The latest five-year EASA Safety Plan not only addresses safety issues emerging from Covid-19 but introduces a rulemaking task to revive work on creating a European digital pilot license system. It also supports further modernization of the aviation system in the areas of safety, efficiency, a level playing field, and environmental protection.
Nineteen new research projects are included, with many of them addressing technologies such as remote flight instruction, risk assessment of complex systems, use of machine learning in certification, electric and hybrid propulsion, and digital transformation.
The rulemaking task to create a European digital pilot license system aims to provide a “safe and easy-to-use service and enable flight crew to carry their licenses, including medical certificates, in a fully digitized format displayed on their own personal electronic devices.” Financing was approved for the initial phase of development and planning in mid-2018, but this work was put on hold during the pandemic.
According to EASA, the platform should enable flight and aeromedical examiners to update, validate, and/or authenticate licenses in real-time. Also, it must ensure the prevention of fraudulent or forged licenses, as well as incorporate robust security measures. Once the framework is developed, EASA intends to seek nominations from its member states to establish a steering committee that will monitor the development and rollout of the digital license.