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April 2013 - Welcome to the IAOPA Europe enews which goes to 23,000 aircraft owners and pilots in 27 countries across the continent

Patrick Ky to be EASA Executive Director

Patrick Ky

IAOPA Europe has welcomed the appointment of Patrick Ky as Executive Director of the European Aviation Safety Agency in place of Patrick Goudou, who retires in the summer. IAOPA Senior Vice President Martin Robinson said the appointment could signal an improvement in the relationship between EASA and GA. Patrick Ky has headed the SESAR Joint Undertaking since 2007, before which he held managerial positions in the French DGAC, with a private consulting company, and with Eurocontrol. Between 2001 and 2004 he was the ATM rapporteur for the Advisory Council for Aeronautics Research in Europe (ACARE), and he joined the European Commission to work on SESAR in 2004.
A graduate of the Ecole Polytechnique, the French hot-house for politicians and civil servants, and the Civil Aviation Engineering School in France, Ky also holds degrees in economics from Toulouse University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He obtained his PPL during his training as a way of fostering a wider understanding of aviation.
Martin Robinson said: “In the ten years I’ve known Patrick Ky he has always been approachable and prepared to listen. His PPL gives him an understanding of how our industry works and the problems it faces. I hope, too, that his appointment heralds a move towards a less bureaucratic environment at EASA.”
The appointment could also pave the way for a better relationship between EASA and the European Commission, Martin said. “He’s come up through the EC, he knows how the EC works. EASA has a fractious relationship with the EC and I think Patrick Ky will be able to repair that.
“It could also be a positive factor that the French DGAC, of which Patrick Ky also has first-hand experience, has as part of its mandate a responsibility to foster the commercial health of all of aviation, including GA. That’s a philosophy EASA would do well to adopt. From the standpoint of general aviation I hope there will be an improvement, and that EASA will do more than pay lip service to the idea of listening to industry.
“We wish Patrick Goudou well in his retirement.”

Reborn AOPA Belgium to grapple with Charleroi and Spa

AOPA Belgium logo

AOPA Belgium is being reformed, just in time to tackle two major problems – the periodic ban on aircraft under six tonnes at Charleroi, and the closure of Spa airfield by a Belgian environment minister.
Seven people attended the founding meeting of ‘AOPA Belgium reloaded’, including pilots, aircraft owners and even an airport owner. The group elected Ron Wullaert as its President. Ron is a passionate private pilot with many years of experience. The six Board members are working on a website and a membership marketing programme, and is applying to join International AOPA.
AOPA Belgium’s first task is to fight unprecedented moves by Charleroi airport to ban aircraft of under six tonnes at times of peak holiday traffic. The move follows the crash of a Cessna 210 in February which closed the airfield for several hours during the Belgian schools half term holiday. The closure was announced without consultation, with the airport saying private flights were not subject to the same rights of access to public use airports as holiday jets.
AOPA says general aviation, which pays substantial amounts of fuel tax and hangarage charges at Charleroi, should not be forced out in favour of holiday jets which receive huge taxpayer subsidies to use the airport.
Ron Wullaert says: “The decision is unfair, unbalanced and discriminating. We will make the case against these restrictions with the regional politicians involved. I cannot imagine anyone deciding to close the ringway around Brussels for non-commercial traffic because a private car had a road accident. You will agree with me that this would be crazy idea, but then why would they impose a similar rule for GA in Charleroi?”
Spa has been closed on the orders of a Belgian environment minister from the Green Party. The closure is probably illegal and will eventually be overturned by the courts, but it will take time and there is a serious risk that the aero club and the maintenance shop will go bankrupt in the meantime.

AOPA Malta hosts IAOPA-Europe Regional Meeting

AOPA members from 16 countries gathered in Malta during March for the 128th Regional Meeting of International AOPA-Europe, where topics of common interest from EASA to ICAO were thrashed out in a day-long conference. International AOPA General Secretary Craig Spence attended along with Melissa Rudinger, the chief Washington lobbyist of AOPA US, Frank Hofmann, IAOPA’s representative at ICAO in Montreal, and Lutz Dommel, IAOPA’s lobbyist in Brussels. Apart from external pressures on general aviation, the internal affairs of IAOPA were discussed, including the search for a new President and requirements for the establishment of a Board for IAOPA-Europe.
IAOPA is an aggregation of AOPAs in 71 countries around the world. They are subdivided into regions, of which Europe region is the most active. A portion of every AOPA member’s subscription goes to International AOPA – about two euros per year. AOPAs provide member services only in their own state. While the organisation has more than 400,000 pilot members worldwide, it is tiny in relation to the task it faces.
The Malta meeting was chaired by IAOPA Senior Vice President Martin Robinson, who is also Chief Executive of AOPA UK. Craig Spence (at left with Martin in the picture) opened the meeting by asking delegates to consider whether the format of these meetings – two or three a year – is exactly what they want, or whether it could be changed to make better use of resources. “I understand the pressures on the time and resources of those who work part-time and gratis for AOPA so Martin and I are determined to ensure that this is time well spent,” he said.
Setting the scene in Europe, Martin Robinson said that eventually EASA, the European Aviation Safety Agency, will be the only game in town. “Within 15 years there will be no national CAAs, or they will be tiny,” he said. “That will not happen until they believe EASA is fit for purpose, but they want a single regulator for Europe. There are many trials and tribulations to be faced along the way, but the importance of the full-time lobbyist that AOPA members maintain in Brussels, Lutz Dommel, will become ever greater with time.”
Melissa Rudinger reported on the pending departure of Craig Fuller, who as well as being President of AOPA US is also President of IAOPA. Martin Robinson said Craig Fuller had brought a new global vision to IAOPA and had a commitment to grow the organisation across the world, starting some projects that would bear fruit long after he had relinquished his position. “We wish him well in whatever he chooses to do,” he said.
Craig Spence reported that China had been chosen as the venue for the IAOPA World Assembly in 2014, although the precise location and timing had yet to be decided.
The next IAOPA-Europe Regional Meeting will be held in Heidelberg on September 28th.

EASA IR regulation expected ‘soon’

Moves towards a more attainable Instrument Rating in Europe are running behind schedule by about two years, AOPA Germany’s Managing Director Michael Erb reported to the Regional Meeting. Publication of EASA’s ‘opinion’ – effectively its plans for rulemaking – are expected shortly, however.
After pressure from the French, Dr Erb said, there was reason to hope that third country Instrument Ratings might be transferable into European IRs simply by having a check ride with an examiner. “Every year, Instrument Rating holders have to have check ride, anyway, and this would be an enormous advantage to the holders of third country IRs. They must hold a European PPL, to which they can attach their IR.”
Emmanuel Davidson of AOPA France said checks in the United States on pilots with a current medical, an Instrument Rating and a European address showed there were more than 11,000 on the FAA’s books.
Martin Robinson said the UK CAA was determined to retain the IMC Rating in the UK, although EASA continued to stand out against it. While IMC rating holders had grandfather rights, under EASA new pilots could not be extended the protection of the rating, leading to a strange situation where one pilot would be flying with the increased safety provided by the rating, while the next was denied it. “The UK is not saying it wishes to impose its IMC rating on the rest of Europe,” he said. “It is saying, please read your own rules and allow the IMC rating to continue in the UK.”

ATOs for flight training – 'hold off for clarification'

IAOPA’s advice on switching from Registered Facilities to Aviation Training Organisations, as planned by EASA, is to hold off until the picture becomes clearer. Martin Robinson told delegates: “We are working with EASA on acceptable means of compliance with their regulations on ATOs, which they envisage every registered facility will have to become. These discussions may continue until the fourth quarter of this year, and it would be wise to wait for the outcome before making a move.”
Delegates discussed the EASA Safety Strategy, to which IAOPA has contributed an extensive and reasoned series of proposals. Martin Robinson commended the French CAA, the DGAC, for its leadership role in seeking a new direction from EASA with regard to general aviation. There were too many examples of expensive and unnecessary regulation with no safety aim, he said. Part M and the CAMO system had not made the industry safer or more efficient but had contributed to the decline in the number of hours flown because administration is soaking up so much of the available cash. EASA continued to talk about accountable management and safety management systems, all leading to new levels of expense.
Martin said that even EASA’s cut-down version of the ATO regulations are excessive for most flight training. They would have to do risk assessments before being allowed to continue doing what they’ve been doing safely for decades. Safety management manuals would have to be written, risk related to change would not only have to be evaluated but documented; the system even identified the number of days notice you would have to give your regulator if you intended to make a change. Each ATO would have to identify a safety manager who is responsible for co-ordinating the safety management system, while it seemed the Accountable Manager can’t be the same person as the Safety Manager. “For clubs with two or three people and one or two aircraft, this is so badly over-engineered that it risks putting them out of business,” Martin said.
“If we do not get some alleviation we are going to lose a number of aero clubs and flight training organisations. They cannot work out how they can comply. They have to be audited every two years, and they’ll have to pay for that in some states. The UK is talking about an initial fee of £1,000.”
EASA seemed amenable to a four-year audit cycle, Martin said, which would reduce costs to about where they are today. But amending other provisions was proving sticky. EASA had proposed different rules for ‘complex’ and ‘non-complex’ organisations, but there is no such definition in the Basic Regulation.
On the subject of complex and non-complex organisations, Jacob Pedersen of AOPA Denmark reported that EASA’s acceptable means of compliance on Ops were being interpreted in Denmark in such a way that any flying school that employed part-time instructors less than four hours a week would be treated as a ‘complex organisation’. “This would be disastrous for us,” said Jacob. “GA needs freelance instructors, and pushing them out by making compliance too difficult or expensive is bizarre.”
On the positive side, it looked as though third country PPLs may be heading almost towards a validation system between FAA and Europe for licence acceptance, although nothing had been set in stone.

How to make waves in Brussels

International AOPA’s Brussels lobbyist Lutz Dommel gave the delegates an overview of how Europe’s legislative system operates, and what IAOPA is doing to influence events in favour of general aviation.
As well as being an established lobbyist, Lutz is a PPL who learned to fly on gliders in 1994 and graduated first to microlights, then to powered aircraft, taking in skydiving along the way. Lutz studied political science in Germany and started his working life with German railways. In 2004 he went to Brussels and spent six years as head of office and policy advisor for an MEP. “I was not fond of the direction Europe was moving in, especially in the field of transport,” he said. “So I went out on my own, and I now run a public affairs company.”
Lutz explained that while European processes were quite transparent and could be followed, in order to actively steer the process or influence them, you had to know the system by heart. The European Commission has some 30,000 employees, paid tax-free. There are 754 MEPs from 27 countries, each with four advisers. They are headquartered in Brussels, Strasbourg and Luxembourg. The Parliament operates in 23 languages, and half the staff expenses go on translation services. There are 20,000 lobbyists based in Brussels. “Most MEPs don’t know a lot of detail – they can’t, with so few employees,” Lutz said. “This is a mixed blessing because you can feed information and context into the system, and they rely on it.”
The Transport Committee has 47 members from 27 states, plus around 150 officials. Individual nations cannot lobby the committee so it’s no use approaching the German or British member; it’s important to have a trans-national approach, and in this, IAOPA is well placed. “A legislative dossier will involve seven members and about 20 officials, so the group you have to lobby is not that big,” Lutz said. “If I had to cover 754 MEPs I would not succeed, but seven members I can do in a week.”
When AOPA members think of aviation they think freedom, speed, reliability, high-tech jobs and innovation. When politicians think of aviation they think noise, security, protecting national carriers, strong lobby groups, big hub airports. “My first job is to change the picture they have in their heads,” Lutz said.
IAOPA has had some notable lobbying wins already. “At out first meeting on accelerate-stop distances for turbine twins, we were told it was a done deal, nothing could be changed. But once a dossier out of comitology is sent to the Parliament, they don’t vote on it – if they say nothing, it comes into force. So we spoke to 10 MEPs, five of whom sent angry letters warning they would block the whole regulation. The Commission and EASA were surprised because this hasn’t previously happened, and in the end they shifted their position. This is the way we will try to work in future. Bureaucrats are not well controlled, democratically, but if we have 100 angry pilots writing to an MEP they can make a difference.”
Lutz has been inviting MEPs and key members of their staff to GA aerodromes for fly-outs, arranging a series of barbecues and taking them for flights in a DA-40. Most of them had never been near a light aircraft or a hangar. Four or five more fly-outs are planned for this year. “We have also invited some MEPs to come to Aero Friedrichshafen and we have offered to fly them there. The most influential ones are coming from Hanover, and there are no direct flights, so they can see how valuable GA is.”

Confusion reigns over 'dangerous goods' laws

Jacob Pedersen of AOPA Denmark reported that EASA OPS had finally been adopted but that regulation for GA had been postponed and was expected to be adopted mid-2013. Jacob reported: “On the carriage of dangerous goods in particular, EASA has listened to our comments and is preparing a leaflet targeting the GA community. I have read the draft and it unfortunately still fails to address some of the most basic questions a private pilot might have. I therefore wrote to EASA’s dangerous goods specialist and asked some direct questions: Can I carry a laptop with a spare battery? Can I carry a container of de-icing liquid? Car I carry a spare can of lubrication oil? I also asked how I get an approval to carry a can of gasoline for my boat.
EASA’s dangerous goods expert came back with one correct answer, one ambiguous answer, one answer that was clearly incorrect and one answer that entirely missed the point. They said ‘yes’ to the first question, as long as the battery is protected against short-circuit. On the de-icing liquid the answer was inconclusive. They confirmed that it was considered dangerous but could be carried for operational use, but referred to a paragraph that states that carriage must be required by either OPS rules or certification requirements – something which will not cover a spare can.
“The answer regarding lubrication oil was that it was dangerous goods, but clearly it must be a wrong answer: According to the technical datasheets I have found, lubrication oil ‘will burn’ but is not classified as flammable. Therefore there should be no restriction. The answer from EASA would also be completely against what is taught at any flying school, where you always make sure you bring a spare can of oil before you go anywhere. The last answer was a definite ‘no – gasoline cannot be brought on board’ and there was no explanation on how to obtain a dangerous goods approval.”
Frank Hofmann, IAOPA’s representative at ICAO, commented that it seemed nonsensical that carrying two litres of fuel was illegal in an aircraft with 300 litres in the wings. Frank pointed out that these minor points matter in Europe because the whole legal system is different from North America and Britain. In Canada, for example, a citizen is allowed to do anything unless it is proscribed by law – the whole of Canada is an airfield, except where aeroplanes are specifically excluded. But in Europe, everything is deemed to be illegal unless it is specifically allowed by law. The difference is stark and fundamental. Effectively, the stranglehold of the bureaucracy on everyday life in Europe is such that a civil servant must rule on everything you wish to do. So points that may seem petty and pedantic must be settled unequivocally if the pilot is not to be placed in an invidious legal position.

Where does Europe fit into world aviation?

The puzzling questions that hang over Europe’s relationship with the rest of the aviation world were set out by Frank Hofmann (pictured here), the Canadian pilot who represents International AOPA at the International Civil Aviation Organisation – ICAO – in Montreal.
The European Aviation Safety Agency, EASA, has taken over certain responsibilities from ICAO, as it has from European member states. But ‘Europe’ as an entity is not recognised at ICAO, has never signed the ICAO Convention that governs international aviation, and doesn’t have a seat at ICAO.
“They have an individual who comes to ICAO as an observer and sits quietly at the back and takes notes,” Frank said. “He does not speak and has no vote, and you cannot speak to him, or through him.
“I see the delegations from European states, I visit them and have conversations. These delegates are there for a three-year period and go back into their civil administrations. I sensitise these people to the problems you have in your own states, and I like to think I have influenced decisions in your states. But as your own CAAs power down and hand over to EASA, I have to change my way of doing business, and so do you.”
To complicate matters further, ICAO audits EASA, which writes regulations according to ICAO standards and recommendations. Martin Robinson remarked that Europe intended to instigate a bloc vote from its 27 member states at ICAO, which could lead to a situation in which other ICAO states demanded that the 27 states’ votes be counted as one, to prevent domination by one faction.
The conglomerate of 191 nations that constitute ICAO remain sovereign. “The convention was created to regulate international traffic,” Frank said. “It did not propose to regulate internal traffic. Because international traffic interacts with domestic traffic, many states do not distinguish between the two and apply standards recommended by ICAO to domestic traffic, which is not ICAO’s intention.
“ICAO only recognises individual states, so Europe is effectively in limbo. The only way IAOPA can get general aviation’s concerns onto an ICAO work programme is to get a state to support us. I foresee problems as states turn over their responsibilities to EASA, and we are unable to contact or influence a delegate to ICAO.”
Other topics currently under consideration at ICAO (and the list is vast) include flight recorders for turbine aircraft – IAOPA seeks an exemption for private aircraft with fewer than six seats – changes to fuel requirements and electronic flight bags. IAOPA sits on the Unmanned Aerial Systems study group, where the industry is running far ahead of the regulators, and is resisting calls for GA aircraft to equip with expensive kit to make them visible to UASs – or RPAs, Remotely Piloted Aircraft as they are becoming known. “Already there have been examples of manned and unmanned aircraft coming into proximity,” Frank said, “and the industry is galloping ahead, with each state doing its own thing.
“Security is a constant issue, and there are major questions to be addressed. Safety Management Systems have been mandated by ICAO to all states in all matters aviation, except that states don’t know how to apply them properly yet, and we need to convince them that GA’s needs are different from those of Commercial Air Transport. The notion that ‘one size fits all’ is entrenched and difficult to shift.”
And at the end of it all, half the states in ICAO don’t comply with ICAO standards. “States negotiate exemptions,” Frank said. “There are over 11,000 differences filed to the ICAO standards. People don’t live by their own rules.
“States have a great fear of ICAO audits. Their belief is that if they apply the maximum stringency, their aviation sector will automatically be declared safe, not realising that this is not the case. In fact, States are supposed to apply proportionality to the risk mitigations and create regulations accordingly.  However, that concept is not understood in most States. Only Chile supported my request publicly to strengthen the need for a state to have to demonstrate how it applies proportionality. None of the other states I lobbied to support acted, probably because it costs money, manpower and intelligence, and because they believe that doing so might result in a lower their safety rating.”

ICAO’s bad language law exploited to pilots’ cost

ICAO’s English Language Proficiency requirements are causing extraordinary problems worldwide. Costs to GA pilots are in some cases horrendous, with fees for English tests – up to €600 in Austria for instance – turning a discredited system into a nightmare which is having a seriously depressing effect on the GA industry.
Philippe Hauser of AOPA Switzerland gave a presentation which questioned the whole basis of the English Language Proficiency requirement for general aviation. ICAO, he said, did not mandate that English be used at GA airfields. He quoted section of ICAO Document 9835, the Implementation Manual of the Language Proficiency Requirement as saying: ‘The air-ground radiotelephony communications shall be conducted in the language normally used by the station on the ground or in the English language.’
“ICAO provisions do not in any way limit the use of a national, regional or local language but recognise the practical requirement for English to be available for the many pilots who do not speak the national language of a particular state,” he said.
However, Switzerland’s interpretation was that pilots who must call air traffic control or AFIS by radio need a valid Language Proficiency Endorsement (LPE), while for blind transmission at uncontrolled aerodromes and for contact with the FIS, a radiotelephony rating in the language used is sufficient. Many countries required LPE in Class Echo airspace; many allow local language only. “In France, many aerodromes are being promulgated as ‘French only’. Italy says you need an endorsement if you are not an Italian citizen. Greece says you need it for international flights but not for domestic flights. How has this improved safety?”
He requested that all AOPAs contact their national aviation authority to suggest that a common practice be adopted across Europe. This should be that English should be allowed on all aerodromes and FIS, and no Language Proficiency Endorsement should be required for VFR flight in Class E and below.”
Delegates told stories of what a disreputable racket English Language Proficiency had become across Europe. Martin Robinson said he had met two students in Malta who had flown 40 hours, but couldn’t go solo because they had not yet passed their conversational English requirement. Emmanuel Davidson of AOPA France said the pass rate in France was 50 percent, the pass rate in Marseilles 80 percent, and pilots who had failed in Paris were going to Marseilles and passing.
Frank Hofmann, IAOPA’s representative at ICAO in Montreal, said the original intention of ICAO was that there should be a requirement only for international flight, and that only aviation phraseology should be tested. “That evolved into conversational English and became a money-making proposition for language schools around the world,” he said. “ICAO delegates know they’ve made a mistake with this but they’re not going to admit it. Language schools all over the world are claiming to have ICAO accreditation and charging high fees, but no school has ever been accredited by ICAO. ICAO has decided to compile a list of schools that meet their regulations, but if any school claims to have ICAO accreditation, they are not telling the truth.”

Malta aviation, past and future

At the end of the Regional Meeting delegates were treated to a reception at Malta’s Aviation Museum on the outskirts of Valletta, where guests included representatives of Malta’s aviation authority and air traffic control service, together with Mr Nigel Dunkerley, who is responsible for general aviation at Transport Malta, and Malta’s new Tourism Minister Karmenu Vella. The reception was sponsored by FJV Aviation Ltd, a significant player in the island’s moves to create a strong aircraft registry.
Aviation has played a small part in Malta’s fascinating 7,000-year human history, but it’s an important one and it is not forgotten. Between 1939 and 1943 Malta was the most-bombed patch of territory on earth, and the defence of the George Cross island during the Siege fell to a relative handful of pilots in aircraft that weren’t always up to the job. The war museum in Valletta contains the remains of the Gloster Gladiator known as ‘Faith’ – one of three such aircraft, known as ‘Faith, Hope and Charity’, which according to legend were all that stood between Malta and an Axis invasion in the early days. The Aviation Museum is home to a Mk IX Spitfire and a Hurricane and is situated on the old Takali aerodrome, along with a collection of more modern aircraft. For AOPA’s part, the task is to convince the Maltese authorities that there’s much more to aviation than holidaymakers and museum pieces.

Ukraine backtracks on leaded avgas ban

Ukraine is planning to legalise 100LL aviation fuel in an attempt to revitalise general aviation and to foster business contacts with other countries. Leaded avgas has been prohibited in Ukraine since 2003, but a Bill now before the Ukrainian Parliament proposes that the ban be lifted.
The draft Bill, which has the backing of all major Ministries in Ukraine, says that while development of aircraft engines running on diesel and unleaded fuel has been in train since the 1990s and shows promise, unleaded avgas is not suitable for many GA engines, and nowhere else in the world has leaded avgas been banned during the development of alternatives. This has led to a situation where 100LL has been smuggled into Ukraine. Those Ukrainian engines that have been required to run on mogas have suffered increased wear and a greater rate of failures, posing “a real threat to flight safety”.
The Bill says the legalisation of 100LL will increase tax revenues, which will be further boosted by flights of business aircraft to Ukraine. It adds: “Implementation of the provisions of the Bill would open the way to rebuild and revitalise domestic general aviation without compromising safety, increase the number of aviators who want to visit the country, facilitate the establishment of business contacts with other countries, improve flight training opportunities, promote infrastructure development and provide jobs and raining for the airline industry.

Flying and learning with AOPA France

AOPA France is keen on relaunching a series of fly-ins that are open to all AOPA members, whatever country they come from. The first is a trip to discover Croatia – already fully booked – in April. From June 6th to 8th AOPA France will welcome all AOPA members to the Cannes Air Show – it is a occasion for members from all AOPAs everywhere to meet under the sunny skies of the French Riviera. AOPA France will be holding their annual general assembly during the show.
Emmanuel Davidson of AOPA France writes: “In June we will also gather in Propriano (LFKO) for our traditional Corsican Weekend. Sun, sea, boating, visits to the old town are on the programme.
“In July, pilots who are inspired by the stories of Sir Ernest Shackleton will join us for a flight to Discovery Bay in Greenland. Illulissat is one of the most beautiful places in the world. There are only one or two vacancies, as we have to limit the number of participant planes to 15.
“In September, the weekend of the 28th, we will all gather in Beaune, Burgundy, where we will spend the weekend at Chateau Pommard, ( Maurice Giraud, the owner, is an aviation enthusiast who uses rotary wing aircraft extensively for his trips. Chateau Pommard produces one of the most renowned wines in France. For all these events, contact Alain Curoy or visit”
AOPA France is also launching a training intiative for pilots who would like to discover more about their avionic stacks. A series of courses have been developed covering advanced GPS tip and tricks, advanced GNS430/GNS530 course, glass cockpit fundamentals, ‘back to the needles’ – how to create a personalised recurrent training to use traditional avionics when you have transitioned to glass avionics and want to stay current on the steam gauges. There’s also a non-pilot’s guide to the basic usage of radios and navigation systems, a course tailored to those who fly regularly with pilots without being rated, and  who want to know the fundamentals of modern avionics. Details on