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July 2006 - 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, July 2006

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 sponsors 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)

Criminalising pilots

IAOPA-Europe is mounting an international campaign to kill off proposed European Parliament legislation that would force all pilots to undergo regular criminal background checks before they could fly.

The idea is being pushed by Germany, which has already attempted to introduce such legislation at home, although it is being resisted on the grounds that non-German pilots would be exempt. Now, the idea is that all European pilots should undergo security and criminal scrutiny

The EU move was uncovered by AOPA-Germany's Dr Michael Erb, who is leading the campaign to defeat his nation's original proposal. The Europe-wide campaign against the new law involves AOPA-UK President Lord Stevens, a worldwide authority on counter-terrorism, and AOPA-Lithuania Chairman Arunas Degutis, a Member of the European Parliament.

The proposal is misconceived and betrays a total ignorance of the realities of aviation. The 9/11 terrorists did not fly training or business aircraft into the World Trade Center, even though it would have been easier for them to do so. They knew they needed high-energy aircraft carrying significant fuel loads – something that is clearly lost on legislators who now intend to cast suspicion on all pilots.

In the UK, pilots work hand in hand with the authorities to counter the threat of terrorism, and AOPA-UK meets regularly with the security agencies. GA pilots can and do keep the security forces informed of suspicious activity, and as a result there is little pressure for curbs on pilots. AOPA-UK's Martin Robinson says Europe should follow the UK example.

"This EU political posturing might look sensible to the disinterested bystander, but they risk criminalising the very people who are the eyes and ears of the security forces in the GA world," he said. "The objections to this legislation are legion – not only would it be counter-productive, not only would it not work, not only would it be an unwarranted intrusion by the state, but it would lead to endless expense, bureaucracy and delay. The trial lesson industry would be killed off overnight."

The proposal, which had its first reading on June 15th, calls for verifiable checks on the identity, criminal background and "suitability of pilots and applicants for flight training to be granted unescorted access to security restricted areas". It specifies that anyone refused security clearance by any state would not be able to apply for pilot training in any other state.

Changing the landscape

The EASA Working Group that is mapping out the future of general aviation in Europe is making solid progress and expects to complete its work on time, despite the tight schedule that has been imposed upon it.

The MDM032 group will meet again later this month (July), after which an Advanced Notice of Proposed Amendment will go out for consultation.

Jacob Pedersen of AOPA-Denmark, who is IAOPA-Europe's representative on the group, reports that for airworthiness, we will most likely end up with three different categories. One will be for aircraft below 750 kg, where the type certificate will be issued by the manufacturer who declares that he is following recognised industry standards. For aircraft below 2000 kg, the type certificate may be issued by approved assessment bodies based on industry standards. For aircraft between 2000 kg and 5700 kg the type certificate will still be issued by EASA but through a simplified procedure based on the manufacturers recommendation.

For licensing, the most likely outcome is that we will have one common sub-ICAO EASA licence for all non-commercial airspace users below 5700 kg. The licence will have classes such as glider, ultralight, single engine piston, balloon etc. Also it can be combined with ratings such as a night qualification, a simplified instrument rating etc. 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.

At the higher end of the scale the biggest difference between the new EASA PPL and the conventional PPL will be the medical, where the EASA license may be issued by a General Practitioner. The other major difference will be that the licence is issued by an approved assessment body instead of a national authority.

Jacob says: "Based on the feedback I have received so far, this appears to be one of the more controversial issues for our members, so comments and feedback is welcome."


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World pilots stand together

The increasingly international character of general aviation legislation was reflected at the IAOPA World Assembly in Toronto in June, when delegates from most European countries travelled to Canada to talk through the challenges we share.

AOPA members from Germany, the UK, Netherlands, Denmark, Greece, Lebanon, Lithuania, Norway, Austria, Belgium, Italy, Sweden and Switzerland joined delegates from dozens of countries worldwide to discuss the issues – some of them national problems that could benefit from international pressure, others involving multi-national bodies like ICAO, EASA and Eurocontrol.

Discussions ranged from common standards for UAV operations and environmental issues to availability of avgas, en-route charges and introduction of ELTs. It was noted that ICAO may revisit its insistence on ELTs – they were to have been mandated by 2009 – following representations by IAOPA.


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France leads the way

A comparative study of the costs of flying in European countries shows France to be the cheapest, and Britain to be the most expensive by far.

While a JAR PPL can be had for between 4,700 and 5,500 euros in France, an identical qualification will cost up to 9,000 Euros across the Channel.

Next most expensive after Britain is Switzerland, followed by Germany and Spain.

The survey was carried out by Emmanuel Davidson of AOPA-France for his excellent magazine Aviation & Pilote. It shows that the 210 euros per hour the average Briton pays for dual flying in a Cessna 150 will buy an hour on a complex, IFR-equipped aircraft in France.

Self-fly hire of a C172 ranged in price from 110 euros an hour in France to 210 euros in the UK. The next most expensive countries for aircraft hire after the UK were Italy and Germany, where C172 rates went up to 150 euros per hour.

The survey also looked at different approaches to training in what is supposedly a harmonised system under JAR. The French are most lax about ground tuition and do little continuation training on the theory side; the Swiss on the other hand provide students with organised ground training, while the Germans test pilots regularly on theoretical knowledge and apply sanctions to those who fall short. The British are said to be sticklers for proper radio procedure.

While all students in JAA countries must do a minimum of 45 hours' training for their PPLs, costs are governed by a host of national and local factors, from taxation regimes to profit conventions and oversight costs – some aviation authorities charge little or nothing for services, while others, notably Britain' CAA, recover all their costs from the industry and make a six percent profit.

The magazine survey concludes that while there are a number of areas in which French pilots need to improve, such as theoretical knowledge and use of aeronautical English, France enjoys huge advantages in being able to issue a PPL at half the cost of some of its neighbours, and if it takes care to preserve its unique systems, it will remain the foremost aeronautical country in Europe.

German adventure

AOPA-Germany is offering a fantastic opportunity to fly in the Bavarian Alps and beyond with its annual Flight Training Event, which runs from August 6th to August 11th.

GA pilots from any country are welcome to come to Eggenfelden Airfield (EDME), about 50 nm east of Munich, where they will be able to take part in a whole host of events including flights into the mountains and to the Mediterranean Sea, basic and advanced refresher courses, VFR and IR refreshers, emergency procedure training in aerobatic aircraft and demo flights in brand new Cirrus, Cessna, Columbia, Diamond and Piper aircraft.

You can bring your own plane or hire an aircraft at Eggenfelden. Experienced English-speaking flight instructors will accompany you through the flight programmes and ground school. You'll have to fill out an application form in advance to allow AOPA-Germany to cater for the right number of aircraft and instructors. And don't forget to bring your licence.

This is an exceptional opportunity to fly somewhere fresh and exotic, where whatever help you need is available from professionals, and where you're sure to learn a great deal that will make you a better pilot. For details email or call +49 6103 42081.

How the professionals do it

Two airline pilots whose Boeing 777 flew across Europe for 65 minutes without radio communication have been suspended by their airline. The Vietnam Airlines aircraft, carrying 200 passengers, was en route from Hanoi to Frankfurt when it flew across Ukraine, Poland and the Czech Republic without making radio contact and with its transponder apparently switched off. Vietnamese authorities said the pilots were to undergo &lsquoretraining&rsquo.

Two Czech air force fighters were sent to flank the airliner at which point the pilots 'realised their mistake' and contacted ATC, according to the People' Army Newspaper in Vietnam.


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