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EASA Part NCC Regulations – Six Questions You Need to Ask

Although Part NCC regulations were first drafted by European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) in 2013, there have been various subsequent amendments both in 2014 and 2015. In order to make sense of the often confusing picture surrounding them, you may think a great deal of technical reading is required to comply with this change in the law.However, the basics of the regulatory framework, which is important for all non-commercial operators of complex aircraft having their principal place of business or residence in EASA Member States is all laid out below. It is important to note, that also all pilots managing and operating their own aircraft are affected by this regulation. Just ask yourself each of the following six questions to get a much better idea of how Part NCC might affect your flying.

1. What is Part NCC?

The NCC in ‘Part NCC’ stands for non-commercial complex aircraft operations. To be precise, EASA’s Air Operations Regulation (EU #965/2012) Part NCC applies to all non-commercial flights that are conducted in complex, motor-powered aircraft, both aircrafts and helicopters. The regulations cover many aspects of flying including activities such as using portable electronic devices on board and creating sterile flight decks. It also covers safety systems, such as requirements for flight recorders, where they are needed, and underwater location devices.

2. Who does it affect?

The new NCC regulations will mean that many private air operators will have to up their game in terms of following a more stringent regulatory framework. This includes many smaller operators and owner-pilots who manage their own aircraft. Essentially, non-commercial flight operators who use complex aircraft are going to be obliged to follow similar safety requirements as fully commercial air transport operators do. Despite the increase in regulations being laid down by EASA, the new rules are designed to be proportionate with the sort of flying and the type of aircraft being covered.

3. What types of aircraft?

As mentioned, Part NCC regulates the use of complex aircraft on non-commercial flights. The term ‘complex aircraft’ is interpreted by EASA as an aircraft that has a maximum certificated take-off mass of more than 5.7 tonnes or one that is equipped by a single turboprop engine exceeding that mass. Any aircraft that has a possible passenger seating configuration of 19 or more, or that is certified for operation by two pilots, is also included. Finally, any aircraft fitted with one or more turboprop engine(s) is expected to comply.

The NCC regulations will also cover all tilt rotor aircraft and helicopters that have a maximum take-off mass of more than 3.175 tonnes. If the certification specifies an operation with a minimum of two pilots or the maximum seating configuration of the helicopter in question exceeds nine, then it must also comply.

4. What needs to be done?

To meet the requirements of Part NCC flight operators must create and maintain a new operations manual containing all of the appropriate instructions, information and safety procedures for both the aircraft being used and the crew. The manual will also be obliged to cover security procedures, flight data records, crew training matters and flight qualifications. In addition, the aircraft’s management system must be described, along with other system descriptions for operational control, safety management and flight time limits. Essentially, operators must now create an exhaustive document that details the ongoing airworthiness and safety arrangements of their aircraft, and submit a declaration of compliance along with all other relevant supporting paperwork.

5. What is the liability?

Operators and owners who are not compliant with EASA’s deadline open themselves up to the possibility of a civil liability prosecution. Indeed, failing to comply means that insurance companies will not need to pay out, in the case of an accident.  Furthermore, non-compliance equates to an unlawful act and criminal prosecutions are likely to follow unless the proper documentation and procedures are put in place. Owner-operators should also take note that if they seek compliance on their own, then they must sign a declaration saying so and assume full responsibility for their operations. However, if they choose to comply via an operator holding an AOC, then they don’t assume this full liability.

6. What is the timing?

The deadline set by EASA for compliance is August 2016 after which non-compliant operators will be in breach of the law.

With the deadline for compliance approaching, it is time to ensure that your documentation and procedures are in place now in order to meet Part NCC. No further delay is possible, given the time it takes to put new procedural formats in place, where they are required.

In order to help non-commercial flight operators comply, we have created a whitepaper with all relevant information you need to know and tips on how to proceed. Download the whitepaper now!

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