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July 2008 - Welcome to the IAOPA Europe enews which goes to 23,000 aircraft owners and pilots in 27 countries across the continent

IAOPA-Europe e-news, July 1st 2008


Welcome to the bi-monthly e-news of IAOPA-Europe, which goes out to 23,000 AOPA members in 27 countries across Europe.

24th IAOPA World Assembly, Athens, Greece, June 2008



The IAOPA World Assembly for 2008 was a triumph for Greece, a triumph for IAOPA and a triumph for AOPA Hellas ¿ and in particular for Yiouli Kalafati, the indefatigable President of AOPA in Greece, who enticed IAOPA to Athens for the first time.

More than 120 delegates from 26 countries met for four days of discussions of the major issues affecting general aviation in Europe and around the world. The roster of speakers included some of the major figures in international aviation regulation, including Eurocontrol Director General David McMillan, ICAO¿s European Region Director Karsten Thiel, and the European Commission¿s Administrator of the Single Sky Modernisation Unit, Jyrki Paajanen.

Messages of support and encouragement came via DVD presentations by the Director of ICAO¿s Air Navigation Bureau, Nancy Graham, the European Union¿s Commissions for Air Transport Daniel Calleja, and the Executive Director of EASA, Patrick Goudou. The Assembly broke in midweek for a visit to the fabulous island of Santorini, sponsored by Aegean Airlines, and the gathering ended with the first international general aviation expo ever held in Greece. The organization was superb and the hospitality generous, and the 24th World Assembly will long be remembered.

Greece welcomes GA

Just a few years ago the Greek military was so nervous that plane-spotters were arrested for looking at F4 Phantoms. But in June, AOPA members from all over the world walked among military and civilian aircraft at Tatoi, outside Athens, with the full blessing of the Greek government. This is a measure of how much attitudes have changed. At the World Assembly, Greece announced its intention to become the Florida of Europe, attracting GA pilots from all over the world. The Secretary General of the Greek Ministry of Transport and Communication, Kostas Hatzidakis, said: ¿We express our strong support to make sure these are not empty words. We are developing 38 airports. We have eleven months suitable for GA in Greece, compared to perhaps six months in northern Europe. The cost of use of our infrastructure is low. We are building 15 new GA hangars. Flying hours were up by 50 percent last year, and the number of aircraft, which had stagnated at around 200, is already up by 74. We have a strategic plan for the development of GA.¿

The Governor of Hellenic CAA, Ioannis Andrianopoulos, added: ¿There were 100 new pilots in Greece last year. Most GA companies in Greece are new. We now have seven flight training organisations, and there has been a lot of investment. We have fine weather 11 months of the year, lower total cost, giving more hours per plane. It is easier and cheaper for UK pilots to get their licenses in Greece. We know a mile of road leads nowhere, a mile of runway leads everywhere.¿

George Zografakis, founder of Egnatia Aviation, a JAA FTO based at Alexander the Great Airport at Kavala, listed some of the obstacles Greek GA still has to face ¿ lack of VFR charts, onerous notice requirements, poor availability of avgas, closure of airfields, lack of understanding in ATC and regulatory authorities ¿ but said the culture of the authorities, the airport managers, the CAA and the government was being challenged, and they were responding. As Yiouli Kalafati said, the centre of gravity of European GA is moving inexorably south, away from its traditional home in northern and western Europe. Greece welcomes GA, and not just for the IAOPA World Assembly.

Regulation getting involved


Speaker after speaker stressed the need for IAOPA to be involved in rulemaking at the drafting stage. Eurocontrol¿s David McMillan said: ¿AOPA is always at the table when matters of importance to the GA sector are under discussion. You need to participate in these discussions ¿ if you are not involved, you will lose out.¿ The EC¿s Jyrki Paajanen added: ¿Be proactive. General aviation is still not widely known about. Look for win-win situations with other airspace groups like airlines. Participate in drafting ¿ meetings can fine-tune, but decisions are pretty firm by that stage. Frank Hofmann, IAOPA¿s representative at ICAO in Montreal, said: ¿It¿s no use waiting for meetings and consultation papers; by the time they come out, it¿s too late to really influence what goes into them. If you¿re not right there, you¿re out of the game.¿ But the cost of participation is a real issue; IAOPA-Europe paid some 400,000 euros to be part of the definition stage of SESAR, the air traffic management system of tomorrow. But we can¿t afford the millions of euros it would cost to participate in the development and implementation phases, so the field is left to the regulators, the major airlines and the equipment manufacturers. IAOPA-Europe is working on ways of influencing the proceedings indirectly.

Avgas and the environment

David McMillan called for a ¿reasoned and informed debate¿ on aviation and the environment, but there seems to be little chance that such a debate can be had. Aviation is "the new cigarette industry," according to Frank Hoffman. Frank, a former meteorologist who worked in the Arctic for Transport Canada, says ICAO has decided to adopt an ¿aggressive approach¿ to aircraft emissions, despite acknowledging a lack of evidence that human activity significantly affects climate. The environmental section, he said, was the only part of ICAO whose budget and staff numbers were not being cut ¿ in fact, they are being increased.

Environmental scaremongering has so thoroughly frightened the public that it is impossible to have a rational and factual debate. Anyone who questions what has become the prevailing orthodoxy is assaulted as a heretic. Whether the scaremongering is baseless or not, there are good reasons for reducing fossil fuel use and emissions, and aviation is working hard to do so. General aviation is a particularly easy target ¿ `low-hanging fruit¿ in the words of Melissa Rudiger, AOPA US¿s Vice President of Regulatory Affairs. Lead in avgas is a prime issue, particularly in the United States. Lead emissions today are infinitesimal compared to what they were when virtually every car ran on leaded fuel, but the US Environmental Protection Agency is planning to move against avgas. Melissa Rudiger said: ¿AOPA US is defining a future avgas strategy and transition plan, together with the General Aviation Manufacturers Association and the oil companies. We need a technically feasible and economically viable alternative, which has to be useable in current engines with no modification. Various industries are coming together to solve this problem.¿

Backsliding on the LAPL

EASA¿s `Light Aircraft Pilot¿s Licence¿ has once again become the `Leisure Pilots Licence¿ despite unanimous opposition to the name from the industry during the consultation phase. The worry is that the name is materially misleading, and having `leisure¿ pilots operating from `recreational¿ airfields will be a gift for anti-aviation forces in all countries. AOPA-Denmark¿s Jacob Pedersen reported the change to the World Assembly but said he didn¿t know exactly why the term LAPL had been changed. In his message to the Assembly, EASA Executive Director Patrick Goudou said the Agency was committed to `transparency¿ and `consultation¿, but perhaps EASA subscribes to Ambrose Bierce¿s definition of consultation, which is: `to seek another's approval for a course of action already decided upon¿. EASA¿s Deputy Head of Rulemaking Eric Sivel had been due to address the conference on the Friday, but phoned two days earlier to say he had missed his plane.

Jacob also reported a change to the planned medical authorisation for the licence. A certificate from the family doctor was to have been enough, but it now seems that will only be possible if the doctor is a pilot. If not, the medical must be signed off by a doctor `with aeromedical knowledge¿. So for the vast majority of pilots, nothing will change ¿ a medical certificate will still be required from an expensive examiner authorised by a Civil Aviation Authority.



The possibility of having to pay to use the radio was raised by AOPA UK¿s Chief Executive Martin Robinson, who said the UK government was looking at charging for the use of radio spectrum. Private companies were willing to pay billions of euros for spectrum for mobile phones, TV and radio transmissions, and there was constant pressure on the aviation bands. The International Telecommunications Union, the body who co-ordinates global use of the spectrum, was under great pressure to sell off parts of the spectrum to private companies.

ICAO¿s European Regional Representative Karsten Thiel said the Organisation did not support the selling of spectrum. ¿ICAO does not like this idea,¿ he said. ¿Commercial TV and radio stations pay a fee for use of bandwidth, and the idea is to extend that to safety-critical parts of the spectrum. So far the UK seemed to be the only country that has warmed to this idea, but ICAO does not support it.¿ The European Commission is also opposed.

John Sheehan, secretary general of IAOPA, said the International Telecommunications Union was having a meeting in 2011 to debate the issue. ¿A lot of billion-dollar companies want spectrum,¿ he said. ¿A small part of the spectrum has been sold in the United States for $5 billion, and these commercial concerns are licking their chops at the prospect of more. It¿s gratifying to hear that ICAO and the EC don¿t are opposed to the idea, but ICAO and the EC don¿t have a vote at the ITU. Your countries do have a vote, however, and it is up to you to alert your state to the dangers of what is proposed. This is an action item for people to take on.¿

It is resolved¿

The Assembly passed a number of resolutions, one urging airport operators to charge only for services actually required and received, to consult with all user groups regarding changes to existing charges, and to prepare a cost-benefit analysis on each charging scheme for each user community. A second urges regulatory authorities to permit affordable and practical alternatives to emergency locator transmitters (ELTs) for general aviation. ICAO guidelines call for 406 mHz ELTs in GA aircraft, but many national regulatory bodies are making the rule mandatory. IAOPA asks that aircraft owners be allowed to select an alerting and locating option that is ¿appropriate for their type and area of operations,¿ including personal locator beacons. IAOPA also urges security and airport officials to park GA aircraft in non-security restricted areas, to provide access through non-security sensitive perimeter access points, and to abolish or absorb mandatory security handling charges for GA aircraft.

Tributes to Yiouli Kalafati

IAOPA President Phil Boyer was among those thanking and congratulating Yiouli Kalafati of AOPA-Hellas for her work in staging the 24th World Assembly, and for convincing the Greek authorities that the general aviation industry was a potential money-spinner for the country which should be facilitated and encouraged. ¿Yiouli Kalafati wanted to show Greek authorities what they could gain by promoting, rather than restricting, general aviation, he said, ¿and the presence of general aviation representatives from 28 different nations around the world is helping to change attitudes in Athens. She and her entire organisation provided us a wonderful platform from which to conduct our deliberations and a memorable series of events that we will long remember as one of our best assemblies.¿

Yiouli Kalafati sums up the World Assembly:

¿The 24th IAOPA world assembly and the 1st international general aviation expo at Tatoi airfield were notable success, with participant and visitor numbers well ahead of expectations, specifically:

  • 124 delegates from 26 countries
  • 4 international aviation organizations
  • 60 exhibitors representing 108 companies of aviation interest
  • 20 internationally prominent conference speakers
  • First time in the country¿s aviation history aerobatic pilots took part in the aviation show.
  • 100 aircraft ¿ 60 of them of foreign registrations ¿ and visitors from every part of Greece, Europe and Middle East. (A further 45 aircraft cancelled the first five days due to weather conditions)
  • 30,000 visitors

ICARUS AERO EXPO ATHENS 2008 made Tatoi airport the centre of European GA, attracting mass media interest and characterising it as the biggest celebration of General Aviation that has ever taken place in our country.

  • Speakers from Europe and America and all the international aviation organisations came to Athens to speak about progress in the field of aviation.
  • All the big aircraft constructors and aviation equipment manufacturers were here, bringing their own aircraft and discussing technical details. For the time, visitors could get answers to their questions directly from the manufactures. For the first time, visitors had the opportunity to touch some of the miracles of the modern aeronautics. The exhibitors can be found at
  • For the first time, professional pilots from the manufacturers gave demonstration flights  in aircraft, helicopters, ultralights and aerobats in front of amazed visitors of every age. It was a spectacular event, staged with the assistance of the Hellenic Air Force and Greek Army Aviation, who gave their own demonstration.


  • General aviation demonstrated its activities to thousand of visitors, aero clubs, flight schools, and domestic and foreign companies had the opportunity to show their work.
  • Benefits for visiting aircraft meant they could continue touring Greece throughout June, assisting the Greek economy and promoting aero-tourism in our country.
  • The minister of Transport, Mr Hatzidakis visited the exhibition for more than two hours. Previously he had a meeting with the president of IAOPA Phil Boyer, the D.G of Eurocontrol David McMillan, and the president of AOPA Hellas Yiouli Kalafati. There was the opportunity to talk about the general aviation in Europe and America and to focus on the basic problems in our country, such as hours of operation and lack of avgas in most airports. The messages taken by the Minister is given in his own words: ¿the interest of 30,000 citizens in the 1st international aviation exhibition, the high level of participation of exhibitors and pilots, gives the message to the authorities that we must focus on the development of the General Aviation. The first thought is that the Greek airports should become more flexible and welcoming for general aviation aircraft.¿

This is a new beginning for the general aviation and the country . Today GA is mature enough in our country to play a part in the Greek economy. The picture of a small aircraft flown by an eccentric businessman is in the past. Investments of million euros are ploughed into new construction and equipment and general aviation is turning into a dynamic field of the economy. Congratulation and a big thank you to the ones who worked to make our project some true. Above all we thank IAOPA for its assistance, especially Phil Boyer, John Sheehan and the European Board for the support.  

Yiouli Kalafati

President AOPA Hellas

A full report of the World Assembly will be published in the next issue of the AOPA UK magazine General Aviation, which will be posted on the website next month.


Yiouli Kalafati with (from left) Eurocontrol's David McMillan, Greek Transport Minister Kostas Hatzidakis and IAOPA President Phil Boyer


AOPA Netherlands needs your help

Despite having been the first in the world to introduce expensive new Mode-S transponder requirements for general aviation aircraft, the Dutch authorities are making no concessions to the intended purpose of Mode-S, which is to allow freer access to airspace. Instead, they are planning to close even more airspace to GA, and AOPA Netherlands is asking pilots to sign a petition against the plans. The Netherlands authorities are in the forefront of demands for new equipment in GA planes ¿ not just Mode-S but ELTs and 8.33 kHz radios ¿ but air traffic control continues to snatch more and more airspace, closing it off to VFR traffic. AOPA Netherlands is fighting the imminent closure of the Rotterdam TMA and the recently established Special Rules Zones around the Schiphol CTR.
Please support AOPA Netherlands by signing their petition for the maintenance of sufficient VFR airspace. The petition will be presented to the Board of Directors of Air Traffic Control Netherlands in September. Go to and leave your digital signature.

Danes firm up VAT date
The VAT concession under which aircraft can be imported through Denmark with VAT paid at zero rate will continue until at least January 1st, 2010. On June 12th the Danish Parliament passed an amendment to the Danish VAT Act stipulating that changes in relation to aircraft imports and sales will be effective from that date.

This means that imports and sales can continue as now until the first day of 2010. Even after the deadline, it will still be possible to have zero-rated aircraft imported and delivered if they were ordered before the deadline.

AOPA Denmark has been assisting the main players in the VAT concession, Opmas, in lobbying the Danish Parliament to postpone the VAT change. Lasse Rungholm, Opmas¿s CEO, says: ¿We look forward to handling a lot of aircraft in the coming years, as we have in the last 15. As you can imagine we will have another procedure for minimising VAT in place for the time after the law change.¿
For details see

New IAOPA President

Craig Fuller is to replace Phil Boyer as President of AOPA US at the end of the year. Mr Fuller becomes IAOPA President by virtue of the fact that the President of the largest of the 66 AOPAs worldwide automatically assumes the post.

Mr Fuller is a Washington heavyweight who is currently executive vice president at the Washington PR firm of APCO Worldwide. He moved from California to Washington as President Ronald Reagan's assistant for cabinet affairs and served as Vice President George Bush senior's chief of staff. He has been a pilot and AOPA member for 40 years.

AOPA hired the headhunters Heidrick and Struggles a year ago to find Phil Boyer's successor. After hundreds of interviews a `shortlist¿ of 100 candidates was produced, and it was announced at the end of June that Mr Fuller had been chosen. At the end of the first Bush Presidency Mr Fuller worked with international public affairs organisations in Washington and Philip Morris in New York before becoming president and CEO of the National Association of Chain Drug Stores. He learned to fly while still in high school and flew with the UCLA flying club at Van Nuys while earning a B.A. in political science. He has a Master's degree in urban studies from Occidental College in Los Angeles. He now flies more than 200 hours a year in his Beech Bonanza A36.

`Being selected by the Trustees as only the fourth president of AOPA in 70 years is a tremendous honor and a serious responsibility,¿ Mr Fuller said. `I am dedicated to ensuring that the best days of general aviation are ahead of us.¿

AOPA chairman Bill Trimble paid tribute to Phil Boyer¿s work as IAOPA President, saying he had transformed AOPA into a `forward-thinking and tech-savvy¿ leader for vastly changed times in general aviation.

Mr Fuller becomes IAOPA President by virtue of the fact that the President of the largest of the 66 AOPAs worldwide automatically assumes the post.


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