EASA reg­u­la­tion up­date

Pilot - - NOTES -

EASA PART-SPO Spe­cialised Operations comes into force in 2017, af­fect­ing both ‘aerial work’ and aer­o­bat­ics. Are you ready?

Seven months prior to the en­force­ment of the lat­est EASA reg­u­la­tion on 21 April 2017, the CAA held a work­shop at its Gatwick head­quar­ters on 12 Septem­ber to in­tro­duce and ex­plain the reg­u­la­tion’s im­pli­ca­tions to those or­gan­i­sa­tions and in­di­vid­u­als af­fected by the new EASA PART-SPO Spe­cialised Operations leg­is­la­tion.

Below is a sim­pli­fied over­view of what this means for po­ten­tial SPO op­er­a­tors. There is also leg­is­la­tion on man­age­ment, train­ing, crew­ing and com­pli­ance and many more sub­jects. All can be found on the CAA’S web­site www.caa.co.uk/spo, fol­low­ing the link to the PART-SPO guid­ance page.

So, what are these new ‘Spe­cialised Operations’? Per the CAA’S work­shop, they in­clude avi­a­tion ac­tiv­i­ties re­lated to agri­cul­ture, con­struc­tion, photography, sur­vey­ing, ob­ser­va­tion and pa­trol, as well as aerial ad­ver­tise­ment – ba­si­cally, much of what used to be called ‘aerial work’. The rules have been in place since 1 July 2014 and ap­ply re­gard­less of the air­craft’s State of Reg­istry. Some of these ac­tiv­i­ties may be deemed ‘high risk’, par­tic­u­larly to third par­ties, and as a con­se­quence will now re­quire prior au­tho­ri­sa­tion. Par­ties af­fected by PART-SPO are: • Com­mer­cial and non-com­mer­cial SPO op­er­a­tors • Com­plex and non-com­plex air­craft SPO op­er­a­tors • High risk and non high risk SPO op­er­a­tors

The new PART-SPO leg­is­la­tion is driven by a se­ries of def­i­ni­tions, which were clar­i­fied as fol­lows.

‘Com­plex mo­tor-pow­ered air­craft’ means a MTOW ex­ceed­ing 5,700kg or max­i­mum seat­ing for nine­teen pas­sen­gers; cer­ti­fied with a min­i­mum crew of two; equipped with a tur­bo­jet en­gine or more than one tur­bo­prop en­gine. For a he­li­copter, the def­i­ni­tion cov­ers a MTOW ex­ceed­ing 3,175kg; max­i­mum seat­ing for more than nine pas­sen­gers; and cer­ti­fied for a min­i­mum crew of two. The new leg­is­la­tion will also cover tiltro­tor air­craft but, as yet, no def­i­ni­tion is in­cluded.

In terms of ‘com­mer­cial op­er­a­tors’, these were de­fined as: any op­er­a­tion of an air­craft, in re­turn for re­mu­ner­a­tion or other valu­able con­sid­er­a­tion, which is avail­able to the pub­lic or, when not made avail­able to the pub­lic, which is per­formed un­der a con­tract be­tween an op­er­a­tor and a cus­tomer, where the lat­ter has no con­trol over the op­er­a­tor. An ‘op­er­a­tor’ was de­fined as: any le­gal body or in­di­vid­ual, op­er­at­ing or propos­ing to op­er­ate one or more air­craft or one or more aero­dromes.

No def­i­ni­tions were of­fered for ‘Non-com­mer­cial’ SPO op­er­a­tors as the leg­is­la­tion con­sid­ers that if you are not cov­ered by the ‘Com­mer­cial’ def­i­ni­tion, you must be con­sid­ered ‘Non-com­mer­cial’. Sim­i­larly, if your air­craft or he­li­copter is not cov­ered by the ‘Com­plex’ def­i­ni­tion, and is smaller or lighter than the ‘Com­plex’ def­i­ni­tions, you must be op­er­at­ing a ‘Non-com­plex’ type.

In fact, you are prob­a­bly in­cluded whether com­mer­cial or non-com­mer­cial, com­plex or non-com­plex. How­ever, while PART-SPO cov­ers Spe­cial­ist Operations by Com­mer­cial SPO operations with any air­craft, as well as Non-com­mer­cial SPO operations with com­plex air­craft, the leg­is­la­tion does al­low Non-com­mer­cial SPO operations with other than com­plex mo­tor-pow­ered air­craft to be con­ducted un­der PART-NCO i.e. Spe­cialised Operations by op­er­a­tors con­duct­ing non-com­mer­cial ac­tiv­i­ties with other than com­plex mo­tor-pow­ered air­craft.

In or­der to com­ply with the new PART-SPO and PART-NCO leg­is­la­tion, op­er­a­tors will need to com­plete a de­tailed dec­la­ra­tion to the CAA cov­er­ing each and ev­ery air­craft or he­li­copter they will op­er­ate un­der the new leg­is­la­tion – along with a fee payable per air­craft (tbc but thought to be around £130 each). The na­ture of that ORO.DEC.100 dec­la­ra­tion cov­ers: • pro­vid­ing the com­pe­tent au­thor­ity with all rel­e­vant in­for­ma­tion prior to com­menc­ing operations, us­ing the form con­tained in Ap­pen­dix I to the An­nex • no­ti­fy­ing to the com­pe­tent au­thor­ity a list of the al­ter­na­tive

means of com­pli­ance used • main­tain­ing com­pli­ance with the ap­pli­ca­ble requirements and

with the in­for­ma­tion given in the dec­la­ra­tion • no­ti­fy­ing the com­pe­tent au­thor­ity with­out de­lay of any changes to its dec­la­ra­tion or the means of com­pli­ance it uses through sub­mis­sion of an amended dec­la­ra­tion us­ing the form con­tained in Ap­pen­dix I to the An­nex • no­ti­fy­ing the com­pe­tent au­thor­ity when it ceases op­er­a­tion. So the onus is very much on the op­er­a­tor to en­sure it op­er­ates within the leg­is­la­tion. The dec­la­ra­tion process will be avail­able from Jan­uary 2017.

Un­less your Spe­cial­ist Op­er­a­tion is deemed high risk, there is no need to wait for ap­proval from the CAA; if it has ques­tions or doubts, it will re­spond to the ap­pli­ca­tion. How­ever, if your ap­pli­ca­tion is of a high risk na­ture (and a def­i­ni­tion is al­ready in place to cover this con­se­quence), you will need to wait for ap­proval be­fore un­der­tak­ing the task. Once your ap­pli­ca­tion for each air­craft or he­li­copter is made, it re­mains in place and does not need re­new­ing on an an­nual ba­sis. Amend­ments to a par­tic­u­lar air­craft or he­li­copter’s role can be made on­line but will be sub­ject to a fee.

Com­mer­cial Air Trans­port Op­er­a­tors al­ready hold­ing an Air Op­er­a­tors Cer­tifi­cate must make a sep­a­rate SPO dec­la­ra­tion if they are also con­duct­ing SPO flights.


Dur­ing the work­shop, it emerged that op­er­a­tors of aer­o­batic air­craft will be cov­ered by the pro­posed An­nex VII PART-NCO leg­is­la­tion. This cov­ers the tech­ni­cal rules for non-com­mer­cial operations of other than com­plex mo­tor-pow­ered air­craft in­clud­ing sailplanes and bal­loons. Ef­fec­tively, this is a sub­set of PART-SPO with ‘a lighter touch for non-com­mer­cial spe­cialised operations’ (to quote the CAA) and ap­plies to any non-com­mer­cial spe­cialised ac­tiv­ity in other than com­plex mo­tor-pow­ered EASA air­craft, in­clud­ing but not lim­ited to: he­li­copter ex­ter­nal sling loads, hu­man ex­ter­nal cargo, para­chute operations and, most im­por­tantly, aer­o­batic flights.

To com­ply with these new reg­u­la­tions, op­er­a­tors of all aer­o­batic flights will need to: con­duct a risk as­sess­ment be­fore each and ev­ery aer­o­batic flight; op­er­ate us­ing a check­list based on the risk as­sess­ment; and brief crew mem­bers ahead of the flight on the pro­ce­dures to be car­ried out, in­clud­ing in the event of a forced land­ing. This cov­ers not sim­ply aer­o­batic train­ing or ex­pe­ri­ence flights but all aer­o­batic flights un­der­taken by any pi­lot in any air­craft.

For ex­am­ple, Pi­lot mag­a­zine’s reg­u­lar con­trib­u­tor and for­mer aer­o­bat­ics com­peti­tor, Nick Bloom, reg­u­larly flies aer­o­bat­ics in his home­built air­craft. Each of Nick’s aer­o­batic flights will need to com­ply with the new An­nex VII PART-NCO reg­u­la­tions which, although not ef­fec­tive un­til April 2017, have also been in place for a cou­ple of years. Re­port by Keith Wil­son

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