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Mary Jones, editor of EAA Sport Pilot & Light Sport Aircraft Magazine, filed her final report from AERO 2007, Europe’s largest general aviation exposition that concluded Sunday in Friedrichshafen, Germany.

It’s another beautiful day in Friedrichshafen, Germany, today, Sunday, April 22, as the 16th Aero International Aviation Trade Exhibition draws to a close.

Attendance on Saturday was exceptional. The Messe, the convention center at which Aero is held, was overflowing with visitors, including many long-time EAA members who stopped by EAA’s booth to say hello and express their happiness at seeing EAA represented at this event. “See you at Oshkosh” was a common greeting.

AERO is currently using 10 of the 11 available halls in the Messe convention center. Three halls are home to displays of European microlights, many of which are approved as light-sport aircraft in the United States. One hall is devoted strictly to gliders, which continue to be some of the most popular flying machines in Germany, while four halls and a large outdoor exhibition area house general aviation exhibits.

In the “American Pavilion,” we visited with Dan Schwinn of Avidyne, who like many other American exhibitors did double trade show duty, spending time at Sun ’n Fun earlier in the week and then flying to Germany to display at AERO. Also displaying in that area were Garmin, ASA, Bose, Aircraft Spruce and Speciality, Frasca International, Teledyne Continental, ICOM, and David Clark.

On Saturday, EAA President Tom Poberezny participated in a panel discussion about basic flying in Europe. Currently, the Europeans are attempting to develop a single set of rules similar to sport pilot/light-sport aircraft that would govern the manufacture of light aircraft and create new pilot opportunities throughout the European community. Also on the panel were: Joseph Konrad, representing the European Microlight Federation; Jan Fridrich, from the Czech Light Aircraft Association; Alain Leroy, of the European Aviation Safety Association (EASA); and a representative from the Swiss Microlight Federation.

Tom opened his remarks by explaining EAA’s goal in supporting the sport pilot/light-sport aircraft rule. “We wanted to remove the barriers that prevent enthusiasts from becoming pilots so that the first step into aviation is a smaller one, thus making it easier for people to participate.” He highlighted the importance of a full training infrastructure in making that goal possible and also welcomed a worldwide marketplace of aircraft with consistent standards. “We see this time as an opportunity for a partnership between countries in Europe, North and South America and the emerging companies in the Far East. The opportunity for growth is tremendous, but it will take hard work, patience, and commitment.” At the same time, he cautioned the European group to “keep the rules simple; keep in mind what you want to achieve. You can always adavance from this starting point.”

To the delight of most European manufacturers attending the panel discussion, Alain Leroy, who heads certification in the safety branch of EASA, committed to the release of a notice of proposed amendment (similar to a U.S. NPRM) by June of 2007 that would outline the proposed rules under which a new light-sport aircraft category might operate.

Later on Saturday, Tom Gunnarson, president of the Light Aircraft Manufacturer’s Association, presented a seminar on the ASTM Int’l consensus standards under which manufacturers operate in the production of LSA. He opened his presentation by saying, “Standards are about safety. With personal, recreational flying, there’s more personal responsibility for safety.” EASA’s Leroy had said earlier in the day that it was also looking to the ASTM standards as the certification method for European LSA…the title of which is yet to be determined finally.

BRS engineer Frank Hoffman, a German national now working at BRS headquarters in Minnesota, summed up the mood of most American companies exhibiting at AERO saying, “It’s clear to all that AERO is becoming a major international show at which participation is essential.”

Tom Poberezny addressing a panel discussion
about basic flying in Europe. "“We see this time
as an opportunity for a partnership between
countries in Europe, North and South America
and the emerging companies in the Far East,"
he said.

Just like at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh, the
Aircraft Spruce booth is a busy place,
no matter how big it is.

ASA also exhibited in the "American Pavilion"
section of the Messe, offering a variety of
training and other general pilot
information materials.

Interest in very light jets was high at Aero 2007,
as the crowd surrounding the Eclipse 500 attests.

EAA Aviation Center, 3000 Poberezny Road, Oshkosh, WI 54902
Phone: 920/426.4800

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