ICAO adopted new rules on Rescue and Firefighting Services
Aerodromes only obliged to provide services in case of commercial aviation activity
After more than 10 years of IAOPA's engagement with ICAO in Montreal, our representative Frank Hofmann reported on June 15, 2021 that we have achieved a breakthrough: The adapted ICAO Standards on Rescue and Firefighting (RFF) in Annex 14 Chapter 9.2.1. were adopted, so that airfields for non-commercial air traffic are not obliged anymore to provide rescue and firefighting services in the future.
The requirement to provide rescue and firefighting to non-commercial GA traffic has in many countries been a big obstacle for small airfields and has reduced service hours significantly at many regional airports.
EASA has already indicated that they are ready to quickly follow-up with adaptation of EU requirements to the new ICAO text.
The original text of the new ICAO text reads:
9.2.1 Rescue and firefighting equipment and services shall be provided at an aerodrome when serving commercial air transport operations.
Now the standard of Annex 14 exempts aerodromes from the obligation to provide rescue and firefighting services during times when there is no commercial aviation activity. Many states already deviated from that standard for decades, a simple information-letter to ICAO is sufficient for that purpose, but others (like Germany) tended to strictly implement ICAO 1:1.
The ANC’s Commission Group 1 has approved the item in WP 9497 which dealt with our RFF action. Only Ireland reiterated in their comment that States should retain their right to add to the requirements when certain activities occur at a GA airfield – e.g parachute jumping. In any case all States have the right to add to requirements. The State letter responses and comments by the Secretariat was APPROVED!
Frank Hofmann of ICAO: ‘I am glad that the change to the SARPs was accepted by the ANC without further comment. The fact that 47 States and 5 International organizations approved with very few comments shows that the change in the SARP was much overdue. GA operators will look forward to the 3 November 2022 Applicability date.’
With the new standard, which will become applicable on 3rd November 2022, we can fly non-commercially to small aerodromes even if there is nobody on the ground who would be able to use the fire-extinguishers.
But also bigger regional airports could benefit from the concept, as they tend to be closed for GA during hours when their fire-brigade (and ATC) is off duty.
Let´s hope that member-states will just follow the new standard and will not add new restrictive requirements.
EU Commission initiates infringement case against DENMARK for not allowing foreign-registered aircraft
The EU Commission has taken the first step towards an infringement case against Denmark for not allowing foreign-registered aircraft to be based in the country. Both EU-registered and third-country registered aircraft are fully regulated by EU law, but still the Danish CAA has issued warnings and taken aircraft owners to court for having such aircraft based in Denmark. AOPA Denmark notified the EU Commission of the apparent non-compliance with EU law and the Commission has responded by sending a letter of formal notice to Denmark in June. Here the EU Commission points out that the Danish requirement undermines the freedom to provide services enshrined in the EU Treaty as well as the free movement of goods. The EU Commission further states that:
The requirement imposed by Denmark entails a considerable burden for an owner of a foreign-registered aircraft, and in effect discourages them from basing their aircraft and from receiving services in Denmark.
The requirement imposed by Denmark has an equivalent effect to quantitative restrictions prohibited under Article 34 TFEU. The Court holds that where the full harmonisation of law at Union level has already taken place, such as in civil aviation, Member States cannot invoke Article 36 TFEU to justify measures restricting free movement of goods. Denmark now has two months to reply to the concerns raised by the Commission. In the absence of a satisfactory response, the Commission may decide to send a reasoned opinion.
Click here to read the original publication in the EU infringement newsletter of June 9th. (search for: Commission calls on DENMARK to apply EU legislation on foreign-registered aircraft correctly)
IAOPA position paper against airspace closures
About airspace segregation & the EU approach
Segregation is the action or state of setting someone or something apart from others. In this context, airspace segregation separates manned and unmanned aviation. In other words, it entirely excludes manned aviation from flying in U-Space.
The European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and the European Commission (EC) had to provide the U-Space implementing regulation within an unrealistically short time frame, which led to a situation where many technical and operational details remain unresolved. Due to the absence of common rules of the air or validated detect-and-avoid solutions, the regulation proposes a concept of dynamic airspace reconfiguration, defined as the temporary modification of the U-Space airspace by adjusting the airspace geographical limits. It remains up to Member States (MS) to decide what measures to take and how to design the U-space airspace. This means that different rules may apply across the EU – without a clear, harmonised approach.
To date, it remains unknown how U-Space can be practically implemented. For now, the only possible interim solution seems to be airspace segregation – a solution that does not necessarily mitigate the safety risk and the associated disruption to operations. For example, the number of airspace infringements has increased significantly over recent years mainly due to the complexity of the European airspace.
What’s the situation in the EU?
Denmark has already tried implementing restricted airspace – the national authorities decided to prioritise drones no matter the negative impact that their decision would have on General Aviation (GA). Whilst this attempt was stopped by Danish authorities, Spain took a similar approach and defined U-space airspace as segregated airspace for the exclusive use of drones. The other Member States have not yet decided on how to approach this matter.
Alternative solutions: human airspace observers and transponders
IAOPA calls on all Member States not to discriminate GA in favour of drone operators. When designating U-Space, the national authorities may consider two alternative approaches to avoid airspace segregation:
The first alternative follows an example of the solution applied in the U.S.: to install human observers on the route of the Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS), if there is no better technology available for UAS than the human eye. Since this solution provides a safe and adequate solution, which enables entry of manned aviation into U-Space, the EU Member States should consider this example of best practices when designing U-space airspace.
The second alternative is to make it a requirement that the U-space airspace surveillance systems can receive and evaluate conventional transponder signals. If transponder systems can be used by TCAS systems in aircraft for safe and reliable collision avoidance in conventional airspace, then these standards must also be sufficient for U-Space airspace.
The adoption of any of the alternative solutions to airspace segregation in the interim phase, before the long-term solution is found, would in turn ensure that GA does not carry the burden of drone integration, while also providing a safe procedure.
The U-space segregation is the option that IAOPA opposes most. Not only would this result in the implementation of restricted airspace, but also would violate the primary U-Space objectives: joint airspace utilization and the safe and fair integration of drones into airspace.
´Sully´ Sullenberger to ICAO
U.S. President Biden has delegated Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger as the U.S. ambassador to ICAO (International Civil Aviation Organization). Sullenberger gained worldwide fame in 2009 when he made a landing on the Hudson River in New York with his Airbus A-320 carrying 155 passengers. There were no casualties.
In addition to being a former commercial pilot, ´Sully´ is also a former fighter pilot in the United States Air Force. In 2016, following his memorable ´ditch´ in the Hudson, the film ´Sully´ was released, directed by Clint Eastwood and starring Tom Hanks in the title role.
To the Euro Fly-in in France
From July 23 to 25, France will once again host one of the finest fly-ins in Europe. Hundreds of historic and amateur built aircraft from all over Europe will gather at the French airfield of Brienne-le-Chateau near Troyes.
For two nights you can camp on this former airbase of the Armée de l'air in your tent near your plane, and if you just want to come with your Cessna 172 to have a look around, that's allowed too - although you'll probably feel embarrassed, with your ordinary American factory-built plane among all those special hand-made ´aéronefs´ and classics.
We wish everyone a very nice summer vacation, with lots of flying fun.
All kinds of flying events have been organized all over Europe now that Covid is (hopefully) retiring.
Enjoy your flying license, but keep safe.We hope that we can meet again physically and fly a lot together.
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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: firstname.lastname@example.org, telephone or whatsapp + 31 6 50831893.