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June 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, June 2007

Welcome to the monthly e-newsletter of IAOPA Europe, which goes out to 23,000 aircraft owners and pilots across the continent



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Language barrier

IAOPA President Phil Boyer has written the President of ICAO protesting about new English language proficiency requirements for VFR pilots, and urging a delay in the imposition of the requirements and exemptions for private pilots operating under VFR.

In a letter to ICAO’s Roberto Gonzales, Boyer says that forcing all pilots to qualify for Level 4 English language proficiency – a relatively high level of fluency – will have a “significant negative impact” on general aviation, particularly in Europe.

“Qualifying for Level 4 proficiency will require hundreds of hours of training for many, and costly testing for hundreds of thousands of pilots who may only occasionally use language as required by the ICAO standard,” Boyer says.

He points out that IAOPA has twice petitioned the ICAO Secretariat to modify the language proficiency requirements for pilots operating under VFR, and says that the requirements are “unnecessary for the safety and efficiency of the air traffic control system” under visual flight rules in non-complex airspace. “The high costs and time required to meet this requirement cannot be justified for the few times a VFR pilot may be required to contact an air traffic control facility. Yet the Secretariat has denied both of our petitions, based on anecdotal evidence provided by a few members of the Air Navigation Commission.”

Pointing out that most AOPA members operating under VFR will have their activities severely restricted if they cannot readily cross national borders, Boyer asks that ICAO reconsider IAOPA’s petitions to modify the requirements for language proficiency for VFR operations, and employ risk analysis techniques to properly consider the factors involved.

In addition, Boyer points out that many states are simply not ready to meet ICAO requirements even at the professional flying level by its deadline of March 8, 2008. The requirement will certainly enhance safety in the IRF environment, he says, but adds: “For the new standard to be truly effective all IFR participants and those operating in complex airspace must comply with the standard. It will require just one participant with inadequate language proficiency, be it on the ground or in the air, to create an unsafe condition.”

But the evidence is that some states will not be capable of testing or certifying all their pilots by the deadline. Even so, it will be assumed that after Match 2008 everyone will be in compliance, raising the level of risk without the knowledge of those involved. Boyer goes on: “Additionally, unprepared states may be tempted to rush the certification process, providing less than fully qualified personnel to operate within the air traffic control system.” Two ICAO Air Navigation Bureau questionnaires on the subject failed to yield adequate responses from states, he adds.

As well as the VFR exemptions, Boyer seeks a delay in the implementation of the language requirements “until such time that all applicable personnel within a clear majority of contracting states meet those requirements.”


Pilots presumed guilty

The new mania for criminalising pilots has infected Sweden, where all pilots must now prove they are innocent of any crime before they can be admitted to airports, or to obtain a pilot’s licence. AOPA-Sweden has protested against pilots being forced to provide proof of non-conviction to the Swedish Civil Aviation Authority in order to obtain a card which permits entrance to airports, but is not optimistic that the law will be deleted.

Swedish pilots, or would-be pilots, must obtain a document from the convictions register stating that they are innocent of any crime. Not only are they presumed guilty until they can prove their innocence, but the non-conviction document incurs a cost.

The authorities say they are doing this to combat terrorism, and are blind to the fact that they are closing the stable door after the horse bolted on September 11, 2000. They seem to be concerned solely to be seen to be doing something, however pointless or counter-productive.

German authorities began attempting to impose similar requirements on pilots two years ago, but AOPA-Germany fought the move partly on the grounds that it would apply only to German pilots, while those from any other country could come and go as they pleased. The Germans are now attempting to have a “presumption of guilt” imposed on all European pilots. Other countries with less authoritarian approaches are concerned about depriving pilots of basic civil liberties, as well as alienating them. In the UK, which has longer experience of terrorism than most other European countries, GA pilots act as the “eyes and ears” of counter-terrorist groups at airfields, and are best-placed to spot suspicious activity. The authorities are not keen to jeopardise that relationship. Furthermore, AOPA-UK has pointed out that not a single one of the September 11th terrorists, or those who bombed the London Underground on July 7th 2005, had any criminal convictions.

Sweden, however, ignores all of this. Fredrik Brandel of AOPA-Sweden says: “The rule in a civilised society is that any person is presumed innocent unless proven otherwise. The Civil Aviation Authority has taken an opposite view and wants every pilot to prove his innocence. We doubt very much that a terrorist would bother to study to become a pilot, despite the terror attack on 11th September, since there are much easier ways to cause damage to society. Furthermore, if you have committed a minor crime many years ago, are you then not suitable to be a pilot? Conversely, are you automatically a decent pilot if you have not been not convicted?

“AOPA-Sweden has protested to this to the Civil Aviation Authority. A similar letter has been sent to the Ministry of Enterprise, Energy and Communication urging them to stop implementing this rule, and not to exercise its right to ask for an extract from the convictions register, and at the very least not to charge the pilots for this. The Civil Aviation Authority answered us by stating the rules, which we already knew, and arguing that there is no conflict with personal integrity.

“Unfortunately there will most likely be no change in this matter, but it is important that everybody protests to governments when they impose restrictions to citizens. Otherwise any infringements can be excused by referring to protection from terrorist attacks.”

It might also be added that by chipping away at the civil liberties of pilots, the authorities begin to do the work of the terrorists.


EASA update

Jacob Pedersen of AOPA-Denmark reports that the progress of EASA’s MDM032, on which he represents IAOPA-Europe, has slowed dramatically after they received an overwhelming number of responses following the Advance Notice of Proposed Amendment last October. He believes they will have a comment response document ready over the summer. But here is Jacob’s update on some of the most important issues:

Continuing Airworthiness and Maintenance:

Based on the ANPA, the group has recommended a number of changes to Part M to make it  workable for light aircraft in non-commmercial operations. An NPA is scheduled to go out in June. The MDM032 group is very concerned that national authorities are pressing ahead with the implementation of the current Part M not knowing or taking into account the fact that significant simplifications are on the way. The group has therefore recommended that EASA directly informs the national authorities that new and lighter regulation is upcoming, so we hopefully avoid a situation in which some countries implement a very rigid maintenance framework for a short period, then loosen up afterwards.


The MDM032 working group has recommended that the essential requirements in the 1592/2002 proposal constitute the ops requirements for light aircraft of less than 2000kg in Europe. Only in a few cases might it be required to have additional implementing rules, particularly for equipment requirements and for things like VFR fuel reserves, where the essential requirements do not specify a limit such as ICAO’s 30 minutes. This implies that the future ops rules for light aircraft below 2000kg will be kept at a very basic level and will not go beyond ICAO requirements.


A subgroup of MDM032 is looking at the licensing issues for the Light Aircraft Pilot License (LAPL) which will be valid for aircraft below 2000kg. The term Recreational Pilot License is thankfully no longer used, after pressure from IAOPA. IAOPA is represented in the subgroup by Jo Konrad. The group had its first meeting on April 23rd. The group’s first task is to evaluate existing national licensing systems in Europe, including medical requirements.

Initial Airworthiness:

The MDM032 group is working on a concept for a simplified type certification process which might be based on industry standards such as ASTM or others. Type certificates and airworthiness directives will continue to be issued by EASA.


Spanish rally

Good news from Spain, where authorities in the province of Jaén show signs of becoming more air-minded and aviation-friendly. The long weekend of the first of May was chosen by the Aeroclub of Barcelona-Sabadell and the authorities of Jaén to organise an air rally for light airplanes and microlights. Jaén, in the heart of Andalucia, has been declared “Province of the Air” and is holding a series of events throughout 2007 to promote air sports. The Rally of Jaén had the support of the Ministry of Industry, Tourism and Commerce.

The programme included guided tours to some of the most beautiful cities in Jaén, the museum of olive oil, which included an oil tasting, local flights to discover the beauty of the country from the air, and very good food.

As part of the programme, AOPA-Spain was invited to give a presentation of the latest news from EASA, Eurocontrol and ICAO affecting general aviation, and about how AOPA in Spain and IAOPA at international level is working to protect GA. Marlies Campi, President of AOPA-Spain, had the opportunity to talk to the Minister of Industry, who is an active private pilot and an Honorary Member of AOPA-Spain, and to the President of the provincial government of Jaén, about promoting GA in the area. Jaén offers a great potential for soaring, gliding, mountain or bush flying, with miles and miles of hills and medium-sized mountain ranges and good weather all year round. There is one single aerodrome accessible to GA aircraft in the whole province, and no airport. A proposal made by AOPA-Spain to Jaen’s authorities is to establish a network of small airfields, aerodromes and grass strips to allow GA in all its forms to develop: soaring, microlights, light airplanes, flight training. These airfields could be made with public and private funds, should have fuel, and should offer a taxi service or car rental. The idea is to start small, paving the way for future growth. AOPA-Spain will continue to advise the local authorities on the implementation of this plan.


Pay 0% VAT on your next aircraft
If you are buying, selling, importing or operating an aircraft - THINK ABOUT THE VAT. We can assist private or corporate aircraft owners and operators inside or outside the EU and have handled more aircraft than all other providers combined.

Call us for the best solutions and references available. Tel: +45 70 20 00 51.