Close up of white and red small aircraft out of the hangar. The nose is red, and the propellers are red and white

Italy’s ABC cleared to approve minor changes for small aircraft

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Italian firm ABC International has received clearance from the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) to classify changes on small and commuter aircraft as “major” or “minor”, and approve minor changes to type certificates and supplemental type certificates. This approval for CS-23 category aircraft covers avionics and surveillance systems, in addition to cabin interiors, electrical cabin systems, placards and markings, structures, engine mounts, wings and other aircraft systems and parts.

In the commercial aviation sector, ABC is known as being a prominent cabin branding specialist, and has been growing its work in interiors for airlines. Its expansion into the CS-23 small aeroplane category, sub 19 seats, is not specifically related to the COVID-19 crisis and its impact on commercial air traffic. Rather, it is part of a strategic business plan crafted in response to recent changes to the regulations affecting this category of aircraft.

The reorganized CS-23 removes design limitations for manufacturers with the intent of fostering innovation including the introduction of safety-enhancing features. And for its part, ABC has successfully completed a significant change to its own Design Assurance System to make major and minor classifications, and accommodate the minor change needs of small operators.

Explaining the decision to serve this aircraft category, ABC founder and chief executive Alberto D’Ambrosio said in a statement: “More and more often we receive enquires from small operators that aim to comply with EASA regulations. It seems very difficult for them to find a cost and time efficient solution at the same time. CS-23 operators are usually requested to give seasonal services, sometimes weekly or daily. It is important for them to have an approved design organization like ABC International, which is able to manage and approve very small changes in a snap of a finger.”

Asked by Runway Girl Network if ABC has completed any avionics projects, specifically, in order to be approved by EASA in this fashion, ABC’s Stefano Gallo said: “ABC has already completed [a] project aimed to install a complete digital camera system for photogrammetric imaging acquisition. The system is typically made up of several devices, going from a GNSS (Global Navigation Satellite System) antenna receiver through a POS (Position and Orientation System) computer and, finally, to a stabilized digital camera for images acquisition.”

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Gallo, who leads marketing, social media and business promotion at the firm, said ABC is basically targeting all the small aeroplanes on which “non-standard modifications (i.e., based on CS-STAN) need to be carried out”.

Given its historic work in the commercial sector, Naples-based ABC explained that its latest approval means it can reach any level of the “fixed wing” aviation industry, getting modifications approved for “touristic and business operators, aerial services providers and small independents” in addition to its usual clients, commercial operators.

ABC is positioning itself as more agile than larger firms, noting that it has the “knowledge and the manpower” to satisfy CS-23 operators, “whose needs are commonly unknown to the big design organizations”.