If you own or operate a non-commercial aircraft, this should have been written at the top of your list of New Year’s resolutions: “Check if I am affected by part NCC and make myself compliant if I am”. Like that resolution to shed the extra Christmas pounds, however, this is easier said than done. Knowing whether you qualify, and then knowing what to do about it, can be a little overwhelming, so we have written a handy guide to help you start 2016 in good form.

What is Part-NCC?

By the 25th August 2016 non-commercial operators of ‘complex motor powered aircraft’ which are registered, or have their principle place of business in European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) member states, will be required to comply with the organisation’s Air Operations Regulation (EU) No 965/2012 (warning: the PDF download is 148 pages long!).

Part NCC regulation was introduced to ensure that the level of safety for private operators was diligently and proportionately matched to the requirements of commercial airlines. However, instead of a requirement to hold an Air Operator Certificate, operators must instead submit a declaration regarding their operations, regardless of where the aircraft is located.

What is a complex motor powered aircraft?

Part-NCC will be aimed at any complex motor-powered aircraft. This includes the following;

  1. An aeroplane;

–              With a maximum certified take off mass exceeding 5700kg; or

–              Certificated for a maximum passenger seating configuration of more than 19; or

–              Certificated for operation with a minimum crew of two pilots; or

–              Equipped with a turbojet engine(s); or

–              Equipped with more than one turboprop engine and exceeding 5700kg

  1. A helicopter;

–              Certificated for a maximum take-off mass exceeding 3175kg; or

–              Certificated for a maximum passenger seating configuration of more than nine; or

–              Certificated for operation with a minimum of two pilots

  1. A tilt rotor aircraft

What changes are brought about with Part-NCC?

Operators will be required to comply with the regulations and ensure the appropriate procedures and systems are in place. This includes the introduction, creation and maintenance of an Operations Manual outlining all necessary instructions and procedures for both the aircraft and the crew. The manual should include a safety management system, security procedures, crew training and qualifications to name a few.

The operator will then be required to complete and submit a declaration which will detail the aircraft type, operational airworthiness arrangements and any other relevant information.

Subsequent to the initial registration of the Part NCC, operators will be subject to on-going regular audits and inspections of the aircraft and operations to ensure that all procedures are established and are being followed.

Who is classed as an “Operator”?

Part NCC imposes responsibilities upon the operator of the aircraft. An operator is identified within the regulations as “any legal or natural person, operating or proposing to operate one or more aircraft”. This is a wide definition and can present some difficulties for aircraft owners as this could apply to any connected, or third party assisting with the day to day administration and running of the aircraft including the pilot, registered owner, beneficial owner, aircraft user/lessee or advisor.

The entity or person deemed to be the operator of the aircraft will be liable for all regulatory responsibility and as such there may be a requirement to undertake some restructuring and enter into the necessary contracts with any third parties, such as the appointment of a professional operator, to ensure that the operator is in a position to adhere and comply with the regulations and its requirements.

What are the consequences of non-compliance?

Failure to comply with Part-NCC and its deadline date in August could mean that operators run the risk of losing their Air Operators Certificate, face civil and/or criminal liability and risk not being covered by their insurance. Therefore, it is important that any non-commercial aircraft owners take hasty action now to ensure that the appropriate structure and operator is in place well in advance of August 2016.

How can I make complying easy?

If you have an aircraft management company then they should be looking after this for you but, given the broad definition of ‘operator’ mentioned above, you should still be checking that they are on top of it in order to ensure you aren’t liable. Alternatively, a good first port of call will be your registering authority. For example, the Isle of Man aircraft registry has already released some guidance on compliance for M registered craft and is even offering a company operations manual template. There is also an FAQ on Part-NCC available on the EASA website.

Ultimately, the industry is still working out exactly what the impact of these regulations will be, so additional advice will likely become available over the coming months. Our best advice for now is to ensure you know who is responsible for the compliance of your aircraft and to make best use of the information being provided by individual country registries.

Alternatively, get in touch with us and we will let you know if we can help. It doesn’t get much easier than that.