IAOPA eNews September 2010

IAOPA Europe Continues to Influence the SESAR Programme | IAOPA World Assembly Featured in AOPA Magazines | IAOPA to Exhibit at AOPA-US Summit Meeting | German GA Airfield Remains Under Threat of Closure | UK NPPL Now Valid In France | New President for AOPA-Colombia | AOPA-Philippines Presents Safety Seminar

IAOPA Comments on ICAO Draft UAS Guidance

An international working group is nearing completion on a draft document outlining worldwide guidance for operating unmanned aircraft in the same civilian airspace as manned aircraft. The working group, convened by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), will provide information about unmanned aerial systems (UAS) and remotely piloted vehicles (RPA), as well as precautions and a long list of other considerations that need to be taken into account before integrating manned and unmanned aircraft into the same civil airspace.

Frank Hofmann, the IAOPA Representative to ICAO and a member of the working group that has created the draft document, said, "This guidance is an important step forward, but it is the detailed work still to come as a result of the guidance that will lead to rules guaranteeing safety and equitable access to airspace."

Hofmann emphasized a number of points important to general aviation operators, including:

  • Operating rules for UAS must take into account their potential impact on general aviation aircraft operating in un-segregated airspace. While segregated airspace contains operations subject to air traffic control, un-segregated airspace depends almost entirely on certain Annex 2 cruising altitude conventions and mutual self-separation methods. Because self-separation methods for UAS are still in the conceptual stage and will likely require some time to perfect, there will be a temptation to impose un-segregated airspace restrictions on manned aircraft to accommodate RPA. Since un-segregated airspace is almost entirely the domain of general aviation, we do not want this to occur.
  • State or military UAS must abide by whatever UAS operating rules are devised to ensure safe, hazard-free operations. Because non-civil UAS operations may wish to use lower altitude un-segregated airspace, there could be a tendency for States and the military to pre-empt conventional flight rules in these areas, either on a temporary or permanent basis.
  • The concept of visual line-of-sight (VLOS) control appears to be a reasonable short-term solution to UAS operations within a limited area. However, the term "VLOS" must be better defined to establish practical limits for range and altitude separating operator and RPA, regardless of size.
  • There is an emerging trend in certain States to classify RPA by weight and/or size with apparent intent to reduce operating limitations on the devices. We perceive this as a dangerous trend since the combined kinetic energy generated between even a 2-3 kg. RPA and a light aircraft can easily cause catastrophic collision damage.
  • State and operator Safety Management Systems must serve as the ultimate guide for individual UAS operations. Without employing risk assessment and mitigation techniques for each operation resulting safety margins may easily prove unacceptable.
  • Finally, sense-and-avoid systems for RPA will provide the key for safe operations, especially in un-segregated airspace. These must be independent, stand-alone systems that do not rely on an SSR transponder or ADS-B device carried by manned aircraft, since many general aviation aircraft do not carry this equipment and would have difficulty doing so.

Hofmann noted that while significant challenges still exist, manned and unmanned aircraft can coexist if appropriate precautions are developed and adhered to as ICAO member countries draft regulations for integrating unmanned aircraft into civilian airspace.

IAOPA Europe Continues to Influence the SESAR Programme

IAOPA Europe has been instrumental in ensuring GA's voice, methods and operations are represented in the European SESAR (Single European Sky Air Traffic Management Research) programme. SESAR is a pan-European 15 year programme, funded by the European Commission and many industry stakeholders, charged with developing the new ATM system for Europe. During this development phase of SESAR, IAOPA is one of several airspace users inputting technical and operational expertise into each of the 250+ projects in SESAR. The IAOPA bid to assist with the execution phase of this work has been accepted by SESAR and a major contract awarded in which IAOPA will provide significant manpower to ensure interoperability for GA operations, identifying future benefits at reasonable cost.

AOPA-Germany and IAOPA Europe Deputy Vice President Michael Erb notes, “In the broadest terms, we believe this will result in a clear statement on how the European ATM system will look for GA in the future. The devil is often in the details, and the major advantage of this SESAR support is that IAOPA will be able to influence those details alongside other major players in European ATM. We look forward to supporting the SESAR work programme in its initiatives, whilst setting the direction for GA towards a positive and viable ATM system."

IAOPA World Assembly Featured in AOPA Magazines

Articles featuring the recent Tel Aviv IAOPA World Assembly are now available in AOPA-UK General Aviation and the USA AOPA Pilot.

IAOPA to Exhibit at AOPA-US Summit Meeting

The IAOPA staff will be at its exhibit to greet you at the AOPA-US Summit in Long Beach, California, 11-13 November 2010. The Aviation Summit is a three-day event, full of aviation-themed action for all ages and levels of aviation enthusiasm. No matter if you're a student pilot, have had your pilot certificate for decades, or still have your feet firmly planted on the ground but have always kept an eye high in the sky, there is plenty to see and do.

From Airportfest to educational forums and a 500-booth exhibit hall, AOPA Summit brings pilots everything that is relevant to their flying. AOPA Summit attracts industry leaders and policy makers and hosts discussions on critical issues that impact the General Aviation industry.

Come visit with your IAOPA staff and other international AOPA affiliates at this great event. For more information see www.aopa.org/summit.

German GA Airfield Remains Under Threat of Closure

(Excerpted from IAOPA Europe eNewsletter) “AOPA-Germany would like to draw your attention to their battle to preserve the only paved and unrestricted airfield in the Munich area for general aviation.

“The future of Fürstenfeldbruck is not just an issue for pilots in Bavaria or in Germany. Fürsti is a vital link in the network of airfields that makes general aviation a feasible travel option for all of us. If Fürsti is lost, we are all diminished. We are all fighting to keep our airfields open, but the battle for Fürsti is the most important such campaign in Europe at present.

“Many pilots have sent emails to the would-be operators of Fürsti, the car company BMW, pointing out that GA pilots are not helpless, that they spend serious money on cars, that BMW has many rivals who produce good vehicles, and that they will in future take BMW's behaviour over Fürsti into account when making car purchase decisions. There has been some success with this approach, especially given that a large number of GA pilots control car fleets, and a Europe-wide approach may make the difference between success and failure. Contact details are at the end of this enews.

“There is no need for BMW to shut GA out of Fürsti. AOPA-Germany has demonstrated that the test track they wish to establish there could live in harmony with aviation; we only want to be allowed to keep one small corner of the former military airbase. BMW's dog-in-the-manger attitude is extraordinary, coming from a company with a strong aviation heritage – BMW engines powered some of the best aircraft of the piston fighter era, their badge is a stylised propeller, and they house their Gulfstream and Falcon corporate jets at Munich International – which is not available to GA.

“Fürsti had the support of the Bavarian Government to be Munich's GA airport until three years ago, when BMW demanded to use the airport as a test track for cars. There need be no conflict, as there is ample room on the airport for all. But BMW, which has enormous political influence in Bavaria, wanted it all and refused to speak to GA. Operations at Fürsti had to stop on June 22nd when the military abandoned the airport while civilian certification was still pending. The Bavarian Administration Court is expected to rule this autumn on the political and administrative processes which led to the current situation. AOPA-Germany and Munich Flying Club are shareholders of the Fürsti operating company, which is suing the Bavarian Government over the certification process and the closure of Fürsti. They have high hopes of winning the case.

“This affects you because Fürsti is an important link in the European aviation chain which, once broken, cannot be repaired. To put it in terms that BMW can understand, it's like closing the only service station on a motorway – it would make driving impossible. It's not a local issue. “Are you considering buying a new car? Do you want to buy a car from a manufacturer that is actively engaged in destroying a GA airport? Please voice your opinion to BMW via e-mail to [email protected] or [email protected].Local BMW dealers will want to hear what has influenced their buying-decision, so they can report to the BMW HQ. Please send a copy to [email protected]."

UK NPPL Now Valid In France

The UK Civil Aviation Authority has today announced that holders of a National Private Pilot Licence (NPPL) with Simple Single Engine Aeroplane (SSEA) ratings can now fly in France. Following an agreement with the Direction Génerale de l'Aviation Civile (DGAC), an NPPL holder in possession of an SSEA rating, a Class 2 Medical Certificate and a certificate confirming a minimum level of experience (administered by NPLG Ltd), are free to fly the English Channel and enter French airspace.

The NPPL was introduced in 2002 aimed strictly at leisure flyers. The medical requirements were less stringent than the Private Pilots Licence (PPL) but holders were restricted to daytime, VFR flying within the UK. Following consultation with GA organizations, the CAA successfully lobbied its French counterpart to allow NPPL holders access to French airspace. AOPA-UK has advocated this move for some years.

New President for AOPA-Colombia

AOPA-Colombia has elected a new President, Sancho Obregon. Mr. Obregon notes that his predecessor, Alfredo Gracia, held this office for a number of years during which he performed admirably.

The new contact information is:

AOPA-Philippines Presents Safety Seminar

On 16 July AOPA-Philippines held a special safety seminar at the Air Link Aero Club in Pasay City, Philippines. The seminar covered a variety of safety topics but focused on the title of the event, “Wet Weather Flying 2010." After introductory remarks by the AOPA-Philippines Board of Trustee Members, safety topics were discussed, including, accident statistics, instrument flying, hydroplaning, wet weather flying techniques, and safety management. AOPA-Philippines President and IAOPA Asian Regional Vice President Capt. Geronimo Amurao and his son, Gomeriano, made presentations and participated in the discussions. Capt. Amurao noted, “We are pleased with this seminar and look forward to others in the future."

The International Council of Aircraft Owner and Pilot Associations represents the interests of more than 470,000 pilots and aircraft owners in 68 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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