IAOPA Europe enews, February 2014 - Welcome to the IAOPA Europe enews which goes to 23,000 aircraft owners and pilots in 27 countries across the continent

Beware of nuclear summit prohibitions

AOPA Netherlands is warning pilots to be prepared for serious disruption during the Nuclear Security Summit in The Hague on March 24 and 25, 2014. This is a global summit aimed at preventing nuclear terrorism around the world and will attract some 58 world leaders and 5,000 other delegates to the Netherlands. As a result, significant portions of airspace in the Amsterdam FIR will be closed or restricted between March 23 and March 26, inclusive.
IFR flights can expect delays, re-routings and limitations around Amsterdam Schiphol, Rotterdam airport, Eindhoven airport and Lelystad. All air traffic will be prohibited from an area encompassed by a circle of 9 nm radius centred on The Hague. The vertical extend of this prohibited area has not yet been established. A restricted area of 50 nm radius has been established up to FL195 in which scheduled IFR traffic is permitted, non-scheduled IFR may obtain prior permission, and all other traffic is prohibited. A restricted area around Eindhoven, which encompasses part of Belgium, allows IFR traffic with prior permission but prohibits VFR. The accompanying chart shows the extent of these areas. Medical, SAR, police and military flights are exempt.
AOPA Netherlands points out that the prohibited and restricted areas are far larger than those imposed when the first Nuclear Security Summit was staged in Washington in 2010, but the authorities were unwilling to listen.

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G is for Germany

EASA has arranged a conference in March on Cessna Supplemental Inspection Documents (SIDs) which some owners fear could force them to scrap their aircraft. The SIDs apply to 100 and 200 Series aircraft manufactured before 1986, which covers several thousand aircraft across Europe, and call for inspections for corrosion which could lead to the removal of the wings, a process so expensive that the aircraft would effectively be scrapped even if no defects were found.
EASA itself has taken a sensible and proportionate line, saying the SIDs are advisory only, but some national authorities look on them differently. The LBA, the German national authority, considers them to be mandatory, and maintainers in Germany have been quoting up to €10,000 to perform the inspections. If the LBA cannot be persuaded, it is possible that many German owners will re-register their aircraft in other countries such as the UK, where the CAA has confirmed the advisory nature of the SIDs.
Following a meeting in December, EASA issued a Safety Information Bulletin (SIB) which confirms that the SIDs are not mandatory – but at the same time says nothing to prevent national authorities from making them mandatory.
The March conference, to be held in Cologne on March 13, is to “provide further information and discussion on this topic”, according to EASA. The US Federal Aviation Administration has been invited but its participation has not yet been confirmed. Representatives of Cessna will be present.
AOPA Germany has begun a process of educating its members on how to change to non-German registrations, and what costs and requirements are entailed.

Saving pilots from themselves?

AOPA France has held a meeting with the GIPAG, the National Union of Maintenance Professionals in France, and the French national aviation authority the DGAC to talk about the maintenance of foreign-registered aircraft in France. AOPA forcibly rebutted claims that aircraft are kept on the N-register in France in order to save money by taking advantage of a slacker maintenance regime. In fact, AOPA said, owners fled from national registries primarily because it was next to impossible to obtain an Instrument Rating. In fact, the vast majority of N-registered aircraft in France, are maintained through Part145 maintenance outfits that are much more expensive than field FAA mechanics.
While American maintenance regimes follow recommendations and directives from the manufacturers, European authorities’ tend to misinterpret the word ‘recommended’ as ‘mandatory’, presuming that all pilots are suicidal and put a low price on their own lives. AOPA France stressed that the authorities should concentrate on making sure that a desirable level of safety is achieved. Over-regulating and misinterpreting the maintenance recommendations of the manufacturer works against safety by misusing finite resources that could be better spent.
AOPA also noted that maintenance organisations willing to work on N registered aircraft should have the proper level of knowledge on both sets of regulations, and make sure that owners and operators are not burdened with unnecessary work orders or ‘mandatory requirements’. Emmanuel Davidson of AOPA France says: “AOPA underlined that privately operated aircraft were flown by owners who tend to want to live to fly another day, and should not be treated as brainless pilots who need to be saved from their own parsimony by escaping to a foreign registry.”

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EASA acts on Part 61 licences

All European pilots with Part 61 FAA licences are able to revalidate their licences in Europe, rather than having to travel to the United States for the purpose. In last month’s enews we reported on steps taken by the UK CAA to renew pilots’ certificates at home; in fact the initiative involves EASA and all pilots can take advantage.
The problem arose because European pilots who surrender their national licences for an EASA licence are given a new licence number, and if they hold FAA certificates issued on the basis of the old national licence number, these become invalid. Under American identification rules, pilots have to present themselves in person at an FAA office to get an FAA certificate reissued. However, EASA has arranged with the Americans to reissue FAA certificates held by European pilots in Europe.
Jules Kneepkens, Head of Rulemaking at EASA, has issued a notice to all national authorities because some were not apparently aware of the concessions that had been arranged with the FAA. He says the ‘renewal lite’ process will be in operation up to October 2018, and under it, pilots must contact their national authority and provide their new EASA licence number, mailing address, and a statement affirming the positive identification of the applicant, including a photograph and signature. This last is why applicants previously had to travel to the US – the FAA is determined that positive identification should be made before a certificate is renewed. It now falls to national aviation authorities to ensure positive ID.

Reykjavik Airport’s newest allies

In a somewhat strange twist of fate, the aviation community in Iceland has found an ally in the Icelandic National Planning Agency. The agency has denied Reykjavik City’s master-plan that included the removal of airplane hangars and AOPA Iceland’s clubhouse in Vatnsmyri, and for the time being has put a halt to the destruction of assets belonging to aviators there. The stop is valid until another suitable location is found for general aviation, putting pressure on the City to do so. But as AOPA Iceland has frequently pointed out, there is no other piece of land better suited than the current one, especially considering the immense costs involved in building a new airport.
Reykjavik Airport will play a role in the next IAOPA Regional Meeting on May 10, 2014. Delegates will get a grand tour around the airport and will hold their meeting in the newly renovated Hotel Natura, located at the airport.

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AOPA Greece now has a voice

International AOPA has stepped in to help AOPA Greece enforce European requirements for airspace consultation after Greek authorities moved ahead with changes without informing any stakeholders. After AOPA Greece was tipped off that the National CAA was moving towards a new airspace classification structure without formal consultation with users, it protested that such moves could not be made unilaterally. However the authorities took no notice, and it seemed that all doors were closed.
To tackle the problem, AOPA Greece called for support IAOPA. Senor Vice President Martin Robinson responded with a detailed presentation of the consultation requirements set forth under European regulations. According to these, every national CAA is obliged to establish consultation mechanisms with the stakeholders on the subject of airspace classification.
Armed with a clear picture on the legal situation, AOPA Greece arranged for a meeting with the Governor of the CAA, which ended with a clear promise that formal consultation will precede any decision on airspace structure.
Anton Koutsoudakis of AOPA Greece says: “We believe this event is a proof that co-operation within the AOPA system is a unique way to protect and to promote general aviation.”

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Athens Flying Week 2014

Once again AOPA Greece is heavily involved in Athens Flying Week and invites all AOPA members across Europe to fly in during the last week of September, from the 22nd to the 28th.
The event, which grows in stature every year, is held at Tatoi military airfield outside Athens and it illustrates just how far Greece has come in pursuit of its intention to become the ‘Florida of Europe’, a place where general aviation is welcome and can thrive. This year, for the first time, seaplanes are welcome. Until recently it was not possible to fly seaplanes in Greece, despite its thousands of islands.
Visiting aircraft will be allowed to land and park at Tatoi airport from September 24 to 30, and AOPA Greece will assist pilots in every way. You may arrange your own itinerary, selecting which islands you wish to fly to and the days on which you want to stay on each one. AOPA Greece can provide reliable information on fuel cost and availability, on hotel cost and reservation, on ground transportation and car rental and any other info that a visiting pilot may need.
Anton Koutsoudakis says: “All European pilots are invited to experience a memorable flight through the Greek islands and a unique fly-in, while Athens Flying Week and AOPA Greece will assist you in every way. It will be our pleasure to see you and your friends in Athens.”
Early registration is recommended. There will be constant updates about events on the official website www.athensflyingweek.com. For further information contact info@aopa.gr or flyin@athensflyingweek.gr

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Ukraine fly-in still on

Gennadij Khazan of AOPA Ukraine says the annual aviation, motorcycle and rock music festival in Ushgorod, just across the border from Slovakia, is still on despite political trouble in Ukraine – all AOPA members are invited to visit between July 17 and 20. Details of the programme will be available by the middle of April on the AOPA Ukraine website www.aopa.ua, at which time registration will start.

The Sopwith Triplane, a magnificent fighter

The Grahame-White Factory is located in the grounds of the Royal Air Force Museum, London. As well as being an iconic building, from the very earliest age of industrialised aircraft construction, it is also home to a magnificent collection of World War One aircraft and paraphernalia. Some of the aircraft on display are originals, some reproductions (many of which incorporate original parts, such as engines) but whatever their origin, the whole collection is quite splendid, and does an excellent job of portraying the earliest days of military flying. Read more here and for similar articles click here