Mandatory Use of FSTD’s for Skill Tests and Proficiency Checks
Based on safety considerations, EASA has long established that skill tests and proficiency checks for SPA and helicopters should be conducted in a FSTD, as laid out in Part FCL Appendix 9:
The training, skill test or proficiency check for class or type ratings for SPA and helicopters shall be conducted in:
(a) an available and accessible FFS, or
(b) a combination of FSTD(s) and the aircraft if an FFS is not available or accessible; or
(c) the aircraft if no FSTD is available or accessible.
If FSTDs are used during training, testing or checking, the suitability of the FSTDs used shall be verified against the applicable ‘Table of functions and subjective tests’ and the applicable ‘Table of FSTD validation tests’ contained in the primary reference document applicable for the device used. All restrictions and limitations indicated on the device's qualification certificate shall be considered.
FOCA has issued guidance to follow, whenever a check cannot be conducted on an available FSTD due to accessibility reasons: refer to GM/INFO Examination Guide Chapter 1.22.
In practice, FOCA and other Competent Authorities have shown flexibility on certain types of aeroplanes and helicopters in the past, due to the limited accessibility of some devices.
New FSTD’s have now been certified which are readily available and accessible on the European and local market in particular, and comply with the requirements for IR, skill tests and proficiency checks. It is therefore justified to reconsider past practices.
Operators of these types, in particular but not limited to the helicopter H125 and aeroplane PC12, have the obligation to conduct their skill tests/proficiency checks on the FSTD with due regard to the FSTD certificate and its limitations. Operators are hence invited to make the necessary arrangements.
It is understood that this stricter application of the existing regulation will require adjustment by the operators; a transition period of 12 months is therefore granted.
From October 1st, 2023, FOCA SBFP will reject skill tests and proficiency checks, which do not comply with this requirement. Justified exemptions must be requested in advance as per GM/INFO Examination Guide Chapter 1.22.
The FOCA SBFP inspectors in the respective category of aircraft are available as a point of contact for any question in relation to the above.