Task B: Airworthiness Requirements

Task B: Airworthiness Requirements (ASEL and ASES)

References: 14 CFR parts 39, 91; FAA-H-8083-25.

Objective: To determine that the applicant exhibits satisfactory knowledge of the elements related to airworthiness requirements by:

Private Pilot PTS You need to be able to answer these questions from memory What you need to do to prepare
1. Explaining—

a. required instruments and equipment for day/night VFR.

  • What is the required equipment for your aircraft for day and night VFR flight?
See AFM Chapter 2 Kinds of Operations limits, AFM Chapter 6 Equipment List required items and 14 CFR 91.205. Use this memory aid for 91.205 items:

VFR Day:

  • T achometer
  • O il Temperature gauge
  • M anifold pressure gauge (altitude engine)
  • A ltimeter
  • T emperature gauge (water-cooled engine)
  • O il Pressure gauge
  • F uel gauges
  • L anding gear indicator (complex airplane)
  • A irspeed indicator
  • M agnetic Compass
  • E LT
  • S afety Belts

VFR Night:

  • VFR Day equipment plus
  • A Anti-collisions Lights (Red or White)
  • P Position Lights
  • E Electrical Source
  • S Spare Fuses (doesn’t apply if only circuit breakers used)
b. procedures and limitations for determining airworthiness of the airplane with inoperative instruments and equipment with and without an MEL.
  • What procedure will you use when your preflight reveals inoperative equipment?
  • During your preflight inspection you determine that the beacon is inoperative.  Is the airplane airworthy?
  • During your preflight inspection you determine that the attitude indicator is inoperative.  Is the airplane airworthy?
  • Does your airplane have a minimum equipment list? What is a minimum equipment list?  When typically is a MEL used?
Study 14 CFR 91.213 and AC 91-67 for the inoperative equipment decision making sequence which is encapsulated in this table:

Does the aircraft use an MEL? Not likely for non-commercial GA aircraft
If the aircraft does not use an MEL or have master MEL developed for it, then you must check to see if the inoperative equipment or instrument is:
i. listed in the VFR-day type certification prescribed in the applicable airworthiness regulations under which the aircraft was type certificated? This requires you to research the aircraft’s Type Certificate Data Sheet (TCDS). While required, the next two checks are likely to reveal required equipment and are easier.
ii. indicated as required on the aircraft’s equipment list, or on the Kinds of Operations Equipment List for the kind of flight operation being conducted? The aircraft’s equipment list is found in Chap 6 of the AFM/POH. Equipment required for FAA certificate will be annotated – typically as –R.

The Kinds of Operation Equipment List is found in Chap 2 of the AFM/POH.

iii. required by §91.205 or any other rule of this part for the specific kind of flight operation being conducted? 91.205 memory aid – VFR Day – TOMATO FLAMES
iv. required to be operational by an airworthiness directive? Very rare; you’d have to check the current AD compliance record in the aircraft’s logbooks.
If not required, the inoperative equipment or instrument can be:
Removed from the aircraft, the cockpit control placarded, and the maintenance recorded in accordance with §43.9 of this chapter;
Deactivated and placarded “Inoperative.” If deactivation of the inoperative instrument or equipment involves maintenance, it must be accomplished and recorded in accordance with part 43 of this chapter;
A determination is made by a pilot, who is certificated and appropriately rated under part 61 of this chapter, or by a person, who is certificated and appropriately rated to perform maintenance on the aircraft, that the inoperative instrument or equipment does not constitute a hazard to the aircraft.

For MEL questions, its typical for the examiner to ask if your aircraft has an MEL, which as you see from 91.213 is the first question to answer in determining airworthiness with inoperative equipment. Its very unlikely that your training airplane is operating under an MEL, which is distinctively different from the Kinds of Operation limits that may be in Chapter 2 of your airplane’s AFM, or the equipment list published in Chapter 6 of your airplane’s AFM.

MEL is defined in AC 91-67.

The MEL is the specific inoperative 
equipment document for a particular 
make and model aircraft by serial 
and registration numbers; e.g., BE-200,
N12345. A  FAR Part 91 MEL consists 
of the MMEL for a  particular type 
aircraft,  the MMEL’s preamble, the 
procedures document, and a LOA. The 
FAA consider the MEL as an SC. As such,
the MEL permits operation of the aircraft 
under specified  conditions with certain
equipment inoperative.

The FAA publishes master MELs (MMELs) for aircraft that are typically operated under a certificate (Part 121 or 135).  Here’s the master MEL for the Cessna 208 Caravan.  Note that the terminology used in the remarks column indicates when equipment may be inoperative and flight can still occur, usually with a limitation on what type of operation can be conducted (for instance only Day VFR). Print out a page of this MEL and bring with you to the practical exam to demonstrate your understanding of an MEL.

c. requirements and procedures for obtaining a special flight permit. You need to be able to respond to this scenario:

You are a proud airplane owner, but you were busy with work during the time your aircraft’s annual expired.  There is no mechanic on the field, and you need to fly the airplane to a nearby airport to have the annual performed.  How do you go about accomplishing this legally?

See 14 CFR 21.197 and 21.199 for conditions under which a special flight permit are issued.  

Here’s an example of a special flight permit, also known as a ‘ferry permit’.
Special Flight Permit

Practically speaking, your mechanic will assist in the procurement of the special flight permit, working with the local FSDO. Here’s a guide for obtaining a ferry permit, published by the Fairbanks FSDO.

Note that typically the FSDO will require that a mechanic inspect and certify that the aircraft is safe for the requested flight.

2. Locating and explaining—a. airworthiness directives.
  • What is an airworthiness directive?
  • Are there any that apply to your aircraft?
  • Where are they documented?
  • When are the recurring ADs next due?
An airworthiness directive (AD) is a regulatory notice sent out by the FAA to the registered owner of an aircraft informing the owner of a condition that prevents the aircraft from continuing to meet its conditions for airworthiness. See 14 CFR 39 for the a more detailed definition of an AD and the associated compliance requirements.

During your annual inspection, your mechanic will check your aircraft, engine, propeller and any other components to determine if there are ADs that apply. The mechanic will typically produce a compliance record detailing the applicability, status, and next due date or time if appropriate.You need to be familiar with this list, and especially for recurring ADs, you need to know when they are next due.

Here is an example AD compliance record.AD Compliance Record

You can look up current ADs at this FAA website.

Here’s a link to a recently issued AD that applies to late model Cessnas, including the 172 R and S models.

 b. compliance records.
  • What records must be kept by the owner or operator of an aircraft?
See  14 CFR 91.417

Here is an example logbook entry for an annual inspection:

March 22, 20XX
Total Aircraft Time 1,502.0 Hours
Tach Time 972.4 Hours
I certify that this aircraft has been
inspected in accordance with an annual 
inspection as per Air Tractor AT502 
owner’s manual and was determined
to be in an airworthy condition.

Joseph P. Kline
A&P 123467899 IA

Note that the letters A&P stand for Airframe and Powerplant, a rating on a mechanic certificate.  IA stands for Inspection Authorization, an additional rating.  Mechanics with an A&P certificate can only certify a 100-hour inspection.  Mechanics with an IA certification can certify both 100-hour and annual inspections.

c. maintenance/inspection requirements.
  • What inspections are required for an airplane to maintain airworthiness?
  • How will you know when half the useful life of the ELT battery has expired?
  • Show me in your airplane’s records that this airplane meets these requirements, and when these inspections are due in the future.  
  • Describe when inspections are next due.
For VFR flight, see 14 CFR 91.409, 91.413 and 91.207 for required inspections.

You can use this memory aid to help remember the required inspections:

  • A Annual Inspection (12 months)
  • V VOR (IFR – previous 30 days)
  • I Inspection at 100 Hours of Tach (flight training and for hire)
  • A Altimeter/Pitot Static System (IFR – 24 months)
  • T Transponder/Mode C (24 months)
  • E ELT (50% battery life/1 hr cum. use, annual)
  • A Airworthiness Directives (aka Recalls)

See 14 CFR 43 Appendix D for a list of items inspected during an annual and 100-hour inspection.

Be sure to know when an ELT is not required. 14 CFR 91.207 lists a number of exceptions.

ELT batteries are labeled with their expiration date by the MFR.  This date is half of the useful life of the battery.

ELT battery

Complete this Practical Exam Airworthiness Sheet a few weeks before your practical exam to become familiar with the aircraft’s logbooks and to ensure that there are not inspection requirements that could delay your practical exam.

 d. appropriate record keeping.
  • What type of maintenance can you perform as a private pilot
  • What record keeping is required after performance of preventative maintenance?
See section C of 14 CFR 43 Appendix A for a list of the preventative maintenance tasks you can perform as a private pilot.

See 14 CFR 43.9 for the content and form of maintenance records.

Continue to the next task…