Avionics News December 2014 - 19
airworthiness based on self-declaration in
accordance with industry standards.
Certain parts of the compliance finding being
independently verified and checked.
Less involvement of the EASA based on risk
The underlying comment was that the EASA should
relieve manufacturers of the financial burden and establish
a simpler and more-effective system to support LSA -
a pragmatic approach based on risk analysis with the
consequence of shorter and easier certification for safety
devices and investing efforts in the improvement of
airmanship. The approach of some national authorities
in regards to microlight aircraft in the Czech Republic or
Germany were identified as a preferred solution.
One of the discussions focused on the already-started
process of revising the rules for maintenance on light
aircraft. These changes have been introduced and addressed
in the latest changes to Part M introducing a self-declaration
of the maintenance program for ELA1 in noncommercial
environment, minimum inspection programs, airworthiness
reviews by maintenance organizations and maintenance
programs developed by maintenance organizations.
Also highlighted during the discussion were the
improvements in the proposed changes to Part 66 with the
introduction of the new B2L avionics license (the AEA had
a leading role in this process) and the new L license for
sailplanes, powered sailplanes, balloons, airships and ELA1
airplanes. Also highlighted was the newly issued NPA on
the certification standards for standard changes, which is
intended to bring regulatory and economic relief to the GA
The last of the eight workshops was on unmanned
aircraft; a very interesting topic because it addresses a
rather new group within the GA community - the RPAS, or
remotely piloted aircraft systems. The EASA is requesting
the international lead in these discussions because Europe
seems to have one of the largest shares in the operation of
civil RPAS in the world.
With these kinds of aircraft, a new way of thinking will
be required because the safety premises are different than
to typical aircraft. For example, a hull loss is a hazard to
occupants on board a typical aircraft; however, since an
RPAS typically does not carry occupants, the hazard, if
any, is only in the fact that a falling (crashing) aircraft may
injure persons on the ground.
The European RPAS industry is strong. The EASA
presented some impressive numbers with respect to RPAS
operations in Europe:
136 self-declarations have been made for noncritical
operations in noncontrolled airspace to an altitude of
70 meters or less.
112 applications for experimental or initial flight
tests have been submitted.
24 applications for commercial operation have been
Currently, there are five design/manufacturers
authorized as operators for their RPAS. The RPAS
are currently ranging in weight of 7.5 kg to 1,200 kg
The discussion group identified a number of challenges
connected to RPAS, such as the still-missing regulatory
framework for certification and operation (currently, the
legal system of manned aircraft applies), including equipage
of such aircrafts, air traffic management topics like flight
planning, pilot authorizations, maintenance and handling by
airports of such aircraft.
The importance of this discussion can be seen when
looking at the number of states having civil RPAS
operations authorized below 500 feet.
Currently, there are 11 states in Europe allowing operation
of RPAS up to 150 kg MTOM. For example, Germany has a
pre-operational commercial air transport operation standard
in the implementing phase. While actual numbers are not
available, the EASA estimates there are more than 200
authorized civil drone systems throughout Europe.
Worldwide civil RPAS operations, defined as RPAS
per 10,000 people, is the highest in Sweden, followed by
Norway and then Japan. No operation as of yet in the U.S.
The overall workshop conclusions included:
It is essential for safety to have pilots appropriately
Certification of light and small aircraft should be
New technologies should be easier to certify, and the
EASA's involvement should be minimized as long
as these technologies do not create a risk but only
The need for simpler aircraft maintenance license
framework and Part M light.
The need for simpler maintenance and maintenance
The potential solutions were broadly agreed to; however,
if everyone agreed to use one common method, it will need
to be proven in time. q