News for aircraft operators
In September 2020, a working agreement between the Japan Civil Aviation Bureau (JCAB) and the FOCA was signed in Bern and Tokyo regarding the mutual recognition of aircraft and their distribution. This with the desire to promote the safety and environmental compatibility of civil aviation, to facilitate the free movement of civil aeronautical products and to strengthen cooperation and increase efficiency and thus safety in the civil sector. With this working agreement, the Bilateral Aviation Safety Agreement (BASA) between Japan and the EU, which came into force at the beginning of September, as well as the associated Technical Implementation Procedures, will be made directly applicable for Switzerland and Japan.
Since 24 March 2020 the new EASA Part-ML (Part M "light"), Part-CAMO and Part-CAO regulations are applicable.
This results in changed requirements for the Airworthiness Review. The illustration "Airworthiness Review ARC, an overview" shows in summary form the details of who, when and how an Airworthiness Review Certificate may be issued or renewed.
Since 24th March 2020 the EASA Part ML (Part M «light») is applicable.
As a part of the simplifications, aircraft maintenance programs for aircraft covered by the EASA Part-ML are no longer approved by the authorities (especially non-commercial airplanes with a maximum take-off mass (MTOM) of 2730kg and below and helicopters with a MTOM of 1200kg and below). The aircraft maintenance program has to be either self-declared by the owner or approved by a CAMO/CAO organization.
For general use the FOCA has now published easily editable templates. On one hand the templates will facilitate the establishment a maintenance program for aircraft owners and on the other, they assure that the formal and content related minimum requirements are respected.
In addition, the FOCA templates contain a possible model for establishing a due list for life limited components and maintenance intervals. The tracking of intervals and life limits is thereby greatly simplified.
The following templates are now published (replacing the previously published templates “AMP 4.0 versions”):
AMP EASA Standard Template ML (Word)
an editable version of the EASA published template (see AMC2 to ML.A.302) in Word
AMP EASA Standard Template ML (Excel)
an editable version of the EASA published template (see AMC2 to ML.A.302) in Excel
AMP FOCA EASA Part ML Revision 00
a FOCA created template for aircraft covered by EASA Part ML. the template does also include a due list
AMP FOCA EASA Part M Revision 00
a FOCA template for aircraft maintenance program for non-complex aircraft with a MTOM over 2730kg
The current templates can be downloaded from the website: Aircraft Maintenance Programme (AMP) / Maintenqance instruction.
As already announced in the technical news of June 2019, the practice of issuing Airworthiness Review Certificates (ARCs) after "Level 2 findings" will change as part of the Europe-wide harmonisation. According to the previous practice, the ARC was issued after a "Level 2 finding”. The defects had to be resolved within two months. With the introduction of EASA Part-M "light", the ARC will only be issued after all Stage 2 (Level 2 findings) defects have been resolved. However, the correction can also take the form of a correct «postponement», for which purpose the EASA Part-M «light» reveals new skills for the aircraft operator/pilot.
Further information and practical examples can be found in the document (in German language only) «Information zum Prüfverfahren für die Ausstellung von ARC».
The document can be found on the website: “Airworthiness reviews” under: “Further information – Publications” (in German language only).
By 1 October 2020, certifying staff with the national M licence for gliders, powered sailplanes, balloons and airships must have obtained the new EASA L-licence in accordance with Part III (Part-66) of Regulation (EU) 1321/2014.
The following licence categories will be eligible to be converted or extended:
All holders of a valid national M licence that permits them to the following: gliders / powered sailplanes / gliders with retractable engines / balloons / airships will be entitled to convert their licences. Any national limitations will be transferred to the newly issued licence.
- All B1.2 & B3 licence holders with a Group 3 rating can apply for L1/L2 and L1C/L2C licences
- All B2 licence holders with the full group 2b can apply for the full group 2c
- All B2 licence holders with the full sub group 2a or 2b can apply for the full group 3 & 4
The following documents are required to convert or extend a licence:
In order to ensure that your application is processed smoothly and quickly, we will need:
- A completed and signed copy of EASA Form 19
- Your original maintenance licence (not a copy)
- A copy of your pilot’s licence (if available)
- If certificates have been issued for electric or jet propulsion aircraft, please enclose these certificates with your application (e.g. Antares/Silent/FES sustainer for electric and/or Shark for jet propulsion)
Since the range of activities covered by the newly introduced L licence exceeds that of the existing national licensing system, a considerable amount of personal responsibility will be transferred to the licence holder. FOCA would like to draw your attention to the fact that the licence holder must have the necessary documented experience (AMC 66.A.20(b)(2) Privileges), expertise and tools to carry out maintenance work.
Regulation (EU) 2018/1142 added the categories “L” and “B2L” to the licence for certifying staff and also for the first time included aircraft group 4, which covers gliders, motor gliders, balloons and airships in Annex lll (Part-66).
The EASA L licence consists of the following categories:
- L1C Sailplanes in composite structure
- L1 Sailplanes
- L2C Powered sailplanes and ELA1 in composite structure
- L2 Powered sailplanes and ELA1
- L3H Hot air balloons
- L3G Gas balloons
- L4H Hot air airships
- L4G ELA2 Gas airships
- L5 Gas airships other than ELA2
National M licences will in future only continue to exist for aircraft included in special categories that are the national responsibility of the state of registry (NON EASA aircraft), such as historical aircraft.
As the aviation supervisory authority, the FOCA carries out airworthiness reviews relating to the issue of Airworthiness Review Certificates or ARCs. These are based on the provisions of European Regulation EU No. 1321/2014 (above all M.B.902 and M.A.710).
In the event of complaints about aircraft there are two stages. In the case of Stage 1 defects, the airworthiness of the reviewed aircraft is affected directly. This leads to immediate grounding. The aircraft may be put back into operation only when the defects have been remedied (c.f. also M.A.403(a)). Stage 2 defects, on the other hand, do not directly affect airworthiness. Their remediation could be postponed for a period.
In this respect the EASA wishes to implement Europe-wide harmonisation, which is also logical with regard to the introduction of EASA part M “light”. This involves various easements to General Aviation and will provisionally be introduced in Switzerland in February 2020. Whilst nothing changes in respect of Stage 1 defects, the practice for Stage 2 defects is being adapted.
To date, in the case of Stage 2 defects, though the ARC has been issued, the keeper of the aircraft had to provide the FOCA with evidence of rectification of the defects within a period of two months. Now the ARC will be issued only after remediation, including all Stage 2 defects. However, this does not represent more stringent conditions or even grounding of the aircraft by analogy with Stage 1 defects.
Rather, in the spirit of M.A.403, importance is being attached to defect management and therefore to the responsibility of maintenance personnel or, with the new EASA Part-M “light”, to the correspondingly new privileges of the keeper of the aircraft/pilot. The latter may now assess independently, on the basis of specific criteria and preconditions, when and how the raised complaints or defects or faults on the aircraft are dealt with.
To this end, the operational standards (“Minimum Equipment List”) and the manufacturers' technical instructions (“maintenance data”), if available, are to be consulted. There is therefore the possibility of deferring the remediation of a complaint or a defect or a fault, in extreme cases until the next regular check. In the context of this “defect management”, deferred complaints are to be listed in a “hold item list/HIL”, and in the flight logbook or “Tech Log”, especially if operational consequences result from the complaints and pilots subsequently using the aircraft have to be informed accordingly.
In this context, the review process is deemed to be completed as soon as evidence of remediation of the Stage 2 complaint(s) or the regular deferral of the complaints in accordance with M.A.(L) 403 has been submitted to the FOCA. The aircraft then receives the new ARC.
Since the existing ARC continues to remain valid during the review process (unless Stage 1 defects have been found), it is worthwhile undertaking the review of the aircraft in good time, within the review window of 90 days. Sufficient time therefore remains for the remediation or the deferral of the complaints in order to maintain the new ARC without any interruption.
The evidence for the actual remediation of the complaints (e.g. work report) will no longer be examined within the framework of the regular review process for the issuing of the ARC in the case of deferral according to M.A.(L) 403. The implementation of “defect management”, however, is clearly a subject of the next airworthiness review and may also be reviewed in the event of a focused “ACAM” inspection.
CAMOs too must assure their processes accordingly, including in relation to the recommendations for the issuing of ARCs. This means that they must also have rectified the defects in the above-mentioned sense before the issue of an airworthiness review certificate can be applied for to the FOCA with a recommendation. The same applies by analogy to airworthiness review certifications which are issued directly by the CAMO under the so-called “I privilege”.
All in all, the change in practice involves only a minor adjustment. Taking into account certain requirements, in particular in relation to planning (applicable periods), additional flexibility may even be assumed. This is the case especially in relation to the new privileges which are being introduced by the EASA Part-M "light".
Which aircraft types are affected?
In the Swiss Aircraft Register are currently various aircraft registered which are based on Permanent Flight Conditions introduced by EASA for Light Sport Aircraft (LSA) aircraft which can’t be effectively transited to full Type Certification (TC) after the TC processes has been finished with various companies. The affected types are:
- Aerospool, SPOL. S R.O. – WT9
- Czech Sport Aircraft A.S - PIPERSPORT
- Czech Sport Aircraft A.S. – SPORTCRUISER
- Flight Design GmbH – CTLS HL
- Remos Aircraft GmbH Flugzeugbau – REMOS GX
- Pipistrel D.O.O. Ajdovscina – VIRUS SW
These aircraft types are currently still in the EASA LSA-transition process to full LSA TC (as of August 2018):
- Aerospool, SPOL. S R.O. – WT9
- Flight Design GmbH – CTLS-ELA
What are the steps to follow in case for such an aircraft the change of the operator/owner is needed?
The standard procedures for the modification of operator/owner details can be found on the FOCA website: HERE.
If a change of the operator/owner of a Light Sport Aircraft flying under EASA Permanent Flight Conditions is needed, please fulfill also the following procedure to transferring all the legal responsibilities for each individual (by Serial Number) aircraft design to the new operator/owner. This is tracked using an Aircraft Data Sheet (ADS), which is an integral reference of the approved Flight Conditions (EASA Form 18B).
Therefore, when the operator/owner is changed, the old Flight Conditions (FC) including the ADS became automatically invalid and an operation of such aircraft automatically illegal.
Apply for New Flight Contitions at EASA:
The new owner should send to EASA the application (EASA Form 37) for new Flight Conditions (and therefore for the update of the ADS) on the first day when his ownership was tracked by the Aircraft Register of the National Aviation Authority (NAA).
On 16 November 2012, the European Commission issued Implementing Regulation (EU) No. 1079/2012 in which it published the requirements concerning the voice channel spacing for the single European sky. This Regulation describes a Europe-wide uniform and tiered procedure for the introduction of 8.33 kHz channel spacing for VHF aeronautical radio.
For flights operated in accordance with IFR (Instrument Flight Rules) or flights as of a flight level above 195, 8.33 kHz channel spacing was already introduced on a step-by-step basis as of 17 November 2012. With effect from 1 January 2018, 8.33 kHz spacing will be binding for all flights and for all airspaces in which the carriage of a VHF aeronautical radio on board is a legal requirement.
How many 8.33 kHz devices are required?
If the relevant legal provisions call for two independently functioning radios*, it has to be assumed that both devices must be capable of handling 8.33 kHz.
*The applicable regulations can be deduced from the MMEL/Master Minimum Equipment List, MEL/Minimum Equipment List or AFM/Aircraft Flight Manual, or from operational provisions, especially Regulation (EU) No. 965/2012.
What is the situation with respect to old devices?
Old devices with 25 kHz channel spacing do not necessarily have to be removed. As long as a device capable of handling 8.33 kHz spacing is installed (mandatory equipment), old devices may remain in the cockpit as supplementary equipment, even though they cannot be operated in the 8.33 kHz range (e.g. for monitoring). However, they may no longer be used for transmitting, even if the allocated frequency can still be used with 25 kHz channel spacing. The reason for this is that interference with neighbouring frequencies can occur. The sole exception here applies to the international emergency frequency, 121,500 MHz, where there is sufficient separation. The following information must be displayed on radios with 25 kHz channel spacing if they are retained in the cockpit: “VHF-COM transmission on 121,500 MHz only”.
Are there any other requirements that have to be met?
The replacement of a radio represents a modification of an aircraft that requires a permit. Exceptions may apply for certain aircraft categories and preconditions in accordance with CS-STAN*. Furthermore, radios must be approved in accordance with TSO/ETSO /EUROCAE ED-23B (as per ICAO Annex 10). Handheld radios do not comply with these requirements.
Since 1 January 2017, EASA has offered a simplified procedure in Europe for validating Supplemental Type Certificates (STCs) published by the US civil aviation authorities, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). Until such time as the technical implementation procedures (TIP) under the Agreement between the USA and the EU on cooperation in the regulation of civil aviation safety (BASA) have been amended accordingly, the owner of an aircraft or of a Continuing Airworthiness Management Organisation (CAMO) may also apply for validation from EASA. However, only aircraft meeting the following criteria can benefit from the simplified procedure for validating FAA STCs:
- > 2 000 kg ≤ 5 700 kg MTOW
- ≤ 2 000 kg MTOW
- Very Light Aeroplane
- Light Sport Aeroplane
- Powered Sailplanes
Before filing a duly classified "EASA validation of FAA Supplemental Type Certificate classified as Basic and limited to one serial number" with EASA, the EASA Product Certification Manager (PCM) of the aircraft type concerned must be consulted. If the PCM is unknown, the application can be sent by e-mail to: GADadmin@easa.europa.eu. The STC validation is effective only for the serial number of the aircraft concerned.
In November 2016 a memorandum of understanding was signed in Bern and Moscow between the Russian Interstate Aviation Committee (IAC AR) and FOCA regarding the surveillance of subcontractors carrying out work for Swiss maintenance organisations. The aim of this agreement is to bring about closer cooperation and the mutual recognition of oversight activities.
In 2014, the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) carried out an inspection of the Hellenic Civil Aviation Authority (HCAA). The inspection identified a safety-related non-conformity in connection with alleged examination fraud at the Part-147 maintenance training organization, Hellenic Aviation Training Academy (HATA).
The underlying consideration was that aircraft maintenance certifying staff could obtain a Part-66 license based on Certificates of Recognition issued by HATA. Staff having gained such a Part-66 licence can therefore release aircraft post-maintenance without having the required basic knowledge.
For these reasons, the European Commission determined that Certificates of Recognition issued by HATA after examination of basic knowledge in technical modules could not serve as the basis for the issue of a Part-66 licence. Part-66 licences issued on the basis of such Certificates of Recognition do not constitute sufficient evidence of knowledge and must be re-assessed by the competent authorities (see Commission Decision (EU) 2016/2357).
The revised EASA Safety Information Bulletin (SIB) of 11 January 2017 (available in the EASA Safety Publications Tool) on Commission Decision (EU) No. 2016/2357 establishes inter alia the steps to be taken by maintenance companies and licence holders in this situation. It requires that the privileges granted by the licence be suspended until such time as the authorities issuing the licence have tested the holder’s knowledge.
Holders of Part-66 licences issued on the basis of HATA Certificates of Registration and maintenance organizations knowing of the existence of such Part-66 licences are therefore asked to contact the Federal Office of Civil Aviation (FOCA, Technical Organisations Section (STOB), Mühlestrasse 2, 3063 Ittigen, e-mail: email@example.com) by 28 February 2017.
Since 25 August 2016, multi-engine turbine-powered aircraft with a maximum certified take-off mass (MCTOM) of 5,700 kg have been classified as complex motor-powered aircraft (CMPA) under Commission Regulation (EU) 2015/1536.
Contrary to the provisions of Commission Regulation 1321/2014 applicable to CMPA, in Switzerland the non-commercial operations of CMPA are exempted from CAMO and Part-145 maintenance organisation obligations, and from other CMPA-relevant technical provisions.
These exemptions are valid until 1 January 2020.
With the introduction of Part-NCO, changes to the practices of the previous equipment requirements for the respective flight operations (VFR, VFR night, IFR) are taking place.
The scope of utilisation of the aircraft, previously issued by FOCA, is being overridden by the new legal basis for an aircraft concerned by Part-NCO. The possible types of operation now directly result from the .IDE-provisions of the Part-NCO, respectively TCDS/AFM/AFMS (see Guidance Material). They no longer derive from the scope of utilisation of the aircraft.
We therefore ask the aircraft operators to return their scope of utilisation to the aircraft registry at FOCA.
Commission Regulation (EU) 1536/2015 amending EASA-Part M (Commission Regulation (EU) No 1321/2014)
A new definition has made its appearance in EASA Part-M, thanks to Commission Regulation (EU) 1536/2015. The regulation dates from 16 September 2015, and was expected to come into force in Switzerland on 15 May. However, since the regulation itself stipulates a 25 August 2016 implementation deadline, its implications, as described below, will not come into legal force until that day, at the earliest. Furthermore, the European Commission is expected to deliberate over the next few months on the possibility of a further extension, going beyond 25 August 2016. Aircraft operators who are affected by the change should monitor the EASA website or that of the Swiss Federal Office of Civil Aviation.
What exactly is changing?
The definition of "large aircraft" (aircraft over 5700 kg or multi-engine helicopters), which hitherto has been used to decide whether to apply the stricter maintenance requirements for continuing airworthiness (in particular the CAMO requirement), is to be replaced by a new definition, "complex aircraft", which will serve as the criterion for the stricter demands as from 25 August 2016.
A complex aircraft is one that is
- with a maximum certificated take-off mass exceeding 5 700 kg, or
- certificated for a maximum passenger seating configuration of more than nineteen, or
- certificated for operation with a minimum crew of at least two pilots, or
- equipped with turbojet engine(s) or more than one turboprop engine, or
a helicopter certificated:
- for a maximum take-off mass exceeding 3 175 kg, or
- for a maximum passenger seating configuration of more than nine, or
- for operation with a minimum crew of at least two pilots, or
- a tilt rotor aircraft.
In some cases the new definition will mean that the more demanding requirements may apply to a formerly exempt aircraft, depending on the number of engines and the passenger seating capacity. Thus, an aircraft that, prior to this amendment, fell outside the definition of "large aircraft" because its weight was under 5 700 kg, for example, could now be reclassified as a complex aircraft. (A common example would be a two-engined turboprop aircraft.)
By contrast, for helicopters the change could work in the opposite direction by relaxing the requirements, because the change means that multi-engined helicopters are no longer automatically classified as large aircraft.
Operators of aircraft that are affected by this change are required to make the necessary changes. Operators who now have an obligation for CAMO compliance are requested to send the Federal Office of Civil Aviation a contract with an approved CAMO (unless they have an in-house CAMO) in a timely fashion. (The contract should be sent to the Airworthiness Section, "Sektion Lufttüchtigkeit Flugmaterial Zürich".) The anticipated deadline is 25 August 2016.
Annex IV to Decision 2015/016/R Certification Specifications for Standard Changes and Standard Repairs (CS-STAN)
On 8 July 2015 EASA issued acceptable methods and techniques for identifying and performing standard changes and repairs on aircraft (on the basis of Regulation (EU) No. 748/2012, or EASA Part-21). That meant that all eligible changes and repairs covered by CS-STAN can be carried out and certified without formal EASA approval.
In future, the Federal Office of Civil Aviation will accept changes to Annex II aircraft (which are not covered by EASA's "Basic Regulation") if they were carried out in compliance with CS-STAN and certified with FOCA form 123.
New option for conducting airworthiness reviews of ELA 1 aircraft
Under the new Commission Regulation (EU) 2015/1088, Part 145 or Part M Subpart G maintenance organizations will be authorized to conduct airworthiness reviews of ELA1 aircraft not involved in commercial operations and issue an airworthiness review certificate (ARC 15c). To do this they require FOCA authorization. Commission Regulation (EU) 2015/1088 was expected to enter into force on 15 May 2016.
Negotiations over several years have led to the conclusion of an agreement between the Swiss Federal Office of Civil Aviation and the United States Federal Aviation Administration regarding reciprocal acceptance of aircraft, aircraft engines, propellers, aircraft components and other equipment. In particular, the agreement will make it possible to export modifications to aircraft types (validation of supplemental type certificates), putting Swiss companies in a stronger position in a domain where they were hitherto at a disadvantage, compared with competitors in the European Union. The agreement can be viewed here.
Last modification 05.01.2021