EDA’s Military Airworthiness Conference 2019 (MAC 2019), organised with the support of the Flight Safety Department of the Lithuanian Armed Forces, took place on 09th – 10th October in Vilnius, Lithuania. This 11th annual Conference arranged under the auspices of the Military Airworthiness Authorities (MAWA) Forum brought together around 140 delegates from industry and governmental organisations of 34 EU and non-EU nations, representing a broad spectrum of expertise in civil and military aviation. The theme of this year’s Conference was “10 years of Airworthiness harmonisation – Achievements and lessons learned”.
The Conference was opened by EDA Deputy Chief Executive Olli Ruutu, followed by a welcome speech by the Vice Minister of National Defence of Lithuania, Mr Vytautas Umbrasas. Over the 1½ days of the Conference, delegates followed 12 presentations covering a wide-variety of topics and challenges currently being faced by the military airworthiness community, not only within Europe but also worldwide.
The presentations were grouped into the four main themes of the Conference: Impact of EMARs on the Regulated Community, Opportunities and Choices, Implementation – Challenges and Lessons learned and a view on the Experiences from Third Party Stakeholders. Extended Questions & Answers sessions and discussion periods allowed delegates to gain a deeper understanding of challenges faced and approaches taken by various aviation stakeholders in relation to those subjects.
In order to take full benefits of EMAR implementation, particular attention was given to the impact of EMARs on military aviation activities through current concrete cases such as the MRTT programmes. In addition, the feedback of more than 10 years of airworthiness reviews of aircraft led some NMAA to consider this activity as an essential tool to enhance military aviation safety.
In the global framework of EMAR implementation, several nations then presented their national way of implementing EMARs, whether based on an implementation from scratch, on a migration from a legacy system already in place or applied only to newly procured aircraft. Anyhow, the aim of a standardized implementation of EMAR’s as a basis for a single European Airworthiness System was underlined, notably by Industry. This is essential for achieving the anticipated benefits of multinational cooperation on development and in-service support as well as for establishing an efficient communication network aiming to mitigate safety risks that are common for countries operating the same type of aircraft.
Opportunities for improving the Authority’s oversight over CAMOs (Continuing Airworthiness Management Organisations) by implementing a Risk and Performance Based Oversight (RPBO) approach, in line with the new EASA Basic Regulation, were outlined. These RPBO principles could then also be applicable to Design, Production and Maintenance organisations in the same way.
A specific presentation about the ability to operate military aircraft at elevated airworthiness risk was delivered highlighting the necessity for military aviation authorities to cooperate to address this common issue.
Broader opportunities for enhancing interoperability and flight safety by further harmonizing military regulatory requirements over other aviation domains than airworthiness, were also addressed.
The conference provided key opportunities for networking, ensuring that delegates were able to maximise their time with each other, following-up individual presentations with more detailed discussions related to specific national issues.
The European Defence Agency would like to thank all presenters from our participating Member States, as well as Australia, New Zealand, NATO, OCCAR, ASD, OSAC and BSL for sharing their views and expertise and for providing valuable insights.