In the summer of 2003, at an aviation championship in Great Britain, 3 Microlight pilots talked about creating a kind of European MLA community. They were Keith Negal from Great Britain, Dominique Mereuze from France and Jo Konrad from Germany. The result was the founding of the European Microlight Federation EMF in January 2004 in Paris. Our members are microlight groups within National Aero Clubs and microlight associations from member States of the European Union (including Switzerland and San Marino). In 2017 we have delegates from 21 National Aero Clubs and 6 MLA Associations altogether representing 24 EU countries. Our main goal is to promote microlight flying and not to be part of the European regulation, but stay under National Regulation. In 2008 the Basic Regulations were published and we were in Annex II, meaning that the national authority was our rule-maker. Recently the European Commission started to revise the Basic Regulations and published her Proposals in December 2015. Here we are in Annex I, so still not under European rules.
The European Microlight Federation is very valuable to its members. We exchange information, gather data, are being informed how things are regulated in the different countries and we help each other. With the help of all the new ways to communicate, this can be sone very quickly and easy. In this way we are trying to create a more “level playing field” within the European countries.
Nowadays technology is not to be compared with a decade ago. New inventions, new materials, new methods are developed in quick succession. It’s important for aviation to take advantage of the safety opportunities presented by these new technologies. For instance the moving maps, weather informations, avoidance systems, emergency localizer, transponders and the radio. The last decade the manufactures have succeeded in using new technologies in order to create microlight airplanes that are modern, better and safer. It is always a difficult situation to change the rules and adept new ones which are more proportionate, simple, effective, risk-based and affordable. We also have to be aware of hazards for Microlight airplanes and pilots. Not only EASA is very busy to get a grip on the drones, but also our NAA’s. Mostly it is a thread to Model-airplanes, but we have to pay attention how the airspace will be shared. The same applies for the Single European Sky. It can be a threat for the General Aviation and thus also for us. The commercial aviation and the Military are expanding their airspace on regular basis. Also airports like to enlarge their Control Zones and transponders are more and more mandatory. The freedom to use airspace is getting limited bit by bit.About the environment we are more on the safe side. Our planes fly on regular gasoline, they are very economical in use, not much CO2 emission and not noisy.
In the booklet “MLA Flying in Europe” you can find all the information that is important for microlights to fly abroad. Some national authorities state that the national MLA pilot license is only valuable in their country and that you are not allowed to fly abroad. The first part is true, it is a national license. But the second part is not necessarily true. In 1980 the Member States of ECAC, the European Civil Aviation Conference, recommended that Members States accept home-built aircraft with a certificate of airworthiness or a “Permit to Fly” issued by another Member State, to fly in their country without any restrictions. Later on this was also recommended for Microlight Aircraft, meaning that a nation can allow a foreign MLA to fly in their airspace. In MLA flying in Europe you can find the information if a Permit to Fly is necessary or not.
The future of EMF is important. How can we stimulate sensible, simple and safe regulations in an economical and legal environment in which all involved can follow these rules.
I wish you all many beautiful flights all over Europe and safe, happy landings.
Rieteke van Luijt
President European Microlight Federation.