International Ops 2017

Flight Service Bureau | OPSGROUP

Tag: EASA

Making a Ramp Check painless (with checklist)

Hello, we’re from the government and we’re here to help“.

The SAFA Program (Safety Assessment  of Foreign Aircraft) is not exclusive to the EU. Your aircraft can be inspected under the program in 47 different countries.

Here are the key points:

  • Ramp checks are possible in every country in the world – but follow a more regulated and common structure in SAFA Countries – totalling 47 – see the map and list below.
  • There is a standard checklist that is used by Inspectors in all SAFA countries, which you should be familiar with – see further down.
  • Three categories of findings have been defined. A “Category 1” finding is called a minor finding; “Category 2” is a significant finding and “Category 3” a major finding. The terms “minor”, “significant” and “major” relate to the level of influence on safety.
  • If there is a “corrective actions before flight authorised” finding – then the inspector is concerned and a repair must be made before the aircraft is released to fly.
SAFA

Unless your aircraft looks like this, you have little to worry about.

Here’s how a ramp check normally goes down:

  • The flight selected will either be your last of 6 legs for the day, or after a gruelling 12 hour jetlag-inducer, or at 3am when you were thinking about a quick nap during the turnaround. This much is guaranteed.
  • As you pull on to the stand, you will notice more yellow vests than normal hanging around.
  • Two of these will be your friendly ramp inspection team (to be fair, they almost always are)
  • A short time later, those yellow vests will be in the cockpit, and the first request will be for a look at your license, medical, aircraft documents (like Insurance, Airworthiness), and flight paperwork. Make sure you’ve done your fuel checks and there are a few marks on the flight plan.
  • If you get a good cop, bad cop scenario, one will disappear down the back (this will be the nice guy) and check the cabin, while the first will stay and ask you tough questions about the TCAS system.
  • Some time later, you’ll get a list of findings. The average check is probably about 30 minutes.
  • You can be guaranteed they will always have at least one finding – which will probably be obscure.
  • Sign off the checklist, and you’re on your way.

 

Some interesting points:

  • The Inspectors can ask you for manuals, documents, or guidance – but they are not supposed to test your knowledge of procedures, regulations, or technical matters. This doesn’t always happen in practice – so if you get a tough question – just say “I don’t know” – and let them note it if they want to. This isn’t a classroom test.
  • This guidance is given to Inspectors: Delaying an operator for a non-safety related issue is not only frustrating to the operator, it also could result in unwanted human factor issues with possible negative effects on the flight preparation. They can (should) only delay your flight for a safety related issue.
  • Some recent favourites: TCAS 7.1 – show me it and how it works (they just want to see that you have the current version), extra pair of eye glasses if noted on medical certificate, show me working personal flashlights, show me the aircraft manuals, and how you know they are up to date, show me your duty time rules.
  • Remember, it’s not you that’s being inspected. It’s your aircraft. If you’re uncomfortable with the questions, get them noted and allow your operator to discuss later.
  • Every inspector is a little different. Work with them and you’ll find that 90% of your ramp checks will be over in 20 minutes with little issue.
  • That guy that says he’s flown for 30 years and never had a ramp check probably isn’t lying. There aren’t that many of them, and you might go a long time without them.
  • Private Operators – especially in GA (even more so under the 5700kg mark) – are far less likely to get ramp checked. EASA guidelines do apply to General Aviation, but they are far more interested in Commercial Operators.

 


The Countries

SAFA

47 Participating States – those not in the EU are in bold below, and green/orange above.

Albania, Armenia, Austria, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Republic of Moldova, Monaco, Montenegro, Morocco, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Serbia, Singapore, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Macedonia, Turkey, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates and the United Kingdom.

 

The Checklist

 

Download by clicking above, or here: FSB SAFA RampChecklist

 

The Stats

These are interesting as background to the Program – although they are from 2012, which is the date of the most recent report from EASA on the SAFA program (thanks International Flight Resources for the summary)

 

– 2012 had just over 11,000 inspections performed, over twice as many as 2005.
– Most frequent private operator’s country of registration inspected was USA, Isle of Man, Germany
– Frequency of inspections is almost evenly split between EU and Non-EU countries. Largest number of SAFA locations were France (71), Italy (34), UK (31) and Germany (30)
– On average, 40 of the 54 possible items were inspected each time with 46% of the findings labeled “Significant”
– “Significant” findings are reported to the operator and the registered CAA. These will also require “Corrective action” prior to flight
– Latin American/Carib operators had the most number of findings
– USA and African operators were tied for second place
– Largest percentage of operators inspected: Germany (7.0%), Russian Federation and UK (6.8%), Turkey (4.9%) and USA (4.5%). France was 2.2%.

 

Resources:

 

How did your recent ramp check go down? Comment below …

EUROPE: Third Country Operators (TCO)

A TCO is an authorization issued by EASA to any third-country operator wishing to perform commercial air transport in any of the following European countries:

  • 28 EU Member States
  • Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Switzerland

Plus the following territories:

  • Gibraltar, Aland Islands, Azores, Madeira, Canary Islands, Guadeloupe, French Guiana, Martinique, Reunion, Saint-Martin, Mayotte

Applications are made directly to EASA using their application form.

https://www.easa.europa.eu/document-library/application-forms/fotco00160

You will need to provide the following documentation:

  • AOC
  • Operating Specifications
  • Insurance

Contact details for applications are made to:

European Aviation Safety Agency
Applications Handling Department
Postfach 10 12 53
D-50452 Köln
Germany

Fax: +49 (0)221 89990 ext. 4461
E-mail: tco.applications@easa.europa.eu

Should EASA deem the application in order the operating authorization process is completed in approximately 30 days.  Some flights can avoid this requirement, such as Air Ambulance or Humanitarian flights.

Please note:

  • Overflights of the above states do not require a TCO permit.
  • EU member states cannot issue a permit for their country if the operator does not already hold a TCO operating authorization.

If you plan to operate to these areas, we’d suggest getting your TCO right away, even if you don’t have a planned flight at the moment.  They can take some time to obtain.

European Ramp Checks – most popular questions from inspectors

Of late, the level of interest in OpsGroup for European Ramp Checks has been very high.  There has been a lot to think about. First, we discovered in March that French inspectors had started recording a finding for operators that were using the Manufacturer MEL instead of a customized one, and it turned out that across EASA-land inspectors were raising the same issue. There is an update on that below.

One of our members posted a great list of the most popular findings/issues raised by EASA Inspectors in the last 12 months, together with the skinny on “how to fix these, so you don’t get a finding”.

So, first let’s look at the Top 3 Categories, with the subset questions, and then an update on the D095 MMEL/MEL issue.

Popular European Ramp Check Items

Visiting and locally based aircraft may be subjected to ramp inspections as part of a States’ Safety Programme. The EU Ramp Inspection Programme (EU RIP) is one such inspection regime which currently has 48 participating states. The EU Ramp Inspectors review findings and use this intelligence as a basis for prioritising areas to inspect during a ramp check.

The most frequent findings and observations raised since January 2016 follow. This information can be used to help avoid similar findings being raised during future ramp inspections on your aircraft.

Most Frequent Findings

The main 3 categories of findings, relate to: Minimum Equipment Lists, Flight Preparation and Manuals.

1. Under the category of Minimum Equipment List, the finding is.
• MEL not fully customised.

2. Under the category of Flight Preparation, the main findings are:
• PBN Codes recorded on the flight plan which the operator did not have operational approval for
• Use of alternates which were not appropriate for the aircraft type; and
•[blur]Use of alternate airports which were closed[/blur]

[blur]3. Under the category of Manuals, the main finding is.
• AFM was not at the latest revision.[/blur]

 

[blur]Simple Steps to Avoid Similar Findings[/blur]

[blur]1.    Review your MEL, especially amendments made to the MEL after the initial approval, and ensure it is fully customised:
•    Where the MMEL and/or TC holders source O&M procedures require the operator to develop ‘Alternate Procedures’ or ’Required Distribution’ etc. these must be specified in the operators MEL and/or O&M procedure;[/blur]

 

Full report in your OpsGroup Dashboard, including the standard ramp checklist PDF:

Opsgroup Dashboard login Join OPSGROUP for access

To get the full report and checklist – there are two options:

  1. OPSGROUP Members, login to the Dashboard and find it under “Publications > Notes to Members”. All FSB content like this is included in your membership, or 
  2. Join OPSGROUP with an individual, team, or department/airline plan, and get it free on joining (along with a whole bunch of other stuff), or

Rules revised: SAFA Ramp Checks for ‘Suspect Aircraft’

01JUN: EASA have published new guidelines for inspectors to assess which aircraft should be prioritised for SAFA ramp checks in Europe and SAFA compliant states. ARO.RAMP.100(b) in the Part-ARO contains the updated list of aircraft that will be selected for priority checking:

(a) (when EASA receive) information regarding poor maintenance of, or obvious damage or defects to an aircraft;

(b) reports that an aircraft has performed abnormal manoeuvres that give rise to serious safety concerns in the airspace of a Member State;

(c) a previous ramp inspection that has revealed deficiencies indicating that the aircraft does not comply with the applicable requirements and where the competent authority suspects that these deficiencies have not been corrected;

(d) previous lists, referred to in ARO.RAMP.105, indicating that the operator or the State of the operator has been suspected of non-compliance;

(e) evidence that the State in which an aircraft is registered is not exercising proper safety oversight; or

(f) concerns about the operator of the aircraft that have arisen from occurrence reporting information and non-compliance recorded in a ramp inspection report on any other aircraft used by that operator;

(g) information received from EASA Third-Country Operator (TCO) monitoring activities;

(h) any relevant information collected pursuant to ARO.RAMP.110. (“whistleblowers”)

 

The revised Part-ARO, issued in May 2016, contains a large number of revisions and operators should take a close look at the changes.

For a general guide to SAFA Ramp Checks, have a look at our other article: Avoiding the Pain of a Ramp Check.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

References:

 

Overflights without a full Airworthiness Certificate

For many countries, if an aircraft is operating normally, no Overflight or Landing permit is required. Sometimes, however, the aircraft will not meet full airworthiness requirements but is still safe to fly.

New deliveries, ferry flights to a new operator, maintenance flights, or positioning to storage, may all have special circumstances that normally result in the aircraft operating with a Special Airworthiness Certificate.

DSC00010

Special Airworthiness Certificates

The most common type of Special Airworthiness Certificate is a regular Ferry Permit. The FAA call this a ‘Special Flight permit’, EASA’s term is a ‘Permit to Fly’. It is issued by the Country of registration and allows an aircraft to be flown on a specific route and date, eg. for delivery, maintenance, transfer of ownership.

Other types of Special Airworthiness Certificate categories are Restricted (eg. modified special purposeaircraft like NASA’s 747SP with a telescope, or Pratt & Whitney’s 747 engine testbed), Experimental (like the Lockheed Martin X-55.

SAC

 

Special Permit (Flight Authorisation)

Every aircraft operating on a Special Airworthiness Certificate requires a Special Authorisation from each country being overflown or landed in. This is normally requested from the Ministry of Transport for that country, or the technical department of the Civil Aviation Authority. Official processing times are up to 20 days.

Specific to foreign operators flying to or over the USA, the FAA term for this is ‘Special Flight Authorization.

EU Blacklist – Special Permit

For Operators that are on the current EU Blacklist under Annex A (airlines that are banned from operating in the European Union) and Annex B (airlines that are permitted to operate in the European Union only under specific conditions), a Special Permit can also be obtained to allow flights that are required to operate to the EU for maintenance or other reasons. A separate permit is required from each EU country enroute.

Together with obtaining a Special Permit for each EU country overflown, SAFA must be notified, and the standard Eurocontrol FPL Alarming system must be deactivated for your flight.

Processing Fees

The cost to obtain a Special Permit is different for each country, according to complexity and Civil Aviation and Ministry of Transport charges.

What’s the easiest way to file a request for a Special Permit? 

Many can now be done online through the Flight Service permit tool.

Special Permit

 

 

You can also contact service@fsbureau.org for any questions.

Monday Briefing: Kenya concerns, Serbia flooding

19MAY Operators have cancelled flights to HKMO/Mombassa amid increasing terrorist concerns in the north-east of Kenya; some have repatriated tourists mid-stay. The US Embassy is reducing staff numbers.

19MAY Catastrophic flooding in Serbia and Bosnia has led into increased aid traffic at LYBE/Belgrade and delays and parking restrictions may apply; the flooding is the worst since records began.

LYBE/Belgrade is seeing increased traffic due to aid activity as a result of flooding in the country. Delays of up to 2 hours for non-scheduled traffic possible.

LSGG/Geneva – anticipate high traffic volume and some delays due to EBACE traffic 20-22MAY. Aircraft static display is open on 22MAY.

SKCG/Cartagena, Colombia has restrictions until 28MAY requiring non-scheduled operators to seek permission at least 24H before arrival (though longer is recommended) SKBQ/Barranquilla is a sensible alternate during this period.

VYYY/Yangon, Myanmar is closed 29MAY 0730-0815Z for a live fire drill.

EGLL/London Heathrow ATC Regulation Trial continues, with a pre-tactical EGLLTC regulation of 52 aircraft per hour in place 0400-0800 daily until 31OCT.

HLLB/Benghazi, Libya closed until further notice due to security situation.

LDPL/Pula, Croatia is closed 23MAY 1600-1800Z due emergency exercise.

LIML/Milan Linate will close overnight for runway repairs between 03JUN-04JUL.

ULLI/St. Petersburg SPIEF International Economic Forum 21-24MAY. Refueling is available only on arrival and crews must be at the airport no less than two hours ahead of their departure time. Slots allocated to allow approx 10 arrivals per hour for the Forum. No overnight parking is available for unconnected flights during this period.

UKxx/Ukraine FIR’s (L’viv, Kyiv and Dnipro FIRs) Several airline reports of loss of GPS signals flying through this airspace.

Brazil has issued airport slots for World Cup 2014 on 15MAY, most are allocated already. An AVANAC domestic operating permit is required for all operators before a slot can be requested. Slot validity is 15 minutes. All pax and most crews will require a visa before arrival during World Cup operations – there is no possibility to obtain on arrival.

European Union The European Commission has adopted a new regulation that requires commercial air transport (CAT) operators from outside the European Union (EU), also known as “third-country operators” (TCOs), to obtain a single EU-wide safety authorization to fly to, from or within the EU. The registration requirement applies to CAT TCOs, who must demonstrate to the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) compliance with ICAO standards. CAT operators include all airlines and charter operators. The TCO authorization is a single process for all operators flying to the 28 European Union states, EU overseas territories and the four European Free Trade Association (EFTA) states (Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland). The authorization will be a prerequisite to operating in these states and territories. A TCO authorization is not required for operators only overflying the EU member states, EU overseas territories and the four EFTA states. All existing operators must reapply for authorization, even if they hold authorization from individual EU member states. The regulation is in effect from 26MAY and EASA recommends approval be gained within 6 months.

Turkey The previously announced Turkish e-Visa scheme, abolishing Visa on Arrival, scheduled to become effective 10APR14, has been postponed until 31DEC14. https://www.evisa.gov.tr/en/ for an e-Visa.

United States The FAA’s Flight Standards Service (AFS) has created OpSpec/MSpec/LOA A153, a new and more efficient operations authorization for U.S.-registered aircraft in order to comply with early automatic dependent surveillance – broadcast (ADS-B) directives mandated by a growing number of other countries, primarily in the Asia-Pacific region. The new approval is in the final stages of development and is expected to be available to operators at the end of June 2014.

Belarus A visa-free regime will be in place for the official participants of the 2014 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship and foreign tourists for the period from 25 April until 31 May 2014. An original or electronic ticket to a game of the 2014 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship will become the basis for a visa-free entry in the territory of Belarus for tourists.

 

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