Application of EASA Part-SPO in Switzerland

SPO type of activities

Since 21 April 2017 Annex VIII (Part-SPO) of the Commission Regulation (EU) No 965/2012 on Air Operations is applicable to specialised operations (SPO) for the categories aeroplanes and helicopter. 

As per definition, SPO may be of non-commercial and commercial nature (any non-commercial operation performed with non-complex motor-powered aircraft is fully covered in Part-NCO ‒ refer to table below). The following list is an example (non-exhaustive) of typical SPO activities as per GM1 SPO.GEN.005 Scope:

  • helicopter external loads operations;
  • helicopter survey operations;
  • human external cargo operations;
  • parachute operations and skydiving;
  • agricultural flights;
  • aerial photography flights;
  • glider towing;
  • aerial advertising flights;
  • calibration flights;
  • construction work flights, including stringing power line operations, clearing saw operations;
  • oil spill work;
  • avalanche mining operations;
  • survey operations, including aerial mapping operations, pollution control activity;
  • news media flights, television and movie flights;
  • special events flights, including such as flying display and competition flights;
  • aerobatic flights;
  • animal herding, animal rescue flights and veterinary dropping flights;
  • maritime funeral operations;
  • scientific research flights (other than those under Annex II to Regulation (EC) No 216/2008);
  • cloud seeding; and
  • sensational flights: flights involving extreme aerobatic manoeuvres carried out for the purpose of allowing the persons on board to experience zero gravity, high G-forces or similar sensations.
  • firefighting

For other operations the operator can apply the criteria specified in AMC1 SPO.GEN.005 to determine whether an activity falls within the scope of specialised operations.

Solely holding an AOC does not provide the entitlement to perform SPO.

Note: Swiss customs acknowledged the release of tax on fuel for commercial specialised operations under the same conditions as defined for an AOC holder (SPO declaration and letter of acknowledgement must be on hand).

Applicable Requirements for SPO Operators

The operator must consider the following regulation parts (Annexes), subparts and the respective Acceptable Means of Compliance (AMC) and the Guidance Material (GM) of the Commission Regulation (EU) No 965/2012 on Air Operations:

Commercial SPO Ops Applicable requirements described in Req.
with CMPA Part-ORO in applicable sections / Part-SPO in full DEC
with nCMPA Part-ORO in applicable sections / Part-SPO in full DEC
if doing high risk Ops Part-ORO in applicable sections / Part-SPO in full DEC+A
Non-commercial SPO Ops Applicable requirements described in Req.
with CMPA Part-ORO in applicable sections / Part-SPO in full DEC
with nCMPA Part-NCO* NIL
if doing high risk Ops1 with CMPA: Part-ORO in applicable sections / Part-SPO in full DEC
with nCMPA: Part-NCO* NIL

(n)CMPA = (non)-complex motor-powered aircraft | DEC = Declaration | DEC+A = Declaration and Authorisation(s) | NIL = None
1 the term does not exist in Non-commercial SPO Ops

* Note that some SPO operations (competition flights or flying displays, parachute dropping, sailplane towing and aerobatic flights) may be subject to compliance with Part-NCO only (and not Part-ORO and Part-SPO), when performed under certain conditions. According to SPO.GEN.005 (c) these are:

(1) competition flights or flying displays, on the condition that the re-muneration or any valuable consideration given for such flights is limited to recovery of direct costs and a proportionate contribution to annual costs, as well as prizes of no more than a value specified by the competent authority.

(2) parachute dropping, sailplane towing or aerobatic flights performed either by a training organisation having its principal place of business in a Member State and approved in accordance with Regulation (EU) No 1178/2011, or by an organisation created with the aim of promoting aerial sport or leisure aviation, on the condition that the aircraft is operated by the organisation on the basis of ownership or dry lease, that the flight does not generate profits distributed outside of the organisation, and that whenever non-members of the organisation are involved, such flights represent only a marginal activity of the organisation.

Info: FOCA defines marginal activity for parachute dropping operations as being a maximum of 20%, measured on the number of jumps (one parachute equals one jump) 

  • If you fall into the blue marked category you may refer to
  • If you fall into the green marked category you remain on this SPO website

Necessities for SPO operators

This paragraph applies only for SPO operators who fall in the green category above 

The SPO operator must have:

  • a management system in place and describe its operations in an operations manual, including SMS and CMS,
  • appointed Managers (nominated persons),
  • an approved MEL,
  • an SPO Declaration and associated letter of acknowledgement of the competent authority, and
  • further items explained in the following passages.

From here the website is divided into two parts for departmental reasons:

Further information

Last modification 06.12.2018

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Federal Office of Civil Aviation FOCA

Flight Operations Special Services

Section Helicopter Flight Operations

Tel: +41 58 464 62 93

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