Aero Expo at Prague had a solid showing earlier this year, and was host to an important European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) meeting. The agency announced its proposal for simpler and lighter regulations regarding airworthiness.
What this means practically is that it will supposedly be easier to certify aircraft and parts. There were also indications that the European Leisure Pilot's License is slowly navigating its way through the rule making process. The proposals can be found on the EASA Web site under "Better Concept for General Aviation."
Lots of business activity this month. Billing itself as "Europe's first air taxi service," the new Cessna Citation Mustang operator Blink last week made its first paid flight from Farnborough Airport in the U.K. The start-up has ordered 45 of the twin-engine, six-seater, entry-level jets and will work with TAG Aviation at Farnborough.
Co-founder and managing director Peter Leiman said, "Blink is setting the benchmark for the air taxi industry and we are confident that we will radically change the way European executives travel." His partner Cameron Ogden added, "With Blink, we offer European travelers a compelling proposition: affordable, personalized air travel that enables people to take control of their own time."
Further up the road, London Executive Aviation (LEA) has added to its Mustang fleet. It has now taken delivery of its second and third of the type and is set to add two more this month. The aircraft are based at Luton, Stansted, Biggin Hill and Farnborough. "We couldn't have foreseen the state of the economy when we ordered the Mustangs five years ago, but in fact this is the perfect time to introduce these aircraft," said LEA managing director George Galanopoulos.
According to Flight Training News, Flybe -- Europe's largest regional airline -- has started a "mentored" pilot training scheme with PTC Ireland, which places student pilots on courses tailored specifically for future Flybe pilots. While the scheme does not provide student pilots with any financial help, it does offer them a direct tie-in with an airline once they have completed training. The security of a job at the end of training makes these mentoring schemes extremely popular and competition is fierce for a place on them. The airline gets to pre-select students before they start training and can monitor their training progress from day one.
German helicopter manufacturer Youngcopter debuted a prototype of its Neo kit helicopter at the ILA show in Berlin last month. Creator Björn Jung explained, "This is the prototype and we're showing it here to judge the market reaction." Jung said that he hoped that the helicopter would make its maiden flight this summer. The projected cruise speed is 100 knots over 300 nautical miles. It will run on mogas. Jung said, "If flight testing goes well, then perhaps we will start kit production next summer and then start delivering the first kits at the end of 2009. There is an excitement around helicopters and I am surprised by the amount of interest we have received before we even got to ILA."
I know, I know, some of you don't like me talking about airshows. However, they are a key way in which the industry gets to get together, shares information and even gets things done. They are also a great way to introduce flying to the general public and bring in young people to the community as they see their first aircraft up close and personal. So I'm going to point out the biggest and best, what's coming up and the significant ones that have just been.
Perhaps the most important one of these is ICARUS 2008, which took place in Greece last weekend. AOPA Hellas hosted the event at Tatoi Airfield near Athens, during the 24th IAOPA World Assembly 2008. Southern Europe is one of the fastest-growing aviation markets because of excellent weather conditions, the recent EU enlargement, and dynamically growing economies.
Europe's largest event this year, the Farnborough International Airshow takes place July 14-20. According to its organizers, it is the biggest, "most internationally attended aerospace event in the world." It is actually a monster, with increasing numbers of GA aircraft on site. Not so much of the lighter stuff, but certainly enough bizjets and turboprops on display to warrant a mention. And if you like watching state-of-the-art fighter jets and trainers in superb displays, then it's the show for you.
The same weekend, there is a German show that bases itself on EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh. Tannkosh 2008 takes place at Tannheim and there are fly-in instructions. Unlike Farnborough, you can actually fly in and camp under the wing if you choose.
Meanwhile the original EAA AirVenture has announced a strategic relationship with one of Europe's oldest bi-annual shows, Aero Friedrichshafen, as reported here on AVweb earlier this month. Friedrichshafen has reached a critical mass and wants to expand its horizons further. Not only is it switching from an every other year format, it is forging close ties with the EAA. "We're convinced that this will lead to more aviation enthusiasm and additional value for our common customers on both sides of the pond," said Thomas Grunewald, Frierichshafen's project manager.
One of the longest-established shows in the U.K. calendar, the Biggin Hill Day, was a great success. The prize for best individual display was awarded to the French Air Force Mirage 2000 and the best team trophy to the Spitfire and Mustang flown by Paul Bonhomme and Nigel Lamb. Both were excellent displays, but my personal favorites were Guy Westlake and his magnificent glider aerobatics and a Bleriot, which impressed me once again when I think of the pioneers who flew in bygone years.
For more aviation news and information from Europe, read the rest of Liz Moscrop's columns.