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Low Approach - SERA 3105/5005 - Germany

Malibuflyer wrote:

All of the sudden this spring (unclear, who that is) someone at least in Frankfurt started to report these cases to the competent authority that (as SERA is crystal clear) has no other option than to prosecute – hence the really small fine of 55EUR …

The notion that the competent authority has no other option than to prosecute (aside from the discussion above also involving cultural differences in dealing with such BS) is not entirely correct and ignores the second part of the exception from the minimum heights as per SERA (my bold):

Except when necessary for take-off or landing, or except by permission from the competent authority

So the competent authority does have the power to give permission. IMHO, they can’t hide behind SERA and say they have to prosecute if SERA specifically gives them the power to decide otherwise.

Now, it would be a cultural thing to interpret above quote in such a narrow sense as RP Darmstadt that the permission is only valid if it has been given in writing and in person to a specific pilot beforehand. I should like to think that other competent authorities just use their common sense to not bother, as they are, in fact, empowered to define exceptions to the minimum height rule as they see fit. And since EASA has made their intention clear already (see Denmark) there is nothing, nill, nada, zero the competent authority would have to fear in terms of exceeding their competency.

Hungriger Wolf (EDHF), Germany

Malibuflyer wrote:

Perhaps it is also important to mention, that (at least in Germany, again) if you crash during a low approach, the insurance does not have to pay…

Curious to know how insurance knows exactly what happened? I mean it was “CFIT on low approach while breaching SERA” not some carb heat? or rough engine? or botched go-around? or badly executed TnG? most AAIB reports that get printed 1 year after accident and insurance pays out, will claim it was the famous “hit by a gust”

PS: your insurance does not have access to ATC tapes, only CAA/AAIB/NATS have access to these !

Last Edited by Ibra at 02 Jun 20:14
Paris/Essex, United Kingdom

Frans wrote:

Italian ATC cleared me two times into airspace A while flying VFR. Should I now start to refuse such clearances, as VFR into A is officially not allowed?! That sounds ridiculous. The same for denying offers from German ATC for a low approach. I did several of them, including EDDF. Even Frankfurt TWR invites pilots sometimes to do some low approaches during quiet moments of the day, even when pilots didn’t initially ask for it.

Be grateful you’re on EuroGA; I posted on another well known GA forum, highly UK centric, that upon departing Hawarden to Islay, I was intending to fly below the Class A CTA which begins at 3000 feet until clear then would request a clearance into Class C, climbing up to FL65 or 85. I contacted the controller who, upon hearing my plans, cleared me straight into Class A, requesting I remain at 4000 feet until an EasyJet Airbus flying into Liverpool had crossed over me at 5000 feet, from then I was free to continue onwards at my selected level. As I was flying over the Dee Estuary, I was grateful to have additional altitude in case of engine issues so I accepted the clearance. All manner of abuse was then heaped upon me because “this is not legal….”

Naturally no-one on that forum has ever done anything remotely illegal……

Frans wrote:

According to the German forum, someone stated that an employee of FRAPORT did inform the authorities of some low approaches. Maybe because they don’t like traffic that doesn’t leave a single euro at the airport? Poor Fraport… They should take a look at EHAM (Amsterdam Schiphol), where even touch and go’s are free of charge if traffic permits to have some fun with Schiphol TWR.

Hmm… EDLW used to charge for a low approach, so it’s not as if EDDF couldn’t charge. Indeed, looking at the actual Landing Fees from Dortmund Airport, they’re still charging €3,50 per 1000kg MTOW or part thereof for an approach….. So if a low approach is indeed illegal, then EDLW have effectively decided to make financial profit from an illegal act….

EDL*, Germany

Patrick wrote:

Now, it would be a cultural thing to interpret above quote in such a narrow sense as RP Darmstadt that the permission is only valid if it has been given in writing and in person to a specific pilot beforehand.

In legal terms, a permission is always something that has to be given beforehand. Does not have to be in writing and not to be targeted at an individual pilot (they could issue a general permission e.g. for low approaches at towered airports) but it has to be beforehand.

Patrick wrote:

EASA has made their intention clear already

I guess there is a misunderstanding in the role of EASA in the EU legislative process. EASA has no, nil, nada legislative power. It proposes legislation that is passed by parliament and commission. They are not at all in a position to say “Ah, we realized we proposed something stupid so we change it now”. They can’t change it.
They have actually proposed many stupid things (although there has been an “Elonesque” fanboy cult around its executive director that has luckily cooled down a lot recently, they are actually a quite poorly performing agency that is keeping hardly any deadline and does a lot of mistakes). In some cases they have been lucky that the wording in the rules has been vague enough that with lots of mental bending one could claim that the right thing to do actually can be an awkward interpretation of what they have written.
In this case what they have proposed is so far off that even the most friendly beaurocrat can not argue, that the right thing somehow fits in. Therefore they need to get SERA changed to fix their mistake.

Ibra wrote:

Curious to know how insurance knows exactly what happened?

In the case of a Stearman hitting a line of trees after low approach about ten years ago (which is well documented because the ones took it through all levels of jurisdiction – and lost in all of them), they just read the accident report. And in front of a court then you have witnesses, etc. Claiming carb heat, rough engine, etc. would not save you, as the court ruling in the final instance was extremely clear that flying a low approach is gross negligence.
The only thing you might bring forward would be that you did not intend to fly a low approach but tried a landing and for whatever reason you had to go around really deep. In some cases that might work, but is questionable when you did 3 low approaches before (like in the specific case of the Stearman) or do it at an airport where the landing would have cost you 500EUR ;-)

Germany

Malibuflyer wrote:

In legal terms, a permission is always something that has to be given beforehand. Does not have to be in writing and not to be targeted at an individual pilot (they could issue a general permission e.g. for low approaches at towered airports) but it has to be beforehand.

The question is why it has not been given yet?
And has anyone asked how are you supposed to execute an IR lesson/test to the DA/MDA if that is still in place?

EGTR

Malibuflyer wrote:

as the court ruling in the final instance was extremely clear that flying a low approach is gross negligence

Thanks, I expect some judge decision or high profile case for the insurance to pull out

Paris/Essex, United Kingdom

What actually do you all mean by a low approach?
Are we talking about buzzing your friend’s house?
Are we talking about flying “final” lower than the quasi glide slope?
Are we saying that a go round or in French “remise de gaz” or “going missed”below 500’ is illegal?
Or an aerobatic manoeuvre flying a low pass and break along a runway?
IMO we should take account that no law can be written to cover every eventuality, especially one that has to be translated many different languages. The only time we find out the true extent of a law is when it gets challenged in court. And they often are.
So do we have full chapter and verse of why this guy got fined and under what exact law.
For those who believe a law is badly written and should be changed, I put out a challenge. Re-write the law, publish it here so it can be challenged by your peers and then if it’s good or acceptable to all, we should send it to EASA’s Patrick Kye (I think he’s still there) and see if everyone there and their lawyers can agree to the changes.

France

arj1 wrote:

And has anyone asked how are you supposed to execute an IR lesson/test to the DA/MDA if that is still in place?

Yes. The national authority needs to issue permissions, in whichever form it feels it thinks is best. It can be a blanket exemption. For the UK, the CAA issued the following permissions:

The Civil Aviation Authority permits, under SERA.3105, SERA.5005(f) and SERA.5015(b), an aircraft to fly below the heights specified in SERA.5005(f) and SERA.5015(b) if it is flying in accordance with normal aviation practice and:
a) practising approaches to land at or checking navigational aids or procedures at an aerodrome;
b) practising approaches to forced landings other than at an aerodrome if it is not flown closer than 150 metres (500 feet) to any person, vessel, vehicle or structure; or
[…]

In other countries, these permissions are issued to flying schools, e.g., Austria. An Austrian flying school lost a court case when it argued that the permission to conduct training according to a syllabus includes training approaches and practiced forced landing and hence training to an approved (indeed, mandatory) syllabus implies such a permission, so even an ATO needs an explicit, separate permission.

There may be countries where nobody cares and life goes on as normal.

Biggin Hill

Cobalt wrote:

There may be countries where nobody cares and life goes on as normal

Does that include barrel rolls in gliders bellow 300ft agl before landing? it seems Poland has an exemption from SERA when their pilots try to sell you the Perkoz

Last Edited by Ibra at 03 Jun 09:06
Paris/Essex, United Kingdom

Malibuflyer wrote:

although there has been an “Elonesque” fanboy cult around its executive director that has luckily cooled down a lot recently

That may be because he was an improvement over the previous director.

Last Edited by Airborne_Again at 03 Jun 09:15
ESKC (Uppsala/Sundbro), Sweden
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