Continuing Airworthiness of Aircraft is a process by which an Aircraft is kept technically fit to fly during its operating life. This ensures that the aircraft complies with airworthiness standards and safe operating conditions.
Continuing Airworthiness of Aircraft is the responsibility of the owner or operator of aircraft.
According to EASA regulation, Continuing Airworthiness means all of the processes ensuring that, at any time in its operating life, the aircraft complies with the airworthiness standard and is in a condition for safe operation.
EASA is an agency of the European Union that ensures the highest level of safety protection for EU citizens and environmental protection. Their single regulation and certification process among member states makes it easier to maintain the airworthiness of aircraft.
EASA makes regulations and promotes the use of European and worldwide standards. EASA works with ICAO and IATA.
EASA’s continuous airworthiness regulation is one of the most adopted regulations in the world. This regulation is called EASA Part-M.
Many countries harmonize their regulations with EASA to maintain international standards. Regulation on continuing airworthiness is one of them.
Rules for Continuing Airworthiness
Continuing airworthiness of aircraft and aeronautical products, parts and appliances, and on the approval of organizations and personnel involved in these tasks. Organizations and personnel involved in the maintenance of products, parts, and appliances should be required to comply with certain technical requirements in order to demonstrate their capability and means of discharging their obligations and associated privileges.
Reference – Regulation (EU) No 1321/2014
For Continuing Airworthiness of Aircraft, Indian aviation regulations are harmonized with EASA regulation.
- CAR M – Continuing Airworthiness Requirements (EASA Part M)
- CAR 145 – Maintenance Organisation Approvals (EASA Part 145)
- CAR 66 – Licensing of Aircraft Maintenance Engineers (EASA Part 66)
- CAR 147 – Approved Maintenance Training Organisation (EASA Part 147)
Continuing Airworthiness Requirements
- EASA PART M – European Union Aviation Regulation
- DGCA CAR M – Indian Civil Aviation Regulation
DGCA CAR-M lays down the requirements of continuing airworthiness and which are harmonized with EASA Part-M regulation. CAR-M is applicable to all Indian aircraft operators.
DGCA CAR M or EASA Part M provides common technical standards and guidelines for the continued airworthiness of an aircraft and its components.
There are two sections in EASA Part M or CAR M :
- SECTION A – TECHNICAL REQUIREMENTS (AMC & GM)
- Subpart A – GENERAL
- Subpart B – ACCOUNTABILITY
- Subpart C – CONTINUING AIRWORTHINESS
- Subpart D – MAINTENANCE STANDARDS
- Subpart E – COMPONENTS
- Subpart F – MAINTENANCE ORGANISATION
- Subpart G – CONTINUING AIRWORTHINESS MANAGEMENT ORGANISATION
- Subpart H – CERTIFICATE OF RELEASE TO SERVICE – CRS
- Subpart I – AIRWORTHINESS REVIEW CERTIFICATE
- SECTION B – PROCEDURES FOR COMPETENT AUTHORITY.
For Operations of Aircraft, Is a CAMO required for the Management of Continuing Airworthiness? Yes, CAMO is required and it can be part of AOC (Air Operator Certificate) or Contracted. Please refer to regulatory documents for exact applicability and conditions. If it part of AOC, Own CAMO approval under Part-M/CAR-M Subpart-G.
For Operations of Aircraft, Is maintenance by a Maintenance Organization required? Yes, Maintenance can be owned or Contracted.
EASA Part-M (CAR-M) splits the two functions organizationally:
- Continuous Airworthiness Management function – Performed by an approved organization called CAMO, under Part-M subpart-G (or CAR-M subpart-G).
- Maintenance function – Performed by Part-145 or CAR-145 approved Maintenance Organization for complex motor-powered aircraft or aircraft used for commercial purposes. For all other aircraft, by Part-M or CAR-M subpart-F approved maintenance organization.
Purpose of EASA Part M
- Oversight of the continuing airworthiness of individual aircraft and the issue of airworthiness review certificates.
- Oversight of a Continuing Airworthiness Management Organisation (CAMO).
- Oversight of a Maintenance Organisation as specified in Part-M Subpart-F.
- For the approval of Aircraft Maintenance Programmes.
Continuing Airworthiness Management Organisation (CAMO)
The organization involved in the management of continuing airworthiness of aircraft called Continuing Airworthiness Management Organisation (CAMO). These organizations are approved under CAR M Subpart-G (EASA Part M Subpart-G).
Continuing Airworthiness Management
Each EASA Part-M (CAR-M) organization nominates a Continuing Airworthiness Manager (CAM), who is responsible for continuing airworthiness functions. CAM is a post holder for any organization and he is answerable to the competent authority for compliance of regulatory requirements. The nomination of Continuing Airworthiness Manager is done by the Accountable Manager.
Responsibilities of Continuing Airworthiness Manager
- Responsibilities to ensure continuing airworthiness functions are conducted in accordance with conditions and restrictions of the Air Operator Certificate (AOC), applicable regulations and company procedures through contracts and sub-contracts.
- Ensure availability of sufficient qualified and competent personnel to plan, perform and supervise Maintenance Planning, Technical Services, Technical Publication, Records management and training activities including facilities required to perform such functions.
Continuing Airworthiness Tasks:
- The accomplishment of pre-flight inspections of aircraft.
- Rectification of defect and damage in aircraft.
- The accomplishment of maintenance of aircraft, as per the approved maintenance program.
- Analysis of aircraft maintenance program effectiveness.
- The accomplishment of relevant ADs, ODs, and Regulatory requirements.
- The accomplishment of relevant mods & repairs.
- Maintenance check flights when necessary.
Continuing Airworthiness Management Exposition (CAME)
CAME lays down the organizational structure, responsibilities, resources, policies, procedures, and processes for the performance of continuing airworthiness management of fleet aircraft, to the standards of Aviation Regulator.
CAME is a document approved by the competent authority (Civil Aviation Authority).
The purpose of the continuing airworthiness management exposition (CAME) is to set forth the procedures, means, and methods of the continuing airworthiness management organization (CAMO). Compliance with its contents will assure compliance with Part-M or CAR-M requirements.
Parts of CAME
- Part 0 – Management
- Part 1 – Continuing Airworthiness Management Procedures
- Part 2 – Quality System
- Part 3 – Contracted Maintenance
- Part 4 – Airworthiness Review Procedures
- Part 5 – Appendices
Regulatory Requirements for Aircraft Maintenance
For continuing airworthiness, maintenance of aircraft can be performed by CAR-M or Part-M subpart-F approved organization and CAR-145 or Part-145 approved organization.
CAR M or Part M subpart-F requirements applicable to the organization involved in the maintenance of aircraft other than complex motor-powered aircraft and components to be installed.
CAR-145 or Part-145 requirements applicable to organizations involved in the maintenance of complex motor-powered aircraft or of aircraft used for commercial air transport, and components intended for fitment thereto.
In India, CAR-145 was introduced in order to harmonize requirements for approval of aircraft maintenance organizations (AMOs) with that of international requirements, which is primarily based on EASA Part-145 regulation.
FAQ on Continued Airworthiness
What is Complex motor-powered Aircraft?
A complex motor-powered aircraft means:
Above 5700 Kg MTOM,
Certificated for more than 19 seated passengers, or
Certificated for operation with at least 2 pilots, or
Equipped with turbojet engine(s) or more than 1 turboprop engine.
Above 3175 Kg MTOM, or
Certificated for more than 9 seated passengers, or
Certificated for operation with at least 2 pilots, or
a Tilt-rotor Aircraft
Who is the competent authority for Aviation?
A competent authority may be a ministry, a national aviation authority, or any aviation body designated by the state or country. for example, In India, the competent authority is DGCA and in the US it is the FAA.