Assistance to the aviation association in negotiating certificates for ultralight aircraft

Light Aircraft Association of the Czech Republic (LAA CR) is association of manufacturers, operators and pilots of light aircraft with weight up to 650 kg. It has 6 400 members and registers 7 900 aircraft and 10 000 pilots. LAA CR is a competent authority for Certification, Licencing and Operation of light aircraft in the Czech Republic. Most LAA CR members are working with highly innovative technologies, mostly in the field of advanced materials, engine and aircraft design.
Production of small sport aircraft is one of the high tech industries in the Czech Republic. Therefore, the Technology Centre of the Czech Academy of Sciences (TC CAS) as coordinator of the Czech EEN consortium is monitoring situation in the sector and offers EEN services to help the Czech producers to come up with the latest innovations. LAA CR is a client of TC CAS since company visit was carried out in 2013. Since than client participated in several B2B events and regularly received technology offers distributed on behalf of targeted demand. In 2014 TC CAS supported client’s negotiations on project of jointly operated airport with their Chinese partners.
In the last two decades’ significant innovations in aircraft construction materials and significant improvements of power unit power/weight ratio improve the technical and operational performance of these “light” aircraft. Also there is demand from operators of hobby pilots to increase the maximum take-off weight. Increasing maximum take-off weight to 650 kg was one of most significant challenges manufacturers faced. Therefore, LAA CR have made a request to European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) to adjust the weight limits in the light aircraft category from 450 to 650 kg. Due to long-term cooperation, LAA CR contacted specialist of the Enterprise Europe Network for support during the process of applying changes in European and national legislation.

To set up new weight limit required to create a new certificates for production and training procedures and successful introduction and application of these certificates by all manufacturers and operators covered by European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA). Specialists of the Czech EEN set up an advisory plan with several steps carried out by TC CAS, LAA CR and EASA:

- To set up communication channel with EASA (TC CAS)
- To set up discussion platform of European manufacturers for discussion of upcoming changes (TC CAS, LAA CR)
- Organize meetings of EASA representatives and industry to initiate a optimization process of technical standard (TC CAS, LAA CR)
- Creation of procedures of the new certificate (LAA CR, EASA)
- Provide continuous feedback from manufacturers during the process of incorporating new requirements into existing certification standards (TC CAS, LAA CR, EASA)
- Organize final information seminars and cooperate in setting new certificates into practice (TC CAS, LAA CR)

In January 2018 TC CAS contacted EASA and got contact for possible negotiation of new certificate category application.
In March 2018 TC CAS organized a meeting between European manufacturers of light flying devices and representatives of EASA, where possible changes in weight limit has been disputed. LAA CR an EASA started intensive joint work on standards for new category.
In March 2019 TC CAS organized a meeting between LAA CR and manufacturers where new certification limits and their application has been explained and changes has been fully applied into certification processes on European level.
In March 2020 TC CAS and LAA CR is planning a meeting of manufacturers, operators and EASA representatives in order to evaluate experience with the new processes in discussion of possible changes.

The certification of the new weight limit has allowed sport aircraft manufacturers to develop new or innovate existing types of aircraft and thus expand their product portfolios.
This way the cooperation of LAA CR with the TC CAS helped European aircraft manufacturers to remain on current markets and simplified access to new markets worldwide. Very important is better access to US and Australian market, where this type of aircraft has been introduced years ago. Almost all manufacturers stated that they will apply certification process in those countries for their innovated aircrafts. Innovation of the product portfolio has led to the increasing competitiveness of these companies, to the sustainability of a significant number of jobs and created potential for the creation of new ones.
Possibility to use new materials and engine technologies in manufacturing of high tech sport aircrafts dramatically improved know how and innovation capacities of these SMEs. Application of new materials and new technology processes had created an opportunity for cooperation between aircraft manufacturing SMEs and RD institutes. As the new sport and hobby aircraft got to the market, wide public got an opportunity to explore the opportunities that technological advances offer.

Mr. Jan Fridrich, chairman of the Light Aircraft Manufacturers Associations stated: “The cooperation with Czech EEN enabled us to use experts contacts for the European agency EASA to achieve our goal. Effective planning and personnel capacity enhancement has streamlined the process, minimized costs and minimized the time required to implement standards of the new certificate.”

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