Commission Regulation (EC) 1702/2003 provided a transition measure to allow continuous operation of aircraft, which held no TC issued by a Member State, but where Member States had issued a Certificate of Airworthiness before the entry into force of that Regulation (Art. 2c (1) of the Regulation). Those aircraft were accepted to be issued a Restricted Certificate of Airworthiness on the basis of specific airworthiness specifications (SAS) issued by EASA. (points 21.A.173(b) and 21.B.327(a)).
EASA also used to issue SAS where aircraft without a type certificate holder did not any longer hold a type certificate (sometimes called ‘orphan aircraft’).
While all SAS issued by EASA until September 2018, as well as all Restricted Certificates of Airworthiness issued based on thoses SAS, will remain valid as per Art. 140 (1) of Regulation (EU) 2018/1139, SAS is not any longer recognised in that new basic Regulation as an airworthiness approval for the design of an aircraft.
EASA therefore will no longer issue SAS.
An aircraft becomes orphan when:
- The legal person holding the TC has ceased to exist. The TC automatically becomes invalid by law because there is no one to be in compliance with the TC holders responsibilities (21A.51 (a) 1 and 21A.44); or
- The TC holder no longer complies with his regulatory obligations. A typical case is when the TC holder loses his DOA, or fails to comply with 21.A.14 before 28.09.05. This makes the TC invalid (21A.51 (a) 1)
- The TC holder has surrendered the TC. This also makes the TC invalid (21A.51(a)2).
Under the current Part 21, orphan aircraft cannot be issued a Certificate of Airworthiness, which requires that a TC holder takes responsibility for the continued oversight of the design. They can therefore only continue to be operated if they hold a restricted certificate of airworthiness or a permit to fly. These documents can only be issued on the basis of a design approved by the Agency.
(1) Non-complex aircraft is a writing convention for aircraft not classified as complex motor powered aircraft in the Basic Regulation