Merry Christmas and Happy New Year
IAOPA Europe wishes everyone a very Merry Christmas and a very prosperous New Year. With of course many accident-free flying hours. Let's all enjoy our aircraft and our adventures in the sky.
A lot has happened in the past year.
The war in Ukraine immediately springs to mind. A completely senseless war of which innocent people are the victims. As far as we are concerned, the private pilots of both Ukraine and Russia (both countries are afiliates of AOPA) are also victims of this misery. Let us hope that the war will end soon.
We remember the pilots we lost this year. Unknown to many people, but well known within AOPA circles was Haraldur Diego, president of AOPA Iceland, who crashed his Cessna 172 into a lake in Iceland on February 7 this year. This also killed his three passengers.
In October 2022, we were finally able to hold another ‘physical’ IAOPA Regional Meeting, in Bad Homburg Germany, where we went over the state of aviation in Europe. For the first time we were able to welcome Jim Coon, from AOPA Headquarters in the USA.
There are always many things left to sort out. Like the perils surrounding lead-free Avgas. Although in September GAMI's Avgas 100 UL received the long-awaited STC from the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for all aircraft engines previously certified for Avgas 100 LL, we have not quite reached our goal yet. (See also separate article in this newsletter)
Other issues are Flight Crew Licensing. A complicated business. Modernization of the European Licensing System is on the back burner. There are all sorts of issues at play: UK - EU issues; people with a UK PPL must now hold an EASA Part-FCL license, UK LAPL only valid in UK. We need to restore privileges that your government has taken away from you. Keep us informed.
Also an issue was Language Proficiency. It's about time a unified line was drawn within Europe (EASA). In France, for example, you are not allowed to speak English at most uncontrolled airports. EASA and ICAO plan to modify the language proficiency requirements for GA and maintain them only for IFR and commercial air transport.
Board-to-board frequency 123.45 is in need of a standard European replacement. Now each state gives its own special frequency. EASA is working on a new frequency. We will keep you informed
EASA and General Aviation: Report on the GA.COM and GA.TeB meetings
On December 5 and 6, 2022, the members of the two EASA General Aviation advisory bodies met at EASA headquarters in Cologne for a joint working meeting. These were the GA.COM (Committee), consisting of representatives of the aviation associations, and the GA.TeB (Technical Body), consisting of representatives of the member states. It was gratifying to see that for the first time a larger number of members participated on site, about half of the total of more than 70 participants were still connected online.
In terms of content, there were many exciting topics on the agenda:
The definition of Complex-Aircraft needs to be revised in the coming months. This definition determines whether an aircraft is operated under Parts NCO or NCC regulations. An important point here will be whether the type of propulsion - piston engine, turboprop or jet - should be the determining factor for classification, because many new innovative propulsion concepts are either already on the market or are expected soon in larger numbers.
It would also be important to clarify who the "operator" of an aircraft is. There is still no clear definition here: from the point of view of the European legislator, the operator can either be the pilot, a passenger of a charter aircraft, or the operator can also correspond to the term of the owner. As a result, some companies declare their passengers to be operators without them understanding what risks they are actually taking. It would be advantageous here to have a clear demarcation and clear explanation of the operator/keeper role as distinct from the role of the pilots: The holder is responsible for maintenance and insurance etc., the pilot for the safe execution of the flights themselves. Of course, the holder may continue to be a pilot as well in personal union.
The regulations for the training of maintenance personnel are also to be revised, as personnel bottlenecks are already becoming apparent here. On the one hand, training is too lengthy; it takes more than seven years before a technician is allowed to work independently. On the other hand, there is too much compartmentalization, with a distinction being made between avionics/airframe/engine and fixed-wing aircraft/helicopter. In the automotive sector, there have long been mechatronics engineers who have mastered both mechanics and electronics. This is because there are hardly any parts in modern motor vehicles that do not also contain electronic components. This is, of course, also increasingly the case with aircraft, so an adaptation of the training of specialist personnel is urgently needed.
The switch to unleaded avgas is also an urgent issue for EASA. The various legislative initiatives to phase out lead in Europe and the U.S. were presented, as were various industry initiatives to offer clean Avgas 100 Unleaded. The phase-out of Avgas 100LL by 2030 agreed in the US will certainly have an impact on policy decisions in Europe.
Another topic was how to deal with a GPS failure. Especially for GA IFR aircraft this is a potential problem, because unlike airlines they do not have alternative systems on board to continue surface navigation (like DME/DME, inertial navigation). However, this issue is not new, it has been discussed since the large-scale introduction of GPS in aviation about 20 years ago. The big takeaway is that none of the feared large-scale GPS failures have occurred since the discussions began. Moreover, many smartphones can now already access Galileo and Glonass, for a transitional period continue to support navigation apps despite GPS failure. Secondly, the number of GA aircraft flying at the same time and dependent on GPS is relatively small, so in an emergency it would certainly be possible for air traffic controllers to steer a small number of GA aircraft using radar vectors to an airfield with conventional ILS procedures.
The new ICAO standards on firefighting and rescue services were also presented, which EASA is also expected to implement on a 1:1 basis at the airfields under its jurisdiction. It was felt to be not conducive to safety that some member states want to release their own regulations for airfields in their area of responsibility, which differ from those of EASA to varying degrees.
The recognition of type ratings from third countries, especially from the USA, was also discussed. Since June 2022, European licenses and ratings have also been required in Europe for the operation of aircraft from third countries, but these are difficult or impossible to obtain for some aircraft. With Article 3 of EU Regulation 2020/273, the European legislator has created the possibility for national authorities to recognize foreign type ratings, as long as only aircraft from the license-issuing country are flown with them. EASA intends to address this issue.
Once again, the constructive climate of discussion in this committee was very positive. It was certainly also critical, but always aimed at achieving a solution and consensus. This summer, Michael Erb (IAOPA) and Julian Scarfe (Europe Air Sports) were re-elected as Chairman and Vice-Chairman of the General Aviation Committee for 48 months.
Following the retirement of Dominique Roland and Boudewijn Deuss, the new EASA contacts for GA are the two active GA pilots Alain Leroy and Vladimir Foltin.
Which North is better?
Sometimes when topics land on your desk, you don't really know what to do with them at first. Are they relevant to our members, what is there to do? Through our IAOPA representative at ICAO Frank Hofmann (the one with the success with the corrections to the rescue and firefighting service), news reached us that several states, led by Canada, have approached ICAO where the increasingly accelerated migration of the magnetic poles is a concern. These states want to move away from navigating with reference to the magnetic North pole and instead navigate with reference to the geographic North pole, which so far in Canada has only been done in the far North.
By way of background, when observations began in the 19th century, the Magnetic North Pole moved Northward from its position in Canada at about 70°N at a rate of 10 to 15 kilometers per year, but since 1990 the rate has been about 55 kilometers per year from the North Pole toward Siberia. This means that VORs and runways set to magnetic North must be readjusted more and more rapidly according to the current declination, especially in Northern countries. For runways, this is done by hand, using many buckets of paint to repaint the numbers. Also on approach sheets, all courses are given in terms of magnetic North and have to be corrected in the databases and on paper charts.
In Central Europe this is not a big problem, because the declination (or variation) is 1-3 degrees, depending on the location, with an annual change of about 5-10 arc minutes. That is one degree change in 6-12 years. On Spitsbergen the situation is different: There you have a variation of 11° E, with a change of up to 25 arc minutes per year, so one degree change in a little more than two years.
In the maritime sector, people worldwide have long since switched to Magnetic North / "True North", should we now do the same in aviation?
For us, it is important to carry out an impact assessment, i.e. an analysis of the effects. What would change in flight procedures, does training have to be changed and retrained, is there a need for expensive avionics retrofits? That's where you have to look at each area of aviation separately:
- According to EASA, the large airliners can convert their navigation to magnetic North quite easily with their flight management systems; for some regional airliners, the situation is still different.
- In General Aviation under VFR, the problem is also manageable: because even today, the vast majority of pilots simply fly along the magenta line between waypoints on the GPS. If the current course over ground corresponds to the desired track, one arrives exactly. However, the declination must still be included in the navigation when navigating with the compass.
- It could be problematic in general aviation under IFR if the navigators cannot be changed over without problems. We are currently working with our international colleagues at IAOPA to gain an overview of this issue, which will then lead to a coordinated statement at ICAO. Can you think of any aspects of this topic that are important? Please write to us at email@example.com and mention the keyword "True North". We will gladly take up your suggestions and incorporate them into our statement!
Jeppesen offer for AOPA members – also available in 2023
AOPA members will continue to receive a 15% discount on their due invoices or new purchases of almost all products in 2023 (does not apply to Pilot Supplies).
The discount works only for products which are bought directly from Jeppesen, not via Foreflight or other apps.
The discount cannot be automatically applied to the Renewal offers, please contact Jeppesen by e-mail and provide your AOPA membership number: firstname.lastname@example.org
If your membership number is not recognised please contact your national AOPA and make sure they participate in the action.
AeroDelft to partner with Airbus on hydrogen aircraft
AeroDelft is a student team from the Netherlands with one mission: prove that emission-free aviation is possible by developing the world’s first manned liquid hydrogen-powered aircraft.
Now student team AeroDelft announced that it will collaborate with Europe's largest aircraft manufacturer Airbus for its hydrogen aircraft. This will include knowledge sharing. According to AeroDelft, it is an essential step in their mission to prove and promote hydrogen as an alternative to conventional fuels in aviation. ‘We are committed to achieving climate-neutral aviation and believe hydrogen is a promising way to do that. We are delighted to see that AeroDelft and a whole new generation of aviation students share the same ambition. What AeroDelft has achieved so far is quite impressive and we need to join forces with everyone willing to put their brains and energy into the biggest challenge facing our aviation industry - but also the most exciting: emission-free flights,’ said Rob Postma, CEO of Airbus Netherlands.
Lead-free Avgas in Europe
Discussions are currently underway in Europe between the oil industry, regulators and AOPA. These concern the approval of fuel from the US and the chemical evaluation of lead-free additives according to European legislation. In addition, about setting up a logistics and distribution structure. Importantly, following the decision by ECHA (European Chemical Agency) to add TEL to the list of banned substances (REACH Annex 14), the petroleum industry is also applying for a so-called authorization to continue importing TEL into Europe during a transition period after the May 2025 deadline.
There are also several initiatives within Europe to produce lead-free Avgas, which researchers say are at an advanced stage of development. One still needs considerable time (years?) before the lead-free product can be sold at the pump. AOPA is obviously concerned about the price of the new fuel and the technical introduction time. In addition, it is important that the new fuels can be mixed with 100LL and the other new fuels without affecting us as pilots. Although the developments are fundamentally positive, by 2025 there will probably still not be a safe supply of one or more lead-free Avgas 100LL alternatives. Industry experts assume a timeframe of perhaps 5 to 7 years. This is also consistent with plans in the US, where the target date for conversion is 2030. Assuming no negative advice from EPA in the US.
However, this is not consistent with the timing of the EU which is still using 2025 as the sunset date of TEL imports. We will keep you constantly updated on progress.
Electric Sling four-seater flies
The e-Sling, an electric version of the Sling 4 from South African manufacturer Sling Aircraft, recently made its first flight in Switzerland. Some 20 students from the Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule Zürich converted the four-seater over two years in a hangar at the Innovation Park in Dübendorf near Zurich. In addition to an efficient electric motor, the students developed a modular battery system with a special cooling system. The batteries can be changed during a stopover, although in practice this currently takes some time. The e-Sling has a range of 180 kilometers. The students will now develop a hydrogen powertrain for the device. Since hydrogen fuel cells have a significantly higher energy density than the batteries currently used in e-Sling, this could increase the aircraft's range.
Carbon-free flying by the Luxembourg method
Even aviation has not escaped the criticism of conservationists over the fact that aircraft engines emit CO2. At the Regional Meeting in Bad Homburg in October of this year, AOPA Luxembourg presented an idea to achieve CO2 offsetting with regard to the GA. Planting trees is the solution, according to the creator of the plan Shah Agajaani, who has an engineering background and owns a Mooney. AOPA Luxembourg made a film explaining the program. Here is the link to YouTube. (https://youtu.be/QW0MAbnzioI). The film encourages young pilots to fly farther and across borders.
Flying carbon neutral was not enough for AOPA Luxembourg, they even wanted to be carbon negative. Hence the proposal - after each flight - to cancel the carbon footprint. Burning fuel produces CO2. The CO2 must be absorbed in the wood. 1 kg of wood absorbs 1.7 kg of CO2.
It works as follows according to AOPA Luxembourg : "We determine how many hours a participating aircraft has flown. We can calculate how much CO2 the plane produced (hours, fuel). 50 tons of CO2 (in Luxembourg). To offset that, we work with NGOs working for protection through public awareness, afforestation and reforestation. 10 thousand trees - 1000 tons of CO2. - 2.50 euros/ton of CO2. With small investments we can offset the carbon. Participation on a voluntary basis.
It all seems nice, but according to the RM participants, there are snags. Let's put it this way: not everyone was convinced of the workability of the proposal in his/her country.
Do you have any ideas? Just let us know.
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: email@example.com, telephone or whatsapp + 31 6 50831893