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IAOPA Europe Enews April 2020 / 2 - Welcome to the IAOPA Europe enews which goes to 23,000 aircraft owners and pilots in 27 countries across the continent

In memory of Lennart Persson (28 Nov 1945 – 24  March 2020), President of AOPA Sweden

On the 24th of March Lennart Persson, president of AOPA Sweden died. Lennart is survived by his wife Ann-Marie,  his two daughters Katarina and Ulrika and his brother Åke and other family members.

Lennart Persson was a very amiable man with a big heart for aviation. For many years he was involved with Swedish Aviation which has lost a great champion for GA. He was massively appreciated as a private pilot, aircraft owner and for his detailed knowledge of General Aviation, and last but not least his efforts to ensure the rights of private pilots all over Sweden.
Lennart Persson was president of AOPA Sweden since 2007. He is succeeded by Max Hasselblatt as president of AOPA  Sweden.

Lennart tirelessly  promoted GA through the years and was a regular contributor to IAOPA Europe. He attended many European debates using his knowledge and personality to influence discussions. We will not only miss him terribly for his knowledge of aviation but also personally for his cheerful presence at the IAOPA EU meetings.



On the picture: Lennart and Anne Marie Persson in happy times

At a time when the Swedish government divided Aviation authorities into a state-owned corporation that was to operate state owned airports, and a separate air traffic service provider LFV, the conditions for GA deteriorated severely; GA was excluded from the Stockholm-Bromma airport in the Swedish capital and at the same time all other airports in the greater city area were closed. Against this background Lennart worked tirelessly to overcome the problems for GA  in the Stockholm area.

Under his direction AOPA Sweden was actively involved in air safety issues together with the European Aviation Safety Agency EASA. Swedish AOPA was the main driving force behind an improved maintenance regulation, Part M Light, which lead to a more positive attitude towards  EASA  from Swedish pilots. While media attention rarely directs  spotlights towards GA, Lennart worked relentlessly for a better GA. Lennart’s departing is a huge loss for all of us within AOPA Europe.

There is a memory page for Lennart Persson, it has a link for English and while many entries are in Swedish, you are welcome to express your feelings. The page can be reached here

If at all possible: Open the airfields again! A wake-up call from IAOPA-Europe´s Chairman Dr. Michael Erb

To clear up any doubts right from the start: If a general curfew is imposed in the days of COVID-19, then we should not fly, there is nothing to discuss. But if it is considered harmless to drive and go for a walk in spite of COVID-19, of course limited to the our corona-destiny community at home, why shouldn´t we also go up in the air with a small plane, accompanied by our family members? From the perspective of virus containment, this should be completely harmless. Unfortunately, this is often not seen this way by the authorities.

When can and should we still fly?

At most aerodromes in my home country, flight operations are still possible, although sometimes linked to various restrictive conditions, such as PPR and reduced opening hours. The number of possible destinations is also clearly limited: you can actually not fly across most borders, and some federal states have also issued complete entry bans. Most flights that still take place today take perhaps an hour and go from A to A. But the open aerodromes show that even in times of Corona, flight operations can be carried out safely with certain restrictions.'

'On the other hand, many smaller aerodromes are currently closed because the authorities assume that they are only existing to allow air-sports. Since sports facilities are generally closed  in Germany, including soccer fields, tennis halls and fitness studios, it is considered that the same must also be applied to the sites of air-sports. Unfortunately, this approach is wrong, because special landing sites are not just places for air-sports, they are essential parts of our transportation infrastructure, just like the larger landing sites. It should therefore be left to the operators of smaller aerodromes whether and how they keep their airfield open or not in compliance with the applicable hygiene requirements.
It is also regrettable that many commercial airports are currently completely closed because there is hardly any scheduled air traffic left that would justify the provision of tower and ground personnel. Here, unfortunately, the child is poured out with the bath. Because you could deactivate their control-control zone and maintain the flight operations of general aviation in uncontrolled airspace with a minimum crew of ground personnel. Obviously, neither the airport operators nor air traffic control have a particular interest in this.'

'We are not ignorant, of course we are fully aware: The whole world suffers from COVID-19, there is no business-as-usual for us, and no one wants to take pleasure flights to great destinations and afterwards upload colorful pictures on the social media to celebrate it publically. But why shouldn't we try to keep as much as possible of normal-procedures in General Aviation in these difficult times?'

What are the advantages of a brief flight? An hour's flight protects the engine from impending corrosion, it allows pilots to maintain their safety standards, and it helps small charter companies survive, and it's just good for our morale. (see also the article about engine maintenance in this newsletter).

Therefore: Let's get rid of the flight restrictions wherever possible! And General Aviation pilots will handle these freedoms responsibly.

AOPA shows solidarity with ‘crowd funding’ for unfortunate pilot

'This can’t be true!' was the unanimous reaction from all AOPA members on a serious issue that a Swiss pilot got involved with at the border with Germany. German customs gave him a fine of 25,000 euros. Thanks to a money collecting campaign of the AOPA’s of Switzerland and Germany during half a year, a check for EUR 14,070 could be given to the relieved pilot.

The unbelievable story, which left all pilots speechless, started its fateful course when the pilot wanted to complete the entry formalities after landing of his single-engine Cessna from Switzerland in Würzburg-Schenkenturm. The German AIP reports customs clearance for this airfield, which had been confirmed by telephone by the local air traffic control before departure. The police in Würzburg also approved this procedure. But this time it didn’t work really work that way.
The Würzburg-Schenkenturm airfield is not on the list of customs airfields in the documents of the German Customs Office. Therefore, the German customs authorities initiated proceedings against the pilot who was obviously not aware of any mistake made (and could not be aware of this) for unauthorized import of goods, in this case the aircraft.

In spite of all legal steps to avert the lawsuit, which went through many authorities up to the Munich financial court, and which gave work to a host of lawyers from both countries, the pilot was finally fined with around 25,000 euros. This would have driven him to financial ruin.

The two AOPA’s, Germany and Switzerland, did not want to stand by and watch how one of their members was disproportionately held accountable. They launched a fundraising campaign to help the desperate pilot not only legally but also financially. Many AOPA members showed sympathy for the unfortunate colleague and donated small or large amounts. After half a year, the impressive sum of 14,070 euros has been collected.

This success surprised and touched us all. Solidarity among pilots still exists! Again they got together to help a colleague out of trouble. "All for one, one for all" now also means a new dimension in aviation.
AOPA Germany and AOPA Switzerland thank all donors for their generosity. But first and foremost, the pilot concerned expresses deep gratitude for the extraordinary success of an extraordinary action, to everyone who has supported him and has thus proven that we can only be strong together. We are not publishing the name of the pilot involved on his understandable request.

On the picture: Symbolic check handover between the two managing directors of AOPA Germany (Michael Erb, right) in Frankfurt and AOPA Switzerland (Philippe Hauser) in Zurich.


How to keep your engine in shape in times of coronavirus?

We have received a lot of requests from our readers regarding the need to keep our engines running, on the ground, during the period when we cannot fly. The real question remains whether the practice of ground engine run is a good idea or not. What happens when you run an engine on the ground without flying? 
Emmanuel Davidson, president of AOPA France, wrote a clarifying article about engine maintenance in times of corona which we published on the website of IAOPA. 

Everyone agrees that an aircraft engine that does not run is an engine that will experience an early demise. In this period of confinement, we are right to ask ourselves questions about the health of our engines, since we cannot fly and operate the engines properly. An exception to the strict containment rule has appeared in recent days in France, allowing flying clubs to delegate a pilot to defy the containment rules, travel to the hangar to run the engines of the club's aircraft. It involves taxiing planes on the ground or performing a ground engine run for a maximum of twenty minutes. The underlying idea is that it will do the engine good, wash it from the inside and leave a layer of protective oil on all metal surfaces.

But, as Davidson states: 'It’s a misconception. The practice of the ground engine run is strongly discouraged by the engine manufacturers. They explain clearly that it is an aberration, only promoting an exponential and rapid growth of internal corrosion.' To read the whole article on our website, click here!

Please keep us informed about the aviation news in your country

If you have any news or things that you would like to share with pilots in other countries - for instance if you organize a Fly-in that might be of interest or if there is news about airports or new rules and regulations in your country that other pilots should know - please don't hesitate to send all your news to me, Gerrit Brand | Netherlands | email:, telephone or whatsapp + 31 6 50831893.