53rd General Assembly & Annual Symposium

General Assembly elects Dr. Francis Schubert as new EUROCAE President

Vienna - The European Organisation for Civil Aviation Equipment (EUROCAE) General Assembly elected Dr. Francis Schubert at the 53rd annual meeting to succeed Eric Bernard. Dr. Schubert shall take up duties as of 29 April 2016, for a one-year mandate.

David Hawken, EUROCAE Chairman of the Board, said: ''I am delighted that Dr. Schubert has been elected President. His wide experience will be a real benefit to EUROCAE and I look forward to working with him.''

Dr. Francis Schubert is Chief Corporate Officer and Deputy CEO for Skyguide, Swiss Air Navigation Services Ltd., in Geneva, Switzerland.

He is also Adjunct Professor at the Institute of Air & Space Law, McGill University, in Montreal, Canada and lecturer at the Faculty of Law of the University of Lausanne, in Switzerland.

Francis Schubert started his career as an air traffic controller, and moved to other positions  after several years of Air Traffic Control practical experience. His current responsibilities include international relations, corporate strategy and legal affairs for skyguide.

Dr. Schubert holds a Ph.D. in international aviation law from the University of Geneva and a Diploma in Higher Studies in International Relations from the Graduate Institute for International Studies in Geneva. He serves as ex officio General Counsel for CANSO (Civil Air Navigation Services Organisation) and is past President of the Swiss Air & Space Law Association.


This year’s Symposium was also the occasion for the EUROCAE Award Night.

A total of five awards where presented to outstanding leaders and contributors of EUROCAE activities / Working Groups (WGs):

-        Global Harmonisation Award

Delivered to EUROCAE WG-78 and RTCA SC-214 “Standards for Air Traffic Data Communication Services”, accepted by Jerome Condis, WG-78 chairperson, recognising joint WGs activities with RTCA and to support worldwide interoperability and global harmonisation.

-        Working Group Leader Award

Delivered to Dewar Donnithorne-Tait, WG-73 Chairperson, for his excellent leadership of WG-73 “Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS)”.

-        International Contribution Award

Delivered to Vince Lo Presto, WG-89 “Revision of ETSO C-16 (Pitot Tubes)” Secretary, recognising specifically participation from non-European stakeholders.

-        Innovation Award

Delivered to Michel Messerschmidt, WG-72 “Aeronautical System Security” / ED-203 editor, for this contribution in a WG dealing with innovative subjects.

-        Best Contribution Award

Delivered to Rory Hedman, WG-100 “Remote and Virtual Tower” / interim report editor, to recognize his outstanding contributions to WG-100.

EUROCAE Awards are intended to recognise excellence, leadership and hard work in EUROCAE Working Groups (WGs) by the WG Chairperson, Secretary, or other key members of the group.

Jerome Condis (Airbus SAS) receiving the Global Harmonisation Award from Margaret Jenny (RTCA President) 

Symposium discussions & conclusions

Over 130 delegates attended the EUROCAE Symposium on 28 and 29 April in Vienna, Austria. The sessions focussed on five key topics: Flight Tracking; Runway Safety; Cyber Security; RPAS; and Space Travel.

Christian Schleifer-Heingärtner, EUROCAE Secretary General, noted that “EUROCAE is growing by more than 10% of members per year and has reached a record high number of 36 active working groups. The environment is changing and the demand for developing standards is increasing. Regulations internationally at ICAO and regional at EASA level are becoming more performance based and standards developing organisations (SDOs) are called in their role to provide the “how to comply” with these performance based regulations. EUROCAE has expanded its domain of activities from only electronic onboard equipment to a much wider range of ground equipment, aerodromes, MET/AIM, RPAS, security, SWIM and fuel cells. The symposium was conducted the first time in this new format, focusing not only on standardization, instead building the programme around five sessions in a way to get the bigger picture on the different topics.”

 n 1: Flight Tracking 

It is unfortunately the hard way that progress was made in aviation throughout history. The disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 (MH370) in March 2014 and the Air France AF447 accident over the Atlantic in 2009 followed the same unfortunate path. However, these accidents also pushed the aviation community to really address the issue of flight tracking – and find actual solutions.

The good news is that 85% of the search for MH370 is now complete, with the full 100% expected to be achieved by end-June 2016.

There are several challenges to global aircraft tracking, amongst which what triggers the improved ping rate from the 15-minutes mandated by ICAO to the 5 of 1 minute required for very accurate identification of the aircraft, and what data to transmit.

ICAO has recently approved Annex 6 SARPs for Aircraft Tracking and for Distress Tracking.

Distress situation have been analysed and we know now what qualifies as ‘distress situation’.

At the end of the day, the way forward is to work together to achieve a regulation that has good rationale, and that references EUROCAE and RTCA standards as a means to comply.

Session 2: Runway Safety

Too many accidents in international aviation are due to runway related conditions still today. There are many initiatives at international and regional level; however, the operating environment is a very complex one. It is also dependent upon too many variables, such as: the aircraft type, weather conditions, runway conditions, etc.

ICAO very well emphasized the intersection between what systems can do and what people can do. Another important point raised by ICAO was: how can the regulator understand what operators propose and accept it?

At European level, EASA’s European Plan for Aviation Safety (EPAS) offers the platform to focus the efforts to improve safety in general and runway safety in particular. EASA’s efforts would be strengthened by involving EUROCAE Working Groups, to ensure objective rules.

Airlines represented by IATA are fully involved in developing and promoting ways of mitigating the risks of runway incursions and excursions. Such means could include training and assessment for pilots, improved flight deck procedures while taxiing, communication improvements (phraseology, one common aeronautical language, proficiency), and airport markings and lighting.

Very importantly, as stressed also by IATA, runway safety initiatives cannot be done by any one stakeholder alone.

The European Cockpit Association emphasized that cockpit procedures must be clear, unambiguous; cockpit warnings/alerts need to be intuitively understood – and nuisance alerts kept to the minimum; finally, proper flight preparation would bring a significant safeguard to runway related incidents and accidents.

From an aircraft manufacturer’s perspective, Airbus is taking a conclusive approach to standardisation. Enhancing safety at landing is essential, as small deviations at this critical phase of the flight carves into the built-in safety margin and may result in a disaster. Also, how information is delivered to the flight crew is a very important aspect.

Standardised information, together with proper preparation tools and a safety net, namely the use of systems to monitor deviations, would be enabled by the use of EASA of EUROCAE standards.

Session 3: Cyber Security 

Increased performance, cost-efficiency and safety requirements require a more homogenous and standardised information exchange. System Wide Information Management (SWIM) and other automation and networking programmes demanding a new holistic approach.

First question would be: what is included in cybersecurity? Data needs to be protected, but what data needs to be protected?

Information security must ensure at the same time confidentiality, data integrity, but also availability of data for rightful use.

On the other hand, threats could be internal (people and technology) and external. Therefore, a layered approach is most effective, but cost should be considered.

Very importantly, a balance to security must be ensured, so that measures taken would not have the opposite effect. We have to be mindful that companies must connect existing infrastructure. And new challenges emerge exactly from  that, as well as from the need for greater information sharing, greater interconnectivity, and data communications in general.

There are ever more elaborate and ever vaster cyber threats today, and this is why it is critical to understand the risks, and to properly identify and evaluate the risks. In this context, sharing of information amongst, and an active engagement of all stakeholders becomes very important.

In aviation, we need to promote a robust cybersecurity culture backed by proper training, learn from the best practices in other industries to avoid unnecessary duplication of efforts, and ultimately not to act in isolation.

At the end of the day, technical means can never be 100% secure. It is therefore essential that operational mitigations are put in place, too.

Session 4: RPAS 

The UAS – RPAS market is growing faster and faster. It is also very volatile, which creates new challenges. Political, technical, and economical questions are all intertwined when it comes to this topic. Also, there are many new entrants into the traditional aviation industry, that do not share traditional aviation values, which creates pressure from customers, and overwhelms regulators. Furthermore, privacy concerns appear to be a higher priority for the public opinion than aviation safety.

Presently, the lines of regulation/legislation are blurred even at national level. Depending on circumstances, and unmanned aerial system could be qualified as RPAS, model aircraft, or toy.

Nevertheless, standards prove to be a big part of the answer to the challenges of actual implementation of RPAS. Yet, with the scope of EU regulation limited to aircraft with a mass higher than 150 kgs and not used for ‘state’ operations, there is a wide variety of legislation by Member States for RAPS with a mass below 150 kg.

Aside from the dedicated Task Force to address ‘Geo-limitation’ (‘geo-fencing’), EASA is launching an internal working group to study effects of drone collision with aircraft, which is a major concern to operators for obvious reasons. And the latter proves to be most challenging, with no real answer, or conclusion, to date.

There is still a degree of uncertainty about future EU/EASA regulations, both in terms of structure and content, as well as regarding new certification specifications from JARUS.

At the international level, the air space is very fragmented, there is no common upper air space limit, which could require a new classification of airspace.

Yet, as one of the speakers put it: ‘Things are happening now.’ To address RPAS effectively, there is a clear need for coordination amongst stakeholders and standards organisations alike.

This where EUROCAE and RTCA would play an important role: to drive the industry standards and enable the framework to develop the business opportunities, and run safe and lucrative commercial operations.

Session 5: Space Travel 

Regulating space vehicles is far from being harmonised around the world. Yet, standardisation should be considered in advance of fully developing the technology. Safety is the fundamental and guiding principle for activities both in the air and space domains. And the responsibility of states plays an important role as to what regime of operations would apply to these operations, whether it is space, air, or hybrid.

With the number of projects aimed at commercialisation of space travel growing, there will be an increasing need for a seamless and efficient integration of air and space traffic.

What is sure, is that there is a steady growth in the number of space activities, and an expansion of the business models of the players. Some organisations focus on flights beyond orbit, on transport vehicles, or the space station.

Regarding the space station, the latest test regarding the expandable module is expected to be run in May 2016. This new technology would allow for large modules to be launched in a larger configuration.

Some of the suborbital projects coming up are motivated by space tourists, which means that they could be achieved without the energy required for a usual payload that should remain in space.

As far as regulatory and standardisation activity is concerned, there are significant variations around the world, from no regulations at all, to allowing a large degree of freedom to private sector for the development of vehicles.

Interagency coordination at the UN level, especially between ICAO and UNOOSA, would provide the platform for member states to explore the opportunities that exist, and to make decisions regarding the regulatory regime they should apply.

There is a significant work to be done to review existing legal framework at national and international level, especially with regard to risks and liability. Some of the areas that require particular consideration from this perspective include weather, space debris, and frequency interference.

International organisations together with national legislators and regulators should provide guidance and direction as to what the industry would need to comply with.

EUROCAE and RTCA would continue to monitor the regulatory framework, to scrutiny policy and operational aspects, and prepare to launch industry standards that are risk-based, to allow the industry to innovate in a safe way.

In particular the non-governmental segment will require legal and regulatory certainty to successfully plan and conduct its activities.



EUROCAE would like to thank all the sponsors:








Diamond Aircraft

Rockwell Collins



Krems University Aviation MBA










TTECH Computertechnik AG