European proposals could severely affect U.S. pilots

Proposals offered two years ago by the European Aviation Safety Agency are about to be acted on and, if adopted, will mean severe aviation regulation changes in all European nations and virtually eliminate the acceptance of pilots and aircraft licensed in the United States.

Changes affecting the U.S. are in the section involving third country licenses. Pilots holding a U.S. issued license living in Europe would have to meet the European standards, including medical certification, in order to continue flying in that airspace. Present European requirements call for a minimum of 100 hours before getting a private license, as compared to the 40 needed in the U.S. The U.S. instrument rating would be virtually worthless, according to comments submitted to EASA.

An FAA licensed pilot domiciled in Europe wanting to fly would need to meet and pass tests of the European regulators. This would virtually make it useless for any foreign citizen to take flight training in America as they would have to duplicate the training with additional subjects added before flying in their home country.  The minimum requirements proposed to convert a third country license would be to pass an examination on air law and human performance, a private pilot license skills test, and a class 2 medical certificate.

Item 4 of Article 7 of the EASA proposal, however, would permit pilots with third country licenses to forego a training course before taking the theoretical knowledge examinations and skill tests.

EASA promotes standards in civil aviation. In February 2008, that agency published a notice of proposed rule amendments citing these changes to third country license acceptance and asking for comments. Details of some of the issues to be included in EASA’s recommendations became known only recently. They are expected to be released shortly as opinion papers offered to the European Commission. The European commission is scheduled to make a final decision on the EASA proposals within the next few days.

The International Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association has been paying close attention to the subject. Delegates from 17 European countries met the last weekend of September to again make known the concerns of general aviation. When the original proposals were issued in 2008, the U.S. AOPA submitted comments to EASA but that agency does not accept comments from other nations.

The issue is garnering attention on both sides of the Atlantic.

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