In this discussion activity, address the following:
Compare and contrast aircraft certification requirements between the FAA and the EASA. Are there any differences in the certification requirements? As an aviation maintenance manager, how are you affected by regulations that are used outside of your home country? Provide a brief justification for your response.
After your primary, original posting, review and respond to a minimum of two of your classmates’ postings. From a manager’s perspective what would you add to their response?
Reply to below 2 peers with references
The FAA requires three types of certifications to fully certify an airplane; the type certificate, the productions certificate, and the airworthiness certificate. (Kinnison & Siddiqui, 2014) The type certificate is applied for by the designer of the airplane. This certificate defines the engine type, number of seats, types of instruments, basic purpose (i.e. cargo, passenger transport, etc.), and all derivatives of the aircraft. (Kinnison & Siddiqui, 2014) The production certificate is applied for by the manufacturer of the aircraft and is issued after the FAA determines the overall quality of the production facilities, quality control systems put in place, and the overall standards. (Kinnison & Siddiqui, 2014) The airworthiness certificate is issued after production of each aircraft is complete, the aircraft has passed a quality control inspection, and passed a successful test flight. (Kinnison & Siddiqui, 2014)
The EASA certification process is a little different. It is a four-step process and is of a more cooperative nature than the FAA process. The first step is the Technical Familiarization and Certification Basis, in which the aircraft manufacturer presents the project to EASA when it is considered to have reached a sufficient degree of development. The EASA certification team and the set of rules that will apply for the certification of this specific aircraft type are then established. (European Aviation Safety Agency, 2018) The second step is the establishment of the certification program, in which the EASA and the manufacturer define and agree on the means to demonstrate compliance of the aircraft type with each requirement of the Certification Basis. This goes hand in hand with the identification of EASA’s “level of involvement” during the certification process. (European Aviation Safety Agency, 2018) The third step is the compliance demonstration, which takes place when the manufacturer demonstrates compliance of its product with regulatory requirements: the structure, engines, control systems, electrical systems and flight performance are compared to the Certification Basis. This comparion is done by analysis during ground testing (such as tests on the structure to withstand bird strikes, fatigue tests and tests in simulators) but also by means of test flights. EASA experts perform a detailed examination of this compliance demonstration, by means of document reviews in their offices in Cologne and by attending some of these compliance demonstrations (test witnessing). This phase takes the longest, and can last a minimum of five years, or longer, as necessary. (European Aviation Safety Agency, 2018) The fourth phase is the technical closure and seal of approval. Once the EASA is satisfied that the aircraft has met the requirements, the certificate is issued. (European Aviation Safety Agency, 2018)
When the aircraft is going to be imported from another country, or exported to another country, the aircraft must meet the criteria outlined in the bilateral agreements. From the FAA website: “Bilateral agreements facilitate the reciprocal airworthiness certification of civil aeronautical products imported/exported between two signatory countries. A Bilateral Airworthiness Agreement (BAA) or Bilateral Aviation Safety Agreement (BASA) with Implementation Procedures for Airworthiness (IPA) provides for airworthiness technical cooperation between the FAA and its counterpart civil aviation authorities.” (Federal Aviation Administration, 2018) What this means is that, for a company to manufacture an aircraft with an eye towards foreign sales, the type certification process must adhere to the requirements laid out in the agreements, as well as the home countries’ certification process. As a maintenance manager, this would affect your maintenance practices if you were working on a foreign aircraft that may have different criteria for repair, replacement, or modification of components than you are used to dealing with. Having a working understanding of the bilateral agreement, the type certification of the aircraft, and the maintenance requirements for that specific aircraft will go a long way towards the application of proper maintenance actions.
European Aviation Safety Agency. (2018, Feburary 16). Retrieved from https://www.easa.europa.eu/regulations
Federal Aviation Administration. (2018, Feburary 16). Retrieved from United States Department of Transportation: https://www.faa.gov/
Kinnison, H. A., & Siddiqui, T. (2014). Aviation Maintenance Management (2nd Ed). New York: McGraw-Hill.
To obtain an aircraft certification from the FAA the aircraft needs to have been designed to its type certificate and built according to the production certificate. Then once these are complete the FAA will issue an Airworthiness Certificate (AC). This AC confirms that the aircraft has been inspected and conforms with its type certificate and be in an airworthy condition. (Kinnison & Siddiqui, 2012) The AC remains in effect if the aircraft meets the four basic requirements set forth by the FAA. These are the aircraft meets its type design, is in a condition for safe operation, all applicable airworthiness directives have been completed, and that all maintenance and alterations were conducted in accordance with the applicable Federal Aviation Regulations. (Kinnison & Siddiqui, 2012)
To obtain an aircraft certification from the EASA is a four-step process that is similar to the FAA process. The first step is for the manufacturer to present the project to the EASA when the project is considered to reach a sufficient degree of maturity. The EASA will then set forth the rules that apply to the certification of a specific aircraft type. The second step establishes a certification program where the manufacturer and EASA agree and define a means to demonstrate compliance to the certification basis established in step one. The third step is to demonstrate the compliance with the regulatory requirements. This includes analyzing the structure, engines, control systems, electrical systems and flight performance meet the certification basis. Finally, if all these requirements are met and EASA is satisfied with the compliance demonstration they will issue the certification. (Aircraft Certification)
As an aviation maintenance manager, you can be affected by the regulation being used outside your home country. But there are Bilateral Aviation Safety Agreements between countries to validate and certify aircraft manufactured outside your home country. These agreements are coordinated by the FAA and other signatory countries for reciprocal airworthiness certification for products produced outside of the United States. (FAA) So as an aviation maintenance manager you must ensure that the aircraft you are working on is in compliance with these agreements.
Aircraft Certification. (n.d.). Retrieved from EASA: https://www.easa.europa.eu/easa-and-you/aircraft-products/aircraft-certification
FAA. (n.d.). Bilateral Agreements Overview. Retrieved from FAA.gov: https://www.faa.gov/aircraft/air_cert/international/bilateral_agreements/overview/
Kinnison, H. A., & Siddiqui, T. (2012). Aviation Maintenance Management. (2nd, Ed.) New York, NY: McGraw-Hill.