From August 2016, all non-commercial aircraft operators will be regulated by the European Aviation Safety Agency’s (EASA) Part NCC regulations. These will cover all aspects of aircraft operations and flight safety in order to bring them up to a standard that is much closer to that which is expected of commercial flight operators.
The European Commission’s regulation 965/2012 was laid down on 5th October 2012, giving the main technical requirements and administrative procedures related to non-commercial flying. It has been amended a couple of times since then, but many air operators and aircraft owners still don’t know if they are affected. In this article, we’ll look at which types of private aircraft are concerned by Part NCC regulations, what needs to be done if they are and the consequences of not taking the appropriate course of action.
Which Flight Operators Are Affected?
All non-commercial operators of complex aircraft, as they are defined under EASA Part NCC, will be affected. This constitutes any operators that have their main base of operations or residential address registered in an EASA member state. Therefore, it covers all European Union countries plus Iceland, Liechtenstein, Switzerland and Norway. All non-commercial operators using qualifying aircraft will be obliged to comply with the regulations and this will include pilots who currently manage and operate their own aircraft for themselves.
Which Aircraft Are Affected?
Part NCC EASA regulations affect tilt rotor aircraft and helicopters which are deemed to have a maximum take-off mass which exceeds 3,175 kilos. Furthermore, if a helicopter requires a two pilot operation then it must also comply, regardless of weight. Helicopters with maximum seating configuration of nine or more will also be covered under Part NCC.
For non-commercial aeroplane operators only so-called ‘complex aircraft’ are affected. Under EASA’s interpretation of this term, this means that aircraft must have a maximum take-off mass that is certificated at 5,700 kilos, or more. If the aeroplane is fitted with a single turboprop engine exceeding that mass or with two turboprop engines , then it is also affected by the new rules. Planes with more than one turboprop engine are also affected, no matter what their take-off mass is deemed to be. Moreover, any aeroplane that has a passenger seating configuration that is in excess of 19 people will be included. Like helicopters, aeroplanes which are certified for operation by two pilots also come under the regulations. Lastly, all jets, regardless of their size, will be regulated under Part NCC.
What Happens If You Don’t Comply?
Non-compliance with Part NCC can be serious. Not only does the necessary documentation need to be registered with the relevant authority, but the procedures and processes they describe can be inspected, so getting up and running prior to the deadline is really essential for all serious flight operators. Failing to comply means that it will no longer be legal to take to the skies and the relevant authority has the right to ground any non-commercial flight operators who have not taken the necessary steps to fully meet the demands of Part NCC.
What does that mean?
Being grounded may have serious financial implications for any non-commercial operator. However, the consequences can be even more grave. Operating without being Part NCC compliant is a criminal offence which could lead to punitive fines or even imprisonment. In addition, insurance firms and leasing companies can deem operators of being in breach of their contracts and could tear up any agreements that are in currently place. If you need to make an insurance claim, for example, it is highly likely that your insurance company would not pay up, if they were to discover that you were operating without being fully compliant with the new regulations.
Take steps now
Taking steps to comply with EASA Part NCC need to begin soon so that everything is in place by the time the 25th August deadline comes around. Thankfully, owner-operators and smaller non-commercial operators can find assistance with the myriad of new procedures and document-keeping required of them.
Our handy whitepaper, “Part NCC – Are you ready?” offers a detailed account of what operators can do now to meet the demands of the new regulations. Download the whitepaper now!