Specific Airworthiness Specifications

How to move an orphan aircraft from Restricted Certificate of Airworthiness (RCoA) to an EASA Permit to Fly (PtF)?

For a number of reasons,  an aircraft owner may wish to move an orphan aircraft from a Restricted Certificate of Airworthiness (RCoA) which has been issued based on an existing Specific Airworthiness Specification (SAS) to a Permit to Fly (PtF).

Several (at present mostly) French built orphan aircraft types of the same basic Type Design are operated under RCoA (based on SAS) and also under PtF. The service experience, based on occurrence data available at DGAC, suggests that currently a safety risk does not exist when aircraft are moved from an SAS (RCoA) to a PtF.  On the basis of this evidence EASA policy is to allow any aircraft with an SAS (RCoA ) to transfer to a PtF if the owner requests.

The transfer process is initiated by sending both EASA Forms 37 to EASA online, together with drafted Flight Conditions (FC). The fees for the approval of the FC are invoiced  iaw. actual Commission Regulation on Fees and Charges. 

Once the Flight Conditions (FC) have been approved by EASA, an EASA PtF is issued by the Competent Authority of the State of Registry (SoR) based on the approved FC.  This involves the applicant making a separate application to the Competent Authority of the SoR.

If the technical aspects of an FC are deemed to be generic for a specific type or model, they will be published together with the appropriate SAS.  Where there is a need, Generic Flight Conditions (GFC), if not yet existing, will be developed by EASA in cooperation with the National Aviation Authority (NAA) of the State of Design and added to the SAS.

A Data Sheet (DS) should be understood as an aircraft design definition document and is an essential part of the FC. Such DS will not extend the scope of the SAS (initial TCDS), but specify the design of the particular aircraft at the time of initial PtF issuance.  Any later design changes, other than Minor Changes as defined in the FC, have to be approved by EASA by reissuing (approving) of the FC for the affected s/n. Supplemental Type Certificates (STCs) approved/grandfathered before the SAS was  issued initially may be used without separate FC approval (this should be clearly indicated in the FC). The same approach is valid for Standard Changes (changes approved per CS-STAN).

In legal terms, Airworthiness Directives (AD’s) do not automatically apply to EASA permitted aircraft. The only way to solve any airworthiness issues is to revoke the EASA approved FC and issue a new FC which specifies the Airworthiness Directive as mandatory. If necessary, the NAAs will be notified by EASA accordingly.

The FC also include a reference to the arrangements for the continued airworthiness regime for the aircraft, which may differ from one SoR to another, depending on local arrangements.  

Theoretically, it is possible to move back from a PtF to an SAS (RCoA).  During this process the State of Registry should be satisfied that the aircraft in questions meets the SAS type design and has been maintained iaw. Part M in the meantime.  However in practice this will be extremely difficult, if not impossible.


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How do I find out if my aircraft has an SAS or TC?

The EASA aircraft lists can be found in the Product List page. 
These lists specify whether the aircraft has a TC or SAS. This only applies for aircraft (including rotorcraft and lighter-than-air) but not to propulsion. If an engine or propeller becomes an orphan, there is no SAS.


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What is a Specific Airworthiness Specification (SAS)?

Commission Regulation (EC) No 1702/2003 requires products, parts and appliances to be issued with certificates as specified in Part 21. Aircraft without a valid type certificate holder cannot comply with Subpart B of Part 21 and cannot therefore hold type certificates. The Specific Airworthiness Specification (SAS) is the replacement document. Specific Airworthiness 
Specifications are issued to aircraft without a valid Type Certificate Holder ('Orphan' aircraft) or for certain aircraft General Aviation types from CIS that have been certificated in CIS but not validated by EASA.

The eligibility of the proposed product should first be reviewed. Annex II aircraft, for example, cannot qualify for SAS as they are outside of the remit of the Agency. If a Type Certificate Holder (TCH) still exists, the preferred path to certification of the product is through a Type Certification or Type Validation. If the current Certification Specifications cannot be met, the option of a Restricted Type Certificate can be offered.

If the aircraft Type Certificate Holder is no longer in business ("orphan TC") or does not wish to apply for Type/ Restricted-Type Certification, the application for SAS can be initiated by an operator/owner. It should be emphasised that the SAS should not be seen as a mechanism for avoiding type certification in accordance with Part 21. For General Aviation types the SAS has been used to 'legalise' aircraft that had not been certificated in accordance with Part 21 but which were already on the registers of EU member states on accession to the EU. Whilst it legalises these aircraft, it is not intended to be used to allow the import of additional aircraft of the same type which should be certificated in the normal way.

The loss of an engine or propeller TC holder does not automatically invalidate the aircraft TC, so an orphan engine does not have to result in an orphan aircraft if the aircraft TC holder is prepared to accept the continued airworthiness responsibility of the engine. SASs do not apply to engines or propellers.

Before the creation of EASA, some orphan aircraft have been allowed to operate on non-ICAO level certificates of airworthiness (Permit to Fly, CDNR, etc) and cannot usually be returned to Restricted Certificate of Airworthiness standard. These examples are listed by serial number on the SAS and continue to qualify for EASA Permit to Fly under 21A.701(15). There is no intention to permit aircraft to otherwise voluntarily default to Permit to Fly if they otherwise conform to the SAS.

Aircraft conforming to the appropriate SAS are eligible for the issue of a Restricted Certificate of Airworthiness.

The SAS consists of:

  • The original State of design TCDS in EASA format
  • Airworthiness Directives
  • Instructions for reporting continued airworthiness occurrences
  • Any additional limitations including a prohibition from commercial activities#


Link to Specific Airworthiness Specifications page

See Article 5 (4) of the Basic Regulation and Regulation (EC) 1702/2003 Part 21, 21A.184


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