IAOPA eNews November 2011
IAOPA Briefs Chinese ATM Personnel | General Aviation Provides Thailand Flood Relief | UK Imposes Wind Farm Transponder Mandatory Zones | AOPA-New Zealand Annual Awards Program | Canada Proposes Airspace Restrictions for UAS | World Assembly Program
Plan to attend the 26th IAOPA World Assembly Stellenbosch, South Africa, 10-15 April 2012
IAOPA was invited, along with the International Business Aviation Council and World Bank representatives to provide a 15 member delegation of the Chinese Air Traffic Control Commission Office an overview of airspace design and usage practices around the world. The group apparently has been charged with creating a low-level airspace system suitable for general aviation operations.
China has little general aviation activity, principally flight training and ultralight operations. Most civilian airspace is used by airline, charter, and aerial work operations and comprises only 20% of their airspace.
IAOPA Representative to ICAO Frank Hofmann emphasized the need for China to realize that general aviation requires access to airspace and the freedom to fly, not only to pre-arranged city-pairs or under IFR. A strong case was made for the Chinese authorities to envision how general aviation will operate within the next 10 years. On the basis of that vision they could apply ICAO airspace and operations standards and recommended practices (SARPS) that have served the world civil aviation community well.
The meeting was useful, judging by the questions asked. Hofmann encouraged opening a dialog with Chinese general aviation groups to work with AOPA-China and other user groups to develop the vision of how general aviation will evolve in China.
Tom Claytor, AOPA-Thailand Secretary, reports, “We have been flying flood relief missions in Thailand, primarily from a Cessna 206. I just returned from a 2.5 hour flight with three successful food drops to stranded families in Ayutthaya and Bangkok. The entire Don Muang airport in Bangkok is underwater. There are literally millions of people whose homes are completely underwater. I have never seen anything like it.
“General aviation aircraft have also been flying missions to report on what roads are still navigable for transporting in boats to rescue people at old age homes and hospitals going underwater. Finally, some good news for general aviation in Thailand!”
The United Kingdom CAA has approved the establishment of Transponder Mandatory Zones (TMZ) to cover two new major offshore wind turbine developments. The decision to approve the TMZs has been taken to maintain a safe operational environment. The wind turbines will have a maximum blade tip height in excess of 500 feet and will be visible to the airport’s primary surveillance radar.
The TMZs will form part of a program to reduce the impact of wind turbine-generated radar clutter. Without these measures the two wind farms would, when fully operational, collectively create radar difficulties that would impact the air traffic control unit’s ability to differentiate between aircraft and wind turbines on radar. There is apparently no available technical solution to overcome the impact of primary radar clutter caused by wind turbines. http://www.aopa.co.uk/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=549:caa-approves-new-transponder-mandatory-zones-for-offshore-windfarms&catid=1:latest-news
AOPA-New Zealand has introduced a series of annual awards to members and related aviation service organizations in recognition of the effort and appreciation of the service and support provided over the past year. A sample of the classifications include: Most helpful control tower, maintenance shop, aviation watering hole, and GA champion. See http://www.aopa.co.nz/page.php?id=100
AOPA-New Zealand President Hamish Ross notes, “Whilst the awards have a humorous and fun factor the nominees and recipients should enjoy the recognition and the accolade.”
Transport Canada (TC) has provided notice that it plans to impose Class F restricted airspace in the low altitude structure to accommodate Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) operations. TC cites increasing pressure from the UAS community for airspace access and the following as the primary rationale for this measure: “Currently, unmanned aircraft are unable to present a level of compliance with Air Traffic Management (ATM) communications, navigation and surveillance requirements equivalent to that for manned aircraft.”
This move will materially affect general aviation operations given that large parcels of airspace could be affected. It has been IAOPA’s position in ICAO forums that remotely piloted aircraft (RPA) not be permitted to operate in civil airspace until they are able to meet the basic requirements of all aircraft, especially the requirement to incorporate technology that would permit their ability to sense-and-avoid other aircraft. Restricting manned aircraft from the freedom to use the airspace to accommodate RPAs is not only a bad precedent but a safety hazard.
Kevin Psutka, COPA president comments, “UAV operators are pushing hard for airspace to test their aircraft and they want it to be conveniently located so that they do not have to travel too far from their development facilities. This airspace typically is located near where we live and fly. For example, there are two existing restricted areas in Alberta and there is a desire to connect them with a corridor, which would cut across several east-west flyways for GA traffic going across Canada. In addition, our antiquated NOTAM system cannot be relied upon for ensuring that all pilots are informed of temporary restricted airspace activation. Until such time as sense-and-avoid has been developed, these operations should, at a minimum, be conducted in airspace that is in very remote parts of our country.”
The World Assembly business program is nearly complete. If you have topics for discussion, please send them to email@example.com as soon as possible. This promises to be one of our most significant assemblies—don’t miss it.
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IAOPA eNews is published monthly by the International Council of Aircraft Owner and Pilot Associations for the use of its affiliate members in representing and advocating general aviation and aerial work interests worldwide.