In 1992 Ivan Shaw, designer of the Europa, wrote "I do not consider that as a
pilot I have a special right to fly around in a noisy aircraft annoying people on the
ground". The final presentation of the day introduced the future of light aviation as
born out of its current difficulties. In April 1995 a noise evaluation of the Rotax
912-powered 3 bladed propeller Europa Classic tested compliance with three different noise
certification requirements. In summary the examiner wrote "The results not only met
the above noise certification requirements but exceeded them by a considerable margin. The
aircraft is clearly a modern day aircraft, which is guaranteed to satisfy
environmentalists throughout the world. The more stringent requirements of some countries,
e.g. Germany and Switzerland are also satisfied by the Europa 912 aircraft".
The recently launched XL-2 from Liberty Aerospace, sister company to Europa, builds on
this new tradition of quiet aircraft. The XL-2 is designed for the 2 seat touring market
but is also claimed to be just as suitable for the training and post-ppl rental markets.
It is also quiet. Very quiet.
Unfortunately the quiet aeroplane may be coming, but for all practical purposes it is
not yet here. The cost of replacing the entire GA fleet with modern quiet aircraft is an
expensive and slow process. The average age of the training fleet in the UK is around 30
years old. It is claimed that if we continue to renew these aircraft at the present rate
it will probably take around 60 years to work all the old 'gas-guzzling noisy' aircraft
out of the system.
In the meantime, therefore, it is still down to the GA community to do all it can to
alleviate the situation. More considerate flying, as detailed in the GAAC leaflet of
the same name, will help mitigate some of the intrusion. Noise monitoring, with fines for
noise offenders, is already a reality for the airliners at major airports. The cost of not
fitting silencers is increasing. Good public relations efforts are becoming a necessity
next time you are at your local aerodrome put yourself in the shoes of a member of
the public. What sort of welcome does it give you? More often than not it will be a case
of "Keep Out!", "No Admittance" and "Trespassers will be