SESAR: IAOPA speaks for GA
IAOPA has been selected to represent general aviation during the
next phase of the SESAR programme, which aims to put in place an
efficient air traffic control system for Europe.
Because of the cost of being involved with the ‘Joint Undertaking’
which is working on SESAR there was some doubt as to whether IAOPA
could afford to buy a place at the table for the second round of the
work programme. The risk is that if the debate is left solely to
rulemakers, airlines, ANSPs and major manufacturers, GA’s future
access to airspace and airfields may be restricted. IAOPA was fully
involved in the first round of SESAR, the definition phase, after
pledging a €400,000 bond, and as a result it was able to fight for
GA’s rights. IAOPA-Europe has once again found it possible to
underwrite its involvement in the development phase, which starts
work on September 7th, and has been notified by Patrick Ky,
executive director of the SESAR Joint Undertaking, that it’s bid to
provide user expertise to the SJU.
Dr Michael Erb, managing director of AOPA-Germany, who managed
IAOPA’s involvement in the definition phase, says that while not
everything that’s coming out of SESAR will please the GA community,
the situation would have been much worse had IAOPA not been directly
involved in the deliberations.
SESAR is part of the Single European Sky programme, which is
designing an all-new ATC system for modern aviation and capable of
far greater efficiency.
EASA OPS NPA is critically flawed
Consultation on EASA’s OPS-NPA closed on the last day of July, and
IAOPA has made almost 50 critical observations on the proposals.
The response document has been collated by Jacob Pedersen of
AOPA-Denmark, who sat on the OPS.001 Working Group which supposedly
wrote the document. Jacob has often pointed out that despite this,
new proposals kept creeping in of which OPS.001 had no knowledge.
Among the most important responses is the fact that the document is so
badly written that it is almost impossible to follow. To find the
answer on a single regulation, the pilot of a non-commercial complex
aircraft must look up nine different places in the document. The
document is written to satisfy lawyers, not to explain the rules, and
EASA’s online tool is no substitute for clear regulation.
In addition, regulations should always be proportional, and those
which require one-man operators of small aircraft to hire
consultants to audit their operations should be abandoned.
Regulations which would require non-commercial operators to carry
greater fuel reserves than commercial flights should also be
revisited. Other fundamental problems IAOPA has highlighted include
the requirement to carry oxygen above 10,000 feet, which would force
pilots in the mountains to fly dangerously low in areas where they
have operated safely for years; the proposals that VFR aircraft
should carry certain equipment and conform to restricted minima when
there is no demonstrated safety gain; the new regulations’
repudiation of the concept of ‘VFR on top’ would be a dangerous
retrograde step; accelerate-stop distances as set out in the
proposals are meaningless for single-engine aircraft for which the
concept of a ‘V1’ speed is meaningless; PLBs should be an acceptable
alternative to ELTs; and the proposal that helicopters should be
forbidden from flying beyond autorotational distance from land
without having floats fitted is nonsense in the absence of any
safety case for it.
The full list of IAOPA observations on the OPS NPA can be read on
the IAOPA-Europe website at www.iaopa.eu
Lebanese GA discriminated against in Cyprus
Aviation authorities in Cyprus are operating an illegal and
discriminatory ban on general aviation aircraft from Lebanon, and
AOPA representatives in half a dozen countries are working to try to
resolve the situation.
Hadi Azhari, chairman of AOPA Lebanon, operates Cessna Citation
Mustang jets on an AOC, but has been refused permission for the
aircraft to land in Cyprus. The bizarre reason given is that the
aircraft are under five tonnes, and are therefore banned from
Cyprus. Ioannis Papaiacovou of AOPA Cyprus approached the Cypriot
authorities for an explanation and was told that no aircraft under
5,700 kg coming from Lebanon would be authorised because of a
request made by the Americans after 9/11.
Ioannis says: “That was eight years ago – America forgot about it,
but Cyprus continues to impose restrictions. We have told them that
this is nonsense, but they say if Lebanon sends a bigger jet, they
will accept it.”
Hadi Azhari says: “Cyprus must wake up to the existence of business
jets. They save money and help the environment – there is no need to
send a bigger jet if we have only one passenger on board! Where is
the logic in this?’
The ban would certainly appear to be illegal under international
law. Cyprus airport is listed in the ICAO regional plan and as such
is a public airport, open to everyone. For security reasons, a
country can ban traffic from certain countries, but this has to
cover all traffic from that country, not just GA or certain smaller
aircraft, and it must be time-limited and properly promulgated in
Through John Sheehan, general secretary of IAOPA, an approach is
being made to ICAO in Montreal to get the Cypriots to respect the
law and lift the ban.
*Stop Press: In the face of IAOPA’s pressure Cyprus has relented
and will allow private jets to land, but IAOPA will continue to
pressure the authorities to accept piston-engined aircraft from
Lebanon – there should be no discrimination by type.
More, cheaper avgas in Greece
Hellenic CAA has announced a radical change in the refuelling
situation in Greece which will further help to boost general
aviation in Greece.
Under old legislation, all general aviation refueling in Greece was
by law restricted to big international oil companies like BP and
Shell for ‘safety reasons’. Since demand for such fuel was very low,
the big companies operated only a handful of refuelling stations –
only eight out of 42 Greek airports provided refuelling
capabilities, and that was restricted to avgas 100LL; no mogas was
Recognising that the refuelling situation was a major obstacle to
the development of GA, the new HCAA leadership has taken bold steps
to attack the problem. Under new legislation it is now legal for all
GA organisations like flying schools and aero clubs to open and
operate their own refuelling facilities. Yiouli Kalafati of
AOPA-Hellas says that these new new stations will be able to offer
both mogas and avgas at much cheaper prices. “As soon as the new
legislation was published, more than 10 GA operators declared their
decision to built their own refueling stations and start operations
before the end of 2009,” she said. “It is anticipated that almost
all Greek airports will have GA refuelling capabilities before the
end of 2010. Thus, we hope, GA in Greece will take another leap
En-route charging back on the agenda?
Is the exemption for sub-two tonne aircraft from en-route navigation
charges again under threat? At a meeting of the EC’s Industry
Consultation Body, IAOPA-Europe senior vice president Martin
Robinson asked about the timescale for amending the current charging
regulation. The European Commission representative responded by
saying that due to the amendments contained in the Single European
Sky II package, redrafting would be necessary.
Martin Robinson says: “I expressed concern in respect of how the
existing exemptions to aircraft under two tonnes would be applied to
the proposed Functional Airspace Blocks, but the Commission made no
comment. However, at a meeting last week when I again sought
clarification, the Commission said they expect to have a rough draft
of the changes available by the end of 2009. “The Commission also
made it very clear that they see the future charging regulation as
the backbone to the performance of the system. However, the SES II
package has not yet been formally adopted as it needs to be
translated in to all the European languages.
“Interestingly, but not surprisingly, Eurocontrol has applied for
the role of monitoring the system’s performance. Eurocontrol also
has a mandate to review the rules of the air and to present its
findings within ten months of receiving the mandate.
“The Commission spoke about the need to contain ATM costs as it has
been reported that due to the downturn in commercial traffic, some
ANSPs have been increasing charges to those airlines still operating.
“Next in line for the Presidency of Europe is Sweden, who have given
advance notice of their intention to focus on aviation environmental
Disharmony on ELTs
AOPA-Germany is seeking agreement from aviation authorities to leave
decisions on how to apply ICAO’s recommendations on ELTs to EASA. As
things stand, the authorities in France, the Netherlands, Britain
and Germany interpret ICAO’s requirements on ELTs entirely
differently. Germany mandates aviation-certified 406 mHz ELTs for
all aircraft, Holland requires fixed, portable or manually-activated
ELTs or PLBs – personal locator beacons – for international flights,
while the French demand either 406 mHz ELTs or PLBs in all aircraft
in French airspace. Britain has exempted general aviation aircraft
from carrying fixed ELTs. Other European states are leaving the
matter to EASA, which hopes to find a Europe-wide solution by 2012.
Dr Michael Erb, managing director of AOPA-Germany, says:
“Unfortunately the German Ministry of Transport has stressed to us
that it does not want to move away from its ELT regulations,
whatever EASA may decide. They have, however, confirmed that
portable aviation-certified 406 mHz ELTs are acceptable, and only
aircraft certified after October 1st 2009 are required to have fixed
ELTs. Having a portable ELT means it is not necessary to obtain an
EASA ‘minor modification’ approval, which clearly reduces costs.
Portable solutions cost well under €1,000.
“The situation is confusing and unacceptable. AOPA is asking all
authorities to make no rulings on ELTs until EASA has had a chance
to create a Europe-wide solution.”
EASA: ‘We’ll listen to GA…’
EASA’s executive director Patrick Goudou has announced that
‘dedicated focal points’ for general aviation are being established
at EASA, with Matthias Borgmeier nominated as the contact man for
what Mr Goudou calls ‘non-commercial GA’ and Willy Sigl the man to
talk to for ‘commercial, business and other GA’.
Mr Goudou says: “The purpose of my decision is to further enable
stakeholders’ involvement in the development of the Agency’s
policies for general and business aviation.”
Both men work in the Rulemaking Directorate, which has been
criticised for paying lip service to the idea of consultation with
industry, but not really acting on industry’s concerns.
Raid on Reggio
AOPA-Malta is small but active. Last month it organised a flight out
to Reggio Calabria in Italy for its members. The flight consisted of
five Maltese aircraft, a Diamond DA40, a Diamond DVB20, a Cessna
172, an Aero Commander 112 and a Beech Baron, all flown by Maltese
crews. Northern Europeans might be interested to know that the
weather was CAVOK as usual at this time of year. Dr. Ivan X Gatt,
president of AOPA-Malta, was responsible for the trip’s logistics
and has promised similarly planned flyouts in the coming month. The
stated reason for the trip was to improve navigational skills, but
Dr Gatt points out that improving the brotherhood of pilots is
equally important. “Special thanks go to MIA for organising our
flawless land-based transport, MATS ATC for their unfailing
patience, and the airport officials at Reggio Calabria,” he says.
Malta itself is well worth a flying visit at any time of years, and
AOPA-Malta will be pleased to provide information to GA pilots.
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