EASA has noted that, increasingly, certification projects are being initiated at too early a stage, “when the respective project has not presented an adequately defined concept of operations (CONOPS)” or the product is not sufficiently mature to “allow the type investigation to progress in an effective manner”.

EASA has observed that the CONOPS element is a document that sets out to ask the following questions: What do you want to operate? How and in which airspace?  In other words, the European regulatory agency says it typically provides “the description of the new product design and operations and their impact on flight crew licensing and air traffic management characteristics. The establishment of the CONOPS will help in confirming the applicable safety objectives and identifying the needed regulatory actions.”

EASA said that the ‘not-quite-ready’ situation is even more evident when the applicant is a “newcomer” to the industry, noting that they appear to underestimate the impact of managing several challenges simultaneously, the establishment of CONOPS, product development and the set-up of an organisation to demonstrate design capability and perform type certification. Consequently, says EASA, there are delays and inefficiencies in the certification process. This is why EASA has issued guidance designed to support the industry in innovation. The EASA memorandum sets out optimum timings from a technical and operational readiness perspective so that it is clear when the time for certification application has arrived.

The full memorandum is available on the EASA website or by clicking HERE

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