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May 2009 - 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, May 2009
Welcome to the e-news of IAOPA-Europe, which goes out to 23,000 aircraft owners and pilots in 27 countries across the continent
Best news in a generation

The European Parliament has given general aviation its biggest boost in modern times with the adoption of a resolution which guides the EC and member states to adopt a raft of principles which would preserve, foster and promote GA across Europe. Resolution 2008/2134(INI) sets out the importance of keeping legislation in proportion, recognising the differences between CAT and GA in setting fees and charges, ensuring that GA has access to airports and airspace and accepting that GA has a vital role to play in Europe's transport infrastructure.

The resolution, adopted by a huge margin - 524 votes in favour, 74 against and six abstentions - now forms the basis of the European Commission's approach to general aviation. The Commission is in turn the boss of EASA, which will find it very difficult to ignore the new landscape for GA. In addition, national AOPAs can now use it in negotiations with their own CAAs to ensure that GA is treated fairly.

The full document can be seen on the IAOPA-Europe website It includes 35 clauses, each of which represents a major breakthrough for GA, addressing nearly every major issue impacting on general aviation today; access to airfields and airspace, proportionality in regulation and charges and appropriate technology requirements. It calls on the EC to recognise the important role that GA plays in the training of professional pilots.

The resolution had its genesis in a meeting four years ago between European Aviation Commissioner Daniel Calleja di Crespo and a three-man IAOPA delegation at which the need for action on European legislation affecting GA was discussed. MEPs like Timothy Kirkhope from the UK and Arunas Degutis from Lithuania, both pilots, have been active in canvassing support. IAOPA is having the document translated into every European language and distributed to authorities across the continent.

Dutch Mode-S fiasco

Had it come earlier, the Resolution might well have prevented the Schiphol fiasco in the Netherlands, where the authorities mandated Mode-S transponder use below 800 feet. As a result, radar screens at Schiphol were swamped with Mode-S returns and ATC could not see commercial jets through the clutter, even after they'd tuned the text down to the smallest possible level. This created an urgent safety issue, forcing the authorities to ban VFR flights from a large area of northern Holland and to order that transponders be turned off when flying into Lelystad airport, near Schiphol.

IAOPA has warned repeatedly that this would happen. AOPA-Netherlands is working with the authorities to resolve the issues, but owners who were forced to spend thousands of euros on Mode-S equipment they didn't want, only to be ordered to turn them off, are not happy. IAOPA-Europe's senior vice president Martin Robinson said: "Lack of understanding, and lack of meaningful consultation, is at the root of problems like Mode-S and EASA's Part M maintenance requirements for GA. We hope the European Parliament resolution will lead the regulators to take these issues more seriously."


The 120th Regional Meeting of IAOPA-Europe, held during the Friedrichshafen Expo, debated the three EASA NPAs currently out for consultation, concentrating on EASA-OPS, a thousand-page document which contains some undesirable proposals. AOPA-Denmark's Jacob Pedersen, who sits on the OPS001 working group on Ops, said the document would effectively outlaw 'VFR on top' and would seriously affect night VFR. The document itself was structured to conform to EU legal requirements rather than to explain the rules in an understandable way, and much work needed to be done to make it more useful. A second NPA, on Authority Requirements, opens the door for national authorities to audit flight training organisations and non commercial operators of complex aircraft every two years, which would be a hugely expensive in some countries and must be resisted.

The delegates also reviewed progress on EASA-FCL, where more than 11,000 responses have been received by EASA. This will be a test of EASA's willingness to listen and act on the industry's concerns; 97 percent of respondents are opposed to the name of EASA's 'Leisure Pilots Licence' which misrepresents the qualification and leaves GA open to attack from anti-aviation forces.

Come to Greece!

AOPA-Hellas invites you to its annual International Fly-In, which takes place between May 9th and 10th at Kavala Airport (LGKV). Those who experienced Greek hospitality during the World Assembly in Athens last year will advise you to go. Yiouli Kalafati, president of AOPA-Hellas, has helped to arrange a programme not only of general aviation interest, but incorporating tours of the beautiful old city and archaeological sites of Kavala, and traditional Greek evening entertainment will be provided. Simplified handling at minimal fees have been agreed by Olympic Airways for AOPA members. More than 30 aircraft have already registered to fly in. Sponsors include Egnatia Aviation, Diamond and the local Chamber of Commerce. For full details see

No night rating required!

Another diary date: the fourth Sunny Nights Fly-in is at the beginning of July in the airfield of Pudasjärvi in Finland. Flying in remote Lapland when the sun barely sets is a rare experience, and organisers have put together a full programme including an air rally, precision flying competitions, and even a meeting with Santa Claus at the Arctic Circle. Flights will be available in aircraft as diverse as the An-2, DC-3, gliders, ultralights and hot air balloons. There will also be dinners and celebrations, aviators' camp fires and midnight flights in the sun. Organisers will help with accommodation and any other issues you have. The fun begins on July 3rd; for full details see

Flying and biking

AOPA Luxembourg has joined with Eurobiker to stage a fly-drive rally for charity at which pilots from a dozen European countries will spend nine days covering a swathe of eastern Europe, finishing in Prague on May 23rd. The bikers and pilots will meet up at four points, Maribor, Kecskement, Satu-Maré and Prague. Details are available on, click on 'Rally'.

Carl Olof Olsson

Carl Olof Olsson, founder of AOPA Sweden and one of the moving forces behind International AOPA, has died. Olsson was a real pioneer in the early 1960s when he realised the need for an international body to represent general aviation at ICAO. "At the time, the air in Sweden was owned by the airlines and there was no freedom," says Lars Hjelmberg, president of AOPA Sweden. "Olof Olsson was a true entrepreneur who used general aviation to further his business, flying all over Europe in his Navajo. At times he neglected his business in order to work for the benefit of AOPA, and it is because of his work that we have so much more freedom in Sweden and in Europe today."

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