A group representing instrument-rated private pilots in Europe is hopeful that new unified standards for all IFR operations can be implemented without causing undue hardship for those who now fly under FAA certificates. In a podcast interview with AVweb, Jim Thorpe, vice chairman of PPL/IR Europe, said negotiations between the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and the FAA toward standardized licensing requirements have failed and EASA's controversial move to make its own standards mandatory by 2012 is part of the process toward achieving the unified standard. FAA certificates are currently accepted in Europe and many pilots there fly on them because FAA standards require much less dual and ground school than those in Europe. He said the rules currently being proposed are intended for commercial pilots and he's hopeful a less onerous approach will be taken for the relatively few IFR-rated private pilots in Europe.
The new rules also affect maintenance and certification standards for aircraft but Thorpe said he doesn't think that will be a significant barrier to U.S.-made aircraft. "The proposals there are pretty benign now and there's really no reason an N-registered aircraft couldn't be operated in Europe," Thorpe said. He said the long-term goal should be a set of common standards but in the meantime he's hopeful that transitional regulations will ease the burden on pilots who will be affected by the changes.