Part 21 Light — Making Design & Manufacturing Easier

Simplified Entry Levels for Small Low-Risk Aircraft

Introduction to Part 21 Light

Part 21 Light is a new part of the EASA initial airworthiness rules aimed at designers and manufacturers of aircraft primarily used for sports and recreation (General Aviation (GA)). It has a limited, defined scope for lower-risk products, but not drones or electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft. For organisations that wish to use it, the full Part 21 remains available.

The EU rules on Part 21 Light (Delegated Regulation (EU) 2022/1358 and Implementing Regulation (EU) 2022/1361) and the related Acceptable Means of Compliance and Guidance Material (AMC & GM to Part 21 Light — Issue 1) can be also accessed at the Related Content Section.

What are the advantages of Part 21 Light for aircraft designers and manufacturers?

The rules use the Part 21 concepts of declared design organisations and declared production organisations to help Part 21 Light organisations start more quickly and encourage innovation in the GA sector of the industry. Part 21 Light has more proportionate requirements for the organisations that produce lower-risk products. For example, there is no requirement for an organisational Management System. The rules involve a more product-focused means of verification of compliance.

There are two different processes within Part 21 Light:

  • the ‘Light Certified Process’, which leads to a type certificate and requires verification of compliance by EASA, a declared design organisation, and a declared production organisation.
  • the ‘Light Declared Process’, which means that NO type certificate is issued as the designer declares compliance. There is NO verification of compliance by EASA, NO requirements for a declared design organisation, and a pragmatic set of production requirements. This process is only for operation and marketing within EASA Member States, i.e. no export is possible.

Under both processes, there are two main involvement points from EASA:

  • The first one is a ‘Critical Design Review’ or ‘Safety Review’ that takes place before the first flight.
  • The second one is the first-article inspection that occurs before type certification or registration of declaration.

EASA focuses its oversight on these two on-site visits to the applicant, which are specifically product focused.

What should an organisation do next if they are interested to learn more?

Any organisation interested in applying for the ‘Light-certified’ or ‘Light-declared’ can contact the EASA Certification Directorate experts by email on Generalaviation [at] (Generalaviation[at]easa[dot]europa[dot]eu)

Video — Part 21 Light explained

In the following video, EASA’s lead for Part 21 Light outlines the key points of these new rules, which are a deliverable of the EASA General Aviation Roadmap: