Opinion 06/2015

CAT operations at night or in IMC using single-engined turbine aeroplanes

This Opinion addresses the following:

  • a level playing field issue as some European Air Operator Certificate (AOC) holders are currently authorised to conduct Commercial Air Transport operations using Single-Engined Turbine (SET) aeroplanes in Instrument Meteorological Conditions (IMC) (CAT SET-IMC operations) under exemptions that contain conditions differing from one country to another;
  • a regulatory-coordination issue as CAT SET-IMC operations are already allowed by most of the major regulators outside Europe (Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Transport Canada Civil Aviation (TCCA), Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA)), and as the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) already has adopted rules allowing such operations since 10 years;
  • an environmental issue as the current regulatory status does not promote the use of modern aeroplanes having a better environmental footprint; and
  • an economic and social issue as the current situation prevents the opening of low-density routes with the most appropriate aeroplanes and, therefore, reduces the possibility of movement of the population living in remote areas.

The specific objective is to allow single-engined turbine aeroplanes, meeting specified power plant reliability, equipment, operating, and maintenance requirements, to conduct CAT SET-IMC operations.

This Opinion proposes to introduce a new Subpart L into Annex V (Part-SPA) to Regulation (EU) No 965/2012, containing specific requirements associated with a specific approval for CAT SET-IMC operations in the area of aeroplane equipment, flight planning, flight procedures and crew training. In addition, it introduces consequential amendments to the Cover Regulation, as well as in Annex II (Part-ARO), Annex III (Part-ORO), and Annex IV (Part-CAT) as CAT SET-IMC operations were previously forbidden.

The proposed changes are expected to maintain the safety of CAT operations by allowing, based on proportionate requirements, the operations in IMC and/or at night of single-engined turbine aeroplanes better equipped and with a higher engine reliability than some currently operated twins.