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February 2007 - Welcome to the IAOPA Europe enews which goes to 23,000 aircraft owners and pilots in 27 countries across the continent

IAOPA-Europe e-newsletter, February 2007

Welcome to the monthly e-news of IAOPA-Europe, which goes out to 23,000 AOPA members across the continent of Europe.

This e-news is made possible by our lead sponsor AERO Friedrichshafen, Europe's most important general aviation exhibition, to be held from April 19 to April 22. Get it in your diary now! (See below)

Criminal checks opposed

The European Union looks set to reject demands for regular background criminal checks on all pilots following an IAOPA lobbying campaign spearheaded by a European MP who is an AOPA member.

Proposals originating in Germany and supported by some other countries are to be put to a European Parliament meeting on March 26th, calling for anti-terrorism checks to be carried out on all pilots. The exact proposal states: "All pilots and applicants for pilot licences for motorised aircraft shall be subject to uniform background checks which shall be repeated at regular intervals. Decisions of the appropriate authorities regarding background checks shall be taken on the basis of the same criteria."

IAOPA has been fighting these proposals since last summer when AOPA-Germany's Managing Director Dr Michael Erb identified the risk of this becoming a European issue. Dr Erb has campaigned unsuccessfully against this proposal in Germany, where authoritarian attitudes prevail and pilots can have difficulty getting licences if they have tax issues or motoring convictions. This attitude is beginning to infect Brussels.

IAOPA objects on several grounds. Criminalising GA pilots would be counter-productive. The 9/11 terrorists did not fly their training aircraft into the World Trade Center, however much easier that would have been for them, because they knew that minimal damage would have been done. Especially in countries like Britain, GA pilots and their associations have excellent contacts with anti-terrorist authorities and act as the "eyes and ears" of the police at GA airfields. A need for background checks would kill the trial-lesson industry and would be slow, costly, bureaucratic, expensive, authoritarian and pointless - no known Islamic terrorist would have been picked out by background criminal checks.

Since last year, AOPA-Lithuania's chairman Arunas Degutis, a Member of the European Parliament and shadow rapporteur on transport matters, has been working in Brussels to educate legislators on this issue. AOPA-UK's President Lord Stevens, a former Scotland Yard Commissioner who is an acknowledged expert on international terrorism, has also been involved. The European Commission's response to plans for amendments to the law to mandate criminal checks shows that the lobbying has had an effect.

The Commission's counter-proposal says that safety and security are two different things, and that EASA should stick to safety matters concerned with the construction and use of aircraft. Its remit should not be extended to cover acts of unlawful interference. Furthermore, the European Community should not act in setting harmonised rules on background checks.

On the face of it, this should be enough to kill off the proposal, but its German sponsors have been remarkably tenacious in keeping it alive and may have another trick up their sleeves.


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Euro PPL may lose 'hobby' brand

The EU Parliament has taken on board IAOPA's concerns about creating a "recreational" ghetto for general aviation and is planning to change the name of the Europe-wide sub-ICAO PPL that EASA intends to introduce.

Instead of being called a "Recreational PPL" the Parliament wants it to be called a "Light Aircraft PPL". It would allow pilots to fly non-complex aircraft up to two tonnes. The EU has sent out a notice of proposal to make the change.

AOPA-Denmark's Jacob Pedersen, who sits on EASA's MDM032 committee, says: "This perfectly reflects the text proposed by IAOPA at our last regional meeting in Warsaw, and clearly it is once again thanks to our Lithuanian MEP Arunas Degutis carrying our message."

IAOPA-Europe is concerned that creating a purely "recreational" licence - a proposal which is supported by some GA groups in Europe - would make GA a sitting target for greens and planning authorities who want to put a stop to aviation. Unless it is clear that the PPL covers professional flight training, and there are links to a full ICAO licence built into the EASA version, GA will be open to attack as an environmentally-destructive hobby for the rich.


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Eurocontrol discounts and EC fuel tax

Lars Hjelmberg of AOPA-Sweden is campaigning to preserve the annual discount card for Eurocontrol services, which is issued by the Swedish aviation authorities. The card, on which the break-even level is 50 hours, is under threat, with Eurocontrol officials saying national authorities are not at liberty to issue it. Research by Lars has established that this is not the case. It has also proved that Eurocontrol itself accepts, in writing, that its rate structure is unfair to light aircraft. The arguments for the retention of the annual card are very strong.

On the EC's demand for fuel tax changes, where Lars is also taking the lead, he reports that the Commission has not yet responded to Finland and Denmark, who applied for derogations, and the last word has not been said on this topic. Fuel taxes for 'private pleasure flying' was on the agenda for the EU's next Econfin (Economic and Financial Affairs) council meeting at the end of January, but the meeting has been cancelled - it is not know by whom.

Eclipse sales jet ahead

The Eclipse 500 is set to become the biggest-selling of the new generation of light jets in Europe. Lars Hjelmberg reports that there are at least 13 on order from individuals in the UK, three from Sweden and four from Germany. Despite the fact that only one has been delivered - and that was a contrivance so the company could say it met its own 2006 delivery deadline - the second-hand market is already buzzing. At the end of January there were 39 used Eclipses on offer on American websites, with speculators who took early positions banking on other impatient customers further along the delivery chain. Some are asking $1.8 million, compared to the current official delivery price of $1.4 million. Industry sources say Eclipse Aviation itself is active on the second-hand market, selling early positions at premium prices.

Egypt Air Rally

AOPA Egypt is organising the fifth annual Egypt Aero Rally in April, offering all European pilots an opportunity to fly in this magnificent country with minimum difficulty and maximum safety and enjoyment.

The 'Pyramids 2007' rally will run from April 14th to 24th and full details can be obtained from AOPA-Egypt chairman Ahmed Maher through their website The website is written in English, French and German.

It's an opportunity not to be missed. Good luck!

Calling Fournier pilots...

The Fournier Club is 20 years old and is holding its anniversary meeting at Gap in the French Alps. It is hoped that Fournier aircraft from all over Europe will attend. Owners and pilots will certainly be most welcome.

You will be welcomed by Rene Fournier, who opened his first factory at Gap when his company was called Alpavia. The hangar in which all FR3s were manufactured is still there, and will be used during the anniversary event. Mountains rise to 6,000 feet close by, but access to Gap Tallard airfield is relatively easy. Each afternoon there will be fly-outs into the Alps, and non-French Fournier pilots who turn up without their aircraft will be priority passengers in the two-seat Fournier motor-gliders.

Guests of honour will include Rene Fournier himself, Gerard Moss, a Brazilian who flew around the world in his RF10, Mira Slovak, an American who flew the Atlantic in his 39 hp RF4 in 1968, and Michel Tognini, the European Space Agency manager, who has flown on the world's biggest motor glider, the Columbia shuttle.

The International Meeting takes place on May 26th, 27th and 28th, 2007. For registration forms contact with your postal address, email address and phone number.

Web market

IAOPA-Europe's webmaster Jacob Pedersen has added a 'marketplace' to the site - - where all members may create classified adverts with aviation-related items for sale. You can write the text and upload images yourself, and the service is free to use. Just click on 'Marketplace'.


AERO 2007 FRIEDRICHSHAFEN : Gateway to the robust European general aviation market

The world is coming to Friedrichshafen...

The number of global exhibitors at Aero 2007 is already up by 17 percent as worldwide interest in the European GA market reaches new heights.

Aero Friedrichshafen project manager Thomas Grunewald says the number of companies who have signed up for the German show this year already stands at 319, compared to 286 in 2005. The final number of exhibitors is expected to exceed 500. Exhibition space sold has increased from 23,693 square metres in 2005 to 27,285 square metres, with more than three months still to go. More than 50,000 visitors are expected.

In 2007, Aero will be highlighting the VLJ market, with companies such as Cessna, Diamond and Eclipse presenting their new fleets. Other participating companies include Adams Aviation, Beechcraft, Bose, Cirrus, Columbia, Socata, Czech Aircraft, David Clark, Evektor, Gippsland, Jeppesen, JetPROP, Kelly Aerospace, Lycoming, Mooney, Pilatus, Piper, Roland Aircraft, Shell, Vulcanair, and xtremeAir.

Friedrichshafen's position bordering Austria and Switzerland, and its close proximity to France, Italy and Eastern Europe make it the most convenient location for an aviation expo in Europe, and more than 50,000 visitors are expected this year. The show will run from April 19 to April 22, 2007.

Aero covers every aspect of the general aviation industry and provides an important business platform for companies involved with business aircraft, gliders and ultra-light aircraft, avionics, maintenance products and services as well as accessories. Aero's business aircraft sector in particular has grown significantly over the past few years.

For more information please see

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