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What has EASA actually done for us?

I am picking this up from here

People always moaned at their national CAA but at least EASA had the opportunity to do a better job, avoiding a lot of the “CAA” issues e.g.

  • traditionally, much CAA staff came from the national air force (“we beat the Germans with a map and a compass, in WW1 and again in WW2 so nobody needs GPS” etc etc, plus a lot of attitudes don’t reflect the real world of GA because in the Forces you are working within a tight framework)
  • there was much job creation going on
  • much regulation was “owned” by one or another old but well established individual, who nobody would dare challenge (PCL in the UK is one example, where some old geezer decided that the aero bands were for voice and not for remote control of lights)

With EASA we got

  • poorly drafted regulation (even many national CAAs don’t understand some of it)
  • regulation without a clear place to find the current version
  • regulators have loads of power (the EU itself) and there was some amazing arrogance, with the “high point” being a London conference on the IMC Rating, in which Sivel said, to about 100-200 people, “I like the IMCR but can’t say that openly so please don’t quote me”… in the name of standardisation which is what Europe is all about, you can keep the IMCR if every other country wants it too (knowing perfectly well this was a totally bogus offer).
  • a lot of their staff was recruited from national Part 21 companies, hence the anal approach to certification / looking after their old mates (e.g. Eric Sivel came from that background; one 145 owner I knew had a load of certificates signed by Sivel on the wall, plus I met him personally for a couple of hours, across a table, so I saw where he came from)

Only very recently have things improved a bit…

Administrator
Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

To recognise that EASA doesn’t have full control, it’s usual to describe the “EASA System” as the combination of EASA itself, Member states and their NAAs, and the Commission.

I think the first 10 years of the EASA System was characterised by a rush to standardisation at the expense of optimisation. We got standard rules, but bad rules, particularly for GA. I think the majority would probably agree that the EU bit off more than it could chew in the early days, and only incidents like the Brexit referendum wakes the EU up to the idea that there is a cost to that.

The last 4 years of the EASA System have been very different. While one can argue that it’s just fixing what it previously broke, I think it has gone further than that in a way that individual member states would find it hard to do.

I agree with your assertion that the regulation is poorly drafted, and it is difficult to find current versions — though there is a project ongoing to bring the level of sophistication of the regulatory library into… well at least the 1990s in terms of IT tools. :)

I disagree that “regulators have load of power”. One of the problems is that power is very distributed, which leads to uncertainty and unpredictability. Often, EASA proposes a race horse which is then turned into a donkey by the Member States. That makes EASA rather shy sometimes.

The approach to certification is endemic in the global aviation system. The rules and processes are not much better elsewhere, even in the US, but the size of the market makes the resulting pain more bearable. The problem is that changes need to happen globally too, and the other players are just as reluctant (if not more so) to shift from the status quo.

I think the majority would probably agree that the EU bit off more than it could chew in the early days, and only incidents like the Brexit referendum wakes the EU up to the idea that there is a cost to that.

I agree, but that’s quite a statement, isn’t it? Basically, “early days” is 1975-2016

We do have that Brexit thread for more specific stuff but let’s hope that we get better (I’d say “less arrogant”) regulation as a result. The “% OUT” in polls is not far off 50% in most EU member states…

The last 4 years of the EASA System have been very different. While one can argue that it’s just fixing what it previously broke, I think it has gone further than that in a way that individual member states would find it hard to do.

That’s true. However isn’t that due to one particular individual (Ky) or would you say he is just good at getting the credit?

It’s difficult to compare the US Field Approval system with EASA options. Having done US FSDO Field Approvals from here (UK) I know well that that system doesn’t work over here, but it works generally well over there (not least due to “FSDO shopping” making it easier). OTOH the US has arguably no obligation to support non US based aircraft owners with that service.

Administrator
Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

What has EASA done for us?

Well, here’s an obvious one, taken from the consolidated version of the 148-page COMMISSION REGULATION (EU) No 965/2012 (This document is meant purely as a documentation tool and the institutions do not assume any liability for its contents):

NCO.OP.100 Use of aerodromes and operating sites
The pilot-in-command shall only use aerodromes and operating sites that are adequate for the type of aircraft and operation concerned.

Gosh, thank God for those clever EASA rule-makers; I don’t suppose any of us would have thought of that…

Glenswinton, SW Scotland, United Kingdom

From what I see. Before EASA, GA was widespread, lots of activity everywhere because regulations were simple and freelance mechanics could do stuff. Lot’s of complaints about bureaucracy then also, but those were only the usual complaints. Today a viable private GA is impossible without:

  • A microlight
  • An experimental
  • Some Annex II old aircraft
  • You happen to live in central Germany, but only barely

All in all it’s all bad (for PPL certifies non-Annex II) GA, but excellent for all the other stuff that has nothing to do with EASA. In essence EASA has marginalized themselves out of GA It will take a miracle for it to come back. Maybe the same would have happened without EASA, but nowhere near what is seen today.

Improvements since EASA:

  • Easier IR for PPL
  • Easier Entry level licence (LAPL)
  • Easier to obtain a gliders license
  • Easier transition from gliders to powered aircraft
  • Easier aerobatic license
  • Easier transition of aerobatics from gliders to powered aircraft and vice versa
  • Easier NVFR procedures (in some countries)
  • Establishment of NVFR (in some contries)
  • Easier Maintenance (in most countries), except for complex (i.e. twin turboprop aircraft)
  • Less bureaucracy in validating PPL level licenses by the instructors
  • Much easier exchange of instruments radios and engine monitors and updating equipment according to CS-STAN on basic aircraft
  • Much easier repairs according to standard methods (CS-STAN) on basic aircraft
  • definitely allowing cost sharing / introductory flights in aero clubs by PPL pilots (in some countries)
  • Much easier inner-EASA acceptance of licenses, working privileges, medicals, etc.
  • Much easier familiarisation among SEP / MEP aircraft by the pilot (no FI / CRI required anymore to fly a Robin if you only flew pipers before)
  • Easier certification throughout Europe with CS-23 and even easier with a VLA/LSA.
  • IFR in airspace Golf
  • And a couple more liberties that I need to look up because they don’t impact my direct flying.

Still much work to be done, though, but mostly with local CAAs. For instance freedom for amphibious aircraft….

What LeSving describes is not a phenomen that can be accounted to EASA regulations, as it is observes in the US, too. Of course, if you decide to interpret all legislation to a maximum negative impact regardless of intention, and build rules much more strict than what’s written, then flying broomsticks becomes an alternative. In reallity the vitality of aviation in basic PPL level is a direct funktion on the clubs/schools being able to communicate to the general public and guiding them on their further way to more self-reliant aviation, including assistance to purchase the right aircraft for their flying goals and helping them to achieve those goals.

Anyway the question sounds a little bit like



No offence intended.

Last Edited by mh at 16 Jul 14:22
mh
Inside the sky.
EDXE, EDXF, Germany

mh wrote:

Improvements since EASA:

Easier IR for PPL
Easier Entry level licence (LAPL)
Easier to obtain a gliders license
Easier transition from gliders to powered aircraft
Easier aerobatic license
Easier transition of aerobatics from gliders to powered aircraft and vice versa
Easier NVFR procedures (in some countries)
Establishment of NVFR (in some contries)
Easier Maintenance (in most countries), except for complex (i.e. twin turboprop aircraft)
Less bureaucracy in validating PPL level licenses by the instructors
Much easier exchange of instruments radios and engine monitors and updating equipment according to CS-STAN on basic aircraft
Much easier repairs according to standard methods (CS-STAN) on basic aircraft
definitely allowing cost sharing / introductory flights in aero clubs by PPL pilots (in some countries)
Much easier inner-EASA acceptance of licenses, working privileges, medicals, etc.
Much easier familiarisation among SEP / MEP aircraft by the pilot (no FI / CRI required anymore to fly a Robin if you only flew pipers before)
Easier certification throughout Europe with CS-23 and even easier with a VLA/LSA.
IFR in airspace Golf
And a couple more liberties that I need to look up because they don’t impact my direct flying.
Still much work to be done, though, but mostly with local CAAs. For instance freedom for amphibious aircraft….

I don’t know what to say. The German regulations may have become better, but none of this is true anywhere else.

Easier IR ? I have no idea about that one, but highly doubt it.
Easier Entry level licence (LAPL) No way. The PPL has become 5-7x more expensive the last 25 years, and the rating is less usable today due to other EASA factors. The LAPL is in this respect just a poor excuse.
Easier to obtain a gliders license This has always been easy, and governed by NLF (not the CAA). Today it is also governed by NLF, where NLF act as a “competent authority” under EASA.
Easier transition from gliders to powered aircraft This I don’t know, but glider to microlight is dead easy, much more so than glider to PPL.
Easier aerobatic license No way. There were no rating previously, and this rating is left up to each national AA to handle. This rating is handled by NLF, not EASA.
Easier transition of aerobatics from gliders to powered aircraft and vice versa same no brain no headache situation.
Easier NVFR procedures (in some countries) No way. The Norwegian CAA had to issue a separate regulation to make NVFR even possible in Norway with NCO/SERA. Today it is exactly as it was.
Establishment of NVFR (in some contries) We have always had it, except from before we had it, then there were no requirements for a special rating.
Easier Maintenance (in most countries), except for complex (i.e. twin turboprop aircraft) This is the most nonsense of all. We had a viable regime. Then came EASA and made it impossoble. Now EASA has somehow made it better. but it’s still nonviable due to “maintenance organisations”.
Much easier repairs according to standard methods (CS-STAN) on basic aircraft Again, two steps back and one step forward is no way to move forward.
Less bureaucracy in validating PPL level licenses by the instructors Same stuff, two step back, one step forward.
Much easier exchange of instruments radios and engine monitors and updating equipment according to CS-STAN on basic aircraft compared with what?
Much easier repairs according to standard methods (CS-STAN) on basic aircraft again, compared with what?
definitely allowing cost sharing / introductory flights in aero clubs by PPL pilots (in some countries) Always had it. The new regulations is a restriction compared with the old
Much easier inner-EASA acceptance of licenses, working privileges, medicals, etc. True, but was that really a problem before? for private GA?
Much easier familiarisation among SEP / MEP aircraft by the pilot (no FI / CRI required anymore to fly a Robin if you only flew pipers before) True
Easier certification throughout Europe with CS-23 and even easier with a VLA/LSA True, but nobody want VLA/LSA
IFR in airspace Golf Always had it, still got it. And we can also fly fully controlled VFR in C/D. Did it yesterday when I was vectored around in both G and C for some unknown reason (rather strange actually, have to find out what that was all about).

@mh,
I appreciate the German point of view, but most of that rubbish like aerobatic ratings, “familiarisation” sign-offs and glider licences has only become “easier” for Brits to the extent that it never existed here before EASA.

Is there really a mindset in parts of Europe that pilots need a piece of paper and/or some kind of training to do a snap roll or an inverted spin or to wheel-land with conventional undercarriage?

Glenswinton, SW Scotland, United Kingdom

Peter wrote:

That’s true. However isn’t that due to one particular individual (Ky)

Mike Smethers, the previous chairman of the EASA Management Board, is at least as much the person to thank for the reforms — he initiated the GA Safety Strategy in 2012 long before Ky’s arrival. Ky has been very supportive, in providing resources and top cover, and we’ve also benefited from a fair number of people in EASA who are passionate about GA.

Peter wrote:

I agree, but that’s quite a statement, isn’t it? Basically, “early days” is 1975-2016

I meant in aviation. About 2002-2012. Though I suppose you could also blame the failed JAA system on the EU.

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