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

New President for IAOPA

AOPA US has appointed Mark Baker as its President and Chief Executive, and the likelihood is that he will also take over as President of International AOPA. Mark replaces Craig Fuller, President of both AOPA US and IAOPA for the past five years. A GA pilot for 35 years, Mark owns a Beech Bonanza and a Piper Super Cub and has logged more than 7,500 hours, flying everything from seaplanes and fixed-wing turbine aircraft to helicopters. A successful businessman who built and rescued companies in the home improvement sector, Mark takes over at AOPA US on September 6.
In the past it has been the practice for the head of AOPA US, by far the largest of the 70 AOPAs worldwide, to become President of International AOPA and based on feedback and approval received from the affiliates there seems to be no reason why that should change. On the international scene, Craig Fuller will be a hard act to follow. He had a broader global understanding than previous AOPA US Presidents and recognised that problems afflicting GA in Europe and elsewhere will eventually wash up on America’s shores. Craig was instrumental in strengthening AOPA as a global brand and placed strong emphasis on influencing European authorities, helping to underwrite IAOPA’s Brussels lobbyist and attending several IAOPA-Europe Regional Meetings with his US staff. IAOPA Senior Vice President Martin Robinson sent his congratulations to Mark Baker and said: “We very much look forward to working with him in Europe, and we hope he will carry forward the good work Craig Fuller has been doing. We would like to record our appreciation and thanks to Craig Fuller and wish him the best in all his future endeavours.”

Aircraft noise success for AOPA Italy

AOPA Italy has succeeded in having the Italian Parliament prescribe a noise measuring system for all airfields to replace the wildly different systems used by local authorities across the country. A new law, decree number 98/2013, means every airfield will be measured using the same methods and according to the same noise standard.
This is an important success for AOPA Italy important. Up to now, airstrips were under continual threat by local authorities who could measure noise levels around the airfield however they pleased and declare airfields to be ‘noisy’ according to their own criteria. This was usually followed by restrictions which have in some cases forced airfields to close.
Working in close contact with airstrip owners, AOPA was able to modify the language in the national regulation, which effectively extends the measuring methodology in use for larger airfields to smaller local airstrips, reducing the threat of arbitrary and unfair closure.

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UK CAA moves forward on GPS approaches

AOPA UK’s long-standing request for work to begin on GPS approaches has finally been answered by the CAA, which has set up a study group to look at the issue. While the move is welcome, it comes late – there are already some 5,000 WAAS-assisted GPS approaches in the United States, and France has decided it will adopt EGNOS-assisted GPS approaches in place of ILS systems.
IAOPA Senior Vice President Martin Robinson has produced a paper at the request of the European Commission on why IAOPA-Europe supports the establishment of GPS ‘LPV’ approaches. These provide EGNOS-derived vertical guidance. IAOPA has long held that the teaching of NBD and VOR approaches should be replaced with the study of GPS let-downs.
Five years ago the UK CAA established a handful of GPS approaches, but only at large airfields which already had ground-based systems. AOPA has been urging the Authority to make establish GPS approaches at fields with no instrument landing capability, where ad hoc GPS approaches have been created by users, some with less understanding of safety issues than others.
Martin Robinson says: “The reality is that 97 percent of the time the GPS signal has an accuracy of three metres, and 90 percent of the time accuracy is within 20 metres. An ILS-lookalike system with this level of accuracy is more than sufficient for most of GA. There is absolutely no reason why we should be required ton use the same technology our grandfathers used, and we congratulate the CAA on beginning to look at this issue.”

AOPA Spain seeks answers on avgas, VAT and handling charges

With the summer holiday over, AOPA Spain is looking forward to a series of meetings with the national aeronautical authorities and the de facto monopoly of airports in Spain, Aena. Two main topics are being added to the agenda, where items like tax and accessibility are waiting for the new rules to be published at the end of the year – Handling, and Avgas Supply.
While basic handling services have a maximum fee of €35 for an aircraft under 3 tonnes on the Aena price list, the reality is quite different. Aopa Spain and IAOPA members are reporting €150 and more for just a few meters trip on a van. AOPA Spain is looking to Aena to take responsibility for ensuring their airports abide by their own price list. AOPA Spain’s Rafael Molina reports that a full report has been prepared setting out exactly how much GA pilots have to pay in the Aena network, and will propose a new, proportional and fixed fees for mandatory handling for GA.
Avgas supply is a real problem in Aena GA airports like Cuatro Vientos in Madrid and Sabadell, near Barcelona. The suppliers inflate the bill with concepts such as a fixed fee for the truck, around €12, and lately a fixed fee at the fuel station of €9. Petrol companies state there is no business in Avgas. Aena is waiting for new proposals from Avgas suppliers, but in the meantime, prices continue to increase. The application of the VAT regime on fuel at some airports is also causing concern. On behalf of AOPA UK, AOPA Spain is investigating why at some airports, some foreign GA pilots are experiencing difficulties getting fuel in Spain because refuellers refuse to service them unless they provide a VAT number.

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New ‘RMZ’ concept tried in the UK

The UK Civil Aviation Authority has introduced a temporary ‘radio mandatory zone’ (RMZ) at an English airport as an alternative to imposing controlled airspace while the airport’s radar is replaced.
The RMZ, at Blackpool on England’s north west coast, is the first of its type to be introduced, came into effect on August 27 and runs until September 3. Non-radio aircraft, of which there are several hundred in the UK – mainly microlights and vintage aircraft – are barred from the notified airspace between those dates, except under special circumstances.
The CAA says the RMZ allows them to provide an airport with increased protection without the need to introduce new controlled airspace or place unreasonable demands on airspace users. Locally-agreed procedures have been established for aircraft taking off from within the RMZ in circumstances in which communications prior to flight are impossible.
At the same time, the CAA has imposed a temporary Transponder Mandatory Zone around another English airport, Exeter – again to cover a period in which the airport’s radar is inoperative. The TMZ is active from September 16 for a period of up to 28 days.

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EASA FCL and OPS SMS proceeds in Finland

The UK Civil Aviation Authority has taken the lead in providing Safety Management Systems guidance for small non-complex organisations, and Trafi, the national aviation authority in Finland, is implementing EASA FCL and OPS SMS according to UK CAA SMS guidance material and tools for local AOCs, FTOs and TRTOs, which it has published in English on the Trafi website. AOPA Finland’s Esa Harju reports that GAP analysis target day was May 28, and the check list and SMS documentation should at Trafi by the 1st of October 2013 for FTOs and TRTOs. For AOCs the deadline is October 8, 2013. The second phase starts with filling in the evaluation documentation which should be returned to Trafi by March 8, 2014 by FTOs and TRTOs, and the date for AOCs is April 8 2014.

AOPA Romania Aircrew Card

AOPA Romania has issued its own Crew Member Certificate, identifying the holder as a pilot or member of an aircraft crew. The card carried relevant information data and has a foil strip to guard against forgery. Andrei Zincenco, Vice President of AOPA Romania, says: “We request all national AOPA branches to recognize this card as AOPA Romania is recognising foreign AOPA cards as well.”
A sample of the card may be seen here

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Visit Athens Flying Week

The final countdown has started for the second Athens Flying Week, which runs from September 23 to September 29, 2013, having as its climax the air show at Tatoi. In only its second year, Athens Flying Week has placed itself among the most successful events in Athens. Last year more than 20,000 people attended the event, while this year more than 50,000 are expected. AOPA Greece is heavily involved in the organisation. Two members of the Board and one AOPA officer, plus a number of private pilots, are full-time volunteers. Mr Panagiotis Podimatas, the owner of the public relations company that is professionally organising the whole event, is a private pilot himself, owner of a light aircraft and of course a member of AOPA Greece.
During the aviation week, an aviation-themed kiosk will be sited in Syntagma Square, in the very center of Athens, to serve as a reference point where people can be thoroughly informed about the event. There will be an aviation conference at Divani Caravel Hotel on September 25, and the following day there will be a fascinating pre-show at Palaio Faliro beach, where the public will have the chance to see Red Bull’s Alpha Jet, Breitling’s number one pilot Francesco Farnabaio, and a number of private seaplanes. It will be the first-ever seaplane demonstration in the Athens area.
The peak of Athens Aviation Week will be the three-day air show at Tatoi airport from September 27 to 29, where performers will include the Netherlands Air Force F-16, Polish Air Force Orlik Aerobatic Team, Francesco Fornabaio, Red Bull Alpha Jet, Luca Bertossio, Jurgis Kairys, Blu Circe, Aeroclub Romania and WeFly! Team. The Hellenic Armed Forces will make a significant contribution to the show, with participation from the special air forces, the Hellenic Police, and helicopter pilots.
AOPA Greece is collaborating in the organisation of a fly-in to Athens in conjunction with the event, running from September 25 to October 1. For further information please visit the website
See you all at Tatoi!

Is social media and 24-hour news affecting accident investigations?

By Mick Elborn, AOPA UK

The Wall Street Journal carried an item yesterday headed 'Friction Escalates in Air Crash Probe' and goes on to state 'that inherent conflict is now exacerbated, according to industry and government-safety experts, by the growing importance of social media in disseminating air-safety information. As a result, many airline officials increasingly feel trapped between competing demands for ever faster releases of information, coming from passengers as well as different parts of the government and even their own top executives.' In the UK a recent, tragic, downing of a Super Puma helicopter is for the time being at the top of news reports with the clear clamour for immediate details of what went wrong - poeple are not happy with the AAIB (UK version of NTSB) saying it will take at least a Year to report fully. Are the accident investigators being influenced by the media pressure? Should they be left in peace to do a thorough job or should they release partial information as soon as it is available? I can see a case for immediate release of information to the industry if there is a clear fault that could affect other similar aircraft. Otherwise, especially when considering human factors which are not often clear cut, I think they should be left in peace to report in due course. What is your view?