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

Welcome to the inaugural e-newsletter of IAOPA-Europe, which will be 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).

SESAR - IAOPA gets to work

SESAR, the European air traffic management project formerly known as SESAME, is beginning its definition phase with IAOPA on board the consortium that will develop and implement the programme.

SESAR aims to design a new air traffic control system from the ground up - one that owes nothing to past practice, that takes into account all known technologies, and that will be robust enough to handle air traffic far beyond the year 2020.

IAOPA has had to buy into the Airbus-led syndicate - called the Air Traffic Alliance - that is running the programme, although some funds may be available from Europe if the various phases of the project are completed to schedule. IAOPA has also had to commit to a minimum of 28 man-months of work to the consortium. IAOPA's involvement is vital because GA risks being cut out of airspace planning by airlines, service providers and national authorities unless it is fighting its corner at the decision-making level.

Because of the way it is legally incorporated, AOPA-Germany is leading IAOPA's effort on SESAR, and its Managing Director Dr Michael Erb will run the show.

At an informal meeting of IAOPA-Europe in Copenhagen in December, IAOPA signed a contract with aviation consultancy ScanAvia to shoulder some of the workload on SESAR. ScanAvia is run by the former Danish CAA chairman Val Eggers, who was also chairman of the European Civil Aviation Conference and of ATM2000+, the air traffic management programme from which SESAR has grown.

ScanAvia is seeking help with part of its brief, which is to establish the value of GA to Europe. Unlike our partner airlines, we have little documentation on what contribution GA makes to European. ScanAvia needs any 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. Time is short.

Dr Erb describes the SESAR project as being at "milestone zero", with the first definition meeting being scheduled for March 6th.

The EC, acting through Eurocontrol, has tasked the syndicate to define what the future ATM system will look like, and to steer its implementation. The syndicate will first establish a phased implementation and deployment plan, then produce the detailed research and technology work programme, and finally propose the legislative, financial and regulatory framework.

AOPA-Spain works to save endangered airport

An unfortunate light aircraft accident occurring near Sabadell, the principal general aviation airport serving Barcelona prompted officials to summarily close the airport for safety reasons. The closure put some 400 people out of work and led to demonstrations by employees and GA pilots, including the closure of the main road to Sabadell by protesters.

One accident involved a C172 which hit a crane erected without CAA permission on the airport perimeter, where building is going on right up to the airport boundary. There are several more illegal cranes on the airport approaches. Real estate speculators have coloured the airport area green on their sales plans and are telling buyers it won't be there in a few years time.

The mayor of the town in which the crane had been erected complained that it took too long to get permission for cranes from the CAA. Local mayors are petitioning to have GA activity moved to Igualada, 40 miles from Barcelona, or Manresa, which is an abandoned dirt strip.

AOPA-Spain's Marlies Campi says: "I must confess I am rather pessimistic right now after seeing how politicians lacking aeronautical knowledge have treated GA, paying no attention at all to our needs, being so short-sighted that the only thing that counts is votes and not the economic benefit of the facility.

"We have found out that other Spanish GA airports have similar problems with buildings and cranes threatening approach areas. The worst case is Cuatro Vientos, the main GA airport of Spain and the only one in Madrid. It is a deeply worrying situation."

IAOPA has joined with AOPA-Spain to inform local and national officials and politicians of the true value of GA airports and the need for their protection.

IAOPA seeks helicopter instrument changes

IAOPA is concerned that instrument familiarisation training for PPL(H) students is causing accidents and is petitioning EASA to review the requirements.

At present students must undergo five hours of instrument appreciation, but accident investigators in Britain believe this is encouraging low-time pilots to believe they can get away with actual instrument flying. Helicopters are impossible to fly on instruments except when highly experienced and current pilots are flying well-equipped machines. Since instrument training was introduced by the JAA five years ago, accidents caused by continued VFR flight into IMC have almost tripled.

In a letter to Claude Probst, EASA's head of rulemaking, AOPA-UK's Martin Robinson says: "We teach instrument flying, we examine pilots on it, we tell them they have passed a test of their ability to fly on instruments and give them a licence. But all we have done is plant in their minds a kernel of belief that instrument flying might get them out of trouble. It won't. It will definitely kill them. "AOPA requests that instrument familiarisation training be replaced by practical teaching of how to recognise deteriorating meteorological conditions, and how to land safely off-airfield. The mantra for helicopter pilots should be - lose sight of the ground, lose your life."

Court win on background checks

AOPA-Germany has successfully opposed pilot background checks in the German Federal Court. The administrative courts in Braunschweig and Minden independently supported AOPA-Germany's members who refused to undergo the mandatory security background screenings introduced under the new Luftsicherheitsgesetz/Air Security Law. The security authorities sought to revoke the pilots' licenses, forcing an appeal to the Federal Court.

AOPA-Germany's Vice-President and attorney Sibylle Gl�ssing-Deiss accompanied the two members and gave legal advice. The courts acknowledged the rights of obviously innocent pilots to have their personal data and privacy protected while acknowledging the state's effort to make aviation secure, but came down on the side of the pilots. German security authorities intend to appeal the decision at a higher court.

AOPA-Germany Managing Director Michael Erb says: "The Luftsicherheitsgesetz obviously doesn't respect German data protection laws. Obvious and serious mistakes were made in the law-making procedure, a position AOPA-Germany has taken since the publication of the new regulation.

"The courts consequently respected the pilots' rights to continue flying over the state's right to investigate with its intelligence services in an uncontrolled and obviously illegal manner. AOPA-Germany supports a secure general aviation, and good co-operation between security agencies and pilots, but it will continue to oppose any unnecessary overreaction of security agencies that conflict with pilots' individual rights."

Changes at Linate

New procedures have been introduced at Milan's Linate Airport as a result of recent ground conflicts between aircraft, says Massimo Levy of AOPA (Italy).

The changes are the result of a study by a special Milano Linate Runway Safety Team and affect taxiways and holding points. Some taxiways have been renamed - R1 becomes Taxiway G, R2 becomes Taxiway H, R3 is now Taxiway J, R4 is Taxiway T and R6 is Taxiway K. Several runway and intermediate holding positions have been renamed. Full details are available on AIP Italia AGA2-25.

The Runway Safety Team emphasise that pilots must maintain situational awareness, and if in doubt, contact ATC. It adds: "Be familiar with AIP Italia aerodrome charts, aprons chart and Notams and listen to other aircraft communications. The low-visibility chart is published on AIP Italia, and Minimum Runway Occupancy Times are always in force. In particular, never cross a red stop bar!"

ExxonMobil increases support of general aviation in Europe through agreement with IAOPA-Europe

To further demonstrate its strong commitment to general aviation in Europe, ExxonMobil Aviation Lubricants today announced an agreement to support various IAOPA activities in Europe and to provide lubrication-related information useful to private pilots who are AOPA members. The agreement was effective as of January 1, 2006.

"We welcome ExxonMobil Aviation Lubricants' keen interest in supporting our efforts and for offering to provide expertise on the critical issues of piston aircraft maintenance and lubrication," says Martin Robinson, vice chairman of IAOPA (Europe). "Our members will often find advice from ExxonMobil in our monthly e-newsletter and will have an opportunity to meet and ask questions of the company's aviation lubrication experts at selected IAOPA seminars and meetings."

ExxonMobil, which is best known in Europe for its Esso brand of petroleum products, introduced Exxon Aviation Oil Elite 20W-50 to the European market in 2003, after successfully launching it in the U.S. in 2000. Exxon Elite is the first aviation oil formulation for piston-engine aircraft to appear on the market in more than a decade. It was formulated with a proprietary additive package to control wear and 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.

ExxonMobil's products for general aviation aircraft are available from key distributors throughout Europe. A complete list of distributors is online at (click on "Where to Buy").

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