IAOPA Europe enews, November 2013 - Welcome to the IAOPA Europe enews which goes to 23,000 aircraft owners and pilots in 27 countries across the continent

Help AOPA’s work by completing our online survey

AOPA Germany, on behalf of IAOPA, is hosting a survey open to all pilots and aircraft operators to collect information about general aviation (GA) and establish definitively the nature of the problems faced by aircraft operators and pilots, while providing data on what GA is used for and with what frequency, and where the economic strengths of GA lie. Please participate in our online survey.
Click here for the survey of pilots.
Click here for the aircraft operators’ survey.
This information is especially important today because national and European aviation authorities, for reasons of data protection and lack of money, compile very few reliable statistics. Even the most basic information, such as the number of flight hours per year and class of aircraft, is not available for recent years.
Only when we have current and accurate information on GA can we, as an aviation association, effectively represent the interests of GA and, in particular, AOPA members.
Therefore, we would be very pleased if you can further support our work and complete the online questionnaire. We specifically assure you of absolute anonymity and strict compliance with data protection regulations.
We have prepared two separate surveys for pilots and aircraft operators. It will take only about 5 minutes to answer the questions. For aircraft operators with more than one aircraft we ask that you please complete the questionnaire for as many of your aircraft as possible.
Please also enter your name and email address if you wish to participate in any industry-monitoring in the future.
We will summarise and publish the results of this survey in a study.

One-year stay of execution for some EASA licence changes

The European Commission has delayed by a year the requirement for holders of third country licences to obtain EASA equivalents. The move follows concerted lobbying by International AOPA on behalf of pilots who would have lost their jobs because EASA has not created equivalents to the licences they hold.
Following a vote at an International Meeting at the European Commission on October 17 the Aircrew Regulation was changed to read:
“Extension of derogation - validation requirements for non-commercial flights.
The derogation against the requirement to hold a Part-FCL licence or a European validation of a 3rd Country licence to fly 3rd country-registered aircraft based in the EU is to expire on 8th April 2014. The amendment to the regulation will extend the derogation to 8th April 2015.”
This means pilots with certain types of licence for which EASA has no equivalent may continue to work while the Agency sorts itself out. For example, an FAA ATPL with a single-pilot endorsement for a Citation is able to do aerial work such as flying the owner, or ferrying aircraft. The existing rules say only that if the holder has 1500 hours of multi-crew experience, he or she can convert that to a European CPL/IR with single pilot privileges. So pilots with thousands of hours total time but relatively little multi-crew experience would have been put out of work. Pilots employed by companies with privately-operated corporate aircraft do not now require a Part-FCL validation until April 8, 2015, during which time it is hoped that the bilateral agreement on licensing currently being worked on will resolve the anomalies.

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AOPA Sweden wins on mandatory SBs

After a long campaign by AOPA Sweden, the European Commission has explicitly stated that Service Bulletins, Service Letters, Service Instructions and other similar documents are not mandatory and member states cannot force aircraft owners and pilots to comply with them.
The news is particularly important in Sweden, where aviation authorities had decreed that all SBs and other manufacturers’ notices had to be complied with. This led to a situation where, for example, aircraft had to be flown to qualified engineers every 30 days to have the door seals lubricated, leading to a dangerous swelling of the seals. Other countries imposed similar requirements.
Dan Akerman of AOPA Sweden reports that the EC has confirmed that Swedish authorities have no right to do this. Bizarrely, the Swedish national aviation authority has responded by removing the mandate from its website and claiming it never mandated compliance in the first place. Dan Akerman reports:
“In the Basic Regulation 216/2008, article 20 (1) (j) EASA is given the authority to issue mandatory safety information in response to a safety problem, for example, Airworthiness Directives. This also means that EASA is the only entity allowed to do this. The Swedish NAA, Transportstyrelsen, (TS) however, issued in 2011 an ordinance AIR 3-2011 which stated that all Service Bulletins etc with recurring actions had to be included in the Aircraft Maintenance Program (AMP).
“In other words, TS effectively issued a blanket AD-note making all SBs etc mandatory. By doing this the TS breached the Basic Regulation which is EU law, and when a national authority breaches the EU law, the Commission will step in. AOPA Sweden complained to the Commission in November 2012 and in September 2013 EASA, on behalf of the Commission, visited Transportstyrelsen to find out what was going on.
“What really happened during this visit is unknown to us, but the result is that the ordinance 3-2011 is mysteriously no longer available on the TS homepage, and TS also states to the Commission that it has never, NEVER, demanded that all SBs etc be included in the AMP.
“They are not fooling anybody of course, and the bottom line is that the European Commission now supports the view that SBs etc are only recommendations, to be implemented at the aircraft owner’s discretion. This is apparently valid for all aircraft regardless of size.
“It is also in line with the fact that only Airworthiness Directives, Airworthiness Limitations and Certification Maintenance Requirements are truly mandatory under the law and that the NAA who ultimately approves the AMP must do so in accordance with EU law and EASA regulations.
“Now we must think of how we can be refunded for unnecessary maintenance carried out and hours spent on searching for SBs etc maybe decades back. The NAAs have forced us to do costly maintenance without any foundation in law. Someone should be held liable.”

IMC rating reprieved – for now

The European Commission has granted a five-year stay of execution for the UK’s IMC rating, and AOPA continues to campaign for its permanent reprieve, for use in the UK only. The Chief Executive of the UK CAA Andrew Haines is due most of the credit for the concession, having realised the importance of the IMC rating for GA safety in Britain and refused to accept that harmonisation was a valid reason for killing it off. The CAA will continue issuing IMC ratings as Instrument Ratings (Restricted) until at least April 2019. The concession must still be ratified by the European Parliament, but this is seen as likely.
The IMC rating is a course of a minimum of 15 hours, with a written exam, which teaches GA pilots to keep control of an aircraft when entering IMC and return it safely to the ground using whatever aids are available. It has saved countless lives and is especially important in Britain, where the maritime climate means the weather is worse, and less predictable. In 40 years the IMC rating has been achieved by some 25,000 British pilots, only one of whom was subsequently killed in IMC. Fatal accidents in GA in Britain are believed to be three to four times lower than elsewhere in Europe.
AOPA UK was not represented on the FCL.008 working group set up to consider EASA’s original proposals on instrument flying; International AOPA was represented by AOPA Germany, who worked hard to successfully bring about the competency-based Instrument Rating. AOPA UK continued to lobby the CAA and EASA to accept a ‘Class 2 IR’ or ‘Basic IR’ modelled on the IMC rating, but to no avail. Following discussions with AOPA UK, Andrew Haines made a commitment to the GA community to opt the retention of the rating, and the CAA has made strong representations to Europe in its favour.
Earlier this year AOPA UK became aware of the proposal for a five-year concession but was asked to refrain from publicising it because it could hamper negotiations. This month, the news leaked out via those who had spoken against the IMC rating at FCL.008. Andrew Haines will continue to make the case for a permanent preservation of the rating for the benefit of future generations of pilots.

ETS exemption for private aircraft

The European Commission has listened to representations from IAOPA and other aviation bodies and is introducing an exemption for small non-commercial operators of aircraft over 5.7 tonnes from emissions payments. IAOPA has been able to quantify and document the fact that the cost of administration and external audits will by far exceed the actual CO2 payment for many small private operators. Yet in the existing regulation only small commercial operators were exempt.
Jacob Pedersen of AOPA Denmark reports that this has now been resolved with an exemption for non-commercial operators emitting less than 1,000 tons, and simplified procedures for those emitting less than 25,000 tons. The Commission now says that: “no enforcement shall be taken against non-commercial aircraft operators in respect of emissions from small aircraft operators emitting less than 1000 tonnes CO2 per annum. This is expected to reduce the number of aircraft operators regulated by member states by around 2,200 representing 0.2% of emissions. Alongside other measures being taken to simplify administration for small aircraft operators, this is a significant lightening of administrative tasks for aircraft operators and for member states’ competent authorities, in line with the EU’s better regulation agenda.
“As of 2013 small emitters emitting less than 25,000t – whether commercial or non-commercial – can use simplified procedures.” This involves estimating rather than auditing emissions.
The concession is particularly important because under ETS legislation, only those with an AOC were able to engage in emissions trading.

Pilot-translators wanted

The European Union is looking for freelance translators with an understanding of the aviation sector who can improve the quality of its translations of aviation safety regulation into 19 European languages. IAOPA Europe believes it would be advantageous for high-quality translators who are involved in general aviation to take on this work.
The EU has a central translation agency known as CdT which translates the avalanche of paperwork that comes out of Brussels every day. Not only is the work often highly technical, but its clarity is often compromised by the fact that it is written by lawyers. Some national authorities then insist on enforcing EU legislation to the letter, even where it is abundantly clear that errors of translation or understanding are involved. In sectors like aviation, misunderstandings and mistakes can affect safety.
EASA relies on the services of the CdT for the translation of ‘Agency Opinions’, which are used as a basis for EU aviation safety legislation. It is drawing attention to the tendering process for translation from English into other European languages and says: “For many languages it is not easy to find qualified translators in the aviation field. This fact greatly influences the quality of the translations rendered. Therefore we would greatly appreciate if you could forward this information to translators your organisation/company may be working with or to staff in your organisation/company which may be eligible to participate in the tender and become a freelance-translator for CdT, following signature of a service contract with them.”
Access to the bidding process can also be obtained by registering at http://ted.europa.eu/. The tendering procedure carries the number 357807-2013. The deadline for receipt of requests for documents or for accessing documents is December 3. Time limit for receipt of tenders or requests to participate is December 12. Further information can be had from the Translation Centre for the Bodies of the European Union, Legal Affairs Section, Drosbach Building, 12 E, rue Guillaume Kroll, Gasperich, email tenders@cdt.europa.eu

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New safety web portal from AOPA Finland

AOPA Finland has developed together with the Finnish CAA Trafi and the Safety Investigation Authority the aviation safety portal www.gasafety.fi to improve public awareness of common causes of aviation mishaps, incidents and accidents. The website also incorporates a discussion forum in which pilots and other registered users can comment the topics. Esa Harju of AOPA Finland reports that the purpose of this forum is to improve aviation safety in Finland through co-operative action by pilots and the authorities. “Open discussion is needed, since there have been too many incidents and accidents during the recent couple of years,” he says.
Careful analysis by pilots, authorities and investigators yields valuable insights, including the common causes of aviation mishaps, and patterns that emerge over recent years. AOPA Finland aims to help improve Finnish pilots flying skills by presenting data from which lessons can be learned and giving details of accidents that have been examined in depth.

AOPA Italy makes progress on national GA issues

The continuous commitment of the new board of AOPA Italy to work for the redefinition of national airspace continues to achieve significant results. In November the Italian national aviation authorities released information on major changes to the huge volume of controlled airspace in the north east of Italy. Initially on a trial basis, the authorities are creating or extending Class G airspace to remove access restriction from about 40 general aviation airfields.
After a long political lobbying exercise the President of AOPA Italy, Rinaldo Gaspari, has obtained the abrogation of a law that places many airfields under severe noise restrictions at the whim of local authorities. A new law, decree number 98/2013, means every airfield will be measured using the same methods and according to the same noise standard.
Up to now, airstrips were under continual threat because local authorities  could measure noise levels around the airfield however they pleased, and could declare airfields to be ‘noisy’ according to their own criteria. State law now prescribes the same noise measurement criterial at ports and airports, removing the ability of local authorities to close them by imposing unreasonable noise restrictions.
After having negotiated a reduction of 50% in government taxes for the ownership of GA aircraft, the board of AOPA Italy has taken steps to renegotiate a new scale of charges imposed by the national civil aviation authority ENAC which represent major increases in costs to GA. From December 10, the renewal of any license would cost €200 in Italy.

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Triumph for Athens Flying Week

Athens Flying Week was an out-and-out success. More than 45,000 visitors came to Tatoi airfield during the three days of operation – more than double last year’s figure. Among the attractions were private seaplane flights along the Athens coastline, aerobatic performances, and an important aviation conference, attended by prominent aviation figures in Greece.
The climax of the aviation week was the three-day air show at Tatoi airport. A large number of light aircraft were on static display at the airfield, and most of them performed in flying displays at some point. Ultralights were evident everywhere, on the ground and in the air.
The Greek Air Force played an important part in the flying display, together with the air forces of the Netherlands and Poland. Anton Koutsoudakis of AOPA Greece says that their participation confirms the increasing professionalism of the organisation of Athens Flying Week. Aegean Airlines also took part in the air display with an Airbus A320.
AOPA Greece supported the organisation of the event, in many ways. Two members of AOPA Board were on the organising team, while Mr. Podimatas, the owner of the organising company, is an AOPA member, a pilot and the owner of a light aircraft. At the same time, a team of AOPA members acted as volunteers in a number of key positions.
Next year, AOPA Greece is planning a number of organised excursions in the Greek islands for International AOPA members who fly to Greece for Athens Flying Week, which will once again be held in September. Anton Koutsoudakis renews the invitation for all AOPA members to visit Athens. Information will be available through the website www.athensflyingweek.com and www.facebook.com/AthensFlyingWeek and of course the AOPA Greece website www.aopa.gr

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