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14. April 2015 Jan Brill

Luftrecht: NPA 2014-29

The Good, the Bad and the Missing: An analysis of EASAs proposed changes to flight crew licensing regulations

Since the memorable EASA Safety Conference in Rome back in October 2014, the agency is publicly implementing a policy of “lighter simpler rules for General Aviation”. After some smaller but nevertheless laudable improvements have been enacted through EU VO 2015/445, on April 8 2015, the NPA 2014-29 represents the first major change under the new paradigm. We have analyzed some of the most important aspects of the NPA and found it to be a mixed bag. While undoubtedly some improvements are forthcoming, the NPA also contains several severe increases in complexity and regulatory burden, especially for type- and class rating instructors. What’s even more worrying is the fact that these are sometimes labelled as corrections for “text standardization and correction of grammatical errors”. So while we can hold out some hope that EASA wasn’t quite aware of the consequences, stakeholders have to use the Comment-Response-Process until May 17 to make the agency consider the results.

Note: An extended version of this article is available in German in the April issue of Pilot und Flugzeug Magazine.

Let's start with some good news: The Notice of Proposed Amendment (NPA) 2014-29 does contain significant improvements and some long overdue clarifications. EASA is taking on some of the most silly interpretations issued by several national CAAs and clarifies areas of contention we have reported on for years. But there are also some serious increases in the regulatory burden on GA, chiefly for instructors and examiners.

The NPA is – compared to previous works – written in a rather user friendly way. EASA has not, as before, just issued a series of changes to the Part FCL that you have to mentally tie into the original text only to get completely lost on references and meaning.
The agency has instead produced a new consolidated version of Part FCL with all changes clearly marked that allows the reader to grasp location and content of the proposed changes quickly. EASA has also produced an overview of the proposed amendments that lists all changes and provides some sort of explanation on the reasoning behind the change.

This explanatory section is very informative, especially since it gives an insight into the depth of misinterpretation of the original rule by some european CAAs, that EASA is now painstakingly trying to mend.

But the reader has to be careful. If you glance at the explanatory section and conclude “nothing to worry about” you are missing some serious trip wires. Not all changes are listed here for what they are. Some of the most burdensome changes are listed as “text standardization and correction of grammatical errors”. So you have to plough through the entire 253 pages in order to know what’s coming.

In our analysis we have focused on motor powered General Aviation. So ATPL, MPL, Ballons or Gliders are not considered as this is not the focus of our publication and not the core of our daily GA experience.

Also, if you expect to participate in the EUs democratic process in your mother tongue, you will be disappointed. The NPA and the explanations are only available in English. As a result, to exercise our franchise in the Union most of us will have to do so in a foreign language, with all the disadvantages and limitations this entails.

The Good

While not exactly earth shattering, the NPA provides some serious improvements and alleviations.

In the new AMC to FCL.050 EASA is finally allowing electronic pilot logbooks for all pilots regardless if they are private or commercial. So you’ll have at least a fair chance of calculating your totals correctly and use one of the many convenient products for electronic flight time keeping available to US-pilots for decades!

EASA changes the structure of the text allowing IRs to be issued to pilots with no night rating. The text now also allows this for holders of a CPL, while before it could be interpreted as a PPL only option.

In the section covering the flight experience required for the revalidation of the LAPL, EASA clarifies that the required hours can also be flown with an instructor or under supervision of an instructor.
Some CAAs have interpreted this as mandating solo flight time, or flight time without another pilot being in the cockpit. An almost mind boggling interpretation in terms of safety, especially for low time pilots that EASA has now decisively ruled out.

For differences and familiarization training under FCL.710 EASA clarifies, that familiarization training may but does not have to include an instructor. It can be done alone or with another experienced pilot.

Also, and very importantly, differences training within the SEP and MEP classes can be done freely by any qualified instructor and does not have to be conducted in an ATO. However, within other classes or types differences training has to be held in an ATO with an approved program, so if you’re moving from a Cessna 208 to a 207 you have to take the differences training in an approved flight school. This will mean a significant burden for GA, as not only all the variants have to be present in the ATO, but also approved training programs have to be written. EASA should at least include SET-classes in the free differences training.

Class- and type ratings can now be revalidated before the three months window. This will be greeted with some interest by German LBA, which moved back and forth on this more often than we were able to count.

Also in view of another particularly cunning German authority, EASA has clarified that instructors holding a PPL or CPL can – of course – instruct holders of higher licenses such as the ATPL for the purpose of a class or type rating. In what is known to insiders as the "Krapp Rule" EASA explicitly restates that a TRI holding a PPL can of course instruct a rating to the holder of a CPL or ATPL and the same goes for examiners.
That EASA even had to wast time on this is testament to the profound problems some authorities have with implementing Part FCL. And EASA makes a point that this is a private lesson and not a change. Quote:

In FCL.915 General prerequisites and requirements for instructors, the text in (b) is amended to clarify it and make it better understandable. The separation of licence and class or type rating training is considered necessary to allow also holders of a PPL to train holders of a CPL or ATPL for class or type ratings they are qualified for. The text is amended to lift unnecessary burden from General Aviation pilots and to achieve harmonised implementation in all Member States

In FCL.740.A EASA has restated the experience requirements for typeratings in single-pilot high performance complex aeroplanes. The result is that applicants for a single engine jet no longer have to fulfill the requirements for a multi-engine IR(A). EASA also clarified, that only the requirements for Subpart G have to be fulfilled, the applicant for e.g. a type rating in a King Air doesn't have to hold a multi engine IR when applying for the rating. As a result, the first multiengine IR can be obtained in a single-pilot high performance complex aeroplane.
Through was the case before, some european CAA interpreted this differently.

For the FI-course EASA states, that holders of another EASA instructors certificate (e.g. CRI) obtaining the FI, don't have to undergo the 25 hrs teaching and learning module, a credit that was already given in the other direction.

A TRI who has had his assessment of competence in a simulator is now unrestricted and not limited to SIM instruction as before.

For the revalidation of the FI EASA now explicitly allows to credit recurrent training to be counted towards the hour requirement of the FI.

For examiners, EASA is removing the limitation due to conflict of interest for persons the examiner was responsible for recommending to the skill test. So for example the Head of Training at an ATO who is in an organizational capacity responsible for the recommendation of the student may now conduct the skill test. This helps smaller schools and rare type- or class ratings.

Also EASA clarifies, that as far as examiner privileges are concerned the FI IR is equal to an IRI(A) and that an FI with integrated CRI-rights is equal to a CRI when it comes to obtaining e.g. a class rating examiner (CRE).

When changing categories on the CPL or ATPL level, EASA now allows for some more crediting between fixed wing and helicopters.

Generally EASA states that with regard to flight time requirements for the revalidation of the LAPL or SEP class ratings all flight time anywhere in any applicable aircraft should be counted. Quote:

All hours flown on any aircraft registered in an ICAO Contracting State shall count in full towards fulfilling the hourly requirements of this Part as long as the aircraft matches the definition and criteria.

This was actually necessary, because some authorities came up with the concoction that flight time in e.g. a US-registered C172 in America does not count towards the revalidation of an EASA SEP-rating or that Annex-II aircraft somehow don't count. Again, at times we don't envy EASA for their job of herding this bunch of competent authorities...

In the annexes, EASA allows some in-aircraft training for typeratings to be conducted under AOC, and not only under ATO-approval. Before, operators had to put their A320 into an ATO in order to conduct the required landings after the SIM-training. Many airlines will be delighted!

Annex 8 for the crediting of the IR-part of a check ride was rewritten. While containing no major changes the new version is supposed to be human legible, a laudable goal EASA only partially succeeds in as we still have to read sentences like:

Credits shall be granted only when the holder is revalidating IR privileges for single-engine and single-pilot multi-engine aeroplanes except single-pilot high-performance complex aeroplanes, as appropriate.

Do you understand what is meant here? We don't. Does the limitations to revalidation apply to the check performed or to the rating that the credits shall be applied to?
And generally: Why are credits only applied from proficiency checks and not from skill tests? Why does the holder of an MEP IR gain credits after a prof check for let's say a King Air but not after a skill test in the exact same aircraft, which inevitably contains the entire prof check? Is there any plausible safety case for this?

In AMC2 FCL.140 EASA now stipulates what should be done during the 1 hr training flight required for the revalidation of the SEP and TMG class rating or LAPL. The paragraph is sufficiently flexible and hopefully inhibits homegrown interpretations by the CAAs:

Training flight items should be based on the exercise items of the proficiency check as deemed relevant by the instructor and depending on the experience of the candidate. The briefing should include for aeroplanes and helicopters a discussion on threat-and-error management with special emphasis on decision-making when encountering adverse meteorological conditions, unintentional Instrument Meteorological Conditions (IMCs) and navigation flight capabilities, and for sailplanes and balloons a discussion with special emphasis on principal occurrence categories of the activity covered by the licence.

The Bad

Let's turn our attention to the less pleasant parts of the proposal. Especially instructors and examiners are affected.

Until now, TRIs and CRIs were able to revalidate their instructor ratings by doing one of three things: Proving some recent experience as instructors, attending a refresher seminar or taking an assessment of competence. Every other revalidation hat to be done through the assessment of competence, so you had to at least get a check ride every 6 years.

Rather stealthy labeled as "text standardization", EASA is increasing the number of required conditions to two. No safety reason is given for this significant increase.
CRIs and TRIs have been lower grade instructor certificates compared to the FI, and deal exclusively with experienced pilots. So a reduced requirement for the revalidation compared to the FI made a lot of sense. Also, CRIs and TRIs in the GA world are often part time instructors as teaching MEP-ratings or SET-aircraft rarely is a full time job by itself. So experienced pilots in the GA world frequently work as CRIs or TRIs on the side. They are now faced with increased requirements for the revalidation. Unfortunately EASA leaves us in the dark as to why this has been done.

But even if it was the intend of EASA so raise the bar, there is no method of cross crediting. So an FI(A) also holding one or two CRI and TRI ratings will have to attend no less that three seminars and undergo three assessments of competence.

The rules for the renewal of the FI are also tightened. Until now, a lapsed FI only had to attend a refresher seminar and have an assessment of competence to regain his privileges. EASA now limits this to three years. If the FI has lapsed for longer, some parts of the initial FI-course have to be repeated. However, this is at least explained and properly labelled by EASA.

In another subject area concerning TRIs, EASA is relapsing into the old habit of blindly applying airline rules to GA. In the new version of FCL.910.TRI Restricted privileges, we read:

The privileges of the TRI shall be extended to further variants in accordance with the operational suitability data established in accordance with Part-21 when the TRI has complied with the applicable parts of the technical training and flight instruction parts of the applicable TRI course.

Variants are listed in the EASA Type Rating and License Endorsement List. So for example within the Citation Jet type, the straight CJ (C525) and the CJ1 are one variant, while CJ1+, CJ2+ and CJ3+ are another.

The above sentence will be inevitably interpreted by some CAAs in a way, that any TRI is initially only valid on the variant the instructor received his training and check ride in. If a TRI has obtained his instructor rating on the CJ1+, he may not instruct in the straight CJ C525.

This may make sense in airline types, but it is utterly unworkable in the GA-world. Because to be able to instruct on other variants the TRI would have to receive training at an ATO, which will also mean that all variants of a type have to be present in the ATO.

A TRI on King Air 90 for example would need to undergo an additional 5 hrs of practical and 10 hrs of theoretical ATO-training to instruct in the BE99, BE100 and BE200 variants. Each! This will mean enormous costs for no discernible safety benefit.

We do hold out some hope, that this sentence is a misunderstanding, as it actually appears in a paragraph dealing with the movement of a TRI between types, not variants. It is however abundantly clear, that some competent authorities will interpret this in the most restrictive manner possible, so EASA is setting itself up for another train wreck and will severely limit training possibilities on High-Performance-Complex-Aeroplanes in the GA sector.

But maybe EASA is merely jumping the gun on a proposed change to the Basic Regulation with which CS23-aircraft such as CJs or Twin Turboprops might be removed from the complex definition and thus moved out of the TRI-world back to the CRI, where they belong. However, this change is only loosely proposed in Opinion 2015/01. In the meantime the above rule has the potential to really cause some (more) damage to GA.

For the CRI, an ominous sentence can be found in the new version of FCL.905.CFI (d), dealing with the privileges of the CRI to instruct for multi pilot operations (MP ops):

(d) The privileges of the CRI may be extended to flight instruction for the issue, revalidation or renewal of a class or type rating for single-pilot aeroplanes, except for single-pilot high-performance complex aeroplanes in multi-pilot operations, provided that the CRI:
(1) holds an MCCI certificate; or
(2) holds or has held a TRI certificate for multi-pilot-aeroplanes.

First off, the paragraph doesn't make any sense, since it only allows something once again that the CRI is already allowed to do anyway. We suspect a missing comma so the text might read correctly:

except for single-pilot high-performance complex aeroplanes, in multi-pilot operations, ...

Read like this the paragraph might be another hint about the mentioned change in the Basic Regulation and the return of some or all twin turboprops and light jets to the class rating world.

However, in reality, some CAAs will interpret this as they have done with similar wording for the TRI. That the whole circus of dual MP ops and SP ops type ratings shall be extended into the world of class ratings. So we can look forward to "MEP(land) MP ops" class ratings, with all burdensome consequences for instructors and examiners.

It will also mandate another round of changes in ATO- and training-manuals, and we can be excited to learn about multi pilot operations in a C172.

But even if this is the agencies intention: The paragraph puts any FI with CRI-rights at a disadvantage, as he has no rights to train for MP ops. And it leaves out the TRI(SPA) holding MP ops rights as he is not listed in paragraph (d). As a result, one and the same person would be allowed to instruct multi pilot operations as TRI(SPA) for type ratings, but not as CRI for class ratings. This is is the poster child of rushed lawmaking that gives too little consideration to the actual consequences of the new regulation.

EASA would be well advised to reconsider the entire area of MP ops for single pilot aeroplanes. Do we really need dual ratings for MP ops and SP ops throughout the entire scale? Is a "TMG MP ops", so in effect a copilot rating for a motor glider, really in the best interest of "lighter simpler rules for general aviation"?

Or do we draw a line according to established aircraft certification and limit multi pilot ratings to CS25 aircraft where they belong? If some sort of multi pilot training and certification is required where CS23-aircraft are used commercially, this should be an operator-specific qualification, not a license endorsement.

For the type rating examiner, EASA has another "text standardization" in store: Until now, any TRE with more than three years experience as a TRE was allowed to administer assessments of competence for the issue of a TRI. Now EASA proposes:

[The privileges of a TRE for aeroplanes are to conduct:] assessments of competence for the issue, revalidation or renewal of a TRI or SFI certificate in the applicable aircraft category, provided that the examiner has completed at least 3 years as a TRE(A) and has undergone specific training for the assessment of competence in accordance with FCL.1015(b).

In reality, this means that a TRE has to conduct two TRI assessments of competence under supervision before being allowed to do so by himself. This is simply over the top. Imagine for a moment such a setup in a Cessna Mustang: There will be the student, the TRI-candidate, the TRE-candidate and the TRE already holding rights to administer the assessment. No less than four people in the or near the cockpit! The TRE is checking the junior TRE, which is checking the TRI-candidate, which is checking or teaching the student.

We don't know if an A380 provides enough jump seats to make this work in a meaningful way, but most GA-types don't.

Apart from the considerable organizational burden to simply coordinate four pilots in an actual airplane check ride, this setup is quite unworkable. No affected small GA-aeroplane provides sufficient observer positions to make this anything but an expensive and troublesome fake.

EASA should drop this requirement altogether and return to the regulation as it was. A TRE with three year of practical experience as an examiner will most likely be able to assess the competence of a new TRI.

The Missing

Notably missing from the proposal is one subject area already touched upon in Rome. The ability for instructors to provide refresher training for lapsed class and type ratings outside an ATO. This would be a huge relief for General Aviation pilots as obtaining ATO-training is laborious at best and impossible in cases where the airplane required is not at all available at an ATO.

Allowing refresher training outside an ATO will not only alleviate this burden, it will also greatly enhance access to training for pilots currently allowing their ratings to lapse or remain lapsed due to the inability to get the required training.

With regard to Annex 8, EASA should consider giving the applicable IR credits also after a skill test and not only after a proficiency check. Any skill test inevitably contains all elements of the corresponding proficiency check, so the difference is semantic at best.

Also EASA should consider extending some credits beyond the mere IR part of the prof check, especially from light twin turboprops to light twin piston aircraft, where the financial burden on the pilot is significant. If a pilot has just passed a prof check in let's say a King Air it is absurd to put him through another VFR-only check in a Duke or Baron, as long as he can proof recent flight experience in the piston twin class.

Most young commercial pilots having just landed their first turboprop job are well advised to maintain their MEP-rating current, but not exactly being at the top of the pay scale spending north of 500 Euros per hour for the required airplane is needless and wasteful.

The NPA can be commented upon until May 17, 2015.

Bewertung: +3.00 [3]  

15. April 2015: Von Jürgen Scheiwe an Jan Brill
Die EASA versucht derzeit auch durch PR-Aktionen ihr Image bei der GA zu verbessern:


Es bleibt zu hoffen, dass dieser 'Spirit' sich in geeigneten Maßnahmen ausdrückt.

15. April 2015: Von Thore L. an Jürgen Scheiwe Bewertung: +1.00 [1]
Sagt die EASA Dame da wirklich am Funk zu dem "Flugleiter": "request VFR Flight from Bonn Hangelar to Hamburg"?

Wenn die nicht die wären, die die Regeln machen, wäre es zum fremdschämen. So wird es zur Bestätigung selbst der schlimmsten Befürchtungen... Mann, wieso machen das nicht einfach Leute, die verstehen, was GA bedeutet?
17. April 2015: Von RotorHead an Jan Brill
Warum sollte ein IR mit CPL ohne Night Rating möglich sein??? - Eine CPL gibt es nur mit Night Rating!
18. April 2015: Von Markus Doerr an RotorHead
Weil es Leute gibt mit der day only restriction im Medical. Warum sollten die nicht einen CPL haben können?
18. April 2015: Von Lutz D. an Thore L.
Beitrag vom Autor gelöscht
18. April 2015: Von Lutz D. an Lutz D.
Und jetzt schaue ich das Video nochmals und komme aus dem Staunen nicht mehr raus! Zu den Worten "it is important to know what you regulate" fliegt der Kollege eine Rolle mit Wolkenberührung (der Höhe nach zu urteilen wohl in Echo) und spielt an einem non 8.33 Funkgerät herum.
19. April 2015: Von Thomas Endriß an Lutz D.
Der Junior ist kein Annex II Flieger. Habe selbst bis Weihnachten einen gehabt.
19. April 2015: Von Lutz D. an Thomas Endriß
Danke für den Hinweis! Hätte schwören können, mal Papiere eines Juniors in nationaler Zuständigkeit in der Hand gehabt zu haben...
19. April 2015: Von RotorHead an Markus Doerr
"Weil es Leute gibt mit der day only restriction im Medical. Warum sollten die nicht einen CPL haben können?"

Weil es diese Einschränkung nur beim Class 2 Medical gibt. Für CPL benötigt man aber Class 1.

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