01/29/2013

l'OFAC décide d'attendre 10 ans

L'Office fédéral de l'aviation civile (OFAC) fait des manœuvres dilatoires beaucoup plus poussés que celles des parlementaires sur l'initiative Minder!

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01/25/2013

Did Ben Ali's Tunisian jet come again to Geneva?

An unidentified Tunisian aircraft left Geneva on Friday 18 January 2013. Thus might have been the Falcon 900 of Ben Ali!

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01/10/2013

Is East Midlands airport a difficult landing?

In Winter, East Midlands airport is one from which skiers can fly to and from Geneva. It was disrupted by a WW2 Spitfire landing.

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01/06/2013

Sport, weather, climate and our children!

In the UK in 2012 there was a parallel evolution of Olympic sport and the weather: Switzerland was rather different!

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12/21/2012

London to Geneva via the scenic route

Now that the ski season is here, there are lots of flights from London to Geneva. Some business jets take the scenic route and see the snow on the mountains.

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11/25/2012

Secret (?) de fonction!

When told that in the airport Environment Commission I was subject to the Geneva "secret de fonction", I asked what was secret?

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11/02/2012

Sandy shores and global warming

Global Warming, AKA Climate Change, was on the back burner in the US presidential election until Sandy demonstrated nature's power.

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10/15/2012

Watch a plane crash

Last week in the evening, the UK Channel 4 TV program showing a plane crash made fascinating viewing. It might have saved some lives.

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10/08/2012

The jet stream and the rain stream

We all know about the jet stream, but there is apparently also a rain stream which brings water from the Amazon, perhaps to cause floods.

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09/14/2012

Geneva wants no criminals on state commissions

The Geneva State Council decided to ask for the criminal records extract for all candidates for public commissions, but gave an impossible deadline.

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08/15/2012

Rio Olympics: A look ahead

After the London Games, Team GB hopes to be successful in Rio, whilst the Swiss try to see how they can improve by emulating Britain. This might not be easy!

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07/21/2012

Airport security and outsourcing

In Britain the G4S company contracted to engage security staff for the Olympics has failed disastrously. In Geneva airport the baggage control staff have expressed worries.

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07/04/2012

Kloten and Germany, Cointrin and France

Switzerland and Germany have provisionally agreed upon the future of flights at Zurich Kloten Airport. What if such an agreement was to be negociated for flights in Geneva?

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06/27/2012

Are light aircraft in danger?

Recently the rules for aircraft flying under visual control at Geneva airport have changed. Many light aircraft seem not to obey the new rules: are they a danger to themselves or others?

According to this newspaper, on 1 May 2012, the Airport Management have requested that all aircraft operating in Visual control mode (VFR), including helicopters. must fly inside the CTR (the immediate vicinity of the airport) without activating the aircraft's transponder. The stated reason for this request is "pour des raisons de sécurité" (for reasons of safety).

It actually seems as if many pilots disagree with this new rule, and continue to fly with an active transponder: some Aéro Club pilots at the recent open day for light aviation claimed that they want to do this for reasons of safety (a transponder broadcasts their presence to other aircraft and can signal any possible collision course)!

HB-CHW.jpgAmongst the flights of light aircraft, many are aircraft belonging to the Aéro Club de Genève. One, in particular, registered as HB-CHW, is painted to advertise this newspaper! Since the start of June we have detected 25 flights of this aircraft alone, including a takeoff yesterday, 25 June, at 2h42 pm.

I need to say that we cannot always be absolutely sure that these light aircraft are operating in VFR mode from Geneva airport. In fact, light aircraft may be operating from Annemasse or other local small airfields. However, since I actually saw this Tribune de Genève aircraft in the Aéro Club hangar late last week, it seems very likely that it has often flown from here.

It is not, of course, impossible that all of  these light aircraft were specifically instructed by the Air Traffic Controllers of SkyGuide to turn on the aircraft's transponder, but to me this does not appear particularly likely! More likely is that the Air Traffic Controllers might be turning a blind eye to this practice, not least because many of them are quite likely to fly small planes themselves.

We appear, therefore, to have a situation under which the airport management has pushed the federal authorities into making rules with which many pilots, including those of the Aéro Club, disagree! One might ask who are likely to be more correct in matters of safety: people sitting in offices or people flying an aircraft?

So what might be the underlying reason behind this controversy? A clue might be in the report in this paper on 14 June, entitled

A Cointrin, l'école de pilotage est en danger

This report states that the federal authority OFAC has just decided that from October 2013 the two runways at Geneva airport (the main one and the grass one) may no longer be considered as separate, because they are not far enough apart (the lower limit is 760 metres separation). We are asked to believe that the airport had nothing to do with this sudden decision: I find this almost impossible to believe, given the very close cooperation between Geneva airport and OFAC.

It can be imagined that this decision, allied with the curious decision on the non-use of transponders, is simply the first manifestation of a desire to force the light aviation to leave Geneva. Once that is done, the next step would be to concrete over the grass runway so as to be able to park more private jets there: part of a big expansion of the area north of the main runway (at around the same time as the new long courrier terminal south of the runway is completed!). In other words, an ever-continuing expansion inside the airport boundary.

As I understand it, developments inside the airport boundary need not be announced at cantonal level. I even doubt that there would need to be any public discussion or environmental study! Partly, this is because I can remember that many years ago the area around the General Aviation Centre was simply grass. In the space of 3 days, and without any authorisation being displayed, all of the grass was concreted over!

By around 2020 will we be talking of Geneva as an airport surrounded by industry and with a city attached to it: a city where everyone will live inside soundproofed accomodation?

 

 

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06/20/2012

Geneva's own Boeing Business Jet

Boeing Business Jets (BBJs) are aircraft fitted out luxuriously to carry rich people where they want to go, and when. One of them, oerated by PrivatAir, is based in Geneva.

This BBJ, a Boeing 757-200, is registered as HB-IEE and is owned by the aircraft leasing company Tierralta Holdings Corp. Originally built in 1989, it has had a chequered history, during which time it was actually used by the UK Royal Air Force for some time. In July of last year it was repainted and sent to Geneva for the use of PrivatAir.

The company PrivatAir also has an interesting history, interlinked with this aircraft. In 1989 the company which operated the aircraft was called Petrolair, but in 1997 this name changed to PrivatAir. Currently, the main office of PrivatAir is in Geneva, with offices also in Germany and Saudi Arabia.

In general, the aircraft seems to operate in central Europe, mainly Paris and London. However, last Saturday, 16 June, it left, over Vernier,  just before midnight and headed South-East, almost certainly towards the Middle East. It is not easy to know where it went, because tracking of aircraft in that region is often impossible. In the region of Mecca, for example, there seem not to be any private listening posts.

The lateness of the departure is fairly easy to understand. It takes over 5 hours to fly to Jeddah, whose time zone is an hour ahead of Geneva. Thus, by leaving just before midnight the arrival is just after 6am. The sort of people who can afford such luxury travel and want to fly overnight to the Middle East would naturally not want to leave Geneva before 10 pm and arrive there around 4 am in the morning! This is an illustration of what might happen more and more often when Geneva Airport builds its new long-courrier terminal! I am not aware of any "étude d'impacte" for this new terminal.

In fact, on that same Saturday evening, there was another very late departure (a well-known low-cost airline flying to Liverpool), plus a couple of small private jets landing here. Then, just to rub salt into the wounds, on the Sunday evening the last three movements at the airport were all private jets: two incoming (NetJets and FairJet) and one outgoing (MJet).

A taste of night flights to come, as the airport pushes for more and more growth?

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