I saw this email coming from Rocketroute, they state:
Great news for Hendell Aviation. This week they started operations in Europe flying PC12 aircraft. They are the first EU-OPS AOC holder in Europe to do so commercially. Not only is this a first for Europe but flying PC12 aircraft will offer a new pricing point in the business travel segment.
I am confused by this because the EU-OPS state:
An operator shall ensure that propeller driven aeroplanes with a maximum approved passenger seating configuration of nine or less, and a maximum take-off mass of 5 700 kg or less are operated in accordance with Subpart H (Performance Class B).
And further in Subpart H:
An operator shall not operate a single-engine aeroplane: 1. at night; or 2. in instrument meteorological conditions except under special visual flight rules. Note: Limitations on the operation of single-engine aeroplanes are covered by OPS 1.240(a)6.
In OPS 1.240(a)6:
If single-engine aeroplanes are used, surfaces are available which permit a safe forced landing to be executed.
This would mean to me that they are flying with a single engine turbine aircraft in VMC conditions at daytimes? Is this true or do they have some kind of exception for the IMC and/or night limitation?
There are exemptions, I've read about Switzerland (obviously as Pilatus is the driving force). I don't know where this AOC is based but there were discussions about changing EU-OPS.
Everybody should realize that the PC-12 is a much safer airplane than a Seneca. And it's made in EASA land, too.
I agree with you, but I find it strange that you can have an exemption on the new EASA regulations. I thought the whole idea was to uniform things in Europe with EASA.
The AOC country is presumably Finland.
The simple answer to this question is that under EU-OPS exemptions are possible and EASA-OPS is not in force yet. They haven't published the regulations.
Finland, like Sweden, Norway and France (that I know of) are positive to Single Engine IFR with turbine aircraft where the UK for example is against.
I worked a number of years in a Swedish company flying the Cessna Caravan, as pilot and operations manager, so I know first hand what it takes. Sweden has granted an exemption for Cargo operations at night and in IMC for the Caravan, and Finland extended on that exemption to this company. The company has operated the Caravan for 14 years with great success. Two companies in Norway did the same, although only one remains and I'm not sure they use the Caravan still.
The interesting part of Hendell's approval is that it allows transport of pax, not just cargo. I think that's a first in Europe. And it's in Finland as stated. As I recall, accident statistics for single engine turbines are as good or better than twin pistons and even twin turbines.
The greatest issue for the success of Single Engine Turbines in Europe is the "gut feeling" of EASA legislators and perhaps passengers. But, if safety is a real concern then any operation with aircraft that don't meet performance specifications according to CS/FAR-25 should be prohibited, and the public should be informed accordingly...
I spoke to Hendell and their exemption allows them to operate in any country that does not ban se ops per Aip gen 1.7 (UK does and so do Spain and a few others).
Their exemption is valid untill EASA ops comes into force around 2016.
Apoarently in the next npa for EASA ops SE imc night will be allowed.
I'm slightly confused by 2) as I didn't think you could fly SVFR under IMC.
SVFR does not meet VMC criteria and when it's not VMC, it's IMC by definition
Hendell may find, as I did, that flying SE-IFR commercially in Europe is greatly restricted. I only checked with the closest countries at the time; Denmark, Poland, Germany, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia, but they all replied with varying and interesting versions of the word "No".
But, this was a few years ago and things change. Perhaps Hendell will be successful, and given their proximity to Russia, provided they don't disapprove of SE ops, they may see a market in that direction.
It's fairly obvious that Hendell's prime market is in Russia and other ex-Soviet countries. At least it's not in Finland!