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February 2006 - Welcome to the IAOPA Europe enews which goes to 23,000 aircraft owners and pilots in 27 countries across the continent

This is the second e-newsletter of IAOPA-Europe, which is published monthly for the 23,000 members of European AOPAs. This newsletter is made possible by sponsorship from ExxonMobil Aviation Lubricants, whose Elite 20W-50 is the first aviation oil formulation for piston-engine aircraft to appear on the market in more than a decade. (See below).

EASA moves on maintenance

EASA is setting up a new Working Group to try to satisfy some of general aviation's concerns about its Implementing Rules on Maintenance, and IAOPA will have at least three representatives on the group.

The IRM were published in 2004, and have attracted criticism from light aircraft maintenance organisations who see some of them as costly and bureaucratic. EASA has responded by setting up a group, to be called MO17, to look at our concerns and where possible resolve them. It is envisaged that the MO17 group will go through the IRM in detail and point up areas which could be improved. Their work is expected to be completed by December 2006.

Dr Michael Erb of AOPA-Germany and Martin Robinson of AOPA-UK attended a meeting at EASA in Cologne on February 17th to discuss this issue. While they had expected EASA's Head of Rulemaking Claude Probst and Head of Maintenance Eric Sivell to attend, they were also joined by EASA Executive Director Patrick Goudou, Head of Certification, Dr Norbert Lohl, Certification Director, and other executives for a full-day meeting that covered many topics, including the Recreational Pilots Licence and the potential for individual states to impose airspace restrictions on it.

Martin Robinson said: "It was a very impressive EASA turnout, and it wasn't just for show. They were there to listen – they want to get this right."

AOPA-Sweden acts on SESAR

AOPA-Sweden is the second national AOPA to put forward a comprehensive document to support IAOPA's consultants Scanavia, who are analysing the value of general aviation to Europe as part of our contribution to the SESAR project.

In the document Lars Hjelmberg and Martin Antvik of AOPA-Sweden say that 80% of GA there is for business or flight training, while 20% of charter and scheduled traffic is for business. They also include data on GA's service to areas which commercial aviation does not reach. In particular, it can brings remote areas of Sweden to within a few hours travelling time of major EU cities.

AOPA-UK has provided Scanavia with a comprehensive analysis of the value of GA to local communities conducted during 2003 and 2004, which shows similar results to the Swedish document. There have also been a number of supporting contributions from invividual AOPA members across Europe, but more is needed.

ScanAvia is seeking help with part of its brief, which is to establish the value of GA to Europe, including studies, statistics, outcomes of hearings, articles or any documents that address this point. The contribution is not just economic, but social and political. Send your contributions to, for the attention of Val K.H. Eggers. If you can contribute, please do – and send a copy to

Eurocontrol airspace issues

Eurocontrol is moving ahead with its plans to harmonise and simplify European airspace, cutting the current plethora of classifications down to just three, to be called N, K and U. It is encountering problems over what it calls the Lower DFL – the lowest Divisional Flight Level – where some states like the UK have concerns that military low flying will be affected, while others see problems with infrastructure in airspace where air traffic services must be provided, but where there is only general aviation activity to pay for it.

AOPA-Netherlands secretary Peggy van Ootmarsum and Martin Robinson of AOPA-UK attended a meeting in Brussels with Eurocontrol's Bill Armitt to discuss these sticking points. IAOPA is impressed with the Mr Armitt's methodical approach to resolving issues. Ultimately we expect the Lower DFL to be set at FL100.

*Eurocontrol is holding its next Aviation Day on March 31st at Eurocontrol HQ in Brussels. The topic of the day will be "Future Access to Airports and Airspace". Anyone with an interest can go – register by email with

Pilot shortage concern

An ad hoc survey conducted by AOPA Netherlands shows that GA activity in the country fell by around ten percent during 2005, and was down by 30 percent compared with 2000. Main reasons were cites as high fuel prices and economic uncertainty, but AOPA fears that airfields will close unless traffic picks up.

While the survey is Dutch, the concern is pan-European. IAOPA-Europe has received support for the first time from the Association of European Regions Airlines, whose Director General Mike Ambrose is urging regulators to lay off general aviation. Mr Ambrose says: "Europe cannot afford unreasonable restrictions on general aviation. It is too valuable in helping European air transport to meet future pilot needs."

Italian semicircular quirk

AOPA Italy would like to draw to the attention of all European pilots a peculiarity of Italian airspace, which might so far have escaped the attention of visitors. The ubiquitous definition of the so-called semicircular flight rule for VFR flights in fact does not apply to Italy, where it has been modified as follows:

All VFR flights above 3,000 ft, or above 1,000 ft AGL, whichever is greatest, must fly at the following flight levels:

For headings between 090° and 269°: odd tens plus 5 (i.e. FL 35, 55, 75, etc.)
For headings between 270° and 089°: even tens plus 5 (i.e. FL 45, 65, 85, etc.)

This differs from the universal practice of splitting the levels in a north-south line used in other European countries and is a source of potential problems. Italian geography is such that the great majority of flights are in NW and SE directions – ATC cites the country's shape as the reason for the semicircular anomaly – and in these quadrants there is no difference in the Italian and international requirements.

AOPA Italy's Massimo Levi says: "How many French, German or British pilots are aware of this difference? We believe not many, which explains our concern. The situation poses difficulties not only for foreign pilots in Italy, but for Italian pilots leaving the country, who must be aware that the rest of the world does things differently."

Fly! The London Air Show

The third annual Fly! show will be held this year at Earls Court from April 21st to 23rd and promises to be bigger and better than ever. In its short history the show has become one of Europe's premiere aviation events, and it enjoys the full support of the UK general aviation industry. Check out – and come and visit the AOPA-UK stand there.

Malta rally

AOPA Malta has advised us of dates for this year's Malta Air Rally – the 37th year this competition has been held. It will be held between June 1 and June 5, and entries are invited from all over Europe and beyond. For the 2006 rally, the Maltese have involved a corporate sponsor and have decided to offer a number of incentives for visiting pilots who apply before April 30. If your entry is received by then, and you have at least three people staying for four or more days, you'll get 35 litres of fuel free, plus free parking and landing for the duration of the rally. Various other incentives are set out at the rally's website, The organisers' email is

The last three Malta Rallies have been won by a Swiss, a Finn and a Briton, and it has gained a reputation as one of the friendliest and best-run aviation events in the calendar.

AOPA Poland website

AOPA Poland's excellent new website is now up and running, and it includes an English-language section which gives a lot of information about flying in the country, including a downloadable flight plan form. Have a look at

IAOPA-Europe website

For those who haven't yet seen the new IAOPA Europe website, check it out on This is hosted by AOPA Denmark and includes copies of this e-news bulletin, together with many other features. AOPA Denmark's Jacob Pedersen has big plans to introduce more member benefits to this website.

Belgium fly-in

The 22nd international vintage aircraft fly-in at Schaffen-Diest runs from August 11th to 13th and features this year a special gathering of aircraft designed by Stelio Frati, including the Falco, Picchio, Nibbio and SF260. Crews from ten countries flew in last year, and as well as vintage displays the weekend includes a variety of social events. Diest Aero Club's website,, has some details, but you can get more via email from

ExxonMobil Aviation Lubricants expands in Poland and Germany

ExxonMobil Aviation Lubricants has announced agreements with two additional European companies to distribute Exxon Aviation Oil Elite 20W-50 and the company's other aviation lubricants for aircraft piston engines. The new distributors are based in Germany and Poland, and will increase the availability of ExxonMobil's lubricants for general aviation aircraft in Europe. Piper Generalvertretung Deutschland AG, with headquarters in Calden, Germany, is now part of the ExxonMobil's distributor network in Germany. The company, also known as Piper Germany, sells aircraft and parts, and provides maintenance and repair. It also runs a charter service and flying school.

Unimot Express, based in Warsaw, is now a distributor for ExxonMobil Aviation Lubricants in Poland. The company is a leading distributor of quality petroleum products, including fuels, liquid gases, oil and greases, base oils and paraffin waxes.

For Piper Generalvertretung Deutschland AG, go to or phone Johannes Krug at +49.5674.704–0. For Unimot Express go to or phone Adam Sikorski at +48.22.830.70.70.

It is anticipated that the two distributors will make buying ExxonMobil's aviation lubricants easier for piston aircraft owners and pilots in Europe, where products are readily available at 15 locations in the UK, including Adams Aviation Supply Company; two in Germany, including RAS Parts; and one in Poland, Impex-Saro. In all, ExxonMobil Aviation Lubricants has distributors in ten European countries.

"We continue to add key distributors across Europe so aviation customers keen to use Exxon Elite and our other premium aviation lubricants can do so easily and cost effectively", says Bill Dennis, general aviation lubricants manager—Europe. "These two quality distributors are the latest in our growing list of strategic distributors that add value to what we offer customers."

Exxon Elite is a technically advanced blend of synthetic and mineral-based oils. Formulated with a proprietary additive package to control wear in piston-engine aircraft, Exxon Elite is especially suitable for recreational aircraft that typically sit on the ground for days between uses, and are thus susceptible to build up of rust and corrosion, a particular problem in Europe's changeable weather. The ExxonMobil product line includes Aviation Oil EE, ashless-dispersant monograde mineral piston-engine oils; Aviation Oil, non-dispersant monograde and multi-grade mineral piston-engine oils; and Mobilgrease 28, a synthetic lubricating grease.

The complete list of ExxonMobil Aviation Lubricants' European distributors can be found online at (click on 'Where to Buy').

If you have any comments on this newsletter or would like to have information from your country included in it, please email

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