March 5, 2009
By Thomas A. Horne
A Feb. 28 EASA (European Aviation Safety Agency) proposal would make it harder to gain European recognition for pilot certificates earned in the United States. The proposal would require the equivalent of re–certification for the private pilot certificate. If passed into law, the proposal would adversely affect U.S. flight schools that train foreign pilots, as well as pilots coming to the United States for training.
“While the training philosophies differ in Europe and the U.S., both groups of pilots have a similar goal, that of developing safe pilots,” said Andy Cebula, AOPA’s executive vice president of regulatory affairs. “It is critical that EASA and the U.S. formalize a bilateral agreement to reconcile the differences between this rule and the current U.S. rules governing flight training.”
AOPA has filed comments with EASA arguing against the proposal, and sent a letter to the FAA asking for a bilateral agreement on the recognition of FAA pilot certificates by EASA. Without changes to the EASA proposal—or a U.S.–EASA bilateral agreement—there can be no easy transference of pilot certificates. The EASA comment period closed on Feb. 28.
AOPA Pilot Editor at Large Tom Horne has worked at AOPA since the early 1980s. He began flying in 1975 and has an airline transport pilot and flight instructor certificates. He’s flown everything from ultralights to Gulfstreams and ferried numerous piston airplanes across the Atlantic.
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