Volume 37 | Thursday, October 21st, 2021
SAFA and SACA Checks
Welcome back to Jump Seat. When COVID-19 travel restrictions ease, scheduled business aviation flights within the European Union (EU) will eventually return to pre-pandemic levels. As a result, we thought we’d take a deeper dive into the European Ramp Inspection Programme. This program includes the European Community Safety Assessment of Foreign Aircraft (SAFA) and the Safety Assessment of Community Aircraft (SACA). 
The following member states all participate in the SAFA/SACA programs:
The inspection checklist used by officials covers 54 items in total, including:

  • Operational Requirements
  • Safety/Cabin
  • Aircraft Condition 
  • Cargo
  • General

There are four different classifications for findings that are determined based on seriousness and the amount of time given to rectify the issue. The categories are defined as:

  • CAT G / General Remark: Observations that are not safety-relevant, such as a Certificate of Registrations format that does not match Annex 7 guidelines.
  • CAT 1 / Minor: Non-compliance with minor influence on safety. Examples include not carrying copies of registration, licenses, and more onboard. Minor findings can also be issued for damaged wall panels and missing or expired first aid kits.
  • CAT 2 / Significant: Non-compliance with significant influence on safety such as incorrect items on the flight plans, wrong equipment codes, and inaccurate flight rules indicated. 
  • CAT 3 / Major: Non-compliance with major influence on safety. These can include findings for not computing weight & balance calculations or not having enough fuel onboard to meet reserve requirements. 

Getting Prepared

Before planning your next flight, a quick check of your account settings can be the best prevention against some types of SAFA findings. Common findings can include not having enough fuel indicated on your flight plan or even not labeling the fuel correctly. In the following sections, we will cover the most common type of flight plan-related findings and how to prevent them.

Fuel Requirements

SAFA Inspection Item A13(A6-I- (page 44) outlines the fuel requirements that are taken into consideration for a flight plan to be considered compliant:

  • Taxi Fuel - Ensure you have a default taxi fuel set in the tail profile on the ARINCDirect website. This field can be modified on the Create Flight Plan page as needed in case you are expecting a longer or shorter taxi based on your departure airport.
  • Trip Fuel - Burn to destination.
  • Contingency Fuel (Reserve) - To meet the SAFA requirement GA aircraft should have a 5% reserve or a minimum of 5 minutes indicated on the flight plan.
  • Final Reserve - For turbine aircraft, 30 minutes of holding fuel at 1500 ft above the airport will meet the requirement.

Route to Alternate

SAFA inspection teams will check to ensure that your burn to alternate includes enough fuel to perform a missed approach procedure (MAP), climb to the expected cruising altitude, fly an “expected” route, and then conduct a descent approach to the alternate airport. The “expected” route is key here since it stipulates your route to alternate should include a Standard Instrument Departure (SID) or MAP and Standard Arrival (STAR). This also means that you should not be using a direct route to your alternate. Ensuring compliance is as easy as navigating to the Flight Plan Preferences under the My Account tab. Select the option as shown below and be sure to then save the preference:
It’s important to note that this setting is per user and not an account setting. Also, after changing the alternate route calculation method you will need to complete a new flight plan for the setting to take effect. It will not apply to existing flight plans. 

Flight Plan Format

Now that your fuel reserves are set, you want to ensure that they are displayed properly on the flight plan. Not displaying the fuel correctly can result in a finding from the inspection team. When referencing the below image, you can see that while all values are identical, the way the fuel is labeled is not:
Image Note: displaying an ADDNL DPRESS E/O line is not required to satisfy SAFA requirements)

Here are some helpful tips to ensure your format has the correct verbiage:
  • Ensure the word “Contingency” is used in the fuel block of your flight plan rather than “Reserve”.
  • Use the words “Final Reserve” instead of “Hold” (optional but good practice).
  • Do not put all fuel on the Additional or Extra line. Ensure you have each line filled out correctly. If not, it could result in a CAT2 finding.

ARINCDirect has created a specific format that will meet published guidelines. Our recommended EASA format is 2V (Two Victor).

Navigating regulatory requirements can be a truly challenging task. Fortunately, Jump Seat is here to guide you along your path. Your team at ARINCDirect is always standing by to help simplify the business of flight.
Did you know?
  • As French Polynesia is an overseas collectivity of France, it is possible to undergo a SAFA inspection at airports such as Tahiti (NTAA) or Bora Bora (NTTB).
  • ARINCDirect flight plans will include a Missed Approach Procedure (MAP) procedure if one is available. The MAP is initiated at the runway and will be displayed in the route to alternate section of the flight plan, as highlighted below:
Useful Links:
  • For more information about the Ramp Inspection Programme, navigate here.
Thank you for reading!
We want to invite you to take another tour of our upcoming webinar training events to expand your knowledge of new and existing features. Register for these sessions listed on the ARINCDirect Help and Training page.