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IR-OPS

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Category: Rules Rules
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Content control: EUROCONTROL EUROCONTROL

Introduction

Commission Regulation (EU) No 965/2012 of 5 October 2012 and its subsequent amendments lay down technical requirements and administrative procedures related to air operations pursuant to Regulation (EC) No 216/2008 of the European Parliament and of the Council ("Basic Regulation").

This Regulation is officially referred to as IR-OPS (Implementing Rules – Operations), but it is also known as EASA OPS or EASA AIR OPS. It replaces EU-OPS (Regulation (EC) 859/2008) with regard to commercial operations of aeroplanes (A) and JAR-OPS 3 with regard to commercial operations of helicopters (H) as well as old national requirements on commercial operations of sailplanes (S) and balloons (B) and existing national requirements on non-commercial operations of complex and other-than-complex aircraft (including S and B) and specialised air operations (most notably aerial work). The Regulation establishes also detailed rules for ramp inspections of aircraft of operators under the safety oversight of another State when landed at aerodromes located in the territory subject to the provisions of the Treaty.

Entry into Force

Annexes I to V of the Regulation – covering authority, organisational, commercial air transport operational requirements and operations requiring specific approval – became applicable as of 28 October 2012. The deadline for establishing compliance with annexes I-V of the Regulation was 28 October 2014.

Annexes VI to VIII of the Regulation, as later amended by Regulation (EU) No 800/2013, became applicable as of 25 August 2016 (non-commercial operations) and 21 April 2017 (specialised operations).

Scope

The following types of civil air operations are within the scope of Regulation (EU) No 965/2012 and its subsequent amendments:

  • Specialised and non-specialised;
  • Commercial and non-commercial;
  • With complex motor-powered aircraft and with other-than-complex motor-powered aircraft;

Specialised operations

The term ‘specialised operations’ refers to activities meeting the following criteria:

  • the aircraft is flown close to the surface to fulfil the mission;
  • abnormal manoeuvres are performed;
  • special equipment is necessary to fulfil the mission and which affects the manoeuvrability of the aircraft;
  • substances are released from the aircraft during the flight where these substances are either harmful or affect the manoeuvrability of the aircraft;
  • external loads or goods are lifted or towed; or
  • persons enter or leave the aircraft during flight.

Operations not meeting the above criteria are ‘non-specialised’.

Commercial operations

The term ‘commercial’ refers to aircraft operations involving the transport of passengers, cargo or mail for remuneration or hire.

Operations involving the transport of passengers, cargo or mail not for remuneration or hire are ‘non-commercial’.

Complex aircraft

The term ‘complex motor-powered aircraft’ refers to:

  1. an aeroplane:
    • with a maximum certificated take-off mass exceeding 5,700 kg; or
    • certificated for a maximum passenger seating configuration of more than nineteen; or
    • certificated for operation with a minimum crew of at least two pilots; or
    • equipped with (a) turbojet engine(s) or more than one turboprop engine; or
  2. a helicopter certificated:
    • for a maximum take-off mass exceeding 3,175 kg; or
    • for a maximum passenger seating configuration of more than nine; or
    • for operation with a minimum crew of at least two pilots; or
  3. a tilt rotor aircraft.

An aircraft not meeting the above criteria is an ‘other-than-complex motor-powered aircraft’.

Contents

The Regulation consists of eight annexes (parts) with related subparts as follows:

Horizontal and vertical structure of commission Regulation (EU) No 965/2012 (IR-OPS)
Horizontal and vertical structure of commission Regulation (EU) No 965/2012 (IR-OPS)

Annex I

Annex I contains definitions for terms used in annexes II-VIII.

Annex II

Part-ARO (authority requirements for air operations) establishes requirements for EASA member states’ national aviation authorities with regard to the implementation and enforcement of Regulation (EU) No 965/2012 and the certification and oversight of registered air operators. These requirements are articulated in the following series of subparts:

Subpart GEN (general requirements);
Subpart OPS (air operations);
Subpart RAMP (ramp inspections of aircraft of operators under the regulatory oversight of another state).

Annex III

Part-ORO (organisation requirements for air operations) establishes organisational requirements to be followed by an air operator conducting specialised and non-specialised commercial air operations and specialised and non-specialised non-commercial air operations with complex motor-powered aircraft. These requirements are articulated in the following series of subparts:

Subpart GEN (general requirements);
Subpart AOC (air operator certification);
Subpart DEC (declaration);
Subpart SPO (commercial specialised operations);
Subpart MLR (manuals, logs and records);
Subpart SEC (security);
Subpart FC (flight crew);
Subpart CC (cabin crew);
Subpart TC (technical crew in HEMS, HHO or NVIS operations); and
Subpart FTL (flight and duty time limitations and rest requirements (commercial A only)).

Annex IV

Part-CAT (commercial air transport operations) establishes organisational requirements to be followed by an air operator performing non-specialised commercial air transport operations (A, H, S and B). These requirements are articulated in the following series of subparts:

Subpart A (general requirements (GEN));
Subpart B (operating procedures (OP));
Subpart C (aircraft performance and operating limitations (POL): performance classes A, B and C (A) and performance classes 1, 2 and 3 (H); mass and balance: motor-powered aircraft, sailplanes (S) and balloons (B)); and
Subpart D (instruments, data and equipment (IDE)).

Annex V

Part-SPA (specific approvals) establishes requirements for air operations which require specific approvals. These requirements are articulated in the following series of subparts:

Subpart A (general requirements (GEN));
Subpart B (performance-based navigation (PBN) operations);
Subpart c (operations with specified minimum navigation performance (MNPS));
Subpart D (operations in airspace with reduced vertical separation minima (RVSM));
Subpart E (low visibility operations (LVO));
Subpart F (extended range operations with two-engined aeroplanes (ETOPS));
Subpart G (transport of dangerous goods (DG);
Subpart H (helicopter operations with night vision imaging systems (NVIS));
Subpart I (helicopter hoist operations (HHO));
Subpart J (helicopter emergency medical service operations (HEMS));

Annex VI

Part-NCC (non-commercial air operations with complex motor-powered aircraft) establishes operational requirements for air operators conducting non-specialised non-commercial air operations with complex motor-powered aircraft. These requirements are articulated in the following series of subparts:

Subpart A (general requirements (GEN));
Subpart B (operational procedures (OP));
Subpart C (aircraft performance and operating limitations (POL));
Subpart D (instruments, data and equipment (IDE));

Annex VII

Part-NCO (non-commercial air operations with other-than-complex motor-powered aircraft) establishes operational requirements for operators conducting non-commercial air operations with other-than-complex motor-powered aircraft (specialised and non-specialised). These requirements are articulated in the following series of subparts:

Subpart A (general requirements (GEN));
Subpart B (operational procedures (OP));
Subpart C (aircraft performance and operating limitations (POL));
Subpart D (instruments, data and equipment (IDE), including requirements for sailplanes and balloons).
Subpart E (specific requirements (SPEC): helicopter external sling load operations (HESLO), human external cargo operations (HEC), parachute operations (PAR), aerobatic flights (ABF)).

Annex VIII

Part-SPO (specialised operations) establishes operational requirements for air operators conducting specialised operations (excluding specialised non-commercial operations with other-than-complex motor-powered aircraft). These requirements are articulated in the following series of subparts:

Subpart A (general requirements (GEN));
Subpart B (operational procedures (OP));
Subpart C (aircraft performance and operating limitations (POL));
Subpart D (instruments, data and equipment (IDE), including requirements for sailplanes and balloons).
Subpart E (specific requirements (SPEC): helicopter external sling load operations (HESLO), human external cargo operations (HEC), parachute operations (PAR), aerobatic flights (ABF)).
Matrix highlighting the applicability of IR-OPS’ annexes (the applicability of annex V (Part-SPA) depends on whether operators are involved in operations requiring specific approvals)
Matrix highlighting the applicability of IR-OPS’ annexes (the applicability of annex V (Part-SPA) depends on whether operators are involved in operations requiring specific approvals)

Acceptable means of compliance, guidance material, certification specifications

Acceptable means of compliance (AMC), guidance material (GM) and certification specifications (CS) to Regulation (EU) No 965/2012 are provided as follows:

Guidance material for definitions for terms used (annex I); An update has been published on 4 May 2015;
Acceptable means of compliance and guidance material to Part-ARO (annex II);
Acceptable means of compliance and guidance material to Part-ORO (annex III); An update has been published on 4 May 2015;
Certification specifications and guidance material for commercial air transport by aeroplane — scheduled and charter operations;
Acceptable means of compliance and guidance material to Part-CAT (annex IV);
Acceptable means of compliance and guidance material to Part-SPA (annex V);
Acceptable means of compliance and guidance material to Part-NCC (annex VI);
Acceptable means of compliance and guidance material to Part-NCO (annex VII);
Acceptable means of compliance and guidance material to Part-SPO (annex VIII).

Highlights

Important changes mandated by Regulation (EU) No 965/2012, in comparison with EU-OPS and JAR OPS-3, are safety management and fatigue risk management.

Safety management

ORO.GEN.200 (Management system), on top of requiring a function to monitor compliance of the operator with the relevant requirements (the old quality system of EU-OPS and JAR OPS-3), requires the practice of safety management – in accordance with ICAO Annex 19 and Doc 9859 - in the identification of aviation safety hazards entailed by the activities of the operator, their evaluation and the management of associated risks, including taking actions to mitigate the risk and verify their effectiveness. This requirement is applicable to specialised and non-specialised commercial operators and non-commercial operators of complex aircraft.

Fatigue risk management (FRM)

ORO.FTL.120 (FRM) requires commercial operators of aeroplanes to establish, implement and maintain FRM as an integral part of their management system. FRM requirements include the establishment of a hazard identification and risk assessment process that allows managing the operational risk(s) of the operator arising from crew member fatigue on a continuous basis. Requirements further include a risk mitigation process that provides for remedial actions to be implemented promptly, which are necessary to effectively mitigate the operator’s risk(s) arising from crew member fatigue and for continuous monitoring and regular assessment of the mitigation of fatigue risks achieved by such actions. FRM requirements also mandate FRM safety assurance and promotion processes. Air taxi, emergency medical service and single pilot CAT operations by aeroplanes are not required to comply with FRM requirements.

Related Articles

Further Reading

Regulations

IR-OPS Annexes