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Importing an airplane from N-reg/C-reg to EASA

I would like to know the procedures involved and hear some first hand experience from the forum.

So far I could establish that there are
Bilateral Aviation Safety Agreemens in place between FAA-EASA vv and TCCA-EASA vv which regulate airworthiness requirements and validations vice versa.

According to first hand information from an EASA authority, three key points are required for importing a plane:

1. Get an export certificate of airworthiness stating the aircraft is on a type certificate that is accepted by easa (eg FAA TC3A19 for a C150)

2. Verify now changes/modifications are present which are not allowed to be validated according to EASA (eg 150hp conversion on C150)

2.a. minor mods and avionics are not a problem (according to the authority I spoke to).

3. The aircraft must pass an ARC (annual) inspection according to EASA regulations

It can then be EASA registered and receive airworthiness documents

I recently saw a nice N-reg 150 with a GNC420W navigator etc… how can I establish if such a modification or STC can be airworthy in EASA land?

Last Edited by Snoopy at 14 Nov 12:03
ATPL / IFR Instructor
Europe

We have had some previous threads on this but I can’t find the exact thing.

An Export CofA certifies that the aircraft is airworthy under the exporting certification regime.

The accepting registry normally accepts minor mods, and I recall EASA generally accepted FAA field approved and STCd mods but not all. For example not any registry will accept a Jetprop even though that is a PA46 with an STC mod. Avionics may be ok; I have heard of stories to the contrary, years ago.

@williamf may have direct experience of this. Also @wigglyamp or @mh.

Garmin avionics mostly have EASA STCs nowadays.

One guy I spoke to in the 145 business told me that 20+ years ago the UK CAA accepted practically everything imported from N-reg, but that stopped. It certainly stopped by the time I got my plane in 2002. But now we have a different climate.

are present which are not allowed to be validated according to EASA

It would be really interesting to see a list of those.

Administrator
Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

Snoopy wrote:

I recently saw a nice N-reg 150 with a GNC420W navigator etc… how can I establish if such a modification or STC can be airworthy in EASA land?

About 6 years ago I imported a P28A into Europe and went through the steps you said – pre-buy, export CofA, then came the fun part. It was fitted with all manner of mods which were FAA approved but not EASA approved; my route at that time was going through the STC for the FAA and seeing if they had been approved before the creation of EASA and if so, whether they had been approved by a European Aviation Authority. To do that, I wrote to the manufacturer of the equipment and asked. They gave me the info that the Swedish had approved the kits, so I could apply for approval based on grandfather rights. After that, ARC and registration.

In your case, I’d write to Garmin and ask them whether the STC (SA01933LA) for fitting the GNC420W to the C150 has been approved by EASA – grandfathering is not possible as the 400W units were only offered for sale after the creation of EASA. I have looked at the EASA STC list and can’t see it on the list of approvals, unfortunately, hence asking Garmin would be my route to clarity.

EDL*, Germany

Peter wrote:

The accepting registry normally accepts minor mods, and I recall EASA generally accepted FAA field approved and STCd mods but not all.

In my case, the issue was ‘speed kits’ with Flap / Aileron Gap kits, all approved by the FAA. The LBA, however, didn’t want to accept it as it hadn’t been approved by neither them nor EASA, wanted us to tear it off. Fortunately this kit had been approved by the swedish CAA for installation on a P28A prior to 28th September 2003 hence we could point to that and gain grandfathering rights…..

EDL*, Germany

I did more digging because I clearly recall some previous stuff on this. Maybe something around here.

I wonder if there is a policy on this anywhere, or whether it is national CAA specific? It is probably the latter.

It’s a really interesting area. For example if you install 2 × GNS530 in an N-reg and then try to import it to EASA-reg, will you have to apply that EASA STC which requires a 3rd radio? I reckon you can import it.

According to here (no reference though) STCs are mutually accepted at registry transfer. So an avionics install under an FAA STC should be accepted by EASA even if there isn’t an EASA STC for it.

What I strongly suspect may not be acceptable is something done under the FAA Minor Alteration (i.e. just a logbook entry) if it would require a Major approval or an STC in EASA-land. Just imagine the political angles! In Europe there is an institutional distrust of “minor” mods of any sort, usually alleging cowboy practices, and the FAA landscape offers plenty of ammunition, notwithstanding that the minor alternation concession is pretty well described in FAA docs.

Administrator
Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

@peter

I wonder if there is a policy on this anywhere, or whether it is national CAA specific?

Policy! Not national CAA specific. Apart from exotic planes, there is no more national CAA, they are EASA CAAs (word by word what the airworthiness specialist at my „national“ caa told me).

Quoting from my OP

there are
Bilateral Aviation Safety Agreemens in place between FAA-EASA vv and TCCA-EASA vv which regulate airworthiness requirements and validations vice versa

For icao COFA airplane the national authorities have to follow EU law.

Last Edited by Snoopy at 15 Nov 10:54
ATPL / IFR Instructor
Europe

The real question is why would you put yourself in line for such hardship unless it was a high value aircraft that couldn’t be easily sourced already on an EASA registration.

Ownership is draining enough without undertaking big jobs on low value airplanes that have little headroom to appreciate in value. Switching a 150 from N reg, or more recently here putting in an engine conversation/tailwheel on a 150 are prime examples.

Buying, Selling, Flying
EIBR, Ireland

Peter wrote:

According to here (no reference though) STCs are mutually accepted at registry transfer. So an avionics install under an FAA STC should be accepted by EASA even if there isn’t an EASA STC for it.

As far as I see it, as long as the GNC420W was fitted according to (e.g.) FAA AC 20-138D, it can be accepted as a change under CS-STAN (CS SC052c) without the need for an EASA STC – however then it can only be used for Day VFR, should be labelled as for ‘situational awareness’ only.

My thoughts are that @Snoopy should contact Garmin and asks them whether there would be any issue with having it accepted without going down that route….

EDL*, Germany

WilliamF wrote:

The real question is why would you put yourself in line for such hardship unless it was a high value aircraft that couldn’t be easily sourced already on an EASA registration.

Ownership is draining enough without undertaking big jobs on low value airplanes that have little headroom to appreciate in value. Switching a 150 from N reg, or more recently here putting in an engine conversation/tailwheel on a 150 are prime examples.

Good point. I’m simply interested in how this works, and the market is huge on the other side of the Atlantic. Export C of A, disassembly, container, re-assembly, ARC and registration are around 10k on top of the purchase price. Easy to establish if it makes sense or not. Or maybe I’m mislead, or stupid… ;)

ATPL / IFR Instructor
Europe

Not stupid at all… which is why I asked: I wonder if there is a policy on this anywhere?

If it is per EASA then the policy must be online somewhere. And clearly somebody here knows.

Administrator
Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom
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