European Business Aviation
Patrick Ky, the Executive Director of EASA, was the keynote speaker at EBACE. Before that forum co-sponsored by EBAA and their American counterpart NBAA, the likely subject would be business aviation. Mr. Ky did, in fact, his topic was the new EASA Part NCC regulation (or more precisely Regulation (EU) No 965/2012 with Annex VI (Part-NCC)). His address outlined the importance of BA to Europe and explained the future of regulation of this segment of aviation.
After a short review of NCC (Non Commercial Complex), the importance of his statement to global aviation will be discussed.
NCC is a subsection of the EASA regulatory architecture. Air operations are divided, at the top of this pyramid, between commercial and non-commercial; the right hand side of this chart is defined by this circular statement, which asserts the difference between these two classes of flight:
“An operation which is not a commercial operation.”
“‘Commercial operation’ shall mean 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;”
The definition in America of what constitutes “not commercial” has proved to be far more complex (“compensation or hire”) a broad test intended to facilitate enforcement) than the EASA simple statements the regulatory focus. Maybe EASA will consider the limited exemption of 14CFR§91.501; otherwise the time required to differentiate between commercial and non-commercial will be difficult or impossible?
After that threshold is met, the chart moves to other than special operations and split again into those with complex machines and non-complex. Many, not all, BA aircraft qualify as NCC planes and as such, the operator needs to develop, following the guidelines of ICAO compliance with Annex 6 Part II and Part III Section III. The NCC operator basically must create an SMS regime and file its proposed safety approach, which is designed to address the likely risks of the operations, with its nation state. The European community of aviation consultants has offered to help the Business Operators to draft their plan (a few examples):
EASA’s Executive Director then uttered a very important statement about the future of his agency’s regulatory approach; here is the headline:
“We are not aviation lawyers…Regulation is not the goal. The goal is safety.”
Here are some other excerpts from the Ky vision of the future of European aviation regulation:
“’Ky said EASA is moving away from a legal approach to regulating to one that is focused on safety. The rulemaking branch was reshaped to team with the oversight branch for better understanding of how the rules are implemented and what their effects are,’ he said. The regulators were also reminded to focus more on risk than on prescriptive rulemaking…
‘Underscoring the safety record of business aviation,’ Ky said ‘EASA should rely more on the sector’s mature safety management systems that are already in place, and partner on best practices, rather than prescribing those practices.’ “This is a fundamental change,” Ky said.
He pointed to rulemakings intended to forward that philosophy, citing Part-NCC as one example. ‘We believe this is a very proportionate new rule,’ saying it relies on operators to declare their safety systems rather than requiring certification. He also cited an opinion signed yesterday that calls for the introduction of safety management principles into the certification of aircraft, parts and repairs under Part 21. And, he pointed to efforts to make general aviation regulations more proportionate and to overhaul the basic regulation.”
This is not the first such articulation of EASA’s reliance on SMS; their draft rules of UAS operations are based on that non-prescriptive philosophy. The Ky speech is key because he explicitly announces his intent to use this new safety, preventative, cooperative, not one-size-fits-all regulatory regime for all types of flying on the Continent. The FAA has openly acknowledged that SMS will be its primary tool for oversight, cooperation and compliance.
It is CAVU that SMS is the future of flight regulation globally!