EASA-FAA agreement on Reciprocal PPLs may have a hidden raison d’être

FAA ppl Agreement EASA ppl
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EASA-FAA BASA on Pilot Licenses

One way Benefits?

European Strict IR led to FAA PPLs; with BASA EU pilots will HAVE to convert to EASA tickets

 Pilot licenses, particularly PPLs, are matters of great interest in the aviation community.  Post the Max 8 degradation of comity between the Civil Aviation Authorities and the FAA, any news about the FAA reaching an agreement with another CAA, in particular the European Union Safety Administration (EASA), is most notable. When the headlines use terms like “new” and “expand”, the journalist’s juices begin to flow. The substance of the BASA is pilot training, a very hot topic before and after the Max 8 debacle. This portends to be a hot topic, but as with many developments, the real reason for the announcement may not be as it appeared.

Research on the internet is fraught with risks, but the occasional hit can be productive—particularly after parsing the stories. Below is a most compelling troika for what insights result from each reading.

First, the FAA’s press release suggests another, ho hum, level of cooperation with EASA. The text indicates that the Bilateral Aviation Safety Agency (BASA)  “facilitates the conversion of FAA and  …EASA private pilot certificates, airplane ratings and instrument ratings. The FAA report also indicates that this annex includes collaboration on Flight Simulation Training Devices; facilities with a certificate from A located in B can be surveilled by A on behalf of B (very standard relationship).

The second layer of the FAA-EASA BASA reveals a little bit of a tilt. The pilot flexibility points to the up to 9,000 European residents hold FAA pilot certificates.” No mention of the value to US residents with an EASA ticket (the EASA press release divulges more). The third decision

Second, the message from Brussels is a lot more explicit. The goal of this BASA is to “ensure that pilots residing in the EU fly aircraft on the basis of licences and ratings issued in accordance with EU regulations, under the oversight of EU Member States. It will also ensure that they maintain and develop their qualifications via EU training organisations.” This quote makes it clear that this “cooperation” is really “compulsion”; the Pan European safety organization wants to bring all of the pilots within its boundaries within its jurisdiction. Ah ha, why the FAA release mentioned 9,000 pilots holding its PPLs!

The message from Brussels also more definitive about the repair station rights granted in this BASA: “amendment of the BASA annex on maintenance to allow that maintenance organisations from all EU Member States can participate in the safety cooperation as provided by the BASA framework and confirming the highest EU aviation safety standards as well the oversight role of EASA.” No mention of reciprocal rights flowing to USA Part 145s!!!

Third and the  last input on the reason for  this FAA-EASA “cooperation” comes from the AOPAs of France and Luxembourg. The reason why, according to this source, for so many European pilots holding FAA PPLs is a more difficult IR requirement within the Continent:

pilots realized that getting an Instrument rating was next to impossible for a private pilot. The European theoretical requirements were so high that it was almost easier to take the ATPL knowledge test then try to tackle the IR knowledge test alone… (Sad but true!). Add to this that training was only possible at registered facilities that were not at all interested in training pilots only for the IR course. They were training aspiring professional pilots “ab initio”, only catering to full time students that went from zero hours to a frozen ATP.

So, all these pilots decided to take another path. They entered the FAA system, getting a validation of their European private pilot license from the FAA, or going through the full private pilot course. They then obtained their Instrument Rating either in the USA or in one of the European flight schools authorized by the FAA.

Europe has not been as positive historically toward GA as the US; so, one can fairly surmise, that the more stringent IR requirements were intended to limit private pilots from flying in instrument conditions. The EU Member States were displeased that their own rules were causing their pilots to flee to America.

So, the moral of this story is not the cooperation which was its initial label. Rather, European rigorous GA piloting rules led to a rush of their pilots to America to get their PPLs. The Member Countries recognized this loss of control. EASA positioned this BASA as a bilateral recognition of PPLs; so, one might easily transfer your FAA IR to your native EASA ticket. Now, all European pilots now must hold the EU license and be subject to their home regulations.

Onion peeled?

peeling the onion


FAA, European Commission Agree to New Areas of Collaboration

Pilot with FAA ppl in hand

The Federal Aviation Administration(FAA) and European Commission (EC) demonstrated their continued commitment to collaboration and aviation safety improvement during the 14th meeting of the Bilateral Oversight Board, co-chaired by Ali Bahrami, the FAA’s Associate Administrator for Aviation Safety. 

Ali Bahrami

The FAA and the EC signed four decisions to the U.S.-EU Safety Agreement. Two of the decisions adopted additional annexes to the original agreement for pilot licensing and flight simulators. The new annexes are new areas of collaboration between the FAA and EC. They reflect the completion of a multi-year effort to allow reciprocal acceptance of certain approvals in those areas and implement the expanded scope of the cooperative efforts agreed by the FAA and EC in December 2017.

The first decision establishes an annex that facilitates the conversion of FAA and European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) private pilot certificates, airplane ratings and instrument ratings. Currently, up to 9,000 European residents hold FAA pilot certificates.

The second decision establishes an annex that allows the FAA and EU or Member State authorities to conduct recurrent evaluations on Flight Simulation Training Devices on each other’s behalf in the U.S. and in Europe.  

These annexes reduce duplication and leverage FAA and EU resources, which allows both agencies to allocate resources to higher safety-risk areas. The streamlined procedures and reduced costs will benefit industry, government and the flying public. 

The third decision allows technicians certificated by all EU aviation authorities to perform maintenance on civil aeronautical products. The final decision restores a reduction in the fees that EASA charges U.S. manufacturers for basic design changes on U.S. aerospace products.

EASA- FAA


EU expands Bilateral Aviation Safety Agreement with the United States to cover pilot licences and flight simulators

 

The European Union und the United States of America today signed two new Annexes to the Agreement on Cooperation in the Regulation of Civil Aviation Safety (BASA), expanding its areas of application to allow the conversion of pilot licences and to reduce duplication in the oversight of flight simulators.

 

EASA ppl holderOn pilot licencing, the new Annex will ensure that pilots residing in the EU fly aircraft on the basis of licences and ratings issued in accordance with EU regulations, under the oversight of EU Member States. It will also ensure that they maintain and develop their qualifications via EU training organisations. The objective of the new Annex is to convert certain US pilot licences into EU Part-FCL licences and ratings, while taking account of the similarities between the US and EU regulatory systems. This is a cost-effective solution to converting FAA pilot licences into EU Part-FCL licences. Several thousand EU pilots are expected to take advantage of the new provisions and complete the conversion of their FAA pilot licences and ratings.

The second new BASA Annex, on flight simulation training devices, will allow for the reciprocal acceptance of findings of compliance, as well as documentation, on the recurrent evaluation and qualification of EU- and U.S.-based full flight simulators. It will generate resource savings, in particular by eliminating duplicate evaluations by the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). The aviation industry will also see costs fall: the operators of flight simulation training devices will no longer be subject to multiple re-evaluations, and these savings can be passed on to air carriers sending pilots for training.

Expanding the scope of the BASA between the EU and the United States marks another key deliverable under the Commission’s Aviation Strategy for Europe – designed to generate growth for European business, foster innovation and offer passengers safer, cleaner and cheaper flights.

In addition to the new Annexes, the EU and the U.S. agreed on an amendment of the BASA annex on maintenance to allow that maintenance organisations from all EU Member States can participate in the safety cooperation as provided by the BASA framework and confirming the highest EU aviation safety standards as well the oversight role of the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (‘EASA’).

The new Annexes will enter into force as of today.

EU documents


EU expands Bilateral Aviation Safety Agreement with the United States to cover pilot licences and flight simulators

11/22/2020 AOPA Lux NewsEUUS

aopa of luxembourg

The Bilateral Aviation Safety Agreement with the United States, which can be found here has been signed in Brussels. The following text written by Emmanuel Davidson, President of AOPA France gives some interesting background information :

Emanneul Davidson

 

I have received number of questions regarding the announcement of the bilateral agreement signed on November 19, 2020.

I’ve tried to give a bit of background to this announcement.

I have to say I was a little puzzled by some comments saying that this announcement has taken pilots by surprise! Here is why:

The Bilateral agreement between the USA and Europe is a quick path to allow pilots that were flying Third country “N” registered aircraft while being full time residents in Europe, using only FAA licenses.

It follows a long battle with European and National Aeronautical Authorities that was fought over many years.

The origin goes back to the time when pilots realized that getting an Instrument rating was next to impossible for a private pilot. The European theoretical requirements were so high that it was almost easier to take the ATPL knowledge test then try to tackle the IR knowledge test alone… (Sad but true!). Add to this that training was only possible at registered facilities that were not at all interested in training pilots only for the IR course. They were training aspiring professional pilots “ab initio”, only catering to full time students that went from zero hours to a frozen ATP. Obviously, this was not beneficial to private pilots that were holding a regular job and wanted the additional safety brought by IFR training. For them, it was impossible to quit their job and enter an integrated course.

So, all these pilots decided to take another path. They entered the FAA system, getting a validation of their European private pilot license from the FAA, or going through the full private pilot course. They then obtained their Instrument Rating either in the USA or in one of the European flight schools authorized by the FAA.

It became a mass exodus. Thousands of pilots took this path to be able to increase safety of flight and be able to fly IFR in Europe.

Obviously, the national aeronautical authorities did not think much of this exodus. And we also must understand that pilots using FAA licenses and “N” registered aircraft were pretty much immune to any disciplinary action emanating from the European countries.

So, the European NAA’s (National Aeronautical Authorities) started to petition the European Commission and EASA to put a stop to this.

When the national authorities in Europe started petitioning EASA and the European commission to outlaw “N” registered aircraft in Europe, they argued that there were no reasons for aircraft and pilots to be treated differently than automobile owners.

They wished all “N” registered aircraft to be re-registered under the flag of an European country and all pilots to obtain European licenses.

Also note that all this is valid at the private pilot level for the moment. The BASA (Bilateral agreement) has provisions to possibly extend, in the future, to CPL and ATPL level licences.”

The value of the PPL is shown by these old licenses.

famous licenses

 



 

 

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