Frequently asked questions about the Technical Airworthiness Authority

1. What is the Technical Airworthiness Program?

The Technical Airworthiness Program regulates the technical aspects of military aviation safety and provides for an acceptable level of safety for aeronautical products in compliance with the applicable design, manufacturing, maintenance and materiel support rules and standards.

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2. Why use a regulatory approach for the Technical Airworthiness Program?

A regulatory approach is the most common method employed to implement the concepts and principles in an airworthiness program. To regulate means to control by rule, and it involves using regulations, orders, directives and standards to control airworthiness-related activities. A regulatory approach for controlling airworthiness-related activities includes three distinct roles: that of a Regulator, that of the Implementor and that of the Investigator. The regulatory approach is used because it:

  • provides a better legal basis, clearly setting apart airworthiness requirements
  • provides more flexibility as you can assign authority outside DND and the CAF
  • provides a wide application in that it defines what must be done, not how it is done
  • facilitates formal assignment of authority framework allowing alignment with non-DND/CAF airworthiness programs

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3. What are the fundamental principles of the Technical Airworthiness Program?

The program is based on the fundamental principles that airworthiness-related activities are completed to accepted standards, by authorized individuals, who work in accredited organizations, using approved procedures.

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4. What are airworthiness standards?

Technical airworthiness standards provide program-related or product-related process standards, airworthiness design requirements and/or measurable criteria to ensure compliance with airworthiness rules. As applicable, these rules and standards are issued by the Airworthiness Authority (AA), Operational Airworthiness Authority (OAA), Technical Airworthiness Authority (TAA) and/or Airworthiness Investigative Authority (AIA).

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5. Who is the Technical Airworthiness Authority (TAA)?

The Director General – Aerospace Equipment Program Management (DGAEPM) is the TAA. He is responsible for the regulation of the Technical Airworthiness Program.

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6. What is the Technical Airworthiness Manual?

The Technical Airworthiness Manual (TAM) is a Canadian Forces Technical Order (CFTO) containing all rules and standards issued by the TAA for the implementation and monitoring of the DND Technical Airworthiness Program. All organizations and individuals who perform airworthiness management roles or conduct airworthiness management functions for the DND/CAF aircraft fleets must comply with its provisions.

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7. Why accredit organizations?

The airworthiness accreditation of an organization by the TAA provides the required technical airworthiness authority for the organization and its personnel to perform its assigned airworthiness management roles and technical airworthiness functions in the conduct of airworthiness-related activities. Accreditation also permits the organization to re-assign technical airworthiness authority to competent individuals who perform airworthiness management roles and who conduct technical airworthiness functions within the organization.

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8. What are the responsibilities of the Technical Authority (TA)?

The TA's airworthiness-related responsibilities for the Approved Type Design of an aeronautical product are as follows:

  • manage the design and engineering support for all associated systems for the aeronautical product; this includes responsibility for design change control, airworthiness acceptance of design changes, modification implementation, the maintenance program, non-standard repairs, maintenance publications, technical data, configuration management and technical investigations
  • manage maintenance support, including repair and overhaul, and support and test equipment
  • establish technical record procedures, including maintenance recording and reporting
  • manage logistic support, including the procurement of replacement aviation parts
  • provide technical advice for the disposal of an aeronautical product and associated internal components and equipment during and after the in-service period
  • establish, as required, a formal Design Support Network approved by the TAA

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9. What technical airworthiness authority may be assigned outside of the TAA organization?

The scope and depth of technical airworthiness authority assigned to an organization is based on the capability of the organization, its defined processes and procedures, the competency of personnel available to the organization and the authority required to satisfy the objectives of the organization.

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10. What is an Airworthiness Directive?

An Airworthiness Directive (AD) is a product-related airworthiness order issued by the TAA. An AD may be permanent or temporary, depending on the circumstances or technical problem that led to the requirement to release the AD. A notice issued by another airworthiness regulatory authority may be recognized as equivalent to a TAA-issued AD depending on its applicability to a DND/CAF-registered aircraft.

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11. When are ADs issued?

An AD is developed and issued by the TAA when mandatory action is necessary to rectify a potential degradation in the level of safety for in-service aeronautical products. Unless the TAA considers that an alternative action will assure an acceptable level of aviation safety, the TAA will issue an AD to direct mandatory action by the Technical Authority (TA).

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12. What is the role of a Type Certificate Holder?

The role of Type Certificate Holder (TCH) is assigned to an organization when a DND/CAF Type Certificate is issued. The responsibilities of the TCH for the approved type design of an aeronautical product are as follows:

  • ensure the establishment, maintenance and availability to the TAA of the Type Record;
  • monitor aeronautical products in-service, including:
    • in-service roles, missions, tasks and operational usage to assure compliance with the Statement of Operating Intent (SOI) on which the Basis of Certification was established
    • service difficulty reports to identify potential airworthiness deficiencies with the approved type design
    • service bulletins or equivalent documents issued by the Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM)
  • maintain the capability of providing appropriate technical solutions for service difficulties and, when mandatory corrective action is required, provide a proposed design change to the approved type design for TAA approval which will rectify an unsafe condition
  • report airworthiness-related issues, situations and service difficulties to the TAA

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13. How is the Basis of Certification maintained through the service life of DND/CAF aircraft derived from commercial passenger-carrying aircraft, such as the CC144 Challenger and the CC150 Polaris?

The Basis of Certification (BoC) for aircraft derived from commercial models is defined (and approved by the TAA) at type certification and remains in effect throughout the service life of the aircraft. Usually the TAA-approved BoC is the same as, or only slightly different, from the original type BoC approved by the civil authority who issues a civil Type Certificate. The BoC would normally only be changed if a design change is proposed that could not be accommodated within the existing BoC. For example, if a new avionics capability was proposed and the certification standards in the existing BoC is not suitable to address the certification of the new avionics system, then additional certification requirements would be added to the existing BoC. It is important to note that the rest of the BoC does not change.

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14. Who retains the Basis of Certification for aircraft derived from commercial models and ensures it remains in compliance?

The DND/CAF Basis of Certification (BoC) for commercially-derived aircraft is documented in the DND Type Certificate Data Sheet (TCDS) and retained by the Type Certificate Holder (TCH), usually the DND Technical Authority (TA). The TCH has the responsibility to ensure that the aircraft type design remains in compliance with the BoC. If a design change is required and the existing BoC is not adequate, then the TA is required to contact the TAA who will help identify the appropriate additions or amendments to the BoC.

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15. Will we be following a Basis of Certification process that already exists in the industry?

The DND process to maintain the Basis of Certification (BoC) described in the answers for questions 13 and 14 above is similar to Transport Canada Civil Aviation (TCCA) processes. However, TCCA has no role in the approval or amendment of BoCs for DND/CAF aircraft.

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16. Are Issue Papers used anywhere else other than during Design Certification Board-related activities?

Yes they are. Issue Papers (IP) are not necessarily linked to a Design Certification Board (DCB), and they may be raised and closed without a DCB being convened. They are to be used whenever there is a requirement to document a problem and track the development of a solution.

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17. When are Issue Papers not required?

Issue Papers are not required for documents that are generated or produced as Proof of Compliance or proposals provided by the Applicant in support of compliance activities.

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18. How do I arrange for a candidate nominated as a Finding Authority to receive the appropriate assignment of authority from the TAA?

Each candidate must first satisfy the criteria outlined in the Technical Airworthiness Manual (TAM) – C-05-005-001/AG-01 – Part 2, Chapter 1, and AF9000 Plus Map-on-Line procedure TAA04.006. Once the minimum criteria are met, the applicant is to complete the form Request For and Approval of Assignment of Authority to make Findings of Compliance found at Annex A of TAA04.006 and forward it to the relevant TAA (DTAES 3 staff) OPI. Approval of acceptable applications will be carried out by the TAA.

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19. What is a Finding of Compliance?

A Finding of Compliance is a certification by an authorized individual that a specific element of a type design or design change to an Approved Type Design complies with the applicable requirements in the BoC. A Finding of Compliance is a technical airworthiness function and is proof that the minimum level of safety required by the relevant standard has been demonstrated (see the TAM, Part 1, Chapter 3, Section 1). For more information, contact the TAA (DTAES 3 staff) to obtain a copy of the AF9000 Plus Map-on-Line process EMT04.043 – Completion of a Compliance Matrix/Record.

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20. Who am I responsible to when I make a Finding of Compliance?

The Finding Authority is appointed by, and directly responsible to, the TAA for the finding being made. The following AF9000 Plus Map-on-Line processes offer detailed information: TAA04.006 – Assignment of Finding Authority in a Certification Program, and TAA01.002 – Assignment of Internal Airworthiness Authority to TAA Staff.

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21. What am I signing for when I sign as having made a Finding ?

You are formally certifying that, to the best of your ability, you have examined the design and any supporting evidence (e.g., reports, tests, etc.), and you consider that they meet the required standard. The concept of Due Diligence applies, as described in the TAM, Part 1, Chapter 4, Section 1, paragraph 8. Please note that Several Technical Airworthiness Program key concepts and definitions discussed in Part 1, Chapter 2 and 3 are important to the understanding of Part 1, Chapter 4 of the TAM.

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22. When should the airworthiness aspects of a proposed design change be assessed?

The airworthiness aspects of all proposed design changes must be assessed prior to their approval for use with in-service aeronautical products. The process for design change certification depends on the airworthiness significance of the proposed design change. To determine the category of a proposed design change, an assessment of significance by an authorized individual is required. A reassessment of the significance should be conducted periodically throughout the design change development process to ensure the initial category assigned remains valid. The TAA always reserves the right to review the assignment of a category to a proposed design change particularly when it comes to the assessment of extent. Therefore, if any doubt exists regarding the significance assigned, the proposed design change should be referred to the TAA for assessment.

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23. Is there a requirement to convene a Design Certification Board to review approval requirements for design changes to all existing approved aeronautical products?

No. The Design Certification Board (DCB) process does not apply to the design changes using the Materiel Management Instruction (MMI) 1495 (Aircraft Modification Approval Form (AMAF)) process prior to the implementation of the TAM.

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24. Who reviews an application for airworthiness approval of design change?

The TAA (DTAES 3 staff) OPI reviews the application for airworthiness approval of design change and will arrange for appropriate specialists' advice as required.

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25. Who do I ask for advice about a design change?

Each design change has an assigned OPI within the TAA (DTAES 3 staff). The OPI is responsible for ensuring that the PMO provides the necessary information to enable the TAA to examine new type design or design changes to approved type design. The OPI also organizes Design Certification Board meetings as well as all other tasks required prior to the award of a Certificate of Airworthiness.

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26. When does the TAA need to see the Compliance Matrix for approval?

This should happen early in the development of a new type design or a proposed design change. Submission of the Compliance Matrix results only in TAA "approval in principle". When all finding authority signatures have been obtained, the Compliance Matrix becomes the Compliance Record. See TAM, Part 2, Chapter 1, Section 2.

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27. What is Airworthiness Risk Management, and how is it done?

The resources and urgency applied to each identified hazard condition depends on an assessment of its significance as a risk in relation to other existing hazard condition(s). Quantitative and qualitative risk assessment methods exist which permits a ranking of identified hazard conditions or a comparison to an accepted standard. See TAM, Part 5 Chapter 1. Airworthiness Risk Management can be carried out by following the procedure identified in TAM, Part 5, Chapter 1, Section 3.

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28. Who is responsible for carrying out Airworthiness Risk Management?

Airworthiness Risk Management shall be conducted by TAA accredited organizations in accordance with a technical airworthiness risk management procedure acceptable to the TAA as documented in the organization's Airworthiness Process Manual.

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29. How do I register my aircraft in the DND/CAF Military Aircraft Register?

Upon receipt of an application in writing from the TCH of the DND Type Certificate, the TAA shall activate the Registration Number by adding it to the DND/CAF Military Aircraft Register. See the TAM, Part 2, Chapter 2, for more information.

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30. Who is the point of contact in the DTAES for questions regarding policies or issues specific to Uninhabited Air Vehicles (UAV)?

Pamela Lewis, DTAES 3-2, is the point of contact. She is actively involved as the technical representative at the 1 Canadian Air Division UAV Working Group. DTAES 3-2 is also responsible for addressing issues relating to:

  1. Request for UAV Flight Authority and UAV Flight Permit
  2. Registering of UAVs in the DND/CAF Military Aircraft Register
  3. TAA Airworthiness Certification review of UAV acquisitions

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31. Do the airworthiness approvals from foreign or other airworthiness certification authorities have the same validity as if they had been made by the TAA or his authorized representatives?

Maybe once, subject to the Type Design Examination (TDE) process and the TAA having granted "credit" for these approvals.

Certifying a new aeronautical product for a major design change requires significant effort by both the applicant and the airworthiness authority. Since DND/CAF regularly acquire aeronautical products or adopt design changes that are based on previously certified or qualified designs, much of the work to certify those designs has already been completed by another airworthiness authority or competent design organization.

In order for the TAA to certify an aeronautical product, the TAA must understand and approve the design or design change process that will be used for the design development. This is done through the approval of the Certification Plan. For a design change that has already been approved by other authorities, the TAA validates the design or design change process that has been used to approve the design in order to obtain the required confidence.

To minimize duplication of effort, the TAA is prepared to give maximum credit to certification activities performed by other airworthiness authorities and design organizations, where these activities have been demonstrated to be acceptable to the TAA. To obtain credit, in whole or in part, the certification activities shall meet the requirements of the Type Design Examination process specified in the TAM, paragraph 2.5.2.S1. Once credit for previous work has been established, efforts can then be concentrated on any remaining certification requirements.

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32. What is a store?

A store consists of any device intended for internal or external carriage and mounted or placed on aircraft suspension or release equipment, whether or not the device is intended to be separated in flight from the aircraft. Stores include, but are not limited to, missiles, rockets and rocket launchers, bombs, mines, torpedoes and torpedo simulators, pyrotechnic flares or markers, ECM flare and chaff cartridges, fuel tanks and deployable refueling hoses, pods (i.e., photographic, ECM, dispenser, rescue), targets, drones, cargo and guns and applicable Ammunition.

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33. What is a stores clearance?

The determination of specific store(s)/aircraft compatibility and the formal publication of all technical and operational instructions necessary for preparation, loading, maintenance, and employment of a store on a specified aircraft.

The DTAES Stores Clearance Program regulates the technical aspects of military stores aviation safety and provides for an acceptable level of safety in compliance with the applicable design, manufacturing, maintenance, materiel support rules and standards, and safe release of those stores from the aircraft.

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34. When should a proposed new store (AMAF/design change) be assessed?

The airworthiness and operational aspects of all proposed or modified stores must be assessed prior to its use with in-service aeronautical products. The process for certification or re-certification depends on the use of the proposed or existing store. Stores are certified for use on a type of aircraft following the AMAF (EMT04-001) and Design Change (EMT04 -057) AF9000 quality assurance processes to determine the safe use of a proposed or modified store. The assessment of the store is completed by authorized individuals within the TAA (DTAES 8 staff), qualified for stores clearances to determine the safe and effective use of the store. Once the assessment has been completed, a TAC and an OAC are generated authorizing the use of the store on that fleet or type of aircraft. It is then added to the registry of approved stores directory.

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35. Who is the point of contact within the TAA for questions regarding policies or issues specific to Stores?

DTAES 8-4, Team Leader – Air Warfare Weapons, and DTAES 8-4-2, Weapons Support Engineer Officer, are the points of contact for all stores. They are actively involved as authorized technical representatives for stores clearances. The assessment of the store is completed by authorized individuals qualified for stores clearances to determine the safe and effective use of the store on requested aircraft.

DTAES 8 staff is responsible for addressing issues relating to:

  1. Requests for new or modified Stores to be added to the directory of approved stores;
  2. Conducting, on behalf of the TAA, Airworthiness Certification reviews of all stores added to the fleets;
  3. Where possible, minimizing any duplication of effort, by being prepared to give maximum credit to certification activities performed by other airworthiness authorities and design organizations, where these activities have been demonstrated to be acceptable to the TAA. To obtain credit, in whole or in part, these certification activities must meet the requirements of the Type Design Examination process specified in the Technical Airworthiness Manual (TAM), para 2.5.2.S1. Once credit for previous work has been established, efforts can then be concentrated on any remaining certification requirements to accept the new stores
  4. Acting as POC for all stores related issues and recruiting the expertise required to resolve any stores issues.

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