Well, the way I understand it, it is not necessarily immediately binding. Countries can opt-out (called a derogation) for up to two years. And as with everything EASA, countries seem to opt for the maximum derogation in all cases.
Yes, but the derogation is part of the implementing regulation so the regulation itself is still binding from Dec 4, 2012.
It looks like an interesting compromise where each country had to give in on something and from my preliminary reading, the compromise looks quite good.
For VFR night, the countries that do not allow it prevailed. It is up to each member state to allow VFR night.
The biggest thing for Germany is IFR in airspace G. Currently it is prohibited (which is the reason we have this odd airspace F for aerodromes with IFR procedures but without control zones). The SERA text is pretty clear about IFR being allowed in airspace G. Let's hope Germany will respect that and not come up with some BS loophole.
Unfortunately, the aircraft equipment is not defined in SERA, it is still up to the member state. Germany requires a DME on board for all IFR aircraft within its airspace whereas France only requires a DME when the procedure demands it.
I wonder what will happen with the odd way the UK handle airspace A. From the SERA text, there is no way a VFR flight can ever enter airspace A. Let's hope the UK will convert their airspace A to airspace B (currently example of where the UK allows VFR in airspace A is Jersey).
There are more examples of 'SVFR' in class A. Helicopters operate VFR in Heathrow zone on a regular basis and it is not uncommon to get a VFR transit through it on some routes. It might be easier to get a VFR transit through Heathrow class A than class C in Frankfurt.
I am confused by the concept of SERA. I may be missing something and am very willing to be educated It seems to me that in the UK, we have the Air Navigation Order that differs from SERA. Other European countries have their own version of the ANO which differs from our ANO...and SERA. All that seems to be happening, is that each country is adopting SERA- except for those bits that differ from their national rules of the air. For the bits that differ, we register some form of national non conformance/exemption from SERA and we end up with our ANO but called SERA. What will be "standardized" about this?
SERA is like all things in politics and marketing: a name. Many trees had been sacrificed on the altar of bureaucracy. We have ICAO as basis and a SERA (with alterations to ICAO) and an ANO based on SERA (with alterations). It is a step into a single european sky, but as long as local regulations are possible not a real progress. Isn't it time for a Scottish ANO or a Bavarian exemption to add regional flair?
My understanding is that the mandatory bits of EU regs have to be incorporated into national laws, so the ANO will have to be amended where necessary.
The ANO will still be the ANO as prosecutions have to be done in the UK and UK courts can work only with UK laws.
ICAO permits VFR in any Class A which touches the ground. That is how VFR works across the Heathrow zone, and to the Channel Islands. It is called SVFR.
There are just two countries in Europe which have lots of Class A: UK and Italy, and in neither case for any good apparent reason. It could be Class D...
However all these things have developed over decades and are hard to change. For example the UK IMC Rating allows IFR in Classes D,E,F,G which conveniently keeps IMC Rated pilots out of the most busy airspace, and fits in well with the way IFR is operated in the UK, with London Control dealing only with Eurocontrol-IFR flights (which need the full IR). It enabled the IMCR to be born and to stay, without massive political issues arising, despite the IMCR being a full IR in all but name when you look at the actual privileges (the full IR differs only in not having the UK-only restriction, not having the 1800m min vis requirement for takeoff or landing, and not having the no-Class-A restriction).
Most of this stuff is not really logical and would never have been done if starting with a clean sheet, but it is almost impossible to unravel now.
Being able to fly VFR at night is useful to pilots of aircraft over 1999kg and to pilots whose licenses prohibit IFR under any conditions (many or most non UK pilots, visiting the UK, I guess).
It also resolves the long standing grey area of whether the holder of an FAA PPL (which is absolutely VFR only) can fly on it in the UK at night.
@Duckeggblue: SERA is the initiative to have a common ANO for all EU members. And member countries cannot just implement the parts they like. SERA is a EU regulation and thus law in all EU countries.
Of course the countries now have until 2014 to build political pressure to change the parts they don't like. However, SERA looks very reasonable to me -- the UK VFR in airspace A is as much nonsense as no IFR in airspace G in Germany.
SERA is an EU regulation (or to be precise: an implementing regulation). EU regulations are valid law in all member countries, no need to cut and paste into local law.
EU directives are the ones that need to be transcribed.
I didn't know ICAO permitted VFR in airspace A. SERA surely does not do it (and defines SVFR clearly as taking place in a control zone). I guess it should be trivial for the UK to rename its airspace A to airspace B. The German CAA will have a very hard time implementing IFR in airspace G, for decades they have been convinced that it is totally impossible and extremely dangerous.
SERA doesn't replace laws, it is an additional regulation.