IAOPA World Assembly tackles global issues
The 25th IAOPA World Assembly, held in Tel Aviv in June, passed a slate of resolutions which will form the basis of the Association’s campaigning in the coming years. The resolutions cover a range of issues including the preservation of airfields, the promotion of GA, the restriction of regulation, the desirability of bilateral agreements between EASA and the FAA, and the adoption of a minimalist approach to controlled airspace. Here are some of the details:
Amid concern that the FAA and other authorities are looking at the regulation of Light Sport Aircraft, IAOPA seeks to ensure that such aircraft are not drawn into expensive national regulation systems; if action is required, it should come from ICAO in the form of standards which will allow such aircraft to cross international boundaries.
AOPAs will work with their national authorities to ensure they recognise the contribution non-certified aircraft make to civil aviation, that statistics be gathered to measure their impact, and that the qualifications of pilots and mechanics on such aircraft be recognised towards experience requirements for higher licenses.
National AOPAs are to devise programmes to educate members regarding the protection of GA aerodromes, form support groups and actively monitor the viability of aerodromes; IAOPA proposes that ICAO and States remove the requirement for rescue and firefighting services at ICAO Class 1 aerodromes or those with a runway length of less than 1,000 metres; States should share responsibility for general aviation aerodromes and research ways in which a network of aerodromes may be established and preserved.
IAOPA will work with States, commercial air transport operators and training organisations to highlight the fact that aviation training begins with general aviation, and that ways should be devised to foster recruitment and control the cost of training. AOPAs will pool resources on best practice in attracting new pilots.
IAOPA will communicate to EASA the value of allowing national authorities to retain ratings subject to national laws where there is a demonstrated safety benefit and no equivalent rating is available through EASA regulation, and to encourage other States to consider the safety benefit of a UK IMC Rating equivalent; IAOPA will pursue through the European Commission and EASA the issue of grandfather rights to ensure like-for-like replacement of licenses without the requirement for additional training, examination or technical requirements, and to ask the Commission to address the need for instructional flight time credits to apply to overseas flight instructors. (This partly addresses the issue of instructors who hold the UK Basic CPL and will be thrown out of work by EASA.)
Europe should recognise that the FAA complies with ICAO standards, has a fully compliant registry with a safety record comparable to that of Europe while offering adequate oversight, and should therefore accept properly registered N-registered aircraft as compliant to operate without further requirements in Europe, where the aircraft is being used for private purposes only; IAOPA will pursue at the highest political level the need for Europe and the USA to enact bilateral certification and airworthiness agreements as they may apply to general aviation.
The first resolution thanked AOPA Israel for hosting the Assembly, naming Yaron Efrat, Nathan Sharon, Moshe Akler, Yigal Mairav, Ronen Shapira (Chief Test Pilot of Israeli Aerospace Industries), Jeppesen, and all AOPA Israel volunteers; participating and supporting individuals and organisations including Daniel Calleja Crespo, Director Air Transport, European Commission; Mikolaj Ratajczyk, European Commission, Aviation Safety; Patrick Ky, Director of SESAR; Raymond Benjamin, Secretary General, ICAO; Mitchell Fox, Chief of Operations, ICAO.
There was much debate over the future of avgas 100LL, described by IAOPA General Secretary John Sheehan as ‘a Dodo looking for somewhere to fall over’. Moves are being made by the US Environmental Protection Agency to have it banned, and AOPA US is heavily involved in research into alternatives. Authorities realise there are many problems to overcome, IAOPA President Craig Fuller said, and it would be several years before an alternative fuel was settled on, and there would be adequate time beyond that to make any changes that may be necessary.
ICAO’s Language Proficiency Requirements were roundly condemned in the presence of Mitchell Fox, ICAO’s Director of Operations, but nothing will change. Delegates gave examples of where they were being used to shake down pilots, or where the highest level is being accorded to ATPLs without any check of proficiency. Mitchell Fox cited the case of Russian air traffic controllers in remote parts of Siberia who had managed to learn enough English to comply, but there is a gulf of difference between full time professionals and the 30-hour-a-year pilot who may not even share the western alphabet but who must learn English to a high level in order to cross a border. This is widely seen as an example of meddlesome regulation with unintended consequences and no benefits.
*‘Did you pack your bag yourself?’
‘Security’ has become a major drag on general aviation as the sort of idiot box-ticking that makes airline travel so dreadful is increasingly imposed on non-commercial flying. Examples were legion; in Israel, pilots were refused access to their own plane because they couldn’t produce tickets – they had to go home in a taxi. In Botswana, pilots are prevented from carrying more than 100ml of fluid abroad a small Cessna for a three-hour flight in the hot sun. As AOPA Botswana’s Tony Rees said, “What do they think we’re going to do with it?”
*Groping blindly for a ‘UAS’ solution
Unmanned Aerial Systems, now called Remotely Piloted Aircraft – RPAs – by ICAO, are coming to airspace near you, soon, in large numbers, for military and civil use. How can they avoid hitting you? There are commercial demands for RPAs to be controlled by high school video games experts; the GA industry says they should be controlled by pilots who know the Rules of the Air and have an Instrument Rating. ‘See and avoid’ is being replaced by ‘detect and avoid’, according to IAOPA Senior Vice President Martin Robinson. “We need to work more closely with the UAV manufacturers,” he said, “and they will be wanting us to install new equipment, which we will not always be able to do – it should be IAOPA’s goal to retain non-radio VFR into the future.”
More details of all these resolutions will be carried in AOPA UK’s magazine General Aviation, which will be available on the IAOPA-Europe website www.iaopa.eu later this month.
OTHER ISSUES: EASA reneges on PPL Instructor promise
EASA is going back on its pledge to re-introduce the PPL Flying Instructor and is insisting that PPL instructors have ‘demonstrated a CPL level of theoretical knowledge’, despite near-unanimous demand for change from the industry and widespread political support. The Agency’s excuse for doing so seems flimsy – it says comments on its original proposal to scrap the requirement have highlighted, inter alia, that it would represent a difference to an ICAO recommendation. Surely they knew that when they made the original proposal?
The U-turn represents a blow for the flight training industry, which wanted to get the experienced, high-time PPL back into instruction. Pilots with decades of flying and thousands of hours behind them balk at taking a CPL course costing somewhere over €20,000 in order to instruct part-time or in retirement. Instead, a pilot with 150 hours total time, but who has passed the CPL exams, can instruct PPLs. Who would you rather have instructing you?
The original change to delete the requirement of CPL Theoretical Knowledge as a pre-requisite for an applicant for the FI Course was agreed at the final meeting of the main EASA FCL.001 Working Group in 2009. A small FCL.001 sub-group chaired by Matthias Borgmeier, an EASA Rulemaking Officer, was formed to finalise a number of outstanding issues regarding FIs. This group met in January this year, and there was a further one-day meeting of the group at the beginning of February when the Chairman confirmed that FIs holding a PPL would be remunerated for instruction. An IAOPA representative was present at each of these meetings. Mr Borgmeier re-affirmed his February statement in mid-June. Has he also been kept in the dark?
EASA must have thought the remunerated PPL Instructor had merit, or itwould not have made its original proposal. Whose comments have changed its mind?
Sources at EASA
mentioned Austria; but why should the ill-thought-out objections of a state carry so much weight? As a safety agency, EASA should not be taking a line of least political resistance.
There are fears that EASA, having been ordered by the EC to stop reinventing the wheel and adopt JAA or ICAO standards where no change is needed, has decided to throw the baby out with the bathwater in a fit of pique. IAOPA is continuing to campaign for the reintroduction of the PPL instructor.
Action on accident investigation
IAOPA is one of 14 organisations behind an Open Letter to European Transport Ministers seeking to ensure that safety and judicial investigations of aviation incidents work independently from each other so that the threat of prosecution does not compromise safety.
The letter is in response to proposals by the Transport Council to give judicial investigations primacy over safety investigation. The aviation industry does not want to see a situation in which pilots being interviewed by safety investigators have to have lawyers at their shoulders telling them what they can and can’t say.
A European Parliament Transport Committee vote recognises the importance of such investigations, calling for accident safety investigations to be separate and independent from judicial ones, and for safety data to be protected. However, the Transport Council’s General Approach, published in March, gives prosecutors pride of place in investigations. The letter says: “…this would jeopardise the ability of accident investigators to obtain in confidence the information necessary to discover all the factors which contribute to accidents... (and) prevent them from making well-informed safety recommendations needed to avoid future accidents.”
As well as IAOPA, signatories include the Association of European Airlines, IFALPA and the European Cockpit Association.
ECAC looks at future pilot provision
The European Civil Aviation Conference (ECAC) is funding new research into aviation training, including the future provision of pilots, engineers and air traffic controllers. At a conference of Directors-General of Europe’s transport departments in Istanbul, new studies on the flow of aviation professionals were agreed upon in order to establish whether the current system is optimal. IAOPA’s Martin Robinson told the conference that across Europe some 40 percent of aviation professionals came from general aviation, and in some countries the figure was much higher. Any future planning that did not have GA at its heart would miss its target.
IAOPA forges industry alliances and takes on lobbying power
IAOPA representatives have met in Brussels with the European Business Aircraft Association and the General Aviation Manufacturers Association to explore the possibility of forming a group to work together on matters of common interest. IAOPA has signed up the international legal firm of Hogan Lovells to represent its interests in Brussels and Cologne, and the firm's representatives have joined IAOPA in meetings with senior EC figures, including Aviation Commissioner Daniel Calleja Crespo and the European Parliament's Transport Committee chairman Brian Simpson. IAOPA's Martin Robinson said the meetings had gone well, and that IAOPA had reinforced its requests for meaningful data on GA in Europe. "We hope to make good progress on many fronts with these tie-ups," he said.