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I know that not all aircraft are required to have a Flight Data Recorder (FDR) in Europe (for instance, a small single-engine airplane doesn't need one), but many are, and depending on the age of the aircraft different types may be required.

I've done some searching but am much more familiar with FAA rules and can't seem to find even the right place to look for the "official" answer.

When is an FDR required to fly to Europe in a foreign registered aircraft (FAA if it matters)? I am curious about the actual EASA FDR regulations which cover all aircraft (both private and commercial).

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  • $\begingroup$ If the aircraft is FAA registered, the destination of its flights makes no difference, the aircraft must have an FDR per 14 CFR 121.344. Unless you are asking if there is an EASA regulation that accepts the FAA standard? $\endgroup$ – Ron Beyer Jun 21 '16 at 21:19
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    $\begingroup$ @RonBeyer Not all aircraft operate under Part 121, and for that matter not all 121 aircraft are required to have them either. $\endgroup$ – Lnafziger Jun 21 '16 at 21:33
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    $\begingroup$ @Lnafziger I understand that, I thought you were being specific to passenger operations. This document from EASA says that aircraft over 5700kg need FDR's. I think the section you are interested in starts on page 266. The agreement to honor the two is in the link mins posted, specifically Annex 1. These seem to apply to all EU member states that have accepted the agreement. The EASA operates under that agreement, not its own with the FAA. $\endgroup$ – Ron Beyer Jun 22 '16 at 1:20
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    $\begingroup$ @Lnafziger It is harder to find out than I thought it would be. For the moment my feeling is that when operating under Part 91, no FDR is required. When operating under Part 135 you require a FDR (assuming your MTOM exceeds 5700kg). I'll put in an answer if I find a solid reference. $\endgroup$ – DeltaLima Jun 22 '16 at 18:54
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ICAO Annex 6 holds the answer.

For commercial aviation (annex 6 part I):

6.3.1.1 Types

6.3.1.1.1 Types I and IA FDR shall record the parameters required to determine accurately the aeroplane flight path, speed, attitude, engine power, configuration and operation.

6.3.1.1.2 Types II and IIA FDRs shall record the parameters required to determine accurately the aeroplane flight path, speed, attitude, engine power and configuration of lift and drag devices.

6.3.1.2 Operation

6.3.1.2.1 All turbine-engined aeroplanes of a maximum certificated take-off mass of 5 700 kg or less for which a type certificate is first issued on or after 1 January 2016 shall be equipped with:

a) a Type II FDR; or

b) a Class C AIR capable of recording flight path and speed parameters displayed to the pilot(s); or

c) an ADRS capable of recording the essential parameters defined in Table A8-3 of Appendix 8.

6.3.1.2.3 All aeroplanes of a maximum certificated take-off mass of over 27 000 kg for which the individual certificate of airworthiness is first issued on or after 1 January 1989 shall be equipped with a Type I FDR.

6.3.1.2.4 All aeroplanes of a maximum certificated take-off mass of over 5 700 kg, up to and including 27 000 kg, for which the individual certificate of airworthiness is first issued on or after 1 January 1989, shall be equipped with a Type II FDR.

For general aviation (annex 6 part II):

3.6.3.3 Flight data recorders - aeroplanes for which the individual certificate of airworthiness is first issued on or after January 1989

3.6.3.3.1 All aeroplanes of a maximum certificated take-off mass of over 27 000 kg shall be equipped with a Type I flight data recorder.

3.6.3.4 Flight data recorders - aeroplanes for which the individual certificate of airworthiness is first issued after i January 2005

All aeroplanes of a maximum certificated take-off mass of over 5 700 kg shall be equipped with a Type IA flight data recorder.

As rules and regulations tend to change from time to time, you should always check the latest edition of ICAO Annex 6 for current requirements.

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  • $\begingroup$ ICAO Annex 6 applies to commercial and general aviation alike. For GA, you need to look in Annex 6 part II (e.g. iaopa.eu/static/CKFinderJava/userfiles/files/news/2014/…). $\endgroup$ – J. Hougaard Jun 22 '16 at 16:08
  • $\begingroup$ Right, the different part is what I meant to reference. I'm looking for a general answer which shows all situations in which an FDR is required in Europe (not just commercial). This is a great start and good references, thanks for your help so far! $\endgroup$ – Lnafziger Jun 22 '16 at 17:07
  • $\begingroup$ I don't understand what you are looking for that is not listed in Annex 6. Could you please clarify your question? $\endgroup$ – J. Hougaard Jun 22 '16 at 17:50
  • $\begingroup$ Well, from your comments, the requirements are different for commercial and private operations, correct? I would like the answer to describe the different requirements so that visitors with a question in the future can find the answer right here. (As a general rule on SE sites, we don't like to rely on links because over time they will break and the answer won't be available anymore.) $\endgroup$ – Lnafziger Jun 22 '16 at 17:54
  • $\begingroup$ Generally, I don't consider it good practise to quote laws and regulations, since they might change, and cause confusion for people who find this answer later, when the rules have changed. Never the less, I have added the relevant paragraphs as per your request. $\endgroup$ – J. Hougaard Jun 22 '16 at 19:09

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