I’ve heard some discussion about resurrecting British Civil Airworthiness Requirements (BCARs). Somewhere in a box, I still have my blue covered copy of Section A. Back in the early 1990s, this was the airworthiness requirement that we applied to all aircraft for which the UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) had primary responsibility. The document was first published back in July 1989 and has been updated many times. Embodied in its text are words that once empowered UK airworthiness surveyors of which I was one. Yes, given the judgements expected of technical staff we were called “surveyors” rather than inspectors or administrators.
Now, BCAR Section A is still applied but only to aircraft that are not part of the European system. Generally, these are the so called “Annex II” aircraft. BCAR Section A does not apply to those aircraft that have been the responsibility of the European Aviation Safety Authority (EASA) since 28 September 2003. Although for a long-time prior to EASA’s formation procedures developed for widespread European cooperation. It’s worth noting that the structure and form of these national airworthiness procedures is quite different from the current European regulations. They have a uniquely British heritage as they expanded on the Air Navigation Order (ANO) and its regulations.
So, with Brexit, if the Withdrawal Agreement that is on the table, is accepted, a transitional period will run to the end of 2020. During this period, it’s assumed that the present rules and procedures will continue to apply as now. Although there remains the risk that the UK could “fall off the cliff edge,” it isn’t likely that BCARs will be called back into use as they were in the 1990s.
There would be some major difficulties applying the historic procedures to the latest generation of aircraft and keeping agreements with other Counties going at the same time. That said, it’s possible BCARs could be resurrected but in a new way. One approach to providing national airworthiness procedures in 2021, would be to cut-and-paste the EASA Implementing Rule Part 21.
There isn’t much to be gained by reproducing all the requirement texts because it would be just as easy to have a one-line legislative statement to adopt the output of the European system. If new BCARs are created they must be maintained and that task is always bigger than anyone estimates.
Unfortunately, the pervasive impact of popular politicisation may take a hand. That could result in a complex hybrid of procedures developing where some parts are common and other parts diverge. If it happens, our post-Brexit era could create the need for a great deal of airworthiness administrative management which naturally has to be paid for by someone. However, this happens the UK must have a sound, stable and reliable system to deal with the responsibility for Type Approval of aircraft and all that implies.