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Ensuring Full Compliance with Aircraft Certification from Turkish Law Aspect

14 February, 2020

To operate an aircraft, aircraft certification, as a pre-condition, must be obtained from the relevant aviation authority.[1] Like many others, United States Federal Aviation Administration(“FAA”) sets light on  the importance of the aircraft certification in its own phrases “Aircraft certification has relied on the exchange of information and technical data which has helped reduce risk of commercial aviation fatalities by 94 percent over the past 20 years”[2].

As a part of article series regarding regulations in Turkish aviation industry which started with the article “Aircraft Operating Certification Becomes More Crucial Globally: An Overview from Turkish Law Aspect” [3], this article will review aircraft certification regulations in Turkey and the potential sanctions which may be faced by the air operators

Overview of the Aircraft Certification System

Airworthiness and environmental certifications of the aircrafts and related products, parts and appliances, and the principles of authorization of manufacturing and design organizations are regulated under SHT-21 regulations of Directorate General of Civil Aviation(“DGCA”).[4] The SHT-21 regulations embody the technical and administrative requirements for including but not limited to obtaining; type certificates, airworthiness certificates, permit to fly certificates, maintenance and repair certificates, environmental compliance certificates, noise certificates.[5] The authority which is authorized to provide certification of aircrafts, engines and related parts that are designed and/or manufactured in Turkey is Aircraft and Parts Certification Coordinating Section(“APCCS”) performing under DGCA.[6] APCCS also conducts extraterritorial approval procedures for certifications of the aircrafts and related parts which are designed and/or manufactured outside of Turkey. To do so, APCCS evaluates the certification requirements as per the compliance with not only SHT-21 regulations but also other legislations on national and international conformity assessment. Since Turkey is a member of EASA and ICAO, the standardization in SHT-21 is compatible with those so that any aircraft must adapt EASA and ICAO rules to be fully compliant and entitled to certification.

Type Certificates

As one of the primary certificates to be obtained by the air operators regarding the aircraft is the Type Certificate(“TC”). The UK Civil Aviation Authority (“UK CAA”) defines the TC or Supplemental Type Certificate(“STC”) as “the means by which Aviation Authorities indicate that a product or modification to a product is approved” [7]. In precise, type refers manufacturing design and technical requirements of the aircrafts, engines or which categorizes the aircraft and accordingly the airworthiness standards of those in order to ensure that the aircraft is in conformity with the requirements. The TC is issued by the national authorities where the essential manufacturing operation taken place concerning the manufactured aircrafts, engines including propellers. In this context, DGCA puts forward the requirements for the aircraft which has already been registered or to be registered under DGCA registration system. In further, DGCA also considers the TC accepted and approved in case the TC is obtained in compliance with some of the international aviation authorities such as EASA and FAA.

Airworthiness Certificates

Airworthiness is another aspect of the certification which is highly discussed and commemorated. Airworthiness, described as “fit for the operation in the air”[8], is the attribution to the measurement for an aircraft to operate a safe flight. Hence, Airworthiness Certificate(“AC”) is an indication that the aircraft is eligible to operate and has no impediments to prevent the safety of flight and is compatible with its type design as per the related rules of the national aviation authority. Continuing Airworthiness Certification, as the subsidiary concept of AC, is defined by International Civil Aviation Authority(”ICAO”) as set of process by which an aircraft, engine, propeller or part complies with the applicable airworthiness requirements and remains in a condition for safe operation throughout its operating life” [9]. As distinct from the TC’s, AC’s are also regulated under SHY-M[10] regulations in Turkey. SHY-M embodies the procedures, requirements for obtaining AC and the standards for ensuring AC continuingly, however, SHT-21 indicates a more precise standardization process specifically for certification system. In line with the SHY-M regulations, an air operator must comply with the applicable requirements to operate safe flight at any time. On the other hand, SHT-21, where the certification particularly regulated, clearly attributes to ICAO standards Annex 8.[11]

According to SHT-21[12] an aircraft cannot be operated without having a valid AC. AC is issued and published once the aircraft is found in conformity with the approved type design and type certificate and the relevant documentation and test requirements. In case the airworthiness certificate is suspended or canceled, and the requirements are met the airworthiness certificate remains valid and effective.

Permit to Fly Certificates

Permit to Fly is another certificate to be mentioned which is granted for the aircrafts having temporarily ineffective AC or have not been indicated the requirements to the authority, yet, is qualified to perform safe flight as outlined in SHT-21. However, in any case to be granted with the permit to fly certificate the aircraft must be registered to DGCA registration.

Administrative Fines and Actions

In accordance with SHT-21 regulations, in case i) the air operators fail to meet with the certification requirement; ii) any significant defect or in adequacy is determined which may affect “directly” the safety of flight; following the determination of such incompliance, defect or inadequacy the air operators or the owners of the aircrafts are given 10 days to recover. Unless, within 10 days the incompliance, defect or inadequacy is not corrected by the responsible persons/entities, DGCA suspends the airworthiness certificate as long as otherwise conducted. DGCA names such direct affect as “Level 1 Symptom” which signifies the importance of such incompliance to the operation of the aircraft. Following audit conducted by the DGCA investigators, in case any indirect deficiency detected which do not essentially jeopardize the safety of the flight, responsible persons are given 3 months to recover such deficiency. Unless, within 3 months the deficiency is not recovered or corrected by the responsible persons/entities, DGCA suspends the airworthiness certificate as long as otherwise conducted. Such indirect deficiency is called “Level 2 Symptom” according to measurement of DGCA.

[1] European Union Aviation Safety Agency, Aircraft Certification, https://www.easa.europa.eu/easa-and-you/aircraft-products/aircraft-certification, Accessed on February 14, 2020

[2] Federal Aviation Administration, Aircraft Certification, https://www.faa.gov/licenses_certificates/aircraft_certification/, Accessed on February 14, 2020

[3] Herdem Attorneys At Law, http://www.herdem.av.tr/aircraft-operating-certification-becomes-more-crucial-globaly-an-overview-from-turkish-law-aspect, Accessed on February 14, 2020

[4] Hava Araci Ve İlgili Ürün, Parça Ve Cihazin Uçuşa Elverişlilik Ve Çevresel Sertifikasyonu Yönetmeliği (SHY-21), dated 20.08.2013, numbered 28741, Art. 1

[5] İbid Art. 2

[6] Directorate General of Civil Aviation, SHT-21 Certification, http://web.shgm.gov.tr/en/aircraft/6123-sht-21-certification, Accessed on February 14, 2020

[7] The UK Civil Aviation Authority , Aircraft Certification, https://caainternational.com/sectors/aircraft-manufacturers/aircraft-certification/, Accessed on February 14, 2020

[8] Merriam-Webster Dictionary, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/airworthiness#other-words, Accessed on February 14, 2020

[9] International Civil Aviation Authority, https://www.icao.int/MID/Documents/2014/Airworthiness%20Manual%20Seminar/PPT.pdf, Annex 6 Operation of Aircraft, Accessed on February 14, 2020

[10] Sürekli Uçuşa Elverişlilik ve Bakim Sorumluluğu Yönetmeliği (SHY-M), dated 20.12.2012, numbered 28503, Accessed on February 14, 2020

[11] International Civil Aviation Authority, https://www.theairlinepilots.com/forumarchive/quickref/icao/annex8.pdf, Annex 8 Airworthiness of Aircraft, Accessed on February 14, 2020

[12]  Directorate General of Civil Aviation, SHT-21, Art.5

Author: Ezgi Aysima Kır


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