IAOPA-Europe e-newsletter, October 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 sponsor 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) This month’s e-news comes from the 115th IAOPA-Europe Regional Assembly held in Warsaw on September 30th.


IAOPA fights radio payout

Air Navigation Service Providers are again pushing for the adoption of 8.33 MHz-spaced radios by all air traffic, which IAOPA believes is a misconceived idea designed to cover the inadequacies of the frequency allocation system.

ANSPs say they face a 20 percent shortage of radio frequencies and want all IFR traffic to install 8.33 MHz radios by 2009, and all VFR traffic by 2012. The estimated cost for ground and air equipment would be in excess of 700 million euros.

But Dr Michael Erb of AOPA Germany told the Regional Assembly that the real problem is inefficient allocation of frequencies. At the moment every country in Europe allocates its own radio frequencies, leading to inevitable overlap, waste and duplication. IAOPA believes all European frequencies should be allocated by a single central office. If that were to be done, Europe would have vastly more frequencies than it required, even at the most optimistic traffic growth figures.

Furthermore, more efficient and capable digital radios are on the horizon, possibly as early as 2015 – so aviation would be looking at being forced to buy 8.33 radios by 2012, then junking them for digital radios within a few years.

Michael Erb also represents IAOPA on SESAR, the body that is designing Europe’s future airspace, where airlines are pushing for priority to be given to those who pay the highest Eurocontrol fees – something IAOPA strongly opposes. The airlines are also causing trouble for GA at EASA’s OPS.001 working group, where the Association of European Airlines is demanding that general aviation be excluded from all airspace in which airliners fly on the grounds that GA pilots are “not trained to proper standards”. In addition, the AEA has stated that all business aircraft should operate to identical requirements as the airlines.

Jacob Pedersen of AOPA Denmark, who represents IAOPA on OPS.001, told the Assembly that IAOPA had been approached by regional airports, particularly in Germany, who realised that the AEA’s proposals would kill off the business aviation on which they rely and who wanted IAOPA to represent them at OPS.001 – which it has agreed to do.


Lacking definition

Only 16 days left to comment on the EASA MDM.032 group’s Advance Notice of Proposed Amendment (ANPA), which will establishes a baseline for EASA’s regulation of general aviation in future. MDM.032, on which IAOPA is represented by Jacob Pedersen, has spent six months reviewing all aspects of GA. The ANPA can be read on the IAOPA-Europe website, www.iaopa-eur.org. There’s also a comment form on the site – EASA will only consider comments submitted on the correct form.

IAOPA believes that MDM.032 is an attempt to reinvent the wheel when a better idea would have been to address what is wrong with the current system, but is fully involved in the group and has a direct line to the European Parliament in the person of Arunas Degutis of AOPA Lithuania, who is an MEP and Shadow Raporteur on transport questions.

Definitions such as what constitutes a complex aircraft rest with the EU parliament, not EASA, and changes must be made at Parliamentary level. IAOPA is working to get the EU to ditch the term ‘recreational operation’, which it believes is an inaccurate description that would be a gift to opponents of aviation. Pedersen told the Assembly that ‘light aircraft operation’ was proposed as an alternative. Blazej Krupa of AOPA Poland pointed out that elsewhere in EU legislation, the term ‘recreational’ has tax implications from which GA would suffer.

IAOPA says the current proposal for a nine-seat limit should be raised to 19 seats, because that’s the break point at which a cabin attendant is required. Below that, a flight can be a single-person operation, and should not be subject to more stringent requirements for management procedures. In addition, it wants the restriction on turbojets removed because in the near future, small, efficient and environmentally-friendly turbines may become available, and changing the law later to allow their use would be difficult.

In the ANPA, simplified maintenance and airworthiness systems are seen as being much more beneficial to GA than new licensing procedures. EASA is proposing that Assessment Bodies like IAOPA may issue licences instead of national authorities, but there is some question as to whether assessment bodies for licences are needed at all. Martin Robinson of AOPA-UK asked why an examiner could not issue a licence immediately the pilot passes a flying test – that would be the simplest and least expensive option. If it is decided that assessment bodies are required, then IAOPA should be involved in order to make sure the work is done at cost, rather than providing profits for any commercial entity.

Please copy your response to the ANPA to info@iaopa-eur.org.


Tongues of fire

ICAO’s new language proficiency requirements will have a devastating affect on general aviation across Europe, say AOPAs from non-English speaking countries. Pilots are to be forced to attain Level Four English before being allowed to fly internationally – a level of comprehension which far exceeds the abilities of most GA pilots. AOPA has lobbied for the requirements to be reduced for general aviation, but ICAO, dominated as it is by English-speaking countries, has refused. Dr Michael Erb of AOPA-Germany says: "The effect will be that most German pilots will be restricted to flying at home, to Austria or perhaps to Switzerland. But if they want to fly to Poland, for instance, it will be more difficult than it was in the days of the Iron Curtain."


Website give and take

The new website for IAOPA Europe is now established at www.iaopa.eu and aims to operate as an information resource for AOPA members across the Continent. One of the useful features is a comparison of avgas prices at airfields in dozens of countries, to which all members are invited to contribute. The website will eventually contain useful information on hundreds of airfields across Europe, and again, members are invited to contribute information about their local airfields in order to populate the database.


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Old magazine promotion

AOPA-US has apologised to European AOPAs after mistakenly using old letters in a marketing campaign for its magazine AOPA Pilot which may have given the impression that magazine subscribers enjoyed the benefits of AOPA membership.

IAOPA’s John Sheehan said the promotional material that was mistakenly sent out pre-dated 1996, when a partnership agreement between AOPA-US and other national AOPAs established guidelines for such promotions. The marketing material has now been rewritten to refer to “readers” rather than “members” and remove the offer of access to “members only” privileges.

AOPA-US has huge marketing muscle, and European AOPAs are often approached by members of AOPA-US who mistakenly believe that the benefits of AOPA-US membership extend beyond the boundaries of the United States. John Sheehan assured the Assembly that marketing for AOPA Pilot in Europe would in future urge pilots to join their national AOPAs.


New vice president

Rudy Gerber of AOPA Switzerland has been appointed Vice President of the IAOPA European region to replace Klaus Zeh of AOPA Germany, who has stepped down with almost two years of his term still to run.

The appointment was made by IAOPA President Philip Boyer. An election for the position is expected to be held at the end of 2007.

The Regional Assembly accepted the appointment. Concern was expressed that IAOPA’s representation in Brussels may be less effective if run by a Vice President from a state that was not an EU member, and the delegates requested unanimously that Deputy Vice President Martin Robinson of AOPA UK continue his work with the European Union and EASA.


ADS-B for General Aviation

Eurocontrol is inviting interested GA pilot to a one-day workshop on the subject of ADS-B for General Aviation at Eurocontrol headquarters in Brussels on November 21st.

It says the aim of the workshop is to enhance co-operation between the GA community and the CASCADE programme, which is Eurocontrol’s plan to reduce air traffic delays and increase safety. Eurocontrol says the workshop “intends to create an inventory of institutional, operational and technical issues in relation to GA ADS-B equipage and to define associated actions for the programme and the GA community.”

Registration for the workshop, which is free, can be done through www.eurocontrol.int/events, where you will also find an updated agenda.


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If you have any comments on this newsletter or would like to have information from your country included in it, please email iaopa@richmondaviation.co.uk

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