Farnborough Air Show

EASA prepares new flight crew licenses

 - July 3, 2008, 6:32 AM

The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), established in Cologne, Germany, in 2003, has issued a notice of proposed rulemaking for the regulation of pilot licensing.
It is the first step toward EASA’s adoption of new rules and responsibilities that will also cover aircraft operations and authorization of third-country operators.

The development follows the European Union’s granting of legal competence to EASA on April 8, with a new “basic regulation” replacing regulation EU 1592/2002 under which the agency was established. The details that will allow the regulation to work will be created over the next four years, but no later than April 8, 2012.

“What has been agreed by the EU is the basic framework of our new responsibilities,” explained EASA executive director Patrick Goudou. “These will be detailed in the so-called implementing rules [IRs], which must now be defined.”

Commenting on the Notice of Proposed Amendments (NPAs), Goudou added, “In each case, there will be a three-month consultation period. We will then have three months for the comment review. This will allow the adoption of the implementing rules by the Commission and the [EU] member states, starting probably in 2009.”
Around 400 aviation experts and administrators already work in Cologne and the agency expects to reach 700 employees by 2012 as its takes on its new responsibilities.

Comments on the pilot licensing NPA will be accepted until September, but EASA got off to a flying start by holding a two-day seminar on June 10 and 11 in Cologne, entitled, “From JARS to IRs: Flight Crew Licensing [FCL].”

Micaela Verissimo, EASA rulemaking officer, gave a presentation explaining the FCL NPA. It is divided into three documents: an explanatory note; a draft opinion and decision for Part FCL; and draft opinion and decision Part Medical. The NPA structure has Annex 1: Part FCL; Annex II: Part Medical; Annex III: Acceptance of Licences and Medical Certificates; and Annex IV: Conversion of National Licences and Ratings.

Part FCL and its appendices contain requirements for training and testing of pilots for all categories of licenses; instrument, type and class ratings and additional ratings; instructor certificates and examiner certificates.

Part Medical contains Class 1 and 2 general medical requirements, requirements for the medical certification for the new leisure pilot’s license (LPL) and requirements for aeromedical examiners and doctors.

EASA has also to include requirements for training organizations (this will be included in the Management Systems NPA); requirements for aeromedical centers (also in the Management Systems NPA); and requirements for the competent authority (included in the Authority Requirements NPA). These NPAs are due to be released for consultation in the fall, along with proposals for regulating aircraft operations.

The FCL NPA is on the agency’s Web site (www.easa.europa.eu) and anyone can comment on it using the comment response tool at http://hub.easa.europa.eu/crt/docs.

On March 19, the European Civil Aviation Conference (ECAC) announced that the Joint Aviation Authorities (JAA) in Hoofddorp, near Amsterdam in the Netherlands, would close by June 20. There will remain a small presence at Hoofddorp to provide non-EASA states, which were voluntary JAA members with training for National Aviation Authority staff, but ECAC plans to establish a liaison function in early 2009 to take care of the needs of the non-EASA JAA states.

A Light Touch
For the Leisure Pilot’s License, “We propose a new concept for the regulation of aircraft tailored to the complexity of the aircraft, used in noncommercial activities,” Matthias Borgmeier, EASA rulemaking officer, told AIN. According to Borgmeier, it will be “lighter than JAR-FCL, innovative, agreeable and accessible,” and will offer flying privileges limited by aircraft class and type. This means that three hours of dual instruction plus a skills test will be required to fly a different aircraft type–five hours plus a skills test for helicopters.

Goudou praised EASA’s MDM.032 subgroup as having been particularly successful in developing the LPL. “This new and substantially simpler process will help us create a lighter regulatory regime,” he said, adding that a significant simplification of maintenance processes for general aviation had also been proposed with the publication of Part M on May 16.