Region V: Europe

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EASA Licensing Transition: What Does it Mean for NBAA Members?

April 9, 2012

The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) was formed in 2003 to administer new European aviation regulations and rules. One of the key tasks for EASA was creating a new set of uniform flight crew licensing (FCL) requirements for the European community. On April 8, 2012, the new regulations for pilot training and issuance of European pilot licenses, ratings and certificates became effective.

While these regulations are significant, most NBAA Members holding pilot licenses issued by the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) should not see major changes. This is primarily due to Article 33 of the Convention on International Aviation, also known as the Chicago Convention.

It provides that certificates of airworthiness, certificates of competency and licenses issued or validated by the state in which the aircraft is registered, shall be recognized as valid by other states. To be recognized, the certificates and licenses must be issued according to minimum standards issued by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and both states must be ICAO members.

Article 33 of the Chicago Convention states:

Certificates of airworthiness and certificates of competency and licenses issued or rendered valid by the contracting State in which the aircraft is registered, shall be recognized as valid by the other contracting States, provided that the requirements under which such certificates or licenses were issued or rendered valid are equal to or above the minimum standards which may be established from time to time pursuant to this Convention.

For example, a pilot that is a resident of the U.S., holds a valid FAA pilot certificate/medical, and is operating an aircraft based and registered in the U.S. can freely operate in Europe without needing to obtain a new license or have his/her existing license validated. This is because both the U.S. and EU Member States are ICAO contracting states and meet the minimum licensing standards.

In the following situations a pilot holding a license from the FAA (or another non-EU state) could be required to obtain an EASA license or validation from an EU Member State:

  • The pilot is flying an aircraft regulated by EASA that is registered in the EU; or
  • The pilot is flying an aircraft regulated by EASA that is registered in a state outside the EU but whose operator is resident or established in the EU

In other words, a pilot that resides in the EU, but operates an aircraft registered outside the EU would be required to obtain an EASA license or EU validation based on the new rules. The same would be true for pilots flying for an EU corporation that operates non-EU registered aircraft.

For most NBAA Members operating in the EU, the situations described above should not apply, meaning that it will normally NOT be necessary to obtain an EASA pilot license or EU validation to fly ā€œNā€ registered aircraft in the EU.

For additional information, review the article and podcast "Changes in EU Aviation Licensing Should Have Little Impact on NBAA Members" or contact the NBAA Operations Service Group at (202) 783-9451 or info@nbaa.org.