Dear Members,

Employers have recently been very keen to remind us of the bleakest scenarios that the airline industry might face in the coming years. These scenarios are regularly based on forecasts of IATA, the international airline umbrella organisation. If other sources of equal reputation are consulted, a different and more positive picture of the future can often be drawn.


For instance, Eurocontrol assumes in its "7-year forecast" that the number of IFR flight movements in Europe next year will return to as much as 89 per cent of the capacity of the record year 2019. In 2023, the forecast is 96 per cent. The so-called "high scenario" even assumes that traffic figures in 2023 will exceed those of 2019. In its "Global Market Forecast", Airbus also predicts that the traffic volume of 2019 will be exceeded in the years 2023 to 2025. Certainly, these are only forecasts, but they are much more positive compared to what employers keep telling us!

Stefan Herth
President

While it is quite obvious that we are not back on full thrust yet, in a not too far away perspective we should nevertheless assume a return to the "old market". After the crisis comes the boom - that's what experience has shown us in past decades. Therefore, any adjustment and shifting of staff and workload due to the crisis needs to remain temporary and must not become permanent. Not least in order for the airlines to remain responsive and to be able to quickly seize market opportunities when they appear. We reject all attempts to make a profit out of the current crisis situation!


The threat to our jobs must not come from the companies themselves. Threats come from outside, for example in the form of unfair competition due to internationally inconsistent climate regulation. This threatens our employers and our jobs alike. European airlines - and thus their employees as well as their representatives - must therefore stand up for fair competition. German and European politics are challenged and will be challenged by us.


Beyond this, we are also very well positioned and have extensive networks through our Flight Safety Department. We are thus in a position to contribute creatively to solutions and agreements everywhere, be it in the area of flight safety, in professional topics and CLA issues or in political initiatives. We offer the employers cooperation and pooling of interests on political issues and expect that pilots' interests will be taken into account responsibly when solving collective bargaining issues.


We also want to enter into a more profound dialogue with you as members, because VC lives from your ideas and your creative thinking. To this end, we have developed various formats in recent months, such as live webcasts or podcasts. And, of course, we would also very much like to finally talk to you in person again as soon as the Covid-situation permits it.


VC's successful history since 1969 is not a success story because we are pilots - even if we might sometimes be tempted to think it is. It is a success story because we are organised, because we can think in partnership terms, have expertise, offer sensible solutions - and stand together. VC keeps you strong!


I would like to thank all those actively participating in VC's working groups and bodies. You work to ensure that we are and remain a strong federation: Thank you for your commitment, your voluntary work and your trust. In this good spirit, I wish you all a Merry Christmas.

Thousands of Pilots rate Employers in ECA Survey

ECA has presented the results of its survey on working conditions at European airlines: the ranking includes 136 airlines that stand between the two poles of "social excellence" and "social junk". According to ECA, it is the most comprehensive study to date to identify the best and worst employers among European airlines.


To compile the ranking, European pilots were asked to rate their airlines on criteria such as precarious atypical forms of employment, contractual arrangements, relations with trade unions, collective bargaining and work-life balance. In total, the survey attracted more than 5,700 participants.


The good news is that one third of the airlines offer excellent jobs for pilots. On the other hand, there are also many companies with sometimes extremely precarious working conditions. These tend to be small providers that operate without attracting much public attention.


Click here for the full results

READ YOU 5 Podcast launched - Professional exchange between GdF and VC experts

The first episode of READ YOU 5 (in German) has been published on the VC Podcast channel. Experts from the German Air Traffic Control Union (GdF) and VC working groups will discuss cooperation, different perspectives and expectations of air traffic controllers and cockpit crews every one to two months. After all, both groups communicate on the same frequencies and with the same phraseology. They also have one common goal: to get aircraft from A to B safely, efficiently and on time.

But the jobs and the respective focus are quite different. While air traffic control has to keep an eye on the entire traffic, cockpit crews are primarily concerned with their respective own flight.


In the first episode "Approach", Thorsten Raue from GdF and Moritz Bürger from VC's Air Traffic Services working group talk about factors that influence the descent of aircraft. Topics include: Why do crews of the same type of aircraft want to leave their cruising altitude at different points? Why does air traffic control sometimes instruct a descent early, while on another flight it has to be actively asked for? Are there actually minimum descent rates and does the descent rate always have to be reduced towards the end to avoid TCAS warnings?


You can find the channel "VC Podcast" with the first episode of READ YOU 5 (in German) on common podcast platforms, e.g. here at Google Podcasts. We are happy to receive your feedback as well as suggestions for improvement and topics by email: podcast@vcockpit.de.

5G and Radio Altimeters

The expansion of the fifth-generation mobile radio standard is progressing worldwide. The use of frequency ranges in the so-called C-band up to 3.8 GHz is relevant for aviation. These frequency bands are adjacent to the 4.2-4.4 GHz used by radio altimeters. Interferences were detected in initial measurements by the American RTCA and the phenomenon is currently being further researched by European and American authorities. Unfortunately, there are serious differences in the characteristics of the various radio altimeters, so that interferences need to be detected individually.


FAA has issued a Special Airworthiness Information Bulletin (SAIB) in November on the 5G issue: SAIB AIR-21-18


On 7 December, an Airworthiness Directive (AD) was issued to indicate that certain approach procedures cannot be used when interferences are identified and published by NOTAM: AD 2021-23-12/13
EASA has not yet issued a statement. Similar, although not identical, frequency ranges are also used for 5G transmissions in Europe.


VC has been following this issue for several months and is currently in discussions with the regulatory authorities at national and international level. A quick and thorough investigation is urgently needed. In the meantime, any radio altimeter interference detected should be reported through the established channels.


IFALPA's publication "Aircraft Operations and Radar Altimeter Interference from 5G" can be found here.

Airport News - Current Information from the Local Runway Safety Teams at the Airports


Reduced Runway Separation

  • We would like to point out that due to the traffic increase at German airports, the Reduced Runway Separation procedure is being increasingly used again.
  • As of 27 January 2022, this procedure will in Germany only be permissible during daytime (SR +30min / SS -30min).
  • The reintroduction of the procedure at night is currently being discussed. We will inform you in case it is reintroduced.


BER

  • Apron B and D are separated by an operational road (Virtual Yard [!]). This can only be crossed on TWY VC. Especially at night, crossing this road via V1/V3 seems possible, which is not the case. You can find the graphic at https://vcinfo.vcockpit.de/artikel/airport-news
  • As of 01 December 2021, both runways are in use again.


General information

  • Due to dangerous incidents, the airports ask you not to taxi into the parking position until the aircraft has been recognised by the docking system. If the aircraft is not recognised, the Follow-Me will be very happy to help!
  • Safety shoe? Doors were damaged or torn off because the safety shoe was not laid down after opening the doors. These shoes give an alarm or readjust the bridge/stairs if the aircraft lowers onto the shoe during loading/unloading. If possible, please ensure that these safety shoes are present and brief your cabins.
  • Hydraulic clearance: A thousand times nothing has happened, but at some point it did - Due to incidents with moving parts like flaps, please make sure before actuating those parts on the ground that the respective movement area is clear.
  • PV systems: Have you ever been blinded by PV systems? We are happy to receive input on this problem, too!


Get in touch with us!
Whenever you notice hotspots at airports, please contact Sven Grassmueck at sven.grassmueck@vcockpit.de.

DAS WG: Rainbow Stripes - Diversity and Inclusion

Our society is becoming more and more diverse and so are Crews on the flight decks. In its new flyer "Rainbow Stripes" (in German), the Diversity and Social working group provides information about diversity, inclusion and the LGBTIQA+ community in all its facets.

Airbus Safety First Magazine - Capture the "right" Glide Slope

The ILS is an accurate and reliable system, but the design of ILS antennas may cause secondary glide slopes to appear on our displays that are actually above the primary glide slopes. Airbus Safety First Magazine explains how this effect occurs, what impact it has on our onboard systems, how to prevent the capture of a secondary glide slope and it also clarifies the protective measures in Airbus aircraft.


Airbus Safety First Magazine: Lining Up with the Correct Glide Slope

News from Associations, Organisations and Regulators


IFALPA - Various new Publications

  • Our international umbrella organisation has published the following documents:
    • New Position Papers on Unruly Passengers, EMAS Depiction and Signage, Airborne Image Recorders, Laser Attacks on Aircraft.
    • A new Briefing Leaflet on "Mentorship, Sponsorship, and Women".
    • The Safety Bulletin "Aircraft Operations and Radar Altimeter Interference from 5G" (see also the article above).
  • All these documents can be found on the IFALPA website at "Documents".


OPS Group - NOTAM / UK Free Route Airspace

  • In addition to the meaning of the abbreviation NOTAM, which in the US now officially means "Notices to Air Missions", the FAA has made a number of other changes to "its own" NOTAMs. The OPS Group takes a look at this in FAA NOTAM Change: It's not all about the Missions.
  • A large part of the UK's northern airspace has recently become Free Route Airspace, where more direct routes can often be flown. The OPS Group explains the details in UK Free Route Airspace.


EASA - Study on the Relationship between socio-economic Factors and Flight Safety

  • Every three years, EASA publishes a study on the interaction between socio-economic factors and flight safety. The study looks at employment and working conditions, health and lifestyle, and education. To the study

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