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EU implementing regulation on 8.33 KHZ channnel spacing

Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) No 1079/2012 of 16 November 2012 was
published on 17 November in the EU Official Journal. It lays down the requirements for
voice channel spacing for the Single European Sky. The Regulation comes into force on 7
December and is applicable in all Member States.

In 2007 a regulation laid down the requirements for voice channel spacing above FL 195,
making the use of 8.33 Khz radios mandatory to reduce frequency congestion. At that
time, EAS still hoped that an extension of this requirement below FL 195 could be avoided,
as it would force owners to refit their aircraft, at their own expense, with 8.33 KHz spaced
radios. Many meetings of EAS representatives with other airspace users and talks with
service providers and the Commission were unsuccessful in limiting the requirement to
flying activities above FL 195.

In brief, the requirements of the Regulation Article 4 are as follows:

  • The Regulation will apply to all radios operating in the 117,975 – 137 MHz band (‘the VHF band’)
  • From 17 November 2013, manufacturers must ensure that all radios on the market are 8.33 kHz channel spacing capable.
  • Operators must ensure that all radio equipment put into service from 17 November 2013 includes the 8.33 kHz channel spacing capability.
  • Aircraft with a radio equipage requirement, for which individual certificates of airworthiness or individual flight permits are first issued in the Union from 17 Nov 2013, have to be fitted with radios with 8,33 kHz channel spacing capability.
  • Member States must ensure that by 31 December 2017 at the latest, all radios have the 8,33 kHz channel spacing capability

There are two more important final requirements:

The full text of the Regulation is available in all EU languages

To avoid a rush towards the end of the retrofit period it is wise to plan your retrofit early.
Most installations will be a minor change only but will need some time and, unfortunately,

Source : Europe Air Sports newsletter November 2012

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English Language Proficiency (ELP) test

All Pilots, Air Traffic Controllers and all others who use English in radio telephony communication must be at International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) English Language Level 4 or above.

ICAO validity scale:

  • Level 4: Operational, valid 3 years
  • Level 5: Extended, valid 6 years
  • Level 6: Expert, lifetime valid

As Ultralight pilot you are not obliged to use or have a radio as long as you only fly in uncontrolled airspace. But being able to use the radio correctly will increase your safety and those of other pilots.

Below a report of the test I took in November this year at Kortrijk Wevelgem International Airport.

Part I

This was a paper based test, also in two parts, total time allocated 30 minutes. First you are given a complex story, mine was about an emergency exercise on an aircraft, afterwards you have to answer multiple choice question about this story. The second part consisted of completing a series of English sentences, again multiple choice. Different versions of the tests were distributed amongst the group, so copying your neighbors answers is not a smart thing todo.

Part II

This was an individual test everything was record on video and took no longer then 20 to 30 minutes. I was asked to introduced myself, we talked about work, flying of course. Then I was given a picture taken from an aircraft, and I had to described what was shown on the picture. After this I had to read out loud a text describing the workings of an altimeter. And finally we went through the questions of part I.

Overall the test was no too difficult, pay attention in the first part to the details. For the second part talk with confidence, the content does not really matter. The more you talk the easier it is for the examiner to get an idea of your level.

And yes, I passed, I obtained level 6 so valid for the rest of my life, if the rules don’t change. I paid 125€ for this test.