Best news in a generation
The European Parliament has given general aviation its biggest boost
in modern times with the adoption of a resolution which guides the
EC and member states to adopt a raft of principles which would
preserve, foster and promote GA across Europe. Resolution
2008/2134(INI) sets out the importance of keeping legislation in
proportion, recognising the differences between CAT and GA in
setting fees and charges, ensuring that GA has access to airports
and airspace and accepting that GA has a vital role to play in
Europe's transport infrastructure.
The resolution, adopted by a huge margin - 524 votes in favour, 74
against and six abstentions - now forms the basis of the European
Commission's approach to general aviation. The Commission is in turn
the boss of EASA, which will find it very difficult to ignore the
new landscape for GA. In addition, national AOPAs can now use it in
negotiations with their own CAAs to ensure that GA is treated fairly.
The full document can be seen on the IAOPA-Europe website www.iaopa.eu.
It includes 35 clauses, each of which represents a major
breakthrough for GA, addressing nearly every major issue impacting
on general aviation today; access to airfields and airspace,
proportionality in regulation and charges and appropriate technology
requirements. It calls on the EC to recognise the important role
that GA plays in the training of professional pilots.
The resolution had its genesis in a meeting four years ago between
European Aviation Commissioner Daniel Calleja di Crespo and a
three-man IAOPA delegation at which the need for action on European
legislation affecting GA was discussed. MEPs like Timothy Kirkhope
from the UK and Arunas Degutis from Lithuania, both pilots, have
been active in canvassing support. IAOPA is having the document
translated into every European language and distributed to
authorities across the continent.
Dutch Mode-S fiasco
Had it come earlier, the Resolution might well have prevented the
Schiphol fiasco in the Netherlands, where the authorities mandated
Mode-S transponder use below 800 feet. As a result, radar screens at
Schiphol were swamped with Mode-S returns and ATC could not see
commercial jets through the clutter, even after they'd tuned the
text down to the smallest possible level. This created an urgent
safety issue, forcing the authorities to ban VFR flights from a
large area of northern Holland and to order that transponders be
turned off when flying into Lelystad airport, near Schiphol.
IAOPA has warned repeatedly that this would happen. AOPA-Netherlands
is working with the authorities to resolve the issues, but owners
who were forced to spend thousands of euros on Mode-S equipment they
didn't want, only to be ordered to turn them off, are not happy.
IAOPA-Europe's senior vice president Martin Robinson said: "Lack of
understanding, and lack of meaningful consultation, is at the root
of problems like Mode-S and EASA's Part M maintenance requirements
for GA. We hope the European Parliament resolution will lead the
regulators to take these issues more seriously."
More EASA NPAs
The 120th Regional Meeting of IAOPA-Europe, held during the
Friedrichshafen Expo, debated the three EASA NPAs currently out for
consultation, concentrating on EASA-OPS, a thousand-page document
which contains some undesirable proposals. AOPA-Denmark's Jacob
Pedersen, who sits on the OPS001 working group on Ops, said the
document would effectively outlaw 'VFR on top' and would seriously
affect night VFR. The document itself was structured to conform to
EU legal requirements rather than to explain the rules in an
understandable way, and much work needed to be done to make it more
useful. A second NPA, on Authority Requirements, opens the door for
national authorities to audit flight training organisations and non
commercial operators of complex aircraft every two years, which
would be a hugely expensive in some countries and must be resisted.
The delegates also reviewed progress on EASA-FCL, where more than
11,000 responses have been received by EASA. This will be a test of
EASA's willingness to listen and act on the industry's concerns; 97
percent of respondents are opposed to the name of EASA's 'Leisure
Pilots Licence' which misrepresents the qualification and leaves GA
open to attack from anti-aviation forces.
Come to Greece!
AOPA-Hellas invites you to its annual International Fly-In, which
takes place between May 9th and 10th at Kavala Airport (LGKV). Those
who experienced Greek hospitality during the World Assembly in
Athens last year will advise you to go. Yiouli Kalafati, president
of AOPA-Hellas, has helped to arrange a programme not only of
general aviation interest, but incorporating tours of the beautiful
old city and archaeological sites of Kavala, and traditional Greek
evening entertainment will be provided. Simplified handling at
minimal fees have been agreed by Olympic Airways for AOPA members.
More than 30 aircraft have already registered to fly in. Sponsors
include Egnatia Aviation, Diamond and the local Chamber of Commerce.
For full details see http://www.aopa.gr/en/default.asp
No night rating required!
Another diary date: the fourth Sunny Nights Fly-in is at the
beginning of July in the airfield of Pudasjärvi in Finland. Flying
in remote Lapland when the sun barely sets is a rare experience, and
organisers have put together a full programme including an air
rally, precision flying competitions, and even a meeting with Santa
Claus at the Arctic Circle. Flights will be available in aircraft as
diverse as the An-2, DC-3, gliders, ultralights and hot air
balloons. There will also be dinners and celebrations, aviators'
camp fires and midnight flights in the sun. Organisers will help
with accommodation and any other issues you have. The fun begins on
July 3rd; for full details see http://wings.pudasjarvi.fi
Flying and biking
AOPA Luxembourg has joined with Eurobiker to stage a fly-drive rally
for charity at which pilots from a dozen European countries will
spend nine days covering a swathe of eastern Europe, finishing in
Prague on May 23rd. The bikers and pilots will meet up at four
points, Maribor, Kecskement, Satu-Maré and Prague. Details are
available on www.airshow.lu,
click on 'Rally'.
Carl Olof Olsson
Carl Olof Olsson, founder of AOPA Sweden and one of the moving
forces behind International AOPA, has died. Olsson was a real
pioneer in the early 1960s when he realised the need for an
international body to represent general aviation at ICAO. "At the
time, the air in Sweden was owned by the airlines and there was no
freedom," says Lars Hjelmberg, president of AOPA Sweden. "Olof
Olsson was a true entrepreneur who used general aviation to further
his business, flying all over Europe in his Navajo. At times he
neglected his business in order to work for the benefit of AOPA, and
it is because of his work that we have so much more freedom in
Sweden and in Europe today."
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