Airworthiness Directives (ADs)

Safety Publications (SP) Tool

How can I receive notifications of ADs applicable to a specific product type?

In order to receive notifications of new AD publications applicable to a specific product type, you need to register to the Safety Publications Tool.

The subscription service for new publications enables you to define your own filter and to receive notifications for these filtered AD publications. Please consult the User guide (‘How to…’) for information on how to view and filter new ADs and on how to subscribe to their automatic notification. This service is free of charge.

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Why does EASA publish some foreign ADs with a prefix (e.g. US-, BR-, RU- )?

This is a practical IT solution only and it is not meant to be read as a different or new AD number. Some foreign ADs follow the same AD numbering principle (YYYY-XX-XX), which can result in identical numbers for two ADs issued by two different Authorities. In past cases, the AD Publishing Tool mixed up the two records and file uploads were corrupted. The prefix was therefore introduced to clearly distinguish those ADs. The AD number as identified within the AD document itself applies and there is no requirement to record compliance using the AD number with the prefix.

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Which Aviation Safety publications are available in the EASA SP Publishing Tool?

The EASA Safety publications Tool includes both Mandatory and Non-Mandatory Continuing Airworthiness Information, as well as safety publications related to operations, ATM/ANS and aerodromes:

Note: Not available at this time: most Foreign State of Design ADs issued before August 2006 and some European State of Design ADs issued before 28 September 2003.

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General

Where can I obtain information about Alternative Methods of Compliance (AMOC) to ADs?

Information related to AMOCs can be found on the EASA website, Airworthiness Directives page. 
In addition, please consult the AMOC FAQ page.

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Can EASA provide the service information referenced in an AD?

In principle, EASA does not provide service information as it contains proprietary information owned by the approval holder of the product, part or appliance to which the AD applies. Please contact the appropriate owner of such information, e.g. the Design Approval Holder, whose contact details can be found in the relevant AD. In exceptional cases, with the consent of the approval holder, EASA may make service information available as an attachment to the record of the AD.

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How can I identify an AD as being a State of Design AD?

In principle, an AD is a State of Design AD when the authority that issues the AD is, on the date of issuance of that AD, the State of Design authority for the products, parts or appliances (or STC modification) to which the AD applies. The Type Certificates of some products have been known to move from one  State of Design to another in the recent past, e.g. the Bell 206 and 222 helicopter types moving to Bell Helicopter Textron Canada, from the USA to Canada; the British Aerospace 125 business jet type design was sold to Raytheon (now Hawker Beechcraft Corp.), moving from the UK to the USA; and APEX sold the R 2000 type design to Alpha Aviation, moving the State of Design (responsibilities) from France to New Zealand.

Some examples:

When operating a product for which France is the State of Design, e.g. an Airbus aeroplane, or a CFM56 engine, the applicable ADs are those issued (or approved) by EASA and, previously, ADs issued by DGAC France.

When operating a product for which the USA is the State of Design, e.g. a Boeing aeroplane, or a General Electric engine, the applicable ADs are those issued by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

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Am I required to comply with ADs published on the EASA website?

The answer to this question depends on where (in which country)  the aircraft is registered, or on the specific agreement existing between the Authority of the State of Registry and the State of the affected operator. In principle, the regulations of the State of Registry of an aircraft determine which ADs apply to that aircraft (including the engine, propeller, parts and appliances). In nearly all cases, ICAO Annex 8, Chapter 4 guidelines are applied, which means that the State of Design ADs (see definition above) apply.

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Where can I find a State of Design AD issued before 28 September 2003 (start date of EASA) if it is not in the AD Publishing Tool?

All ADs issued by the State of Design (SoD) Authorities before 28 September 2003 should be retrieved from the relevant SoD websites.  Please consult the list of Useful links on the EASA Airworthiness Directives page.

SoD ADs issued before 28 September 2003 are progressively uploaded to the EASA AD Publishing Tool by the Safety Information Section. Once this upload is finished, an announcement will be made on the  EASA Airworthiness Directives webpage.

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What are the applicable ADs in EASA Member States (European Union and some associated countries) for a specific product, part or appliance?

ADs applicable to an EASA approved design (products, parts or appliances) are those ADs which have been issued or adopted by the Agency by way of:

  • ADs issued by the Agency through Agency decisions,
  • ADs issued by Foreign State of Design Authorities (Non-EASA Member States) and adopted by the Agency by way of: 
    • for ADs issued before 28 September 2003 (start date of EASA):
      Commission Regulation (EU) No 748/2012, Article 3, Paragraph 1 (a) (iii) 
      (ADs issued by the State of Design for products, parts and appliances);
    • for ADs issued after 28 September 2003 (start date of EASA): 
      ED Decision 02/2003 on the implementation of airworthiness directives for products, parts and appliances designed in third countries.

Note: One-time actions (inspection, repair, modification, etc.) accomplished before 28 September 2003, based on (i.e. required by) an AD issued by an EASA State of Registry authority, in deviation from a State of Design AD, remain ‘valid’ in the sense that such actions constitute compliance with the State of Design AD for the same subject. Repetitive actions, previously required by an AD issued by an EASA State of Registry authority, must be continued after 28 September 2003 as required by the State of Design AD for the same subject. Each AD issued before 28 September 2003 by an EASA State of Registry authority, in the absence of a State of Design AD (also identified as ‘additional’ AD), is no longer valid from 28 September 2003 (i.e. cannot be enforced anymore).

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Are Foreign State of Design (non-EASA Member States) ADs that are not available in the AD Publishing Tool applicable in Europe?

Commission Regulation (EU) No 748/2012, Article 3, paragraph 1 (a) (iii) specifies that “the applicable airworthiness directives were those of the State of design”. 
This means that all ADs issued by the State of Design before 28 September 2003 (start date of EASA), either applicable to European or non-European products (i.e. aircraft, engines, propellers), parts or appliances (or STC modifications),  have been adopted by EASA under that Regulation.

As a result, all ADs issued by the State of Design authority for the affected product(s), part(s) or appliance(s) are valid in Europe, unless EASA has issued a different decision. 
Commission Regulation (EC) No 2042/2003, M.A.301, paragraph 5 (i) requires that the “aircraft continuing airworthiness […] shall be ensured by […] the accomplishment of any applicable airworthiness directive”, as identified by Regulation (EU) 748/2012.
All Foreign State of Design ADs issued after 28 September 2003 have been (and still are) ‘automatically’ adopted by EASA under the provisions of EASA Executive Director’s ED Decision 02/2003. This decision implies that any AD issued by the State of Design authority for the products, parts or appliances (or STC modification) to which that AD applies, becomes valid in Europe upon the day that AD becomes effective, unless the Agency issues a different decision (e.g. deviating AD, or statement of non-adoption) before that AD becomes effective. This decision applies to all State of Design ADs, not only those issued by the FAA.

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Can the information provided on EASA's FAQ be considered as legally binding?

EASA is not the competent authority to interpret EU Law. The responsibility to interpret EU Law rests with the judicial system, and ultimately with the European Court of Justice. EASA cannot even provide an 'authentic interpretation' (which is an official interpretation of a statute issued by the statute's legislator). Therefore any information included in these FAQs shall only be considered as EASA's understanding on a specific matter, and cannot be considered in any way as legally binding.

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AD specific queries

Do I have to comply with a ‘mandatory’ Service Bulletin?

The official EASA position regarding ‘required’ application of SB instructions is as follows:

Through the DOA (Design Organisation Approval) oversight process, the Agency promotes that TC/STC holders designate a Service Bulletin (SB) as mandatory only if it is known to them that this SB will also be covered by an AD. In all other cases, the TC/STC holder should use a term like ’highly recommended‘ (or equivalent). However, this is not yet common practice and there are still cases where an SB is termed ’mandatory‘ by the TC/STC holder, although no AD is to be issued. The Agency has no legal tools to prohibit the use of the word ‘mandatory’ by TC/STC holders, but EASA Certification Memorandum CM-21.A-J-001 has been issued to provide advice and guidance on this subject.

The case of an SB for which an AD has been issued, irrespective of whether it is designated by the TC/STC holder as ‘mandatory’, ‘alert’ or ‘highly recommended’, is clear: these are part of the Mandatory Continuing Airworthiness Instructions and must be applied in all cases.

The case of SBs designated as ‘mandatory’, ‘alert’ or ‘highly recommended’ by the TC/STC holder for which noAD has been issued is more complex and the following cases should be considered:

  • The TC/STC holder subsequently includes such SB (e.g. repetitive inspection instructions) in the manufacturer maintenance programme (Maintenance Review Board Report (MRBR) or Manufacturer Recommended Programme) for the aircraft concerned. In this case, the SB under consideration will need to be included in the aircraft maintenance programme as defined in Commission Regulation (EC) No 2042/2003, M.A.302(d) and (g) (see also AMC M.A.302(d)) to ensure compliance with instructions for continuing airworthiness issued by the TC/STC holder.
  • The TC/STC holder does not include such SB in the manufacturer maintenance programme (MRBR or Manufacturer Recommended Programme) for the aircraft concerned. In this case, the final decision to apply such SB lies with the owner, operator or contracted CAMO, as M.A.302(g) does not apply.
  • The TC/STC holder issues an SB defining a modification, the related embodiment instruction and the relevant scheduled maintenance requirements, where these may or may not be subsequently included in the manufacturer maintenance programme (MRBR or Manufacturer Recommended Programme) for the aircraft concerned. In case the SB will not be included in the manufacturer maintenance programme, the final decision to apply it or not lies with the owner/ operator or contracted CAMO. If the final decision is to apply the SB, then the aircraft maintenance programme needs to be updated to include the scheduled maintenance requirements.

Finally, in relation to points 2. and 3. above, for all non-mandatory modifications and/or inspections, including SBs classified by the TC/STC holder as ‘mandatory’, ‘alert’ or ‘highly recommended’ and not covered by a corresponding AD, for all large aircraft, or aircraft used in commercial air transport, an embodiment policy is to be established, as required by M.A.301(7.). That policy should then result in a substantiated (and recorded) operator’s decision for each SB to apply it, or not.

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Who can approve an extension of the compliance time for an AD?

EASA does not approve AD compliance time extension requests for individual cases.

For an aircraft registered in an EASA Member State, the National Aviation Authority of the Member State can grant individual (temporary) exemptions on AD compliance time in the event of unforeseen urgent operational circumstances or operational needs of a limited duration, in accordance with Regulation (EC) No 216/2008, Article 14.4.

For any other aircraft, the State of Registry authority should be contacted.

An extension of the AD compliance time for an individual product without ‘compensating factors’ that would provide for an equivalent level of safety is not to be considered as Alternative Method of Compliance (AMOC) to an AD. See also AMOC FAQ.

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Why does an AD apply to all aircraft and not only to those that have the ‘affected’ part installed?

When an unsafe condition affects a certain Part Number, the AD applies to all aircraft for which installation of the part is eligible. The reason for this is that the unsafe part could be installed on any of those aircraft at a later stage after issuance of the AD. The AD would contain a prohibition to install, or specify the conditions under which installation would be allowed, which are requirements that must also apply to aircraft that do not, on the effective date of the AD, have the part installed.

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What is the correct reference date for accomplishment of a maintenance task?

For any maintenance task, including AD required actions, the date of release is the date when the Certificate of Release to Service (CRS) is signed by duly authorised certifying staff. Only certifying staff is competent to make the final airworthiness determination and therefore the CRS reference date does not necessarily coincide with the date when the individual maintenance task was actually performed and signed off by maintenance staff.

In the EASA system, the owner/CAMO is not required to keep the (so called) dirty finger prints, i.e. the exact time of the performance of the maintenance (e.g. AD action) work card. However, the owner/CAMO must consider the specific cases of tasks with repetitive action having a calendar limit, where a significant lag could occur between the date of task performance and the date of the CRS (which “legally speaking” determines the effective date of accomplishment). In such cases, the owner/CAMO must coordinate with the maintenance organisation the issuance of a release specifically and without undue delay to cover the particular task that is subject to a calendar limit when it has been applied, to avoid any distortion regarding limits associated with such repetitive actions or, as an alternative, record the date of AD accomplishment in the CRS.

In determining if a lag between the date of task performance and the date of the CRS is “significant”, engineering judgment and common sense must be used. The following questions should be considered:

  • how long is the time lag between the ‘due date' (calendar time limit required for the next AD action) and the actual date of (planned) accomplishment? For example,  2 days are significant for a monthly interval task, and obviously insignificant for a 5-year interval task);
  • what is the technical content (e.g., inspection for corrosion) of the AD task?; where (e.g., inside hangar, or outside, salty or otherwise erosive/corrosive environment) will the aircraft be parked after AD action completion?;
  • other factors may also be considered, affecting that single aircraft and/or operator etc.

It is also to be noted that AD compliance verification (enforcement) is not an EASA responsibility, but that of the National Aviation Authority of the State of Registry of the aircraft, and it is always recommended, if in doubt, to seek their advice.

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When does EASA cancel an AD?

When the Design Approval Holder can provide justification that the unsafe condition no longer exists, e.g. because all the affected parts have been removed from aircraft and are confirmed to have been taken out of circulation. In such a case, a Proposal for AD Cancellation would normally be published first to invite comments. Upon Cancellation, the AD (watermarked “CANCELLED”) remains in the AD Publishing Tool, an AD Cancellation Notice explains why the AD was cancelled and its requirements are deleted.

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Can a Pilot-Owner or Flight Crew accomplish an inspection required by an AD?

The provisions for a Pilot-Owner or Flight Crew to accomplish AD actions are to be found in Commission Regulation (EC) No 2042/2003 on the continuing airworthiness of aircraft and aeronautical products, parts and appliances, and on the approval of organisations and personnel involved in these tasks, Annex I (Part M) & Annex II (Part 145).

For AD actions performed by Flight Crew:

  • IF INDICATED IN THE AD, THE FOLLOWING APPLIES:
    M.A.606(h)1. & 145.A.30(j)3. Personnel requirements

For a repetitive pre-flight AD which specifically states that the flight crew may carry out such AD, the organisation (Part M, Subpart F or Part 145 maintenance organisation) may issue a limited certifying staff authorisation to the aircraft commander (and/or the flight engineer) on the basis of the flight crew licence held, provided that the organisation ensures that sufficient practical training has been carried out to ensure that such person (aircraft commander or flight engineer) can accomplish the AD to the required standard.

  • IF NOT INDICATED IN THE AD,THE FOLLOWING APPLIES:
    M.A.606(h)2. & 145.A.30(j)4. Personnel requirements

In the case of aircraft operating away from a supported location the organisation may issue a limited certification authorisation to the commander (and/or the flight engineer) on the basis of the flight crew licence held provided that the organisation ensures that sufficient practical training has been carried out to ensure that such person (commander or flight engineer) can accomplish the specified task to the required standard. Agreement from the local NAA is necessary: it must be simple maintenance.

For AD actions performed by Pilot-Owner:

M.A.803: Pilot-owner authorisation

  • This is only applicable in the case of privately (non-commercial) operated non-complex motor-powered aircraft of 2.730 kg MTOM and below, sailplanes, powered-sailplanes and balloons.
  • The accomplishment of an AD is permitted to the Pilot-Owner only in the case where it is specifically allowed in the AD.
  • Furthermore, it is only permitted to the Pilot-Owner under the conditions of M.A.803 (limited Pilot-owner maintenance).

Actions are not accomplished under the supervision of an EASA Part 145 approved organisation or EASA Part M, Subpart F approved organisation.

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When does EASA correct an AD?

After an AD has been published, there may be the need to update its content. Depending on the impact of the changes that will be included, an AD can be corrected, revised or superseded.

An AD is corrected to incorporate a non-substantive change to an AD, which does not affect compliance with the AD, e.g. a typographical error.

A corrected AD retains its AD number (including its revision status). The effectivity date of a corrected AD does not change.

Consequently, when in compliance with a not-corrected AD, an aircraft is automatically in compliance with the corrected one.

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Until when can I submit comments to a Proposed Airworthiness Directive (PAD)?

If the consultation period stated in a PAD ends (e.g.) on 15 December, interested parties would be able to comment on the relevant PAD at any time up until 23:59 on 15 December.

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How can I find ADs for equipment (parts or appliances which have their own approval, e.g. ETSO or equivalent) installed on an aircraft?

Since October 2016, a new format to improve the taxonomy for ADs applicable to parts and appliances (equipment) has been fully implemented in the EASA Safety Publication Tool. The new settings enable users to find all ADs applicable to a particular category of parts and appliances, or find all ‘equipment’ ADs with a single search action, rather than (as was previously the case) having to select each ETSO approval holder separately.

Users can go to the Safety Publications Tool, advanced search and select APPLIANCES to start using the new taxonomy for equipment ADs.

Users can also define/amend their filter setting(s) accordingly, thereby ensuring to be notified when EASA publishes an AD or PAD that does not directly apply to aircraft, engine, or propeller type designs.

It is possible to either select ‘APPLIANCES’, or choose notification for (e.g.) ATA 25 EQUIPMENT / FURNISHINGS only, or even more detailed, (e.g. if the user does maintenance on seats only) selecting Cabin Crew Seats, Flight Crew Seats and Passengers Seats.

We have removed the company names of ETSO approval holders from the SP Tool taxonomy, except where a company also holds an STC approval that is the subject of an AD. For all existing ‘equipment’ ADs, we have specified the name of each approval holder (as it was at the time of AD issuance) in the subject line of the AD record. We will do the same for all future equipment ADs.

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Could an aircraft records check replace a visual inspection to identify a Part Number and/or serial number?

Identification of a part by checking the aircraft records is only allowed if this is explicitly indicated in the AD requirements.
For example: A review of aircraft delivery or maintenance records is acceptable in lieu of the inspection as required by this paragraph, provided those records can be relied upon for that purpose, and the Part Number and serial number can be conclusively identified from that review.

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When does EASA revise an AD?

After an AD has been published, there may be the need to update its content. Depending on the impact of the changes that will be included, an AD can be corrected, revised or superseded.

An AD is revised to incorporate changes that make the AD requirements less stringent than the previous revision. This may occur, for example, when the applicability is reduced; when the compliance time is extended; when an optional alternative method of compliance is added; when an optional terminating action is added; when clarification are provided (including corrections of error in the previous AD that made impossible the accomplishment of that AD); when non-substantive changes are incorporated (such as the change in the address where a service bulletin is available or a change in the name of the contact person)

A revised AD retains its AD number with the addition of the revision number, e.g., 2006-0067R1

Consequently, when in compliance with a previous revision of an AD, an aircraft is automatically in compliance with the new revision.

Anyway, if the AD requires a repetitive inspection, after the effective date of the new revision, compliance with the AD at the latest revision must be recorded.

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Why does EASA adopt a Foreign State of Design AD which is applicable to a product serial number (s/n) not yet registered in Europe?

The fact that none of the s/n listed in the Foreign AD are, at the time of adoption, registered in Europe, is not strictly relevant for the Foreign AD adoption process/decision. Any s/n aircraft could be registered in future, provided the aircraft complies with the EU-validated design specifications. If already adopted, this AD would then automatically be added to the ‘package’ of actions that must be accomplished on that product.

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When does EASA supersede an AD?

After an AD has been published, there may be the need to update its content. Depending on the impact of the changes that will be included, an AD can be corrected, revised or superseded.

An AD is superseded if accomplishment of that AD can no longer assure an adequate level of safety, of a single aircraft and/or of the fleet: this may occur, for example, if a more stringent requirement is added (compliance time and / or required action), or if the applicability is expanded to aircraft models and/or serial numbers not included in the original applicability.

This may also occur if an error is identified in the original AD, while it is physically possible to comply with that AD as published.

Consequently, even in compliance with the original (superseded) AD, the owner and/or the operator of an affected aircraft must always comply with the superseding AD.

A superseding AD has a new AD number.

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Why does EASA issue ADs for Airworthiness Limitations Section (ALS) tasks?

The ALS is part of the certificated product (aircraft, engine, propeller) type design (Part 21.A.31.a), that contains the mandatory scheduled maintenance items and the limitations for part replacement, necessary to maintain compliance with that type design. For each individual aircraft, an approved aircraft maintenance programme (AMP) must be created, initially containing the ALS at the revision level applicable at the time of the aircraft’s first certificate of airworthiness.

The ALS content is regulated by the airworthiness codes, e.g. CS 25.1529, Appendix H25.4. Each subsequent change to the ALS is approved by EASA. In view of the nature of the tasks contained in the ALS, failure to comply with an ALS revision (i.e. new or more restrictive tasks) would – in general – lead to an unsafe condition. Since EASA has, under ICAO guidelines, the duty to notify new or more restrictive ALS tasks as ‘Mandatory Continued Airworthiness Information’ to ICAO Contracting States, AD action will be taken for these specific ALS revisions.

In case an ALS revision only provides ‘relief’ (less restrictive), no AD will be issued, as there would be no ‘safety’ justification for such action. The existing EASA AD for a previous ALS revision, however, always allows the use of ‘later approved revisions’ to ensure compliance with the AD, which includes the use of any extended compliance time(s).

Under European regulation (EU) 1321/2014 (Part M), operators are required by Part M.A.302 (a) to have an approved AMP, which establishes compliance – Part M.A.302 (d)(ii) – with the instructions for continued airworthiness (ICA) published by the (S)TC holder of the affected product, with the ALS being part of that ICA.

However, Part M does not specify exactly when, after publication of an ALS revision, an AMP must demonstrate compliance with that particular ALS revision and, consequently, from which time the new or more restrictive ALS tasks must be complied with. In practice, any new on-aircraft task may not be accomplished until after the AMP has been updated, i.e. after approval of that AMP update by the competent authority.

These are additional reasons why EASA issues an AD for an ALS revision: to require, from the effective date of the AD (even before the AMP update), the accomplishment of the on-aircraft tasks (before exceeding their due date) and to require the update of the AMP within a clear (and reasonable) compliance time.

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