EASA has received a number of requests for the type certification of vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) aircraft, which differ from conventional rotorcraft or fixed-wing aircraft. In the absence of suitable certification specifications for the type certification of this type of product, a complete set of dedicated technical specifications in the form of a Special Condition for VTOL aircraft was developed. The Special Condition addresses the unique characteristics of these products and prescribes airworthiness standards for the issuance of a type certificate, and changes to this type certificate, for a person-carrying VTOL aircraft in the small category, with lift/thrust units that are used to generate powered lift and control.
This Special Condition was subject to a public consultation process and finally issued by EASA in July 2019.
The Special Condition VTOL establishes the safety and design objectives. This approach, previously utilised for the development of CS-23 Amendment 5, is also used for VTOL designs in order not to limit technical innovation by describing prescriptive design solutions as certification standards. The Special Condition does not contain the means that are possible to demonstrate compliance with the safety and design objectives.
The Means Of Compliance (MOC) contained within this document address the applicant´s requests for
clarification of EASA’s interpretation of these objectives and of possibilities how to demonstrate compliance with them. Some of these MOCs contain material which should be considered to be guidance material to assist the applicant with an understanding of the objective rather than providing a defined means of compliance.
In the preparation of these MOCs EASA has followed the same principles, and pursued the same objectives, as with the Special Condition. First, to provide sufficient flexibility to address different architectures and design concepts, although it is acknowledged that all possible cases cannot be considered in these MOCs and applicants can propose alternatives to address some particular design features. In addition, the proposed MOCs should enable equal treatment of all applicants, by establishing a level playing field and ensuring that a comparable level of safety in compliance with the objectives of the Special Condition is achieved by all designs.
EASA is committed to continue supporting the industry in the development of safe VTOL aircraft. To this end EASA has decided to prioritise the publication of MOC with the Special Condition VTOL and to issue them in a sequential manner. This approach will allow EASA to focus its resources where the greatest safety impact will be achieved and where the need for clarity is more urgently required. It will furthermore allow the industry to gain an early insight into EASA’s interpretation and expectations from the design objectives of the Special Condition which could have an important effect in the design decisions, instead of waiting until exhaustive guidance for the Special Condition is developed.