IAOPA Europe Enews December 2012 - Welcome to the IAOPA Europe enews which goes to 23,000 aircraft owners and pilots in 27 countries across the continent

IAOPA seeks 'quick wins' in new EASA landscape

IAOPA is making urgent moves to spare flight training organisations from the costly and bureaucratic requirements due to be imposed by EASA when they are forced to become ‘Approved Training Organisations’ (ATOs). EASA intends to increase the level of regulatory oversight and to mandate the creation of safety management systems, audits every 24 months, and approvals for every course offered. While there is no demonstrated safety need, the costs have not been calculated. They will be significant – certainly enough to tip many FTOs out of business at a time of economic stringency.
After it’s recent review of EASA’s regulation of general aviation, the Management Board of EASA invited European states to submit idea for “quick wins” where regulatory change could relatively easily be accomplished for maximum benefit to GA. IAOPA put forward a list of activities such as cost sharing by private individuals, charity flights, trial lessons and ‘A to A’ flights performed by aero clubs, that should not be considered to be commercial air transport.
But the first “quick win” relates to ATOs, which IAOPA has proposed should be subjected to no more requirements than currently fall on Registered Facilities (RFs) – the only change will be in the name. IAOPA Senior Vice President Martin Robinson says: “We should not be increasing overheads without evidence of real need at a time when the flight training industry is struggling so badly. EASA is alert to the problem and is investigating alternative methods of compliance. The European Commission is also aware of the issue and are considering what may be done. The entire system depends on a healthy population of student pilots, and whilst this is also linked to confidence in the economy we have to do all we can to prevent unnecessary costs and regulations which do little or nothing to improve safety from being imposed on this sector of GA.”
The Management Board also requires EASA to establish by mid-2013 a GA sub-group of the Safety Standards Consultative Committee (SSCC) in order to periodically examine the implementation of the new approach to GA and the efficiency with which it is done. Martin says: “There is a real determination in the Management Board and the Commission to effect change. Member states are also very supportive, but you should check with your national AOPA as to the level of input your NAA has taken on this subject. IAOPA Europe has also been lobbying in Brussels with MEPs and we have plans to do more as we continue to press the interests of GA at the highest possible levels. If you have any specific areas of concern, please contact your local AOPA the details of which can be found at www.iaopa.org

Commission on the defensive on aviation

The European Commission is smarting over two defeats, both of which involve aviation, and two of its top men met with aviation industry leaders including IAOPA Senior Vice President Martin Robinson to discuss European developments in air transport. Matthias Ruete, Direct General of DG Mobility and Transport, and Matthew Baldwin, Aviation Director at DG Mobility and Transport, were clearly concerned at the recent failure of the Ground Handling Regulation, which failed to secure enough votes in the European Parliament. It’s a rare experience for Parliament to throw out legislation, and while it’s unfortunate that it happened to a regulation for which IAOPA had lobbied – we want self-handling for GA to be mandated – it is encouraging to see democracy flickering into life in Europe.
The Commission is also licking its wounds over the failure of its Emissions Trading Scheme. On Tuesday President Obama signed an order prohibiting US airlines from participating in the carbon tax plan, with America saying the EC had over-reached itself. Against this background, the EC says it wants to move away from ‘directives’ and into ‘regulations’. Directives are something member states may or may not comply with, but regulations are mandatory. While this would help GA on the ground handling issue, it could be detrimental in other areas.
Martin Robinson says: “On ETS, the Commission wants to use ICAO to reach global agreement, and Mr Ruete said it was their aim to achieve a European ‘bloc’ view in those negotiations. At the tri-annual meeting of the European Civil Aviation Conference, the USA stressed that the US would not negotiate with a ‘gun held to its head’. I fear that it will be difficult to achieve a global solution through ICAO, and this issue does affect some of our members with turbine aircraft with MTOM over 5700kgs.
“Reference was also made to SESAR, the Single European Sky research project, which is claimed to be moving in the right direction, albeit slowly. The EC is annoyed that its deadline for Functional Airspace Blocks – these are the areas of airspace in which common rules and procedures hadve been adopted – will come and go on December 4th with virtually no FABs established. But the Commission must recognise that in the outside world, everything has changed. The projection for airline traffic to 2014 is for air transport movements to continue to weaken. Forecasts for the doubling of air traffic, which was supposed to happen in the next few years, have been put back to around 2035. Airlines only need capacity to be slightly ahead of demand – so why would they spend billions of euros, at a time of extreme economic stringency, to build capacity that won’t be needed for decades? SESAR is estimated to cost €30 billion, of which industry looks like having to pay 90 percent. IAOPA must maintain a constant vigil on SESAR because most of the money will come from the big players like Airbus and Thales, and they will order things to their advantage if we are not constantly involved.
“Europe needs to be much more pragmatic about aviation policy. The Commission’s own paper on a sustainable future for general and business aviation needs to be the basis of European policy for GA if we are to have any real chance of growth in the future. The Commission also believes that having a single regulator must be better than having 27. While this may be true for Commercial Air Transport, I am yet to be convinced that it’s right for GA.”

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Aviation loses out to real estate developers in Israel

The Israeli government is has voted to close Sde Dov (LLSD) airport in Tel Aviv in order to clear the ground for the building of 12,000 luxury dwellings in one of the most expensive real estate areas in Israel. AOPA Israel has tried to fight the closure, but the strong, well-funded lobbying of the real estate developers has won the day.
The Sde Dov city airport is used by domestic flights, which will move to the large and busy Ben Gurion international airport (LLBG). But general aviation is without any practical nearby solution as the other GA hub, Herzliya (LLHZ) is due to close by 2015 for the same reasons. Both Sde Dov and Herzliya, built by the British during the 1930s, are essential for GA in Israel, and are also convenient for domestic transport.
The closure of the two airports is a critical blow to general aviation and reduces the available operational airports in Israel by 25%. GA is already trying to cope with airspace limitations and restrictions which together with security issues impose a high workload on pilots.
As the result of the government’s move, the Israeli National Aero Club, of which AOPA Israel is a member, decided to withdraw from the 5th International Civil Aviation Conference organised by the Fisher Institute and the Israeli CAA in Tel Aviv in November.

* Dan Moshe has been appointed General Secretary of the Israeli General Aviation Association (AOPA Israel) and Mr Eitan Lipovitsky appointed Treasurer. The new appointments are as of  October 17th.

More work, more members in the Netherlands

AOPA Netherlands is growing. Despite the economic situation which has led to a number of membership cancellations, overall membership has grown by 5.5% during 2012. AOPA Netherlands has continued its ‘first solo’ programme, which gives more than a year’s free membership for student pilots after their first solo flight. In addition, it has increased its presence at events like rallies and air shows.
During the year it became more visible to the GA community, based on a new level of political engagement which began in February with AOPA’s strategic GA agenda, which was offered to the Department of Transport and the Parliament. AOPA has since participated in the redesign of airspace in the Netherlands. It has also met with success in discussions over the Natura 2000 airspace restrictions, while keeping general aviation up to date with EASA’s FCL regulations at a critical time and keeping track of flight safety and infringement programmes. There is now an all-in-one aviation preflight portal, www.LVNL.nl. If international AOPA members want to visit the excellent meteorological website for the Netherlands, www.luchtvaartmeteo.nl, AOPA Netherlands (secretary@AOPA.nl) will provide a free temporary login code.
AOPA Netherlands will continue working on all these programmes, as well as influencing EU GA policy, participating in the wind turbine discussion, helping flying schools to comply with the upcoming EU Part ORA, and be a major voice in discussions on the future of Lelystad airport, the largest GA field with 125,000 uncontrolled movements a year. Lelystad has been appointed to accept the overflow of charter carriers from Amsterdam Airport. This leisure traffic can only be accommodated when ATC is involved. The result will be the displacement of a major part of the private aircraft owners and pilots.
We have a lot of tasks on our schedule in 2013, but the AOPA board is ready for the challenge. Through IAOPA Europe, the Netherlands has a strong voice in the EU and EASA’s agendas. If you have questions please do not hesitate to contact the AOPA NL office via secretary@AOPA.nl

New bragging rights for Icelanders

'Per capita' is without a doubt Icelanders favorite statistical term. They tend to brag about it every chance they get. Among the kind of records they like to mention are that they have the highest electrical production of the world (51.179 kWh/person) per capita, and most golf courses per capita (1:4824). One they don’t like to mention is the fact that they also have the lowest average age of losing virginity (15 years, 7 months).
Now there is one more for them to brag about; the highest number of valid pilot certificates – per capita, of course. One in every 160 Icelanders has a pilot certificate of one sort or another, while in aviation’s birthplace, the US the ratio is 1:509. The ratio of pilots to aircraft is lower in the US (fewer pilots per plane) at 2.7 pilots for every N-registered aircraft, while that ratio is at 4 in Iceland.
Although other countries are not included in this research, it does reveal some interesting facts. In this respect, it would be interesting to see how the ratios look like in other countries where IAOPA is represented.
This summer’s fly-ins were visited by many aircraft from Iceland and beyond. 69 aircraft turned up at the annual AOPA fly-in at Múlakot on the first weekend in August. Included was a rare bird in Iceland, visiting from a Liechtenstein, a Robinson R44 piloted by the only commercial helicopter pilot in the small state, 23-year-old Matthias Vogt. After six weeks flying and taking pictures around the island, Vogt was pleasantly surprised by how much freedom pilots enjoy in Iceland as compared to mainland Europe. For instance, Vogt said that it would have been almost impossible to land a helicopter next to a gas station to tank up anywhere in Europe, but in Iceland, he was not only welcomed, but helped by the local police.  
Photo: Marco Nescher

AOPA Finland puts GA on the aviation strategy map

AOPA Finland has submitted a statement on general aviation to an Air Traffic Seminar held as part of  the Finnish government's moves towards creating an air traffic strategy for Finland. General aviation has never featured in any of Finland's previous aviation strategies, and it is only because of AOPA Finland's work that general aviation was included in the government's Transport Policy Report, submitted to the Finnish Parliament in April this year. An Air Transport Strategy is one of the projects that is promised in that report. The strategy will clarify prospects for the development of Finnish air transport, define air traffic objectives in a constantly changing business environment, and assess Finland's airport network, especially as regards accessibility in remote and sparsely populated areas of Finland.
Work on the air traffic component of the transport strategy was initiated at the Air Traffic Seminar on the last day of October. Esa Harju of AOPA Finland says: "It is remarkable that in earlier Finnish Air Transport Strategies, general aviation was neglected completely. None of earlier strategy papers even mentioned GA as a means of transport in Finland. AOPA Finland prepared a statement for the seminar in order to emphasise the importance of general aviation in Finland, and the need for a GA initiative to enhance the state of aviation in business, sightseeing, search and rescue, training, recreational flying, survey, air ambulance and a variety of other purposes. As a result of these two documents created by AOPA Finland, the Finnish Transport Safety Agency Trafi and Ministry of Transport and Communications decided to nominate a separate chapter for general aviation in the coming Finnish Air Traffic Strategy."

*The Finnish Transport Safety Agency, Trafi, has drafted a new aviation regulation to update obsolete provisions and to align them with the EU system. They will be applied to national aircraft maintenance personnel, service mechanics and amateur mechanics, and the most significant innovation is the creation of an amateur mechanic's license by Trafi.
AOPA Finland proposed in its statement that service mechanics shall have privileges to perform maintenance tasks on  single engine piston aircraft up to 2730 kg, with defined experience and knowledge requirements. The amateur mechanics shall have privileges to perform maintenance tasks on single engine piston aircraft up to 1200 kg or below with defined experience and knowledge requirements. So much for aligning with the EU.

Threat to Alderney's runways lifted

In Europe, there is a relatively high proportion of pilots on the Channel island of Alderney, which has a population of 2,100 and relatively poor transport links with Britain and France. The island’s grass runways seemed to be under threat, but following a meeting attended by pilots and Alderney representative in the States of Guernsey, Paul Arditti, any threat has receded. There is, perhaps, some way to go yet before the States of Guernsey finally decides to carry out the necessary remedial works identified as necessary by the UK CAA. However they are acknowledging the overwhelming views of the users. AOPA CI’s participation was lead by Roger Dadd. Alderney is the only Channel Island airport to have more than one runway, with its two grass runways offering safer options when crosswinds make the other, east-west, runways unsuitable or even unusable.

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