The EASA issued a long-awaited notice of proposed amendment (NPA) on Thursday that would allow commercially operated single-engine turbine aircraft to fly at night and in IMC throughout Europe. EASA regulators said that some member states, as well as third-country operators, already allow some of their operators to conduct commercial single-engine IFR (SEIFR) flights under an exemption to EU-OPS rules, creating an “uneven playing field.”
The NPA seeks to remedy this imbalance by allowing commercial SEIFR turbine operations in Europe through “cost-efficient rules that mitigate the risks linked to an engine failure to a level comparable with similar operations with twin-engine airplanes.” The EASA said the move would also harmonize its regulations with those of ICAO and other major foreign aviation authorities, such as the U.S. FAA and Transport Canada, as well as reduce aviation emissions and expand air services.
Under the proposal, only single-engine turbine aircraft meeting specified powerplant reliability, equipment, operating and maintenance requirements would be able to conduct commercial air transport operations at night and/or in IMC, except under special VFR. Specifically, the EASA said that aircraft would be approved only if they can “demonstrate a rate of turbine engine in-flight shutdown, or loss of power for all causes such that a forced landing is inevitable, of less than 10 per million flight hours.” Only the Cessna Caravan, Daher-Socata TBM 700/850 and Pilatus PC-12 currently meet this requirement, the EASA said.