AOPA says a new regime of rules proposed by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) "has potentially devastating implications for the U.S. general aviation manufacturers and for the U.S. flight training industry." EASA intends to adopt a wide-ranging series of amendments to rules that appear to particularly affect those holding U.S. pilot certificates and aircraft registered in the U.S. but resident in Europe. "It would render FAA pilot certificates and instrument ratings issued to pilots living and operating in Europe (including U.S. citizens based in and flying in Europe) effectively worthless, requiring them to essentially start over and retrain and recertify," AOPA spokesman Chris Dancy told AVweb. "It would also eliminate any advantage to owning and operating an N-number-registered aircraft in Europe."
There are an estimated 10,000 pilots in Europe flying under U.S. certificates. Many of them got their training in the U.S. and a lot of flight schools cater specifically to European students. U.S. manufacturers will be hit from two directions. The rules will make U.S.-built aircraft "more difficult and expensive to own and operate," and therefore less attractive in Europe, a key market for most U.S. manufacturers, Dancy said. "And on that side of the Atlantic, it could mean a glut of N-number-registered aircraft being dumped on the market, further depressing used aircraft sales." AOPA has contacted members of Congress, the FAA and Department of Transportation to make sure they're aware of the issue. It's also supporting European aviation groups in their attempts to stop the action.