Recognition of Airworthiness Authorities

Effective Date: 15 August 2016

Reference: TAM Part 1, Chapter 4

OPI / Telephone: DTAES 2-2 / 819-939-4796

1.       Purpose

1.1.          This Technical Airworthiness Authority (TAA) Advisory provides guidance and information on the subject of recognition of Airworthiness Authorities (AAs), by:

  1. defining what is meant by “recognition”;
  2. explaining why the TAA undertakes recognition of AAs;
  3. describing how recognition of an AA is achieved and maintained; and
  4. providing a list of AAs that are currently recognized by the Department of National Defence (DND) TAA.

2.     Applicability

2.1.       This TAA Advisory is applicable to TAA regulatory staff and TAA-accredited organizations, as well as TAA Authorized Individuals (AIs) who wish to use airworthiness artefacts from other AAs.

3.     Related Material

3.1.   Definitions:

  1. Airworthiness Authority (AA).  The generic term for any of the following: aviation regulatory agency (or authority), aviation safety authority, National Aviation (or Airworthiness) Authority (NAA), Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), or Military Aviation (or Airworthiness) Authority (MAA).
  2. Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). The government statutory authority in each country that oversees the approval and regulation of civil aviation.  Depending on how it is structured within the state, the airworthiness authority may be established as a sub-component of the larger Civil Aviation Authority.  The CAA may also be referred to as the National Aviation (or Airworthiness) Authority (NAA).
  3. Military Airworthiness Authority (MAA). The national military airworthiness authority of a state responsible for the airworthiness of the military aircraft of that state.  The Canadian MAA (CA MAA) is headed by an AA supported by an Operational Airworthiness Authority (OAA), an Airworthiness Investigative Authority (AIA) and a Technical Airworthiness Authority (TAA).  Other military regulators may be organized differently, for example: the UK Minister of Defence (MoD) MAA is referred to as the Military Aviation Authority.  The UK MoD MAA is led by a Director (D MAA), supported by a Director (Technical); collectively they form the MAA Executive.  The Australian Department of Defence MAA is organized within the Defence Aviation Safety Program (DASP), which is comprised of the Directorate General Technical Airworthiness - Australian Defence Force (DGTA-ADF), the Airworthiness Coordination and Policy Agency (ACPA) and the Directorate of Defence Aviation and Air Force Safety (DDAAFS); the DASP fields an Airworthiness Management System (AMS) and an Aviation Safety Management System (ASMS) to meet the objective of Defence aviation being conducted at acceptable levels of safety
  4. Recognition.  The term “Recognition” can have different meanings within the airworthiness context.  For the purposes of this advisory, recognition is defined as the process by which an AA assesses and acknowledges another AA as being a competent regulator, empowered with the necessary authority, infrastructure, resources and mechanisms to ensure aviation safety.  The scope of recognition is limited to those airworthiness functions that fall within the assigned responsibility of the respective AA. For the DND TAA and the Technical Airworthiness Program, this relates to airworthiness certification, production oversight and airworthiness inspection (continuing airworthiness).  Recognition can be unilateral, bilateral or multilateral.   
  5. Airworthiness Artefacts.  For the purpose of this advisory, an airworthiness artefact is a work product from a military or civil airworthiness authority.  Normally, these work products will have received an airworthiness approval or other form of authorization from an AA.  Examples may include any of the following: 

          (1)        Type Design approvals;

          (2)        Type Certificates;

          (3)        design change approvals;

          (4)        design data approvals;

          (5)        organization accreditations/approvals; and

          (6)        individual and organizational assignments of authority.

3.2.   References:

  1. A‑GA‑005‑000/AG‑001 – Department of National Defence/Canadian Forces (DND/CF) Airworthiness Program.
  2. C‑05‑005‑001/AG‑001 – Technical Airworthiness Manual (TAM)
  3. Transport Canada Civil Aviation (TCAA) Staff Instruction 511-001 Type Certification of Foreign Aeronautical Products – Determining the Level of Airworthiness Review
  4. North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Airworthiness Policy Implementation Plan (internally, within DND, available in the AEPM library, RDIMS #1635095)
  5. European Defence Agency (EDA) publication – European Military Airworthiness Document – Recognition (EMAD-R), Edition 2.0, 3 February 2016 (internally, within DND, available in the AEPM library, RDIMS #1559486)
  6. Air and Space Interoperability Council (ASIC) Air Standard AW 2003, Ed1, v1 (draft) – Process for Recognition of Military Airworthiness Authorities (internally, within DND, available in the AEPM library, RDIMS #1558748)
  7. International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Doc 9734 – Safety Oversight Manual, Second Edition 2011
  8. ICAO Doc 9760 – Airworthiness Manual, Third Edition, 2014
  9. Military Authorities Recognition Question Set (MARQ) Template (internally, within DND, available in the AEPM library, RDIMS #1634944)
  10. AF9000 Procedure TAA09.006-05 Technical Airworthiness Oversight – Industry Recognition Process
  11. AF9000 Procedure TAA09.019 Type Design Examination (TDE)

4.     Discussion

4.1.    Overview 

4.1.1.     One of the responsibilities delegated to the TAA under the DND/CAF Airworthiness Program (reference a.) is to provide oversight of individuals and organizations that are performing technical airworthiness functions.  The following sections of the Technical Airworthiness Manual (TAM) (reference b.) describe how this responsibility is regulated for organization, or design certification, approvals that have been issued by another civil or military airworthiness authority:

  1. TAM Part 1, Chapter 4 – Assignment of Technical Airworthiness Authority describes the rules and standards for determining the acceptability of organizations that have been assigned airworthiness management roles or airworthiness functions by a regulatory authority other than the TAA
  2. TAM Part 2, Chapter 5 – Type Design Examination (TDE) describes the rules and standards for the acceptance of work performed, and airworthiness artefacts issued, by other airworthiness authorities in relation to initial type certification or major design change approval.

4.1.2.     To enable the provisions of these two TAM chapters, there is a requirement to identify the other regulatory authorities that are acceptable to the TAA and detail the methodology used to establish acceptability.  The process used by the TAA for establishing acceptability of the work and artefacts of another airworthiness regulatory authority is called recognition.

4.2.     Benefits 

4.2.1.       In addition to facilitating compliance with various provisions within the TAM, recognition of other AAs allows the TAA to identify the advantages resulting from the adoption of each other’s assurance activity (e.g., adopting organizational approvals or aircraft certification evidence, or conducting joint organizational approvals or aircraft certification activities associated with a common aircraft type on a cooperative program basis) to leverage existing airworthiness artefacts and produce economies associated with the airworthiness program implementation.  In addition, the assessment process exposes the TAA to other AAs’ program structure, methodologies and best practices, which can be adopted to improve the Technical Airworthiness Program and enhance aviation safety within the DND/CAF.  Finally, in the military context, recognition can improve flexibility and capacity during joint operations.

4.3.     Limitations and Constraints

4.3.1.      Safety and airworthiness are sovereign responsibilities. Recognition, therefore, does not transfer any legal responsibilities from the TAA to the recognized AA.  Even if the TAA has concluded, based on AA recognition, that the outputs of a MAA-regulated system are acceptable, the TAA continues to remain fully accountable for the airworthiness of RCAF aircraft. 

4.3.2.      Furthermore, TAA recognition of another AA neither implies, nor requires, that the authority must make any changes to their airworthiness management systems as a result of the recognition.  It remains the responsibility of the TAA to account for any differences in standards and processes, and to decide how any identified gaps are to be managed.

4.4.     Recognition – Civil Aviation Authorities

4.4.1.      The DND/CAF Airworthiness Program has provisions for the recognition, by the TAA, of Civil Aviation Authorities (CAAs) based on their regulatory experience and reputation, without requiring a formal recognition process. The TAA has extended this recognition to the following CAAs:

  1. Transport Canada Civil Aviation (TCCA) – the TAA accepts certification work approved by TCCA that applies to civil pattern aircraft on the DND register.  This also includes acceptance of TCCA organizational approvals related to maintenance, design, manufacturing and materiel support services for civil-derived aeronautical products; and
  2. U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) – the TAA accepts certification work approved by the FAA that applies to civil pattern aircraft on the DND register.  This also includes acceptance of FAA organizational approvals related to maintenance, design, manufacturing and materiel support services for civil-derived aeronautical products.


The TAA will recognize all other CAAs by exception, based on their having a defined Airworthiness Authority role for a civil pattern aircraft on the DND register. The process by which the TAA will undertake this recognition could include:

  1. acceptance of existing Bilateral Agreements and Arrangements, Memoranda of Understanding, Technical Arrangements or Special Arrangements between TCCA or FAA and the applicable CAA;
  2. reliance on TCCA SI 511-01 – Type Certification of Foreign Aeronautical Products (reference c.);
  3. application of the recognition process for MAAs; and/or
  4. assessment of open source material and/or information provided by other recognized Airworthiness Authorities.

4.5.     Recognition – Military Airworthiness Authorities

4.5.1.       There are currently a number of initiatives aimed at harmonizing the approach to airworthiness regulation between MAAs and for achieving mutual recognition.  Key coordinated efforts have been sponsored by:

  1. NATO (reference d.);
  2. the European Defence Agency (EDA) (reference e.); and
  3. the Air and Space Interoperability Council (ASIC) (reference f). 

4.5.2.       Common to the efforts between these agencies is the use of a standardized assessment tool, based on ICAO documents (references g. and h.), which outline the duties and responsibilities of MAAs with regards to the certification and continuing airworthiness of aircraft, and airworthiness safety oversight.  This standardized assessment tool has been tailored for the military context and takes the form of a question set called the Military Authorities Recognition Question set (MARQ) (reference i.), which is a controlled document that is managed by the EDA Military Airworthiness Authorities (MAWA) Forum. 

4.5.3.       The TAA participates in forums sponsored by each of these international bodies and has elected to use the MARQ when recognizing MAAs.


Within a military organization, airworthiness and aviation responsibility may be spread across a number of organizations, and enforcement may only be possible through internal regulations, rules and contracts. While MAAs may closely align with many of the international civilian airworthiness processes, by necessity, military aviation has a different risk context and will employ military design standards. For example, for most military organizations, operational effectiveness is paramount and, therefore, aviation safety objectives must be balanced against the need to accept higher levels of risk wherever operational circumstances dictate. Furthermore, there is no single, internationally recognized organization that sets standards or harmonizes the military airworthiness and aviation requirements of MAAs.

4.5.4.     Military Authorities Recognition Question Set.  The MARQ consists of four (4) sub-sections, each of which is designed to allow an AA (MAA or CAA) to provide evidence on how it conducts its national airworthiness assurance responsibilities. The four sub-sections are:

  1. Airworthiness Regulator. This section identifies regulatory organizational goals and critical elements associated with the code, structure and organization of the authority;
  2. Airworthiness Inspection. This section identifies goals for the authority’s assurance of continuing airworthiness;
  3. Production Oversight. This section identifies goals for assurance of regulatory compliance by production organizations; and
  4. Aircraft Certification. This section identifies goals for the authority’s assurance of certification activities.

4.6.     Recognition Process

4.6.1.       The TAA (Directorate Technical Airworthiness and Engineering Support [DTAES] 2 staff) is responsible for the overall coordination of an AA recognition event.  The recognition process follows four basic phases:

  1. planning;
  2. review (desktop and onsite);
  3. granting of recognition; and
  4. recognition sustainment. 

4.6.2.        While the review process includes both a desktop and an onsite review, the output of the desktop review can be sufficiently comprehensive to preclude the requirement for the onsite review.  When granting recognition, the TAA will specify any associated terms or condition.  Sustainment usually relates to the requirement to communicate any change to the conditions under which the recognition was originally issued.  Terms, conditions and sustainment requirements are normally articulated in a recognition certificate and the supporting documentation. 


Currently, the recognition process primarily addresses those aspects of another AA’s regulatory program that equate to those found within the DND/CAF Technical Airworthiness Program.  For this reason, it is the DND TAA that undertakes and issues recognition on behalf of the CA MAA.


4.6.3.     Planning Phase    The planning phase is used to review the rationale for the AA recognition and establish the recognition plan.  The TAA will normally only support recognition of a MAA or CAA that has a regulatory role in the support of an aircraft on the DND register, or has a regulatory role that enables RCAF operations.    The recognition plan will identify:

  1. the rationale for the recognition activity taking place;
  2. points of contact within the MAA or CAA organization that will be facilitating the review;
  3. a schedule identifying MARQ completion by the respective MAA/CAA, desktop review, onsite review and close-out activities; and
  4. the TAA staff assigned to perform the reviews and documentation requirements.


When the TCCA or FAA has a bilateral or similar agreement in place with a CAA that the TAA is planning on recognizing, a reduced review can be applied. The recognition plan can be used to provide the rationale for a direct recognition, without completion of the MARQ or an onsite evaluation.  The reduced review could include the assessment of relevant open source documentation, information provided by the CAA being recognized, and/or releasable third party information applicable to the recognition. There may still be a requirement for TAA staff to meet with the CAA to understand how the CAAs’ regulatory system will be used to support the fleet that is on the DND register.  It may be necessary to develop limitations and conditions associated with the recognition, based upon risk assessment of any gaps in documentation or information.


4.6.4.    Desktop Review   Once the MAA/CAA has completed the MARQ and provided core MARQ reference documents, the TAA (DTAES 2 staff) will coordinate its review by its authorized representatives (DTAES regulatory Section Heads), as follows:

  1. DTAES 2 will review the “Airworthiness Regulator” sub-section;
  2. DTAES 4 is responsible for “Airworthiness Inspection” and “Production Oversight”; and
  3. DTAES 3 for “Aircraft Certification”.   The objective of the TAA staff review is to establish “acceptability” of the MAA/CAA’s airworthiness system based on their responses to the MARQ.  It is essential that only experienced TAA staff members conduct this assessment, since the goal is not to measure a MAA/CAA against the TAA’s system, but rather to identify possible gaps in the way the MAA/CAA meets the standardized AA “template” as defined by the MARQ   Once the regulatory Section Heads have completed their reviews, they provide a summary of their findings to DTAES 2, who collates them into a preliminary report.  The report provides an overall assessment of acceptability and identifies any areas that require clarification through an onsite review.  DTAES 2 maintains a record of individual evaluator findings and coordinates with the AA being assessed to build a schedule for the onsite review.

4.6.5.    Onsite Review   The onsite review will normally be led by the TAA’s authorized representative (DTAES Director or a regulatory Section Head).  The onsite review team will include representatives from the TAA staff that have the subject matter expertise to conduct the follow-up with the MAA/CAA for the areas identified as requiring additional onsite review.     It is important that the schedule created for the onsite review include all questions and/or areas for additional review, as this, combined with the subsequent record of responses or findings and the report from the Desktop Review, will constitute the basis for the TAA supporting or rejecting a MAA/CAA recognition.

4.6.6.     Granting Recognition    After the onsite review has been completed, the TAA (DTAES 2 staff) will complete the recognition file by preparing a final justification report, a Recognition Letter and a Certificate for TAA’s signature (this can be delegated down to the DTAES Director).    The recognition letter will include:

  1. a reference to this TAA Advisory;
  2. the final justification report and the RDIMS number of the project file that contains the completed MARQ sub-sections; and
  3. any reference material provided by the MAA/CAA    DTAES 2 staff will then update the Annex A to this Advisory, which lists the AAs recognized by the TAA, as well as any associated limitations or restrictions. 

4.6.7.    Recognition Sustainment   The AA recognition process established by the TAA does not require TAA staff to conduct periodic reviews of a MAA/CAA that has been recognized. A recognition does not expire. However, the recognized MAA/CAA is required to update their MARQ pursuant to any changes to the question-set (reference i.) and/or changes to their responses.    It remains the TAA staff’s responsibility to remain cognizant of the MAA/CAAs who have been recognized and identify “significant” changes that would require the TAA to conduct a review of their recognition. In addition, the DTAES Director and senior regulatory staff within DTAES are expected to meet on a regular basis with their counterparts within the recognized MAA/CAA to maintain the “regulator-to-regulator” relationship that the recognition process has facilitated.

5.     Recognized Airworthiness Authorities

5.1.   Recognized AAs 

5.1.1.    Annex A to this Advisory lists those AAs which have been recognized by the TAA.  Information is provided related to:

  1. nationality;
  2. whether it is a CAA or MAA;
  3. organizational title and relevant composition details;
  4. recognition process applied and any supporting reference documentation; and
  5. the scope and conditions associated with the recognition. 

5.1.2.    This list will be updated any time:

  1. there is a change to an existing recognition;
  2. new AAs are added; or
  3. an AA’s recognition is revoked. 

5.2.    Recognized Organizations

5.2.1.     As stated in para 4.1.a. of this advisory, Part 1, Chapter 4 – Assignment of Technical Airworthiness Authority of reference b. describes the rules and standards for determining acceptability of organizations that have been assigned airworthiness management roles or airworthiness functions by a regulatory authority other than the TAA.

5.2.2.     Organizations that work within an airworthiness system that has been recognized by the TAA (and have been assessed by the TAA) are called “recognized organizations”. Reference j represents a TAA staff instruction that covers how companies providing services under contract to DND are recognized.  

5.2.3.     TAA-recognized organizations are listed on the TAA internet and DTAES intranet websites.

5.3.    Type Design Examination (TDE)

5.3.1.      As stated in para 4.1.b. of this advisory, Part 2, Chapter 5 – Type Design Examination of reference b describes the rules and standards for the acceptance of work performed, and airworthiness artefacts issued, by other airworthiness authorities as they relate to initial type certification and major design changes.

5.3.2.     Reference k. provides a detailed instruction set on how to conduct TDE but essentially the process consists of two parts:

  1. Part 1 – Assessment of Acceptability and Applicability (who has certified the aircraft, how was it certified, what standards were used); and
  2. Part 2 – Type Design Review – which examines the original certification basis, can include a review of the design as well as flight examination. 

5.3.3.     In the context of TDE, recognition can be used to support determinations of Acceptability and will influence the level of Type Design Review required (Level 1 – Minimal, Level 2 – Limited, or Level 3 –Comprehensive).

5.3.4.     In those cases in which TDE is used in support of the airworthiness approval of a major design change managed by a fleet’s Type Certificate Holder, the TAA-approved Engineering Process Manual will detail the role of the recognized AA and the scope of authority that the TAA has approved.