Updated: Feb 15, 2021
Before World War 2, aviation safety regulation was, to a certain extent, left up to local councils, and regulators were seriously lacking knowledge and expertise and not very able to set commonly acceptable safety standards.
Aviation safety was very different across the globe.
After World War 2 the United Nation were formed (June 1945) with a mission to create a stable and safer world. As Part of the United Nations effort, ICAO (International Civil Aviation Organisation) was formed in 1944, during the Chicago Convention. The goal was to set common Aviation Safety standards in order to ensure a uniform level of Aviation Safety across the globe for the flying public. Most of the Worlds countries at the time committed to these standards and are known as signatories.
Below the list of current signatory countries.
The following States were elected from among ICAO’s 193 Member States to the Organization’s 36 Member Governing Council during the 2019 ICAO Assembly.
PART I −
States of chief importance in air transport Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russian Federation, United Kingdom and the United States.
PART II −
States which make the largest contribution to the provision of facilities for international civil air navigation Argentina, Colombia, Egypt, Finland*, India, Mexico, Netherlands*, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Africa, and Spain.
PART III −
States ensuring geographic representation Costa Rica*, Côte d’Ivoire*, Dominican Republic*, Equatorial Guinea*, Greece*, Malaysia, Paraguay*, Peru*, Republic of Korea, Sudan*, Tunisia*, United Arab Emirates, Zambia*.
The output of the organisation would be documentary studies and publications as guidance material for regulators to base their legislation on. Annexes, SARP's (Standard or Recommended Practices)
The bedrock for aviation legislation are the ICAO annexes that are published and amended regularly.
There are 18 Annexes;
Annex 1 Personel and licensing
Annex 2, Rules of the Air
Annex 3, Meteorological
Annex 4 Aeronautical Charts
Annex 5, Units of Measurement
Annex 6, Operation of Aircraft
Annex 7, Nationality and Registration Marks
Annex 8, Airworthiness of Aircraft
Annex 9, Facilitation
Annex 10 Aeronautical Communication
Annex 11, Air Traffic Services
Annex 12, Search and Rescue
Annex 13, Accident Investigation and Response
Annex 14, Aerodromes
Annex 15, Aeronautical Information
Annex, 16, Environmental
Annex 17, Security
Annex 18, The Safe Transport of Dangerous Goods by Air
Below is a ICAO booklet downloadable, in which a short description of the Annexes is indicated.
For the scope of this website, Annex 8 is of particular interest (airworthiness).
As per Annex 8, (see booklet above) every member state is free to develop their own airworthiness codes that would achieve a common standard of safety as stipulated in the Annexes.
Given the complexity of modern large commercial aircraft and engines, type design approval is an extremely complex and expensive effort, that typically takes years and requires large amounts of analyses and test data.
It is for that reason that significant and leading competent Aviation Safety Agencies have developed bilateral procedures, in which they reciprocally accept their type design data and analyses
These are typically laid down in a TIP document (Technical Implementation Procedures).
These are mutually signed documents that can be used and referred to when validating designs from both jurisdictions to the other.
One of the most commonly used TIP is the EASA - FAA TIP. (downloadable below)
But recently EU and China developed a TIP and Japan and EU also developed one.
See my earlier blogs about EASA-JCAB and EASA-CAAC and EASA-ANAC (Brazil) TIP's.
The contents of these TIP's are not as comprehensive as the EASA-FAA TIP but provide good guidance for moving aircraft and engines from one registry to another in terms of Airworthiness Certification. It also
A particularly relevant quote from the FAA-EASA TIP:
18.104.22.168 In order to maintain confidence in each other’s system and promote continued understanding and compatibility with each other’s systems with regards to the areas covered by Annex 1 of the Agreement, the FAA and EASA shall establish an oversight model covering at least the following elements:
(a) A desktop sampling system to verify approvals and findings post-validation. The sampling system should include provisions for optional sampling visits based on the results of the desktop exercise;
(b) Sharing of relevant information on standardization and quality management activities; and
(c) When deemed necessary by the COB establishment of a participation program of the FAA as an observer in EASA standardization inspections or EASA internal quality audits (EU), and of EASA as observer FAA internal quality audits (U.S.).
In addition to the TIP's, ICAO also published Doc 9760 (Airworthiness Manual) as guidance for Aviation Authorities and professionals which may be useful to understand the procedures behind Airworthiness Certification. The currently latest edition dates from 2014 and is downloadable from ICAO's website and also downloadable below.
After the shock wave of both 737 MAX accidents, a disconnect started to show between EASA and FAA detectable in several forms;
Although EASA participated in the 737 Joint Authorities Technical Review Team which issued 12 recommendations to the FAA pertinent to details of Type Certification, it conducted its own Safety Review of the B737 Max and published their own AD (Airworthiness Directive) which is considerably different from the FAA AD.
Recent FAA AD's were not adopted by EASA for reasons of not having the safety data to support the issuance of an AD, and different stances concerning safety management.
And most recently, EASA's decision to not adopt the FAA "wing spar" AD 2020-26-16 for certain Piper aircraft but develop their own AD, addressing the same potentially unsafe condition instead.
This by itself is a sign that, increasingly, EASA is conducting their own safety assessments as basis for their actions and less relying on analyses and safety data of FAA.
Considering the public and media pressure, the FAA is under at the moment, this may be a trend that will continue to progress.
If so, that may complicate cross border transitions and mutual validation of airworthiness certified products. Meanwhile, though, the TIP is still valid and continues to serve as a validation tool in both directions.
In the past, there has been a heavy reliance on each other's safety data and analyses to mutual benefits; for example TSO (Technical Standard Order) products which consist of a huge range of products, from consumable parts to more complicated assemblies as avionics components and seats, etc.
Potentially, a divergence between authorities and legislation would be counterproductive for Aviation in general, introducing a lot of bureaucracy with marginal, if any, benefit to Safety. On the other hand, different points of view can be beneficial to safety for all parties and should be taken into consideration accordingly.
This is the exact purpose ICAO is striving for.
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