The European Commission has published on 27 January 2014 a new requirement in certification –“Operational Suitability Data” (OSD)– mandating that aircraft manufacturers, including those building helicopters, to submit data EASA considers important for safe operations. OSD covers pilot training, maintenance staff and simulator qualification; the master minimum equipment list (MMEL); and possibly other areas, depending on the aircraft’s systems.
The process begins when the aircraft manufacturer proposes what data EASA will evaluate against the new rule for approval. OSD is approved as part of the type certificate like the airplane flight manual. Since the holder of the type certificate is the owner of OSD, the manufacturer has to keep the data current.
Users affected by the new rule (operators and training organizations) will find that OSD has both mandatory and recommended elements and national aviation authorities will determine whether users must comply with a recommendation.
Pilot qualification is at the heart of OSD. It defines a minimum syllabus for a type rating, as well as training areas of special emphasis.
The EASA has provided a transition period for the industry to comply with the new requirement. MMELs for in-production models, for example, must be approved by 18/12/2015, or before the aircraft is operated by an EU operator, whichever is the latest.
The mandatory OSD succeeds the voluntary Operational Evaluation Board (OEB) process.