EASA Ferry Flight Awareness / General & Repossession Considerations

For many reasons it is most likely that a repossessed aircraft will operate under a “Permit to Fly” – this can often be the case where maintenance is overdue, or a relocation flight is required, and the aircraft is not an on AOC (Aircraft Operation Certificate) such as the case might be when the company operating it has failed.

Regarding EASA registered aircraft, it is important to be aware of some of the requirements for aircraft flights as operations are split into 2 major categories: that of commercial and non-commercial.

Non-commercial operations are broken into NC Non-Commercial & SPO Special Operations

Which include the following approvals for large complex aircraft:

–         Demonstration flights

–         Ferry flights

–         Maintenance check flights

SPO – specialized operations are where the aircraft is used for specialized activities such as agriculture, construction, photography, surveying, observation and patrol, aerial advertisement, or maintenance check flights.

It is the maintenance check flights (MCF) that we have interest in here for lease transitions.

NCC – Non-commercial operations for complex aircraft covers the remaining flight types:

–         Demonstration Flights

–         Ferry Flights

Essentially, we will likely need a ferry company who for EASA aircraft must be Part NCC approved for our aircraft.

The scope of the flight profile must be considered and recently Airbus clarified their definition for permits to fly / demo flights awareness for airlines and lessors.

An aircraft at times will need moving from one location to another, or they will need a flight performing to verify a system / performance.

These types of fight need a lot of consideration as to what the purpose is and the condition of the aircraft. For example, an aircraft might get moved location for maintenance and currently not have a valid Certificate of Airworthiness, so it might operate under a permit to fly. 

Alternatively, the aircraft might have a valid certificate of airworthiness, but need to complete a flight profile test, or function a system not usually used such as the Ram Air Turbine (RAT).

It is here you need to be very aware of the requirements for such a flight and Airbus has published guidance on this matter recently also.

According to the latest version of the In-Service Aircraft Technical Flight Manual (ISATFM) Issue D – NOV 2022, Airbus have clarified the following: 

A Demonstration Flight (Demo Flight) is a flight of an aircraft with an airworthiness certificate or with a permit to fly which is carried out at an aircraft transaction or redelivery. Page 171 

The Demonstration Flight is composed of checks classified as ‘Level A’ or ‘Level B’, according to EU Regulation 965/2012 (here in after EASA Air OPS regulation) 

Part-SPO, Maintenance Check Flights section. Page 14

This means that for such a flight the organisation preforming the flight must be Part NCC approved (Non-commercial operations with complex motor-powered aircraft).

This means the pilots have undergone additional training and the organisation has additional procedures and risk assessments in place approved by EASA. 

It is a small change in the text, but impacts considerably how and who we can utilise for the flights.

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