U.S. Export C of A
for Un-Airworthy Aircraft

by Russell Large
(Texas)

I am in the process of exporting 2 helicopters which have not flown for over 2 years and are due for major inspections before being returned to service.


These are good machines and the buyer in South Africa wants them as-is because he has the maintenance shop and the people to get the helicopters flying.

The South African government seems to insist on an Export C of A for these aircraft! It sounds like they have a routine procedure and can't get around it!

Note: the helicopters will be disassembled and shipped by sea freight.

Is it possible to obtain an Export C of A under these circumstances?

ANSWER: The South African authority has published requirements for the acceptance of aircraft into South Africa, and those requirements include an export certificate of airworthiness.

Yes, it is possible to obtain a U.S. export certificate of airworthiness for these helicopters if the South African authority provides a letter stating that they will validate the U.S. export certificate of airworthiness with the aircraft not meeting the U.S. airworthiness requirements.

Each item that does not meet the airworthiness requirements must be listed (reference excerpt from FAR 21.329 below). The letter must be addressed to the FAA office responsible for overseeing the certification. An FAA DAR can assist you with this.

Now would be a good time to restate the FAA's definition of "Airworthy".

For an aircraft to be considered airworthy it must meet two conditions:

1) It must meet it's type design or properly altered condition; and

2) It must be in a condition for safe operation.

FAR 21.329 - Issue of Export Certificates of Airworthiness

"(b) An aircraft need not meet a requirement specified in paragraph (a) of this section, as applicable, if—

(1) The importing country or jurisdiction accepts, in a form and manner acceptable to the FAA, a deviation from that requirement; and

(2) The export certificate of airworthiness lists as an exception any difference between the aircraft to be exported and its type design."

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