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FAA, European regulators expand aviation safety agreement

One of two annexes to the Agreement on Cooperation in the Regulation of Civil Aviation Safety that emerged from the fourteenth meeting of the Bilateral Oversight Board allows “the conversion of FAA and European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) private pilot certificates, airplane ratings and instrument ratings,” the FAA said in a November 19 news release. The FAA estimated that approximately 9,000 European residents have FAA pilot certificates.

Another annex allows “the FAA and EU or Member State authorities to conduct recurrent evaluations on Flight Simulation Training Devices on each other’s behalf in the U.S. and in Europe.”

“These annexes reduce duplication and leverage FAA and EU resources, which allows both agencies to allocate resources to higher safety-risk areas. The streamlined procedures and reduced costs will benefit industry, government and the flying public,” the announcement said, noting that the annexes create “new areas of collaboration” between the two safety agencies.

AOPA welcomed the advances in cooperation, said Jim Coon, AOPA senior vice president of government affairs. “Streamlining processes and creating efficiencies, while ensuring safety, are positive for both general aviation pilots and civil aviation authorities,” he said.

In a separate announcement of the agreements, the European Commission said the pilot certificate conversion provisions would “ensure that pilots residing in the EU fly aircraft on the basis of licences and ratings issued in accordance with EU regulations, under the oversight of EU Member States. It will also ensure that they maintain and develop their qualifications via EU training organisations.”

The measure expanding flexibility for use of flight simulation training devices will generate cost savings for the aviation industry by eliminating duplicative evaluations and reducing pilot training costs for air carriers, it said.

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