Primarily for general aviation discussion, but other aviation topics are also welcome.
#908835
From IAOPA:


'Grandfather rights' changes the regulatory landscape

IAOPA is seeking advice from its Brussels lawyers over an EASA statement to the effect that it has no power to abolish any established national practice – a statement which opens up a whole new vista of regulatory possibility. The statement was made during a meeting to discuss the UK’s IMC rating, which Britain wants to retain but which some other European countries do not want. EASA’s representatives said anyone in Britain who had an IMC rating would be allowed to continue using it for life because EASA did not have the power to take away any privilege already granted by a national authority.
IAOPA’s lawyers have been asked to unearth the precise wording of whatever EU law allows this – it is certainly not aviation law – but it seems to offer a solution to some of the intractable problems associated with harmonising licences. In France it could allow the continuation of the brevet de base, which the rest of Europe does not want. For the UK, as well as the IMC rating it might solve the problem of the Basic Commercial Pilots Licence, a national licence which allows PPL instructors to carry on doing their jobs.
Martin Robinson says: “This is such a seismic shift in EASA’s position that it must be fully clarified in plain language. Often EASA hides behind legal semantics, a dreadful position to be in when you’re making aviation safety rules, and you can read many things into what they say. But this is too important.”
The UK IMC rating is a course of at least 15 hours which pilots are encouraged to complete after their PPL. It teaches them to keep control of an aircraft in IMC, and to return safely to the ground using whatever instrument approach is available. Tens of thousands of British pilots have obtained the rating over the past 40 years, and it is seen as one of the main reasons why the UK’s safety rate is so good, despite its unpredictable maritime climate. EASA’s one-size-fits-all approach means the IMC rating cannot be adopted across Europe because some countries do not allow IMC flight outside controlled airspace. AOPA UK, with the backing of the UK CAA, seeks to preserve the IMC rating for future generations of pilots as well as those with ‘grandfather rights’.
#908864
It could be the start of an 'escape hatch' from the mess they and we are in - IF they want it to be - but equally, it could be the weasel words we tend to expect - as I've said since the start, EASA are NOT going to end our IMC rating, they never have said that, they never will. They have just threatened to stop the use of the IMC rating in EASA maintained aircraft which is basically where most would want to use it.

You have to remember it's all political, not practical. If it suddenly becomes politically expedient to let us use IMC ratings in EASA aircraft in UK airspace or beyond, then they will find a way to let us do that, (and this may or may not be it) but until they do so, it's no good anyone accusing them of trying to take away the IMC rating itself, they will always truthfully deny that.
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By KNT754G
#909042
It kind of puts the whole basis of EASA on a shaky footing doesn't it?
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By ray
#910029
KNT754G wrote:It kind of puts the whole basis of EASA on a shaky footing doesn't it?


Best thing I've heard in ages ;-)
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By Keef
#910123
Never underestimate the wiles of a wily fox!

If you look at the utter mess and confusion that is "aircraft maintenance and airworthiness" regulation, you can see the dead hand of many politicians in there. But wily they are! Franz Kafka had their number, 60+ years ago.

If it were not so, there would be one set of rules: what's safe is safe, and applies to all GA - microlight, Annex 2, permit, touring, etc. The expert checkers would be in hangars checking work and what the engineers are doing. The fact that the checkers are mostly unemployed auditors checking that paperwork has been filled in correctly - that says it all.
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By Timothy
#910139
I see some danger in this approach by AOPA.

If they use the reprieve of the IMCR as a stick to beat EASA into the long grass on other issues, they may well end up being told "our mistake, keeping the IMCR would be illegal."

It's what "Yes, Minister" would have described as a "courageous decision" by Martin.
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By Irv Lee
#910160
Timothy wrote:I see some danger in this approach by AOPA.

If they use the reprieve of the IMCR as a stick to beat EASA into the long grass on other issues, they may well end up being told "our mistake, keeping the IMCR would be illegal."

It's what "Yes, Minister" would have described as a "courageous decision" by Martin.

Are you announcing 'the reprieve of the IMCR' Timothy?
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By nickwilcock
#910191
Actually, some of us were pretty certain that the EASA 'Opinion' allowed such grandfathering, but the CAA held an alternative interpretation.

At our meeting with FCL.008, it became clear that the AOPA view was correct and that the CAA would indeed have the right to issue EASA part-FCL IRs (restricted to IMCR privileges, for use only in UK airspace) to existing UK IMCR holders. The CAA representative asked for confirmation; it was given.

Of course this doesn't meet AOPA's position for post-2012 IMCR issue and we will continue to work on this once we see the formal NPA.

Martin is indeed correct to seek a proper legal opinion; I am currently working on another area of EASA part-FCL proposals at the CAA's request - the position of a single comma in the associated part-FCL proposal has enormous significance in this particular area! Poor 'Jinglish' drafting has caused this; my colleague reckons that his interpretation would stand up in court and I agree. So yes, there is often a considerable difference between what these footling €urocrats meant to write and what they've actually written!
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By peter272
#910213
Why are we looking just at the IMC? if this is the case surely it also means EASA and therefore the CAA cannot downgrade the UK-PPL to a sub-ICAO licence.
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By ray
#910314
peter272 wrote:Why are we looking just at the IMC? if this is the case surely it also means EASA and therefore the CAA cannot downgrade the UK-PPL to a sub-ICAO licence.


Now we're talking :-)
#921278
an EASA statement to the effect that it has no power to abolish any established national practice

anyone got a timeline on this revelation in relation to the day that all the countries except one (France) voted against and therefore threw out the idea of the Basic LAPL (the replacement for the French Brevet).
Was it a couple of hours, couple of days, or a couple of weeks, once the French got upset?
By bookworm
#921301
Irv Lee wrote:anyone got a timeline on this revelation in relation to the day that all the countries except one (France) voted against and therefore threw out the idea of the Basic LAPL (the replacement for the French Brevet).
Was it a couple of hours, couple of days, or a couple of weeks, once the French got upset?


I'm not sure quite what you're asking about. The Basic LAPL in the EASA Opinion ran into difficulties in the October Committology meeting, and I don't think it was presented again in December.

The "revelation" in the original post doesn't seem to tally with the recollections of other participants at the same meeting.
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By Irv Lee
#921318
bookworm wrote:I'm not sure quite what you're asking about.

I was mulling over the possibility of the 'rabbit out of a hat' of finding some (as yet not properly explained) magic EU way of preserving traditional use of national ratings, licences, practices etc was in some way linked to the French suddenly realising they might not be getting something that they want to preserve.

It would be quite revealing if, after what must be man-decades or man-centuries of words and work from the UK on 'save the IMC' (with little movement over 2 or is it 3 elapsed years?), suddenly, within hours/days/weeks of an established French practice coming under a realistic threat, what might be a magic wand is said to be found hiding in a EU dusty corner.
By bookworm
#921331
Irv Lee wrote:I was mulling over the possibility of the 'rabbit out of a hat' of finding some (as yet not properly explained) magic EU way of preserving traditional use of national ratings, licences, practices etc was in some way linked to the French suddenly realising they might not be getting something that they want to preserve.


I see what you mean. Undoubtedly some sort of grandfathering transition is possible, but IMO the idea that the EU "has no power to end national privileges" is plain wrong. EASA simply prepares the draft regulations for the EU, and with some notable exceptions, it has been mindful of the status quo.

The comment in the minutes regarding the Basic LAPL appear to be these:

In addition, ways have been found to allow student pilots preparing for obtaining a fully fledged LAPL to fly without instructor within limited geographical areas. This will allow continuing the activities of many aero-clubs in Europe.

I think that just means that the vast majority of member states agreed with your opinion on the Basic LAPL, and that anything sub-LAPL will have to be done as student solo.

As Nick says above, the NPA will make the plans for instrument flying qualifications post-2012 clear. The key is going to be balancing the legitimate needs of current IMC-rating holders with those of a generation of pilots who have yet to get an instrument qualification of any sort.
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By Irv Lee
#921339
bookworm wrote: but IMO the idea that the EU "has no power to end national privileges" is plain wrong.

yes, but there's no need to say that out loud is there...? Can't we all stand there and tell the Emperor what wonderful clothes he is wearing and of course, if he says the T-shirt he is wearing has a slogan saying he has no power to end national practices, then why tell him he hasn't got a T-shirt? ;-)