A New Prop Forward

Monday 10th October 2016

TERRY SPRUCE reports on the relaxation of single-engine turboprop regulations in Europe. Could this open big new markets in affordable commercial charter operations?

Above: A Cessna Caravan landing.

With the introduction of the EASA Part-NCC allowing Single Engine Turboprop (SETP) aircraft to be operated under commercial rules, the industry

needs to meet the challenges of these new rules for OEMs, owners and operators.

What is EASA Part-NCC?

Officially, the new regulation is the EASA Air Operations Regulation (EU) No 965/2012 and Part-NCC applies to non-commercial flights in complex motor-powered aircraft. Part-NCC started on 25 August 2016.

Each operator must adhere to the same requirements as commercial air transport operators but owners do not require an (air operator's certificate) AOC but must submit a declaration to the UK CAA about their operation.

The declaration will help authorities maintain oversight for Part-NCC aircraft. The programme will be developed with the gathered data to include any available past data and be kept updated so as to be as current as possible.

Who is affected?

Those affected with these changes will be operators of complex motor-powered aircraft flying non-commercial flights, with an aircraft registered in an EASA state or operators with an aircraft registered in a non-EASA state but where the operator is established or resides in an EASA state.

Operators will need to be familiar with the EASA Basic Regulation and the Air Operations Regulation. They will also need to comply with the detailed implementing rules in Annex III (Part- ORO Organisation Requirements) and Annex VI (Part-NCC) and Part-FCL. If an operator needs specific approvals, for example, covering low visibility operations, performance based navigation or dangerous goods; they will need to comply with elements of Annex V (Part-SPA).

Affected operators need to understand the rules and ensure they are in compliance.

●    Operators must be established in the UK and flying non-commercial operations with complex motor-powered aircraft.
●    They must have an operations manual and management system in addition to an approved minimum equipment list (MEL) for each aircraft.
●    Complete and submit a declaration to the UK CAA which details their aircraft type, their operational and continuing airworthiness arrangements, any approvals held etc.
●    Ensure that the pilot(s) flying the aircraft hold(s) a Part-FCL licence or a validation issued under Annex III to Part-FCL

Once compliant, operators of aircraft affected by the EASA regulations who are resident or have their principal place of business in the UK must make their declaration to the UK CAA (in accordance with Part-ORO).

Industry reaction:

Adam Twidell, CEO of PrivateFly had these thoughts about this market.
"While Europe has been much more cautious about allowing charters on single engine aircraft, the FAA in the US have permitted these flights since 1997."

"Indeed while Europe is on the verge of permitting charters on SETPs, in the US they allow even single engine piston aircraft to carry fare paying customers."

"The economy of Europe is of a similar size to that of the States, yet our business aviation industry is almost a quarter of the size. There is no doubt that this lifting of the single engine ban will open up the market and help to redress that balance."

The benefits of allowing SETP for charter include:

●    Lowering the entry point price for charter customers
●    Encouraging many more passengers to see the benefits of charter
●    Commercial transformation for some smaller airports

"In London, take Booker for example - situated between London and Oxford and just beside the M40 motorway. Their runway is too short for most twin engine props but perfect for single engine aircraft. Stand by for London Booker to have more movements than Farnborough?!" 

"The move will also create entry level jobs for many young pilots. Single engine aircraft can be flown with a CPL (Commercial Pilot's Licence).

So this will allow many recently-qualified pilots to gain employment and start a career in business aviation, saving them years of painful employment with the low cost carriers!"

"There will also be a boost to aircraft manufacturing. At PrivateFly we already see a great deal of customer interest in aircraft such as the Swiss Pilatus PC-12.

With widespread charter set to be authorised for this and similar aircraft, the manufacturers can look forward to a rush of new orders. Cessna has timed the entrance of the Denali well. With their brand reputation for reliability, this aircraft stands to be very successful in the category."

"And for aircraft owners, never has there been a better time to buy a single engine turboprop aircraft in Europe. Used aircraft prices have fallen to record lows, so bargains are available, especially if you are using Euros to buy a UK aircraft in GBP."

"Aircraft owners will now be able to fully justify the value of having their own plane and, by having the aircraft."

Help for those who need  it:

There are a number of business aircraft management companies for non-commercial aircraft services and trade associations who offer support to owners and operators having to comply with the requirements of Part-NCC. These organisations may be able to provide advice and guidance to operators, for example, on developing operations manuals.

Above: PC-12 NG Model 2016 Cabin, Above right: Loch Lomond Seaplanes Cessna 208 Amphibian on the River Clyde in Glasgow.

The Single engine turboprop market

The SETP market currently has four aircraft in it, the Pilatus PC-12, Daher TBM900/930, Cessna Caravan/Grand Caravan and the new Denali from Cessna/Textron Aviation (whict the Ae270 might be joining later). With the new rules this niche market now becomes a mainstream commercial business aviation sector.

Pilatus PC-12

The market leader in the SETP market with over 1,500 aircraft built, the Swiss manufacturer is looking forward to add more units to this new market.
The Pilatus PC-12 NG has gained a reputation for reliability, performance and being a very flexible workhorse of an aircraft, capable of operating in difficult terrain and on unprepared airstrips. The aircraft is able to fly as an executive transport, cargo carrier, air ambulance, small airliner connecting remote communities and is used by governments on special missions.
The aircraft features a Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-67P

The Single engine turboprop market

The SETP market currently has four aircraft in it, the Pilatus PC-12, Daher TBM900/930, Cessna Caravan/Grand Caravan and the new Denali from
Cessna/Textron Aviation (whict the Ae270 might be joining later). With the new rules this niche market now becomes a mainstream commercial business aviation sector.

Pilatus PC-12

The market leader in the SETP market with over 1,500 aircraft built, the Swiss manufacturer is looking forward to add more units to this new market.

The Pilatus PC-12 NG has gained a reputation for reliability, performance and being a very flexible workhorse of an aircraft, capable of operating in difficult terrain and on unprepared airstrips.

The aircraft is able to fly as an executive transport, cargo carrier, air ambulance, small airliner connecting remote communities and is used by governments on special missions.

The aircraft features a Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-67P engine, flat-rated at 1,200 SHP with a five-bladed graphite composite propeller, the cabin can seat up to nine passengers with a maximum range  of 1,845 nautical miles (HSC, VFR,  reserves).

Cessna Grand Caravan EX/ Caravan

The original Cessna 208 Caravan was certified in 1984 and has been upgraded many times since. The aircraft was the market leader until the PC-12 came along. Today the latest version is the Cessna 208B Grand Caravan EX. The aircraft can carry up to 14 passengers and has a range of 964nm.

The aircraft is powered by a Pratt & Whitney Canada PT-6A-140 with a power rating of 867shp and with a Hartzell three-bladed propeller. The Caravan floatplane is ideal for the hunting and fishing community and also a good small freighter in the US.

In the UK, the Caravan floatplane is also used by Loch Lomond Seaplanes and the aircraft connects Glasgow to Oban and the other nearby
Scottish Islands. The service is a vital lifeline to the island communities and even brings tourism to the region.

Cessna Denali

The Denali is the newest member of this market, having been launched by Textron Aviation at the EAA AirVenture in July at Oshkosh 2016.

The new aircraft from Cessna will be able to carry a maximum of 11 passengers and it offers a luxury business aviation interior. Textron quotes a range of 1,600nm carrying four passengers using the new GE93 turboprop engine powered at 1,240shp with FADEC and a Macauley 105in carbon five-blade propeller. If the aircraft carries
more than four passengers, then the range could be less. Denali will fly at 285kn maximum cruise speed.

The aircraft will have an optional belted lavatory with a pocket door enclosure at the back of the passenger cabin. The Denali will be fitted with an aft cargo door (53in wide x 59in high) and will be able to operate from unprepared short landing strips.

The Garmin G3000 avionics suite is to be fitted on the flight-deck with synthetic vision technology. The flight of the Denali is scheduled for 2018 with the company accepting orders now.

Aero Vodochody Ae-270

A UK-based company, Aircraft Integrated Solutions is investigating the possibility to restart production of the Ae-270 Ibis, nearly a decade after its joint owners Aero Vodochody and Aerospace Industrial Development of Taiwan ceased production and development of the aircraft.

The Ae-270 Ibis was certified by EASA in 2005 and by the FAA in 2006. The aircraft can be used as a business air taxi, air ambulance, 10-seat commuter shuttle and a utility aircraft.

The aircraft has a cruise speed of 260kt (480km/h) and range of just under 540nm (1,000km). The aircraft is also fitted with a large cargo door and is powered by the Pratt & Whitney PT6A engine. Up to date engine developments and even a slightly larger fuel tank may well increase the range.

Summary

With the introduction of Part-NCC, many SETP operators will be able to expand into the commercial business aviation space. There are already many companies that can help with this transition and the UK CAA has made it clear to owners and operators what is required by the Authority. Owners and operators were worried.

Twitter link to the Insight blog with the October magazine contents.

 https://twitter.com/AeroSociety/status/781917855822544896

Royal Aeronautical Society: News and Publications:    http://bit.ly/2e3xdXV

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