The FAA released a statement on January 7th detailing an agreement with the Korean Civilian Aviation Safety Authority (KOCA) to accept the respective nation’s airworthiness approvals, test procedures and pilot qualifications, along with a variety of other related aerial mobility activities.
The agreement states that Korea and the United States intent to work together to sustain an equivalent level of safety and environmental objectives and collaborate on standardization of their systems that’ll be used to certify and shape the future mobility landscape.
These types of agreements aren’t new to aviation certification; many agreements such as transport category equivalency between the FAA and EASA allow for reductions or eliminations of certification requirements that are mostly duplicated between differing regulators which allows aircraft certification processes to proceed much more efficiently than completely repeating test campaigns.
Specifically, the technical assessments and areas required for agreement are:
(a) airworthiness approvals of civil aeronautical products;
(b) environmental approvals and environmental testing;
(c) approval and monitoring of maintenance facilities and maintenance personnel;
(d) approval and monitoring of flight operations and flight crew members;
(e) evaluation and qualification of flight simulators; and
(f) approval and monitoring of aviation training establishments.
Once the collaborative process between the countries completes, written Implementation Procedures (IPs) will be drafted to detail the methods of compliance by which reciprocal acceptance will be made for each technical area outlined.
IPs are standardized and include a number of components such as definitions, provisions for cooperated and assistance, as well as periodic evaluations and processes for amendments as the future technological state of the aerial mobility landscape might require changes to aged IPs.
Why it’s important: Korea and the United States are beginning to take steps to ultimately grant through equivalency certification rights of aerial mobility aircraft, removing the requirement for aerial mobility systems to complete a full suite of certification testing in either South Korea or the United States; once this collaborative effort has completed. While the release doesn’t yet formalize equivalency approval between the two participating countries, it does outline the processes and steps required.
Read the full document on the FAA’s website here.