IAOPA eNews June 2008

The IAOPA World Assembly Set to Open in Athens | IAOPA Tells Aviation Security Panel Meeting of Security Training Measures | Eurocontrol Issues Airspace Infringement Workshop Recommendations | ICAO Facilitation Panel Recommends Efficient Airport GA Services | GAO Report Encourages FAA to Expedite UAS Plans | Radio Spectrum Allocation Conference Approaches | Plan to Attend the 24th IAOPA World Assembly in Athens, Greece, 9-14 June 2008 |

The IAOPA World Assembly Set to Open in Athens

By the time this newsletter reaches you many delegates from IAOPA affiliates around the world will be streaming toward Athens, Greece to participate in the 24th IAOPA World Assembly.

A variety of subjects critical to general aviation interests will be discussed, including, airspace allocation, regulatory formation, taxes, the environment, a number of updates on unmanned aerial vehicles, security, safety, and light sport aircraft.  Speakers from ICAO, the European Commission, Eurocontrol, and European Aviation Safety Agency will provide delegates with the latest information on a range of essential subjects.

There is still time to participate in this important event. Plan to arrive in Athens not later than 10 June and get a reservation at the assembly hotel. We can register you on-site; just bring a desire to discuss the future of world general aviation and your fellow delegates will help you succeed!  For more information, see http://www.aopa.gr/en. See you in Athens.

IAOPA Tells Aviation Security Panel Meeting of Security Training Measures

IAOPA Secretary General John Sheehan told the ICAO Aviation Security Panel at its May annual meeting in Montreal that IAOPA is concerned about security issues and has made available to its affiliates web-based interactive training and information tools to alert general aviation pilots and operators to measures designed to protect against unlawful interference with their aircraft.

These materials use the AOPA-US Airport Watch Program and General Aviation Security Online Course to sensitize pilots and owners to possible suspicious people and situations they may observe at general aviation airports. These products are available free of charge to any pilot or operator worldwide at www.aopa.org/security. While they were developed for a US audience the principles involved are largely universal and applicable worldwide.

Sheehan told the conference, “We feel that the voluntary measures advocated in these materials appeal to a pilot’s and operator’s self-interest and will yield better security results than a series of detailed regulations and restrictions. The philosophy behind the training materials is to gain the support of all general aviation personnel in preventing unlawful acts of interference associated with this unique form of transportation. While some details are State-specific, the majority of the information portrayed is universal in nature. We encourage all pilots and owners to view and heed the principles set forth in these materials.”

A broad range of security issues were discussed at the meeting but none had any significant impact on general aviation operations. However, conversations with a number of delegates indicated an interest in making general aviation subject to additional regulation in some States. Therefore, regular contact between affiliates and State security organizations is recommended.

Eurocontrol Issues Airspace Infringement Workshop Recommendations

As a consequence of last year’s airspace infringement study, an industry workshop was held at Eurocontrol’s Brussels headquarters in January to devise ways to improve airspace “busts.”  IAOPA Europe’s Deputy Vice President Martin Robinson told the workshop that very few infringements result in a loss of separation of aircraft, showing that the see-and-avoid separation methods still work.  He noted that as commercial air transport aircraft operate in increasing amounts at smaller regional aerodromes these aircraft are operating under IFR control in Class G airspace, a situation not permitted under ICAO standards. Finally, he advocated better airspace design policies and the use of standardized airspace classification among States to prevent airspace infringements.

The workshop report – advocated a large number of measures to reduce infringements, some of which were amenable to IAOPA Europe. In comments to Eurocontrol’s recommendations in the report, IAOPA Regional Vice President Ruedi Gerber agreed with much of its content, noting:

  • Automated infringement detection mechanisms should be subject to a cost vs. benefit study prior to implementation.

  • Strong support to recommendations to initiate universal airspace type standardization.

  • Recommended improvements to aeronautical and flight information services be funded with existing fuel tax revenues and not new user charges.

ICAO Facilitation Panel Recommends Efficient Airport GA Services

After years of effort by Lars Hjelmberg of AOPA-Sweden and Frank Hofmann, IAOPA Representative to ICAO, the ICAO Facilitation Panel has recognized the unique needs of general aviation in navigating the intricacies of international arrivals and departures at airports. A major change has been proposed to ICAO Annex 9, Facilitation, at the April 2008 Facilitation Panel meeting that, in part, provides direction to airport operators in dealing with the comings and goings of general aviation aircraft: 

6.19 Recommended Practice — Airport operators and public authorities should provide efficient services for general aviation operators or their agent(s) concerning their operational and administrative requirements.   

While this is a recommendation (versus a standard) and general in nature, it provides valuable guidance to governments and airports regarding the treatment of general aviation aircraft at international facilities.

Affiliates should mention to their national authorities and airport operators that this proposal represents essential guidance for the treatment of general aviation operations. Facilities and clearance processes for general aviation operations are often overlooked or neglected at international facilities; this addition is a clear statement that will draw attention to our needs.

GAO Report Encourages FAA to Expedite UAS Plans

The US General Accountability Office recently released a report that looks at the issues involved in integrating a large number of unmanned aircraft and their associated systems (UAS) into the national airspace system.

The report notes, “…Understanding the issues, trends, and influences of UASs will be critical in strategically planning for the future airspace system. FAA is making progress in addressing the challenges.…Moving forward, issuing FAA’s long-awaited program plan should benefit the aviation community by communicating FAA’s strategy of how it plans to address the interactive complexities and unique properties of UASs and how it plans to leverage the resources of multiple entities that have expertise and experience in this area.… However, analyzing the data that it already has collected from recent UAS operations would further support decisions on the new regulations. FAA’s new estimate that the regulatory framework is not likely to be completed until sometime near 2020—about 8 years later than the date assumed by the industry forecast cited in this report—could further delay the time frame when civil-use UAS production begins to increase.”

Action steps mentioned in the plan include: “Congress should consider creating an overarching body within FAA, as it did when it established JPDO, to coordinate federal, academic, and private-sector efforts in meeting the safety challenges of allowing routine UAS access to the national airspace system. To obtain further benefits from UASs, we are recommending that the Secretary of Transportation direct the FAA Administrator to expedite efforts to ensure that UASs have routine access to the national airspace system….”

Radio Spectrum Allocation Conference Approaches

Every four to six years the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) meets to determine how to reallocate the electromagnetic frequency spectrum.  While seemingly a vast number of radio frequencies are available, commercial demands on this spectrum has created a growing scarcity of communications channels to be available. This means that aviation interests, among others, must increasingly compete for these scarce resources.

The next World Radiocommunication Conference (WRC), to be held in 2011, is set to reallocate these frequency assignments. Aviation interests  will have to work with their State telecommunications agencies to ensure that existing aviation frequencies are not reallocated to other interests and to ensure that emerging aviation technologies requiring additional spectrum are fully support in the WRC.

Affiliates should work with their national authorities to understand existing and emerging requirements and work to ensure aviation, in particular general aviation, needs are adequately accommodated. IAOPA will publish frequency allocation issues as they become known over the next few years.  2011 may seem like it is far into the future but the amount of coordination and negotiation required to provide a coherent proposal to the WRC often takes many years to accomplish.

Plan to attend the 24th IAOPA World Assembly

The International Council of Aircraft Owner and Pilot Associations represents the interests of more than 470,000 pilots and aircraft owners in 66 countries. Formed in 1962, IAOPA is dedicated to promoting the peaceful uses of general aviation and aerial work worldwide.

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.

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