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2. November 2015 Jan Brill

Luftrecht: EASA Regulation Application

Four Things EASA Has to Fix Now – Part 1: A Practical Joke on European Flight Instructors

During the remarkable EASA safety conference in Rome in October 2014, agency officers implored participants to “keep up the pressure” on the national CAAs to implement the European rules quickly and correctly and come on board the new (GA friendly) thinking. On the one hand, we were stunned by the implicit admission of powerlessness by the agency, on the other hand: Nobody can claim that this magazine hasn’t tried. This may be one of the very few things our editorial staff and the more than 20 (!) German federal and state-level civil aviation authorities can readily agree upon. Before or after October 2014. There are however numerous cases, in which the national implementation of European aviation regulation does not conform to EASAs declared intend or in which one national authority deviates from all or most other authorities in its application. In some cases this has even been upheld by lower national courts, because – let’s face it – implementing rules such as 800/2013 or 1178/2011 can be read in a very different way, when the reader comes from a different cultural or jurisprudential background.

From the many examples available to our editorial staff, we have selected four that need urgent clarification by EASA. They are not delicate details buried in the depth of the rule, they are substantial deviations from the letter or the intend of the law. And they are preventing pilots and instructors from earning their living.

We will outline one example every Monday for the next four weeks. A German language version of these articles is available in Pilot und Flugzeug 2015/11.

1. FCL.205.A – Who and what can be taught by a PPL-Instructor?

Does EASA play practical jokes on the European flight instructors? One the one hand a PPL-instructor is permitted to instruct a CPL-holder for a class or typerating but on the other hand he's not allowed to get paid!
© joncooke.net 
Flight instructors holding a PPL as a base license are obviously restricted in who and what they can instruct. On a license level, they can only instruct up to the PPL. They can not teach the CPL. That is understood, makes sense and is to our knowledge implemented uniformly and correctly.

The instruction of type- or class ratings however is a different animal altogether. Can a PPL FI or CRI instruct the holder of a CPL or ATPL for e.g. the single engine (land) class rating? Or to put it in more practical terms: Can Willy Patternmaster, the local PPL-FI from a little fight school or aero club, instruct Eddy Airline, an A320 captain, if Eddy decides to brush up on his SEP-skills?

Common sense and practical experience would say: Of course! The fact that Eddy Airline also drives around the big iron does not make Willy Patternmasters instruction any less valid, safe or useful.

But let’s go back to the abstract: There is no license-level in type or class ratings. There is no ‘gold plated SEP’ for CPL-guys and no ‘platinum MEP’ for ATPL-holders. A rating is a rating. This is why – thankfully – when you move up the license-ladder, you don’t have to redo them or get rechecked for them. Ratings just move along, whatever the underlying license level may be.

And EASA agrees with that. They better do, because they came up with it. EASA has stated numerous times, that of course a PPL-FI can instruct the holder of any license (PPL, CPL or ATPL) for class- or type ratings.

Not playing ball

For reasons unknown to us, the German LBA was blocking this for a long time, arguing that the instructor can only instruct what he holds himself and since he only has a PPL-SEP he can never ever teach an SEP class rating to a commercial pilot. Thus the LBA was simply inventing a license-level for type or class ratings.

Effectively the LBA was arguing that Willy Patternmaster somehow would ’spoil’ Eddy Airline with his greasy PPL ways and Eddy had to be protected from this, ignoring the fact that ratings are a classless bunch, much like your garden-variety socialist utopia.

EASA got so annoyed by this lack of basic understanding that they actually added a special provision into the NPA 2014-29, explicitly stating that the PPL-instructor is and always was allowed to do this:

“In FCL.915 General prerequisites and requirements for instructors, the text in (b) is amended to clarify it and make it better understandable. The separation of licence and class or type rating training is considered necessary to allow also holders of a PPL to train holders of a CPL or ATPL for class or type ratings they are qualified for. The text is amended to lift unnecessary burden from General Aviation pilots and to achieve harmonised implementation in all Member States.”

Note the wording here “to clarify it and make it better understandable”. EASA is not saying that it is revising policy. This was the law all along. EASA effectively says: “For all the dimwits over in Braunschweig, who don’t even get the basic principles of Part-FCL, we’re gonna spell it out yet again: A PPL-instructor is allowed to train holders of a CPL or ATPL for class or type ratings he (the instructor) is qualified for.”

Can EASA make it any clearer than that? We would not know how.

Round two

The beauty of bureaucratic infighting however is, that you may loose a battle without even suffering a setback in the war. Just shift the theatre of operations! And nobody in his right mind would claim, that the folks at LBA department L (Licensing) are quitters when it comes to office wars.

So LBA came up with another explanation why Willy Patternmaster can’t show Eddy Airline the dos and don’ts of the old Skyhawk. And even though we vigorously disagree on the factual level, we’ve got to give them credits for effort and creativity!

They came up with FCL.205.A PPL(A) — Privileges:

(b) Notwithstanding the paragraph above, the holder of a PPL(A) with instructor or examiner privileges may receive remuneration for:

(1) the provision of flight instruction for the LAPL(A) or PPL(A);
(2) the conduct of skill tests and proficiency checks for these licences;
(3) the training, testing and checking for the ratings or certificates attached to this licence.

The operative sentence here is no (3): “the training, testing and checking for the ratings or certificates attached to this license.”

LBA claims that ‘this license’ only refers to the PPL of the applicant. So Willy Patternmaster may have the privilege to instruct Eddy Airline all he likes, but he is not allowed to get paid!

Consequently LBA is denying all PPL-FIs, CRIs and TRIs to work in commercial flight schools, as they cleverly deduct that the instructor might eventually get compensated for his troubles.

A lot of training organizations and instructors are affected: Particularly:
  • Schools that train SEP and MEP land
  • Schools that train SEP sea ratings
  • Schools that train SET ratings, e.g. P46T, TBM, Caravan, Porter etc.

Typical example: A PPL-instructor in a school teaching the seaplane-rating. While he may instruct PPL-holders, according to the LBA and German Ministry of Transport, he would not be allowed to instruct a CPL-pilot for the exact same rating. At least not, if he's compensated.
© airport-biernat.pl 
Any PPL-based FI, CRI or TRI is practically not employable in these training organizations anymore, as scheduling would constantly have to monitor that he doesn’t get into the same cockpit with a CPL or ATPL holder.

Individual FIs, CRIs, TRIs and Examinsers outside an ATO are also affected. They can not perform refresher-training or checkflights with CPL and ATPL holders, as the assumption would also be that they got paid for this.

We should note, that the sentence in question (3) was in itself a quick fix to the problem of general PPL-remuneration and was added on March 14, 2014 to alleviate restrictive interpretations by some other national CAAs.

The wording to allow “training, testing and checking for the ratings or certificates attached to this license” is clearly an unfortunate one. Strictly, the interpretation adopted by the LBA is comprehensible and has been confirmed by the German Ministry of Transport.

Inability to resolve issue nationally

What is lacking in Germany and what is present in other countries is the ability of the administration to reconcile two obviously contradictory provisions in a given code of law.

Assuming that EASA did not play practical jokes on the pilot community by allowing PPL-instructors on the one hand to teach and on the other hand denying them remuneration for it, other authorities have reconciled this by looking at the intend of the lawmaker as clearly stated multiple times and most recently in NPA 2014-29.

This is why PPL-instructors can work in any Austrian, Swiss or French ATO. But not in a German one.

There is however no hope for this to happen in Germany. It’s a cultural thing. If EASA had written in a footnote that at one point the applicant has to jump out the window, we would ask for an AMC specifying how high.

The situation would not even be perceived as a contradiction here. Maybe ... for some reason ... EASA really wanted to keep the door open just for instructors who are already rich?

So this can not be solved on a national level. No court in Germany would strike down the provision in FCL.205.A only because it totally contradicts a provision under FCL.915 and the stated intention of the lawmaker.

EASA has to amend or change the law. Quickly. Just erasing “attached to this license” would probably suffice.

Read our next installments on
  • November 9th: "Let's make things up!"
  • November 16th: "Why Don't You Try a Different Airplane?"
  • November 23rd: "The Answer is Not 42"

The Author is Managing Editor of Pilot und Flugzeug Magazine and the Accountable Manager of a small Approved Training Organisation (ATO). He holds an FAA ATP CFII/ME and an EASA CPL(A) with FI ME CPL IR and TRI(A) privileges. He’s also an EASA class- and typerating examiner. When he’s not busy bugging the authorities he freelances with a German Air Ambulance Service.

Bewertung: +5.00 [5]  

4. November 2015: Von Thomas Dietrich an Jan Brill
Lieber Herr Brill,

an so einem klar geschriebenen Paragrafen wie dem FCL 055 rum zumachen, halte ich für keine gute Idee. Nur weil es nicht logisch ist, gehts noch? Was bitte ist am ganzen Teil FCL logisch????
Was, wenn in den AMCs dann steht, daß wir das Deutsche alle möglichen Spracheinträge brauchen um im Ausland fliegen zu können, wir haben doch nicht einmal die Sprachprüfer dazu. Dann haben wir den Salat und sind von allen keinen Plätzen abgeschnitten.
Ich habe eine Kopie der FCL 055 immer an Bord und kann die in allen Sprachen vorzeigen. Auch gab es schon Amendnemds zu EUVO 1178 aber der 055 wurde nicht angerührt. Also halten Sie bitte die Bälle flach, mit der jetzigen Lösung lässt sich sehr gut leben.
4. November 2015: Von Lutz D. an Thomas Dietrich Bewertung: +2.00 [2]
Den Zusammenhang zwischen Jans Artikel und dem FCL.055 habe ich jetzt noch nicht verstanden, bezieht sich das auf einen anderen Artikel?

Aber jedenfalls eine Anmerkung zum 205er.

Ich habe da große Bedenken, damit nochmal ernsthaft bei der EASA vorstellig zu werden. Man muss sich das ja mal auf der Zunge zergehen lassen. Die EASA verfasst einen Gesetzestext, der eigentlich dem Sinn nach gut verständlich und auch durchaus pro-pilots ist. Handwerklich ist das für einen deutschen Juristen nicht perfekt gemacht, aber who cares, wir sind ja die ersten, die sich weniger Juristen und mehr Fachleute bei der EASA wünschen.

Aber vielleicht war der Wunsch nicht so superklug, denn jetzt zeigt sich, dass handwerkliche Schwäche in rechtlicher Hinsicht dem LBA eine Handhabe gab, der EASA und den Fluglehrern den Mittelfinger zu zeigen.

Dann ist die EASA so lieb und macht quasi eine Lex-LBA, wieder im Sinne der Piloten. Zur Verdeutlichung für die deutsche Luftfahrtbehörde. Leider ist das nicht so, dass sich da an einem schönen Mittwochnachmittag ein rule-making-officer hinsetzt und was neues erlässt. Die Transaktionskosten bei der EASA und der Kommission sind für eine solche lapidare Änderung enorm. Da spielen auch eine Reihe politischer Erwägungen eine Rolle. Und story-telling. Hier war die Story ja noch gut. EASA hat verstanden, EASA bessert nach, Bravo. Wenn die mit dem Paragraphen jetzt wieder zu einem Generaldirektor und zum Parlament for scrutiny gehen müssen, machen die sich gelinde gesagt zum Affen. Sowas kann für einzelne ganz schnell ganz blöd ausgehen. Klar. Geht uns nichts an. Verwaltung ist für den Bürger da, nicht umgekehrt.
Aber die Welt ist nunmal wie sie ist. Wenn wir damit wieder zur EASA latschen und jammern, dass die teleologische Gesetzesauslegung in deutschen Amtsstuben eben nicht sonderlich en vogue ist, lachen die einen möglicherweise einfach aus. Und vielleicht auch zu recht.
Mein Gefühl ist, das können wir nichtsinnvoll in Köln abladen, damit müssen wir irgendwie anders umgehen.

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