Towards simpler, lighter and better rules for aircraft maintenance: A discussion with Juan Anton, EASA Maintenance Regulations Section Manager.
We sit down with Juan to discuss the latest updates towards making regulatory requirements lighter for GA aircraft maintenance. He is directly involved in this work which brings together people from the Agency, the industry, associations and authorities. In this short interview he updates us on the latest changes and provides a progress report towards lighter and more proportionate maintenance rules for General Aviation.
There is a lot of mention of ‘CS-STAN’, but nobody knows what this is. What does the new concept for standard changes and repairs (CS-STAN) mean for the General Aviation community?
The new concept for standard changes and standard repairs, known in short as CS-STAN, means that you have certain modifications and repairs pre-approved by EASA. You do not need to go through any approval process. They can be implemented by maintenance licence holders (Part-66 license), under certain conditions which are defined in CS-STAN. As an example with CS-STAN you can install a tablet with a moving map display on the aircraft, as long as it is not connected to any essential equipment and it is not used as the primary means of navigation. This is about giving the ability to use technologies that already exist without the need to go through a certification or approval process. Another example is the possibility to incorporate repairs on sailplanes which are already contained in manuals previously used by the General Aviation community under their national systems.
Which stage are we towards implementing CS-STAN in Europe?
We have gone through the Notice for Proposed Amendments process (NPA), we have received the comments from stakeholders and national authorities and we should have the final EASA Decision around May-June 2015 period. As it an Agency decision, the users will be able to use it immediately.
Where are we with lighter maintenance requirements for GA (Light Part-M)?
More or less every other week we have a meeting with external stakeholders on this matter, getting consensus and proceeding without delay! The intention is to have a separate Annex in the rule 1321/2014 where owners will have the option of selecting the Light Part-M, and which applies to ELA 2 aircraft and some helicopters, no matter what type of operation (commercial air transport, commercial, non-commercial, etc.). We are making the text very simple, with very simple requirements and many new alleviations. We expect to receive some comments from certain National Aviation Authorities, especially when it comes to the use of the Light Part-M for transportation of passengers.
Are there plans for new maintenance licences for General Aviation?
Yes, we are planning to have new mechanic licences specific for the General Aviation community. One is the B2L licence which is an avionics licence for General Aviation aircraft. The other one is the L- license for sailplanes, balloons, airships and ELA1 aeroplanes. In the particular case of the L-licence, all the existing people working on these aircraft under the current national qualification systems will get the L-licence automatically by conversion. Therefore no privileges will be lost due to the conversion. For new applicants, it will be easy to obtain, with no training needed and with examinations performed not only by training organisations and national authorities, but also by any organisation agreed by the national authority (such as associations, aeroclubs, manufacturers, etc). I believe that the L-licence will be a major step to support the development of the European General Aviation community, by allowing the holders of this licence to freely move in Europe, release maintenance and perform airworthiness reviews on aircraft registered in any Member State and incorporate the Standard Changes and Repairs contained in the upcoming CS-STAN.
How can somebody access the draft of these documents, see what is coming up?
Well, all the proposals that I mentioned are work in progress. All the General Aviation associations participating in this “Part-M General Aviation Task Force” have access to the current document through their representatives. Members of the task force include ECOGAS, IAOPA, Europe Air Sports, European Sailplane Manufacturers, GAMA, EGAMA, LAMA-Europe, European Helicopter Association, Aircraft Engineers International, and a couple of National Authorities (Austria and France). In addition, we have invited as participants a representation of balloon experts from the European Balloon Federation, Cameron Balloons, Kubicek Balloons, UK-CAA and Austrocontrol. A Notice for Proposed Amendments (NPA) is expected to be published around June-July 2015.