IAOPA Regional Meeting, Seven Oaks, UK May 12-13, 2023

IAOPA Regional Meeting, Seven Oaks, UK May 12-13, 2023

Our flight back from Stansted was delayed, giving me some ‘free’ time to leaf through the AOPA UK magazine for inspiration and to jot down my thoughts about the last two days.

It’s true we get updated on what is going on in GA by reading the various AOPA magazines, subscribing to newsletters, emails, going on the EASA website etc but having attended the IAOPA Regional Meeting, I felt it all come alive. We could have easily continued for another few days – there was so much content!

The participants, despite not being large in number, made up for it with their weight – that is to say, with their knowledge, expertise and experience. While there were some heated moments during the discussions, the overall exchange was professional and fruitful. It gave me, a total newbie, a front row seat to watch the drive and passion these members have to uphold the mission of AOPA –  ‘freedom to fly’.

Their commitment and involvement in the various subjects presented is unwavering and it was a joy to be present. I am forever humbled knowing that I have so much to learn and may never be able to amass their level of detail and knowledge in these intricate topics however this makes me even more committed to support them in any way I can.

Here’s a snapshot of the discussions and some great links:

Avgas: Developments in the USA and Europe: From 100 LL to unleaded and then to e-fuel?

There is still no fully approved alternative for 100LL but AOPA is optimistic that a solution will come in time. The US will phase out 100LL by 2030 and there is a government funded Piston Aviation Fuel Program (PAFP) in place. There are a couple of types of fuels being tested but there needs to be an industry standard with only one fuel type and AOPA USA is facilitating in getting the industry to move forward on this. It seems part of the delay may be due to pending patents which need to be bullet proof before any details can be disclosed. Here is a link to the AOPA UK website with more information as well as a link to a podcast that took place during the last AERO Friedrichshafen: TEL-INFO (aopa.co.uk) and Die Zukunft von Avgas: bleifrei? CO2-neutral? – fliegermagazin

Airport access via crew card in France

If you have a French license and you are an active AOPA France member, you can apply for a crew card (Carte CIME) in France, giving you access to 79 aerodromes that are open to commercial aviation. Thanks to the hard work and perseverance of AOPA France, where they noticed that in the European regulations, private pilots and freelance commercial pilots were being excluded access to airfields. This has now been rectified and AOPA France has been given the ability to request national crew cards, valid throughout Europe. The caveat being that these can only be used to access a plane with the intent to fly or when returning from a flight – thus it is not a TCA card (like ours at ELLX). While the procedures may seem very similar, it is important to keep in mind that a TCA is issued by the airport management whereas the crew card is issued by AOPA. If you are interested, please visit: CIME – AOPA FRANCE, Pour circuler librement sur les grands terrains, faites- en la demande dès maintenant ! | AOPA France

Harmonization of lower European airspace

GA in The Netherlands is under pressure due to airspace infringements however the airspace is not harmonized but rather fragmented, complex and with limited FIS services. There is a new IAOPA working group in place to look for a single European solution. Stan de Graaf from Eurocontrol will discuss in more detail at our next regional meeting.

Coordinated European air to air frequencies

Thanks to the negotiation skills of AOPA Switzerland and their active participation in a working group, two new frequencies for air to air communications have been approved by Eurocontrol when originally only one was envisaged. The communication can be done in any chosen language but requires 8.33 kHz frequency. These frequencies, while established cannot be used until they appear in the AIP of the country where they are intended to be used – so keep your eyes peeled. Other frequencies than those published must not be used as many seemingly free channels are used for ACARS data transmission. The old 123.45 is not to be used as this is no longer an active frequency for voice communication.