it, either. No law was required.
The recurrent “flight with an
instructor” is apparently being turned into a checkride with an
examiner on every third renewal. With 70 percent of PPL holders
not renewing after five years, this was seen as a further
disincentive. It will be less useful than an instructor flight,
where pilots can practice manoeuvres instead of just flying for a
‘pass or fail’ with an examiner. There is no evidence that the
current system was deficient, and in many countries there is a
severe shortage of examiners. This proposal is a backward step.
There is still no solution for a simplified
instrument rating targeted at the PPL pilot, and also no solution
for the holders of a UK IMC rating who risk losing their current
privileges. This problem already has been recognised and EASA is
now forming a working group specifically to deal with these
issues. Whether anything will come of it is another matter; often,
working groups are simply a smokescreen for a lack of action.
What’s in a name?
The name of the Leisure Pilots
Licence, which IAOPA has criticised from the start and which
EASA’s Eric Sivel told us would be changed, has not been changed.
IAOPA has always said that the name misrepresents the nature of
the licence and will be a gift to those who would stop us flying
and shut down aerodromes. It was promised that the name would be
changed to Light Aircraft Pilots Licence, but this has been
reneged upon. It is deemed vital to convince the European
Commission that a name change is relevant and necessary. Martin
Robinson of AOPA-UK stressed the need for delegates to go back to
their national authorities and make them aware of IAOPA-Europe’s
standpoint on these matters. The national authorities would then
reinforce IAOPA’s voice at EASA and the Commission.
New AOPA President
The Zurich meeting was the first
opportunity Europe has had to meet Craig Fuller, the new President
of AOPA-US. Craig, who takes over from Phil Boyer on January 1st,
has been a pilot since he was 15 and an AOPA member since 1973. He
owns a Beech Bonanza A36. A professional lobbyist, Craig was
President Ronald Reagan’s assistant for cabinet affairs and served
as Vice President George H Bush’s chief of staff. He was only
peripherally aware of IAOPA, but says: “I’m impressed by the
breadth of the international group. IAOPA is important because
general aviation pilots all over the world need an organisation to
speak for them, because its multi-national nature allows us to
influence ICAO, and because the problems that some countries
experience will no doubt be experienced by others later, so it
gives us early warning of what we’re likely to have to do.” In the
United States AOPA, with 420,000 members, has serious lobbying
power. It spent $680,000 on lobbying in the third quarter of 2008
alone – compare that with what IAOPA-Europe is capable of doing.
taxes on aviation fuel used for private pleasure flying are being
introduced all over Europe as a result of the EC’s Energy Products
Directive. In the United Kingdom AOPA has been instrumental in
having avgas reclassified as a specialist fuel, which has served
to hold the tax increase on avgas down to €0.03 per litre, but a
new tax of 50.35p per litre, or about €0.63, has been introduced
on avtur used for private pleasure purposes. Because a minuscuple
proportion of avgas is used for private pleasure purposes this
will be collected on an ‘honesty box’ system. In Denmark the tax
is now about €0.81 per litre, and other countries have levied
similar rates. For details, and to download a claim form where
necessary, see the IAOPA-Europe website at http://www.iaopa.eu/contentServlet/fuelrefund.htm
date for your diary – Aero-Expo at Friedrichshafen from April 2 to
5, 2009. This is far and away Europe’s biggest general aviation
show – last year it attracted 553 exhibitors and 45,000 visitors.
From next year it will be held annually. Check out the Aero
website at http://www.aero-expo.de.
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