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 Full text 
Monday, 8 March 2010 - Strasbourg OJ edition

One-minute speeches on matters of political importance

  John Stuart Agnew (EFD). – Mr President, the EU’s ‘harmonise everything’ policy creates many casualties, not least the Instrument Meteorological Conditions (IMC) rating for private pilots in the UK. This is a vital safety rating that enables holders to fly on instruments in cloud and poor visibility, which is not permitted by the private pilot’s licence. It is unique to the UK because of our capricious weather conditions, and it also has a very good safety record.

In developing a harmonised European pilot’s licence, the European Aviation Safety Agency is about to wipe out the IMC rating, leaving many private pilots unable to fly unless they can guarantee cloudless skies for the entirety of their trip. This is a bit like guaranteeing that England will win the World Cup on a penalty shootout. After losing visual perspective, an untrained pilot has about 50 seconds to regain it before losing control of his aircraft. Therefore, the abolition of the IMC rating is a serious threat to the safety and future of private flying.

The European Aviation Safety Agency must think again. This is yet another example of sensible, practical British law being subordinated to over-the-top and expensive EU legislation.

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