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ALPHA Aircraft Arriving in UK Again

As previously reported in GA BUYER EUROPE- the Hong Kong owned Alpha Aviation factory at Hamilton- NZ is back in full production of its ALPHA 120 and 160 2-seat metal aircraft.

Emphasis is being given to the nearby Asian markets for new training aircraft- but in the meantime UK distributors- Mistral Aviation- have brought over the first of several 3 year old ALPHA 160A aerobatic trainers/sportsplanes- refurbished by the factory to a “nearly new” standard- and fitted on arrival with zero-houred engines. These APHA 160 aircraft remain the only metal aerobatic aircraft in volume production- and with their French fore-runners the R2160 are much sought after.

Only a small number of the ALPHA 120T basic trainer version arrived in the UK before the Hamilton factory shut down in 2008- but this highly praised- and in its earlier HR200 form- very popular basic trainer is available again from early 2011.

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ROBIN AIRCRAFT

Up until 2008 Apex Aircraft had sold nearly 40 of their Robin ECOFLYERs with the 1.7L Thielert engine. Most went to flying schools in France with high utilisation- and as a result CEAPR- the successor to Apex- has now re-fitted the majority of these ECOFLYERs with the later 2.0L 135hp Thielert engine.

In the Robin ECOFLYER installation the Thielert Centurion engine has proven to be notably reliable- and not prone to the problems experienced- for example- with Diamond aircraft- which suggest perhaps that the Thielert diesel engine’s reputation may have suffered from poor installation in other aircraft other than the ECOFLYER.

Meanwhile- there are now three examples of the 155hp ECOFLYERs with the CENTURION 2.0S engine- now manufactured by Finch Aircraft- rapidly building up hours in expectation of the STC from EASA very shortly. One of these is the Mistral demonstrator- based at Elstree.

For sales enquiries contact Mistral Aviation at +44 (0)1730 812008 and Steve Bailey at +44 (0)793 691727  More information visit - www.mistralaviation.co.uk

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LEGISLATION
United Front on the N-Register

Three of the strongest general aviation advocacy groups in Europe have joined forces to oppose EASA’s plans to make it illegal to fly in Europe on a third-country licence for more than a year. IAOPA Europe- the European Business Aviation Association and the General Aviation Manufacturers Association have signed a joint letter to the EASA Comitology Committee which will deliberate on EASA’s proposal- voicing general aviation’s concerns and warning that the proposal will harm the industry.

The joint letter- signed by IAOPA Senior Vice President Martin Robinson- EBAA President and CEO Brian Humphries and GAMA President and CEO Peter Bunce- says the proposal will adversely affect thousands of European pilots- reduce safety levels and cost jobs. It suggests that the issue of third-country licences cannot be settled satisfactorily by EASA’s 2013 deadline and should instead be dealt with through bilateral agreements between states.

EASA’s stated intention is to “get the N-register out of Europe” and it originally intended to do so by ensuring there were no advantages “N” Registered aircraft to being on the American register. However- EASA regulation has remorselessly increased the advantages of flying under an American flag- so the Agency has effectively resorted to a “big stick” ban. There is no suggestion of a safety imperative; the move is purely political.

The joint letter emphasizes that holders of the Instrument Rating would have to undergo the entire theoretical and flying skills testing process- incurring costs greater than €10-000 each- in order to continue doing what they’ve been doing safely- sometimes for decades. Many say this is not economically viable- given their age and number of flying years left- and they would be lost to the industry. The joint groups propose a validation process which “grandfathers” existing license holders- which they say would deliver what EASA requires in terms of oversight.

They add that bilateral aviation safety agreements (BASAs) will provide an appropriate mechanism with which to tackle validation and acceptance of third country licenses in future. BASAs are currently being negotiated with the USA and Canada- and the group says licensing annexes should be added. Europe’s deadline for implementation should be put back in order to achieve a proper solution through negotiation.

The Comitology Committee is made up of representatives of member states- and it must support EASA’s proposed regulations before they can go further. The issue of third country licences was reviewed again before the year-end.

More information visit – www.aopa.co.uk


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