Mind your language
Europe may go its own way in
order to circumvent new ICAO rules on language proficiency which
require all pilots to attain a good understanding of everyday
Citing safety, ICAO intends that pilots should
acquire at least a ‘Level 4’ knowledge of English which would
enable them to “fluently communicate on common topics”. They would
be tested on their English every three to five years.
rule would require pilots and air traffic controllers worldwide to
undergo language courses lasting weeks or months before they got
their licences. IAOPA believes there should be less onerous
requirements for private pilots and has been opposing the new rule
at ICAO without success.
Now, Dr Michael Erb, managing
director of AOPA-Germany, has been told by EASA’s head of
rulemaking Claude Probst that the sub-ICAO licence currently being
fashioned by EASA’s MDM.032 working group could be flexible enough
to get around the problem.
In a letter to Claude Probst, Dr
Erb said: “All attempts by the German DoT, IAOPA and others to
relax the ICAO requirements have not borne fruit. It will become a
very high hurdle for pilots and ATC personnel to show at least a
Level 4 in English language proficiency, or in the respective
national language used by ATC.
“This is especially the case for
those who are not professional pilots but fly as private pilots,
and who can’t invest in language courses going over weeks or even
months, which are necessary to achieve this Level 4.”
his reply, Claude Probst says there is a legal basis for
flexibility with the new EASA licence and adds: “As we always said
– but did not yet convince all (national) regulators – we are
envisaging sub-ICAO licences in the EU with the RPPL (Recreational
Private Pilots Licence). We do not envisage, however, flexibility
for the other licences. I expect that the MDM.032 or a sub-group
thereof will be able to articulate proposals for mitigation
measures when holders of an RPPL do not master enough English.
This could lead to restricted privileges in the licence.”
Germany, many states already test their pilots on aeronautical
English, but they do not require re-tests every few years.
RPPL takes shape
MDM.032 working group has not yet discussed the language issue,
although it will be raised at the next meeting. The group, on
which AOPA-Denmark’s Jacob Pedersen represents IAOPA, has been
beavering away on other matters, and the future European
entry-level private licence – the RPPL – is taking shape.
sub-ICAO RPPL will have classes such as glider, ultralight, single
engine piston, balloon etc. It can be combined with ratings such
as a night qualification or a simplified instrument rating. The
training will be competency based, so that a glider or ultralight
pilot may use his or her already acquired competencies to step up
to a single engine piston or to get a conventional ICAO PPL. The
medical would require a General Practitioner’s sign-off, and the
licence may be issued by an approved assessment body rather than a
Based on the latest feedback from the
European Council, the upper weight limit for the licence is
looking increasingly like 2,000 kg, instead of the 5,700 kg
originally proposed by the Commission. Jacob Pedersen says: “The
definition of non-complex looks like ending up as 2,000 kg and six
or fewer seats, but it may include a turboprop.
concerns us is that aircraft between 2,000 kg and 5,700 kg should
not be subjected to the full requirements of a management system,
operations manual, rest time system and so forth. Also, the fact
that the upper limit for the RPPL licence will probably come down
underlines the need for a thorough revision of the existing
JAR-FCL system. EASA has already recognised that JAR-FCL is too
demanding for the Private Pilot Licence and in the A-NPA (Advance
Notice of Proposed Amendment) the MDM.032 working group recommends
not only to introduce the new PPL, but also to revise the current
Although the EASA licence is
referred to as a “recreational” licence, nobody likes the name and
it is almost certain to change. Objections centre on the fact that
it trivialises the licence and makes its holders an easy target
for those who would ban or prevent flying.
The A-NPA is due
out in the next week or so, and you will have two months to
respond with your comments. Contact your national AOPA for details.
New deal for GA
Civil Aviation Authority has concluded two separate reviews of
general aviation which AOPA-UK hopes will mark a new beginning for
the industry in Britain. Other European countries may benefit from
the information in the reviews, which are available online, and
all AOPAs are invited to download the documents and pass them to
Most of the general aviation
organisations in the UK participated in one or other of the
reviews, and AOPA was heavily involved in both of them. The
results are influenced by the CAA’s need to paint a positive
picture of the health of GA – they have wilfully blinded
themselves to many of the facts which point to an industry in
decline – and the review chairmen, both CAA executives, have
finessed many of GA’s problems in their reports to the CAA Board.
AOPA believes the reviews provide a baseline from which to take
forward an action plan to kick-start the regeneration of GA in
Britain. AOPA UK CEO Martin Robinson says that whatever the merits
of the reviews, they represent an opportunity for industry, the
government and the regulator to take positive action to boost GA.
“Let’s forget what’s gone before – let’s use what leverage we now
have,” he says. “There’s a lot in the reviews that is positive and
Relations between GA and the UK CAA have
been disastrously low because of the CAA’s decision to make
massive increases in all its charges, and to rebate most of that
money to British Airways. Uniquely in the world, the UK CAA is
required to claw back 106 percent of its costs from the industry
(the extra six percent is “return on capital”) which leads to
ludicrous charges – for example, up to 15,000 euros for a licence
for an FTO to operate a simulator, plus an annual fee of several
thousand euros – and contributes heavily to the continuing export
of flight training from the UK. Some UK GA companies are paying
almost ten per cent of turnover to the CAA in fees, mostly for
‘services’ they don’t want.
But the CAA
needs industry backing to help it fight off the perceived threat
of EASA, which opens up opportunities for GA to negotiate a better
deal. The Authority now appears to accept that it should have a
responsibility to foster the interests of GA, on top of its
responsibility to further the interests of the airlines. It has
agreed to the establishment of an advisory body, the General
Aviation Strategy Forum, for which AOPA is providing the
secretariat. Martin Robinson says: “The first positive sign from
the review is the CAA has agreed to examine the impact of JAR-FCL
on the private pilot and has set up a working group. Our support
is contingent upon positive action. It’s pointless having a
Regulatory Review that changes no regulation, and a Strategic
Review that plans no new strategy. We must have real change.”
two reviews can be downloaded from http://www.caa.co.uk/default.aspx?categoryid=224&pagetype=87
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Italy moves on VFR safety
years of complaints someone has shown interest in VFR flight
safety in Italy, reports AOPA-Italy’s President Massimo Levy. The
Italian National Safety Agency ANSV has published five safety
recommendations, which it has sent to the Civil Aviation Authority
(ENAC), air traffic control (ENAV) and the Italian Air Force,
which provides ATC in military airspace.
recommendations are simple but at the same time very important.
ANSV recommends ENAC, ENAV and the IAF firstly establish a general
review of the national airspace structure with a view to reducing
the horizontal and vertical size of TMAs and CTRs (Italy has the
largest ones in Europe) and, possibly, of their classification
(Italy makes ample use of A and C class airspace) in order to make
VFR flying safer.
They recommend that it be made easier for
transponder-equipped aircraft to cross controlled airspace,
limiting the use of compulsory VFR routes only to cases where
these are required for the safe and efficient co-ordination of VFR
and IFR traffic.
The third recommendation is that
compulsory VFR routes should be based upon geographical features
that are easy to identify and follow, taking proper account of the
topography of the region and of the relevant climate situations
like localised fog or haze.
Fourthly, clear and simple
reporting points should be identified along these routes, and
logical identification names should be established on them, such
as N for north and S for south. Everyone flying in Italy knows
that reporting points use local geographical names which can be
very hard for foreign pilots to pronounce.
recommendation is that different flying altitudes be established
for different headings in order to ensure adequate separation from
terrain, and to express these altitudes with reference to sea
level rather than to the ground level – in Italy, most VFR routes
are quoted as 1,000 feet agl.
The relevant authorities must
now comply with the ANSV’s suggestions, or explain why they can
not. Massimo Levy says: “It has taken a long time, but perhaps now
we can begin to make VFR flying in Italy safer.”
New hope on ELTs
revisit its insistence on the mandatory installation of ELTs in
general aviation aircraft as a result of representations by IAOPA.
– emergency locator transmitters – were to have been made
mandatory on all aircraft by 2009. But IAOPA has been concerned at
their seemingly poor in-service record when set against the cost
and difficulty of installing them in every aircraft.
position is that ELTs are of limited use because they go to the
bottom when an aircraft ditches, and preliminary studies seem to
indicate that in crashes on land they tend to suffer damage which
stops them working, or their transmissions are masked by terrain.
IAOPA argues that PLBs – personal locator beacons that remained
attached to a pilot or passenger – are a better option.
there is a strong body of opinion at ICAO favouring mandatory ELTs
for international flights, there is a chance that they will be
prepared to allow PLBs as an alternative for non-commercial
general aviation aircraft. ICAO will be discussing the ELT issue
again at an ELT system performance group meeting in September.
Eurocontrol charges workshop
is holding a Workshop to discuss the impact of the draft
Regulation on a common charging scheme for air navigation services
on Monday September 4th at its headquarters in Brussels. If you
want to go, register online at www.eurocontrol.int/ses/public/standard_page/wks_registrations_home.html
presentation of the findings of the written consultation and of
the results of a quantitative analysis will be made during the
Workshop. Unfortunately (and typically) the questionnaire which
formed the written consultation was on the Eurocontrol website for
a relatively short time, and was scheduled for removal on August
For more information on the common charging scheme see www.eurocontrol.int/ses/public/standard_page/sk_chargingschemes.html
Polish Air Rally
still time to take part in the 2006 International
Warsaw-Olsztyn-K´trzyn Air Rally, which runs from August 4th to
Blazej Krupa of AOPA Poland cordially invites any
IAOPA member to participate in this, the fourth event of its type,
for which an exciting line-up of events is promised.
are expected at Olsztyn Airport (EPOD) on Friday 4th, and the
rally proper begins with a navigation competition from Olsztyn to
K´tryzn Wilamowo Airport (EPKE). There will also be an Aviation
Fair and an evening social event at the Aviator’s Tavern at
K´tryzn Wilamowo Airport. On Sunday there will be individual tour
flights over the Mazurian Lakes District.
For a late entry
contact Blazej Krupa on +48 602 556 061 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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