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Aircraft Certification

All aircraft entered on the Irish registration must be certified. This page provides a brief synopsis of the two main stages in certification of a typical aircraft.

Type Certificate

When a European aircraft manufacturer designs a new aircraft he will apply to EASA for approval of the design. During the process he will demonstrate to EASA how the aircraft meets a detailed set of requirements, called certification specifications. When the new design is accepted by EASA they will issue a Type Certificate and Type Certificate data sheet (TCDS). A similar process exists in other manufacturing countries such as USA, Canada and Brazil.

Certain aircraft are excluded from the requirement to have a TCDS. 

Examples are: 

historic aircraft, aircraft having a clear historical relevance, aircraft of which at least 51 % is built by an amateur (home built), two-seater aeroplanes or helicopters or powered parachutes with maximum mass not exceeding 450 kg. For these aircraft the IAA certification department will review the type and, if satisfied, issue an acceptance of type document.  See Annex II of 216/2008 for full details.

Certificate of Airworthiness

Having established that the type of aircraft is acceptable, it is then necessary to certify that the specific serial number aircraft produced by the manufacturer or imported from a non-EU country actual meets the certification requirements of the TCDS. This is usually a straight forward process but can be difficult for older aircraft imported from a country outside the EU.

When it is established the aircraft is in compliance with its TCDS the IAA will issue it an EASA Certificate of Airworthiness. For Irish registered aircraft whose regulatory safety oversight will be delegated to a third country and the aircraft will not be used by an EU operator, the IAA shall issue an National Certificate of Airworthiness.

IAA Flight Permit

For aircraft excluded from having a TCDS, as discussed above, the IAA will issue an IAA Flight Permit, after it is established the aircraft is in compliance with the type requirements defined by the IAA certification department.

IAA Flight Permit aircraft are normally processed in conjunction with appropriate General Aviation organisations.

Change or Repair Certification

All changes or repairs to be performed on an aircraft must have design approval. Typical examples of design changes include the installation of GPS systems and new communication or navigation equipment. Typical repairs include the removal and surface treatment of corrosion damage or accidental damage to the aircraft fuselage.

Approval can be provided in a number of different ways and depends on the certification of the aircraft. The following paragraphs outline the most common certification categories and gives basic details on the approval of design changes and repairs.

A charge for approvals apply and details can be found on the EASA website for EASA approvals or on the IAA website for National approvals.

Aircraft with an EASA Certificate of Airworthiness

All design changes and repairs on aircraft with an EASA Certificate of Airworthiness must be EASA approved. EASA approval can be supplied by any EASA approved design organisation, directly from EASA, or in limited cases FAA approved changes and repairs are automatically accepted by EASA. European aircraft manufacturers hold EASA design organisation approval and most supply approved repairs in the aircraft manuals supplied with the aircraft or can provide approved repairs when contacted.

Aircraft with an IAA Certificate of Airworthiness

All design changes and repairs on aircraft with an IAA Certificate of Airworthiness must be IAA approved. The IAA automatically accepts designs or repairs developed by the type certificate holder (usually the aircraft manufacturer) that have their Airworthiness Authority approval. All other changes and repairs shall require written approval by the Irish Aviation Authority prior to incorporation on aircraft.

Please read the latest version of IAA Aeronautical A.6  for detailed information on the IAA requirements.

Aircraft with an IAA Flight Permit

Aircraft operating on a Flight Permit do not meet internationally recognised certification standards for aircraft. As such, design changes or repairs may not be approved. Please contact your maintenance organisation for advice on best practice with regards to any alteration or repair.