03/08/2007 Back to News
Introducing the all new EASA CofAs
Chris Dunkley has circulated the following item about changes to the CofA system.
Well now we have been banging on about EASA and all that for years and now it is finally all but here. From the 29th of September this year all Annex 1 balloons, and indeed all aircraft (including gliders), will have to be converted to EASA aircraft and have an EASA Certificate of Airworthiness.

Two sentences in and explanation already needed! EASA aircraft are to be divided, or rather already are, into two categories Annex 1 and Annex 2. Put rather basically Annex 1 are all those series balloons that are type certificated and most likely, already have a UK Certificate of Airworthiness (CofA). Annex 2 balloons are the home-builts or the cluster of balloons that, for various reasons, were never type certified. More on Annex 1 and Annex 2 later but if you have a Cameron Viva (for example) it is Annex 1 and this applies to you. If you have a Bungay Kitchen Table Special ‘I made it myself MkI’ then its Annex 2 and you can ignore all this and turn to the Chairman’s Column or go down the pub!

To ensure a smooth transition from the old CAA issued Certificate of Airworthiness to the new EASA beauty (following discussions with Trevor from Gatwick, not to be confused with my MG owning neighbour Trevor), this is how it we will try and achieve it!

Now, the more observant of you may already know that our balloon CofAs are non-expiring, revalidated by an annual inspection and the issue of an IR4 (the bit of paper that you stick in the logbook). The new EASA CofA is also non-expiring but with a slightly different revalidation method (again another chapter is required!) so, you would think the transition should be reasonably simple and, guess what? It is!!!!
Blinding. This is all you need to do….nothing, as the Inspector and the CTO (Chief Technical Officer aka Wyn) will do it for you.

So as your balloon comes up for inspection after 29th September 2007 just get it inspected in the normal way. The inspector will then have a monumentous form (AD202 for the purists) to fill out which is the application for a Form 25 Certificate of Airworthiness (catchy name eh!). That will be returned to the CTO along with the buff copy of the IR4. The CTO will then settle down with a nice cup of tea and do the necessary. Every two weeks he will send in batches of completed IR4s, applications and recommendations to the CAA who, in turn, will issue the new EASA Form 25 CofA and an Airworthiness Review Certificate (ARC, not to be confused with Orcs which were trees) which will be valid for one year. This will be a Form 15a ARC. The new CofA will be dated from the expiry of the old IR4. Thus the IR4 will cover you until the issue of the new EASA Form 25 CofA. “Seamless transition”, to quote Trevor from the CAA. Ok so far? The CAA haven’t yet decided what happens to the old CofA. Most likely you will get a letter telling you to eat it or something similar along with the new one. What happens after that is the subject of a treatise on Subpart F and G and our part in it (would love to have put ‘in its downfall’ after Spike but don’t think I’d better).

In the case of balloons with expired IR4 documents but with a UK CofA they would need to be inspected and the IR4 would cover the intervening period until the new one was issued. Nothing complicated there. In the unlikely event of the CAA not being able to cope with the influx of applications and failing to get the new CofA to you before the next inspection falls due, or before 29th September 2008, a further IR4 may be issued which will remain valid until the old CofA is revoked. This is just really a safety net to ensure balloons are not grounded by a failure of the paperwork on either side during, or after, the transition period.

Now the bit you’ve all been waiting for…cost! The CAA wish to charge Ł40.00 to convert the existing CofA to an EASA one. This we have disputed strongly. There is also bad news for those that think they already have an EASA CofA. You haven’t and that will have to be changed as the wording is different so you will have to pay as well! We are fighting the charge on the grounds that we already have a non-expiring CofA and that the BBAC will be doing the vast bulk of the work to convert to the new system. Although some reduction is hoped for our feeling is that some charge is inevitable. In fairness, the new system, more elsewhere, is not that different from what we have been doing, however, the cost implications are, as yet, not fully known. Certainly the charge for your inspection is likely to increase as it will take much longer to complete the application form. With luck the BBAC may well be able to support the application to the CAA via the CTO, providing you are a current member, so there shouldn’t be a charge there. Sadly the much more onerous weight of paperwork will mean we are bound to lose inspectors and, with increased requirements for appointment likely, the overall number of inspectors is bound to fall but we will endeavour to ensure we maintain reasonable coverage.

So, to summarise. The impact on us will be small to start with. The BBAC Technical Office will ensure the transition is as smooth as possible and, where we can, the BBAC will absorb initial costs. The fee proposed by the CAA is being disputed. All Annex 1 balloons should have a new EASA CofA by 29th September 2008. In the unlikely event of the transition not being completed on time a system will be in place to ensure continued airworthiness.

In the case of Annex 2 balloons, they have pretty much all been identified and there is unlikely to be any change and they will continue to be regulated by the UK CAA. A full list will be published in due course.

If you are unsure of the status of your balloon please contact the BBAC CTO. Maintaining the literary trait ‘Don’t Panic!’

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