Title 14 of the Code of Federal Regulations (14CFR)

Aviation-related regulations that have occurred from 1926– 1966 are reflected in Figure 1. Just as aircraft continue to evolve with ever improving technology, so do the regulations, publications, forms, and records required to design, build, and maintain them.

Title 14 of the Code of Federal Regulations (14CFR)
Figure 1. FAA historical background of aircraft airworthiness regulations

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) regulations that govern today’s aircraft are found in Title 14 of the Code of Federal Regulations (14 CFR). [Figure 2]

Title 14 of the Code of Federal Regulations (14CFR)
Figure 2. Title 14 of the Code of Federal Regulations

There are five volumes under Title 14, Aeronautics and Space. The first three volumes containing 75 active regulations address the Federal Aviation Administration. The fourth volume deals with the Office of the Secretary of the Department of Transportation (Aviation Proceedings) and Commercial Space Transportation, while the fifth volume addresses the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and Air Transportation System Stabilization.

These regulations can be separated into the following three categories:
  1. Administrative
  2. Airworthiness Certification
  3. Airworthiness Operation

Since 1958, these rules have typically been referred to as “FARs,” short for Federal Aviation Regulations. However, another set of regulations, Title 48, is titled “Federal Acquisitions Regulations,” and this has led to confusion with the use of the acronym “FAR.” Therefore, the FAA began to refer to specific regulations by the term “14 CFR part XX.” Most regulations and the sections within are odd numbered, because the FAA realized in 1958 when the Civil Aeronautics Regulations were recodified into the Federal Aviation Regulations that it would be necessary to add regulations later.

Over the years, the FAA has sometimes seen the need to issue Special Federal Aviation Regulations (SFAR). [Figure 3] These are frequently focused very specifically on a unique situation and are usually given a limited length of time for effectiveness. Note that the SFAR number is purely a sequential number and has no relevance to the regulation it is addressing or attached to.

Special Federal Aviation Regulations
SFAR No Title Appears in 14 CFR
13 Table of Contents Part 25
23 Special Federal Aviation Regulation No. 23 Part 23
27-5 Fuel venting and exhaust emission requirements for turbine engine powered airplanes Part 11
50-2 Special Flight rules in the Vicinity of the Grand Canyon National Park, AZ Part 91
65-1 Removal of this SFAR e˜ective 10/8/2004 - Prohibition Against Certain Flights Between the United States and Libya Part 91
71 Special Operating Rules for Air Tour Operators in the State of Hawaii Part 91
73 Robinson R-22/R-44 Special Training and Experience Requirements Part 61
77 Prohibition Against Certain Flights Within the Territory and Airspace of Iraq Part 91
79 Prohibition Against Certain Flights Within the Flight Information Region of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea Part 91
82 Prohibition Against Certain Flights within the Territory and Airspace of Sudan Part 91
84 Prohibition Against Certain Flights Within the Territory and Airspace of Serbia-Montenegro Part 91
86 Airspace and Flight Operations Requirement for the Kodak Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta; Albuquerque, NM Part 91
88 Fuel Tank System Fault Tolerance Evaluation Requirements Parts 21, 25, 91, 121, 125, 129
97 Special Federal Aviation Regulation No. 97 - Special Operating Rules for the Conduct of Instrument Flight Rules (IFR) Area Navigation (RNAV) Operations using Global Positioning Systems (GPS) in Alaska Parts 71, 91, 95, 121, 125, 129, 135
98 Construction or Alteration in the Vicinity of the Private Residence of the President of the United States Part 77
100-2 Relief for U.S. Military and Civilian Personnel Who Are Assigned Outside the United States in Support of U.S. Armed Forces Operations Parts 61, 63, 65
103 Process for Requesting Waiver of Mandatory Separation Age for Certain Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Air Tra°c Control Specialists Part 65
104 Prohibition Against Certain Flights by Syrian Air Carriers to the United States Part 91
108 Special Federal Aviation Regulation No. 108 - Mitsubishi MU-2B Series Airplane Special Training, Experience, and Operating Requirementss Part 91
109 Special Requirements for Private Use Transport Category Airplanes Parts 21, 25, 119
112 Prohibition Against Certain Flights Within the Tripoli (HLLL) Flight Information Region (FIR) Part 91

Figure 3. Special Federal Aviation Regulations From 14 CFR

The remainder of this text focuses only on those regulations relative to airworthiness certification. There are 30 of these listed in Figure 4, and they are shown graphically in Figure 5. A significant benefit of this chart is the visual effect showing the interaction of the regulation with other regulations and the placement of the regulation relative to its impact on airworthiness. It is fundamentally important that the definition of the term “airworthy” be clearly understood.

Part 1 Definitions and Abbreviations
Part 13 Investigative and Enforcement Procedures
Part 21 Certification Procedures for Products and Parts
Part 23 Airworthiness Standards: Normal, Utility, Acrobatic, and Commuter Category Airplanes
Part 25 Airworthiness Standards: Transport Category Airplanes
Part 27 Airworthiness Standards: Normal Category Rotorcraft
Part 29 Airworthiness Standards: Transport Category Rotorcraft
Part 31 Airworthiness Standards: Manned Free Balloons
Part 33 Airworthiness Standard: Aircraft Engines
Part 34 Fuel Venting and Exhaust Emission Requirements for Turbine Engine Powered Airplanes
Part 35 Airworthiness Standards: Propellers
Part 36 Noise Standards: Aircraft Type and Airworthiness Certiÿcation
Part 39 Airworthiness Directives
Part 43 Maintenance, Preventive Maintenance, Rebuilding, and Alteration
Part 45 Identification and Registration Marking
Part 47 Aircraft Registration
Part 48 Registration and Marking Requirements for Small Unmanned Aircraft
Part 61 Certification: Pilots, Flight Instructors, and Ground Instructors
Part 63 Certification: Flight Crewmembers Other Than Pilots
Part 65 Certification: Airmen Other Than Flight Crewmembers
Part 68 Requirements for Operating Certain Small Aircraft Without a Medical Certificate
Part 91 General Operating and Flight Rules
Part 107 Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems
Part 119 Certification: Air Carriers and Commercial Operators
Part 121 Operating Requirements: Domestic, Flag, and Supplemental Operations
Part 125 Certification and Operations: Airplanes Having a Seating Capacity of 20 or More Passengers or a Maximum Payload Capacity of 6,000 Pounds or More; and Rules Governing Persons on Board Such Aircraft
Part 135 Operating Requirements: Commuter and On Demand Operations and Rules Governing Persons on Board Such Aircraft
Part 145 Repair Stations
Part 147 Aviation Maintenance Technician Schools
Part 183 Representatives of the Administrator

Figure 4. List of FAA regulations relative to airworthiness certification

Title 14 of the Code of Federal Regulations (14CFR)
Figure 5. Graphic chart of FAA regulations

Only recently did the FAA actually define the term “airworthy” in a regulation. (Refer to the 14 CFR part 3 excerpt following this paragraph.) Prior to this definition in part 3, the term could be implied from reading part 21, section 21.183. The term was defined in other non-regulatory FAA publications, and could also be implied from the text found in block 5 of FAA Form 8100-2, Standard Airworthiness Certificate. This certificate is required to be visibly placed on board each civil aircraft.

Title 14 CFR Part 3—General Requirements

Definitions. The following terms have the stated meanings when used in 14 CFR part 3, section 3.5, Statements about products, parts, appliances and materials.
  • Airworthy means the aircraft conforms to its type design and is in a condition for safe operation.
  • Product means an aircraft, aircraft engine, or aircraft propeller.
  • Record means any writing, drawing, map, recording, tape, film, photograph or other documentary material by which information is preserved or conveyed in any format, including, but not limited to, paper, microfilm, identification plates, stamped marks, bar codes or electronic format, and can either be separate from, attached to or inscribed on any product, part, appliance or material.

Airworthiness can be divided into two areas: original airworthiness as depicted in Figure 5, and recurrent airworthiness as depicted in Figure 6.

Title 14 of the Code of Federal Regulations (14CFR)
Figure 6. Graphic chart of FAA regulations (continued)

There are three primary regulations that govern the airworthiness of an aircraft:
  1. 14 CFR part 21—Certification Procedures for Products and Parts
  2. 14 CFR part 43—Maintenance, Preventive Maintenance, Rebuilding, and Alterations
  3. 14 CFR part 91—General Operating and Flight Rules

Note that the chart in Figures 5 and 6 show most of the other airworthiness certification regulations link to one of these regulations.

Although the history section that opens this section discusses the FAA as if it was a single unit, it is important to understand that there are various subgroups within the FAA, and each have different responsibilities of oversight in the aviation industry. These may vary by organizational chart or geographic location.

The maintenance technician interacts mostly with FAA personnel from the Flight Standards Service (AFS) and the Flight Standards District Office (FSDO) but may also have some interaction with FAA personnel from the Aircraft Certification Service (AIR).

Maintenance-Related Regulations

14 CFR Part 1—Definitions and Abbreviations

This section is a very comprehensive, but certainly not all inclusive, list of definitions that both pilots and mechanics must become familiar with. Many regulations often provide additional definitions that are unique to their use and interpretation in that specific part. Title 14 CFR part 1, section 1.2, Abbreviations and Symbols, tends to be highly focused on those abbreviations related to flight.

14 CFR Part 21—Certification Procedures for Products and Parts

This regulation, the first of the three, identifies the requirements of and the procedures for obtaining type certificates (TCs), supplemental type certificates (STCs), production certificates, airworthiness certificates, and import and export approvals. [Figure 5] Some of the other major areas covered in this part are the procedures for becoming a designated mechanic examiner (DME), designated aircraft maintenance inspector (DAMI), designated engineering representative, designated manufacturing inspection representative (DMIR), or designated Airworthiness Representative (DAR), or obtaining a Part Manufacture Approval (PMA) or an authorization related to producing a Technical Standard Order (TSO) part. Note that part 21’s greatest significance is in the original airworthiness phase, although it has minor application in recurrent airworthiness. [Figure 5] One of the most important sections of this regulation is section 21.50, “Instructions for continued airworthiness and manufacturer’s maintenance manuals having airworthiness limitations sections.” When an aircraft is delivered new from the manufacturer, it comes with maintenance manuals that define the inspection and maintenance actions necessary to maintain the aircraft in airworthy condition. Also, any STC modification that was developed after 1981 must have, as part of the STC documentation, a complete set of instructions for continued airworthiness (ICA). This ICA contains inspection and maintenance information intended to be used by the technician in maintaining that part of the aircraft that has been altered since it was new. This ICA is comprised of 16 specific subjects. [Figure 7] An ICA developed in accordance with this checklist should be acceptable to the Aviation Safety Inspector (ASI) reviewing a major alteration.

Title 14 of the Code of Federal Regulations (14CFR)
Figure 7. Instructions for Continued Airworthiness (ICA) Checklist

14 CFR Part 23—Airworthiness Standards: Normal, Utility, Acrobatic, and Commuter Category Airplanes

Aircraft certificated under 14 CFR part 23 represent the greatest portion of what the industry refers to as “general aviation.” These aircraft vary from the small two-place piston engine, propeller-driven trainers that are frequently used for flight training, to turbine-powered corporate jets used to transport business executives. Seating capacity is limited to nine or less on all aircraft, except the commuter aircraft where the maximum passenger seating is 19, excluding the pilot and copilot seats.

This part specifies the airworthiness standards that must be met in order for a manufacturer to receive a TC and for the aircraft to receive an airworthiness certificate. Part 23 aircraft are those aircraft that have a maximum certificated takeoff weight of 12,500 pounds or less, except for those aircraft in the commuter category. The maximum certificated takeoff weight limit rises to 19,000 pounds or less for these aircraft.

Part 23 has seven subparts, six of them providing detailed criteria for the design of these aircraft. The first, subpart A, defines the applicability of this regulation. The others are:
  • Subpart B—Flight
  • Subpart C—Structures
  • Subpart D—Design and Construction
  • Subpart E—Powerplant
  • Subpart F—Equipment
  • Subpart G—Flightcrew Interface and Other Information

Within each of these subparts are numerous sections that specify details, such as center of gravity (CG), gust load factors, removable fasteners, the shape of certain flight deck controls, engine and propeller requirements, fuel tank markings, flight deck instrumentation marking and placards, cabin aisle width, and flammability resistant standards.

14 CFR Part 25—Airworthiness Standards: Transport Category Airplanes

The standards in 14 CFR part 25 apply to large aircraft with a maximum certificated takeoff weight of more than 12,500 pounds. This segment of aviation is usually referred to as “commercial aviation” and includes most of the aircraft seen at a large passenger airport, except for the commuter aircraft included in 14 CFR part 23. However, the ability to carry passengers is not a requirement for aircraft certified to 14 CFR part 25. Many of these aircraft are also used to transport cargo. This chapter is subdivided into similar design subpart categories and the same sequence as the requirements specified in 14 CFR part 23.

14 CFR Part 27—Airworthiness Standards: Normal Category Rotorcraft

This regulation deals with the small rotor wing aircraft and is consistent with 14 CFR part 23 with limiting the passenger seating to nine or less. However, the maximum certificated weight is limited to 7,000 pounds. It contains similar design subparts identified in 14 CFR part 23 that provide the details for designing the aircraft.

14 CFR Part 29—Airworthiness Standards: Transport Category Rotorcraft

This section specifies those standards applicable to helicopters with a maximum certified weight greater than 7,000 pounds. However, it also includes additional parameters based upon seating capacity and an additional weight limit. Those parameters are passenger seating, (nine or less, ten or more) and whether the helicopter is over or under a maximum weight of 20,000 pounds. The design subparts of part 29 are similar to those in 14 CFR parts 23, 25, and 27.

14 CFR Part 33—Airworthiness Standards: Aircraft Engines

Each of the four preceding 14 CFR regulations require that the engine used in the aircraft must be type certificated. Title 14 CFR part 33 details the requirements for both reciprocating and turbine style aircraft engines. It not only specifies the design and construction requirements, but also the block test requirements that subject the engine to extremely demanding testing in order to prove its capability of enduring the stresses of powering the aircraft.

14 CFR Part 35—Airworthiness Standards: Propellers

Just as each engine used on an aircraft must have a TC, the propeller must also be type certificated. This part is arranged the same way that 14 CFR part 33 is, in that subpart B specifies design and construction while subpart C covers tests and inspections.

Since regulations change over the years, not every aircraft presently flying meets the current design regulations as printed this year. When regulations are revised, they are printed in the Federal Register and released with an amendment number that ties them to the regulation being revised. Aircraft are required to meet only the specifications in force at the time the aircraft is built. NOTE: The preceding statement does not apply to the mandatory requirements imposed by Airworthiness Directives (AD), as these usually have a compliance date included in the text of the AD note.

14 CFR Part 39—Airworthiness Directives

In spite of all the emphasis on proper design and certification testing, sometimes the actual day-to-day use of the aircraft causes unanticipated wear or failure to occur. When that happens, if the FAA determines that the wear or failure represents an unsafe condition and that the condition is likely to exist in other products of the same type of design, it issues an AD. Actual AD notes are not included in 14 CFR part 39, but rather are printed in the Federal Register and are linked to this part as amendments to 14 CFR part 39, section 39.13. AD notes are legally enforceable rules that apply to aircraft, aircraft engines, propellers, and appliances.

14 CFR Part 43—Maintenance, Preventive Maintenance, Rebuilding, and Alteration

This regulation represents the heart of aviation maintenance and is one of the three major regulations previously identified. The 13 rules and 6 appendices contained within 14 CFR part 43 provide the standard for maintaining all civilian aircraft currently registered in the United States. Note that 14 CFR part 43 has a significant relationship with part 91 and other parts in maintaining continued airworthiness. [Figure 6] A more detailed explanation of this regulation is presented later in this text.

14 CFR Part 45—Identification and Registration Marking

Title 14 of the CFR part 45 includes the requirements for the identification of aircraft, engines, propellers, certain replacement and modification parts, and the nationality and registration marking required on U.S.-registered aircraft. All type-certificated products must have the following information on a fireproof dataplate or similar approved fireproof method.
  1. Builder’s name
  2. Model designation
  3. Builder’s serial number
  4. TC number (if any)
  5. Production certificate number (if any)
  6. For aircraft engines, the established rating
  7. Reference to compliance or exemption to 14 CFR Part 34, Fuel Venting and Exhaust Emission Requirements for Turbine Engine Powered Airplanes
  8. Any other information that the FAA determines to be appropriate

Replacement and modification parts are produced in accordance with a Parts Manufacturer Approvals (PMA) (14 CFR part 21, section 21.303) and must have the following information permanently and legibly marked:
  1. The letters “FAA-PMA”
  2. The name, symbol, or trademark of the holder of the PMA
  3. The part number
  4. The name and model designation for each type certificated product it can be installed on

If a part has a specified replacement time, inspection interval, or other related procedure specification in the maintenance manual or ICA, that part must have a part number and a serial number (or the equivalent of each).

The manufacturer of a life-limited part must either provide marking instructions for that part, or state that the part cannot be marked without a compromise to its integrity. Exceptions are made for the identification of parts that are too small to be practical to mark the required data.

Nationality and registration marks (commonly known as the N-number for U.S.-registered aircraft) can vary in size, depending on the year that the aircraft was built and whether or not the aircraft has been repainted. The most common size is at least 12 inches in height. Small aircraft built at least 30 years ago, or replicas of these, or experimental exhibition or amateur-built aircraft may use letters at least 2 inches in height. Only a few aircraft are authorized to display registration markings of at least 3 inches. Note that this regulation sits directly on the vertical line in Figure 5 indicating that it applies to both original and recurrent airworthiness.

14 CFR Part 47—Aircraft Registration

This regulation provides the requirements for registering aircraft. It includes procedures for both owner and dealer registration of aircraft.

14 CFR Part 65—Certification: Airmen Other Than Flight Crewmembers

Pilots, flight instructors, and ground instructors are certificated under 14 CFR part 61. Flight crew other than pilots are certificated under 14 CFR part 63. However many other people are also required to be certificated by the FAA for the U.S. aviation fleet to operate smoothly and efficiently. Title 14 CFR part 65 addresses many of those other people.
  • Subpart B—Air Traffic Control Tower Operators
  • Subpart C—Aircraft Dispatchers
  • Subpart D—Mechanics
  • Subpart E—Repairmen
  • Subpart F—Parachute Riggers

NOTE: SFAR 100-2. Relief for U.S. Military and Civilian Personnel who are assigned outside the United States in support of U.S. Armed Forces Operations is a good example of the specific nature and limited time frame that are part of a SFAR.

14 CFR Part 91—General Operating and Flight Rules

This is the final regulation of the three major regulations identified earlier in this post. Note its interaction in Figure 6 with other regulations visually indicating its “operational” involvement or “recurrent airworthiness.” Although it is an operational regulation that is focused toward the owner, operator, and/or pilot of the aircraft, the maintenance technician must have an awareness of this regulation. Two examples of these maintenance related issues are:
  1. Section 91.207—Emergency Locator Transmitters: Paragraph (c)(2)—battery replacement interval and requirement for a logbook entry indicating the expiration date of the new battery.
  2. Section 91.213—Inoperative Instruments and Equipment: Paragraph (a)(2)—a letter of authorization from the FSDO authorizing the operation of the aircraft under a Minimum Equipment List (MEL) constitutes a STC and must be carried in the aircraft during flight.

Subpart E—Maintenance, Preventive Maintenance, and Alterations (Sections 91.401 through 91.421)

This is the section of most interest to the technician. He or she must be familiar with it, because it does carry some (indirect) responsibility for the technician. Note that the 14 CFR part 91 icon in Figure 6 has a direct line to 14 CFR part 43. This is because section 91.403(b) states, “No person may perform maintenance, preventive maintenance, or alterations on an aircraft other than as prescribed in this subpart and other applicable regulations, including part 43 of this post.”

14 CFR Part 119—Certification: Air Carriers and Commercial Operators

In order to better understand the next three regulations discussed here (14 CFR parts 121, 125, and 135) a brief overview of 14 CFR part 119 is beneficial. [Figure 8] There are more than 50 Advisory Circulars (ACs) in the 120 series alone providing additional non-regulatory information concerning the variety of procedures involved with these operations.

Title 14 of the Code of Federal Regulations (14CFR)
Figure 8. Applicability of regulations

There are basically three different criteria that must be analyzed in order to properly determine the regulation that applies. These are:
  1. Is the service provided for Private Carriage or Common Carriage?
  2. Is the aircraft For Hire or is it Not for Hire?
  3. Is it a large or small aircraft?

AC 120-12, as revised, provides the following definition regarding this criterion: A carrier becomes a common carrier when it “holds itself out” to the public, or to a segment of the public, as willing to furnish transportation within the limits of its facilities to any person who wants it. There are four elements in defining a common carrier:
  1. A holding out of a willingness to
  2. Transport persons or property
  3. From place to place
  4. For compensation

This “holding out” that makes a person a common carrier can be done in many ways, and it does not matter how it is done. Signs and advertising are the most direct means of “holding out,” but are not the only ones.

Carriage for hire which does not involve "holding out" is private carriage. Private carriers for hire are sometimes called “contract carriers,” but the term is borrowed from the Interstate Commerce Act and legally inaccurate when used in connection with the Federal Aviation Act. Private carriage for hire is carriage for one or several selected customers, generally on a long-term basis. The number of contracts must not be too great; otherwise, it implies a willingness to make a contract with anybody. A carrier operating pursuant to 18 to 24 contracts has been held to be a common carrier, because it held itself out to serve the public generally to the extent of its facilities. Private carriage has been found in cases where three contracts have been the sole basis of the operator’s business.

Operations that constitute common carriage are required to be conducted under 14 CFR part 121 or 135. Private carriage may be conducted under 14 CFR part 91 or 125.

The term “for hire” is not defined in any of the FAA documents but is generally understood to mean that compensation for both direct and indirect expenses associated with the flight, as well as a profit margin for the operator, are collected from the person or persons benefiting from the flight operation.

The determination of whether the aircraft is large or small is based upon the definition provided in 14 CFR part 1. If the aircraft has maximum certificated takeoff weight of 12,500 pounds or more, it is a large aircraft. All aircraft less than 12,500 maximum certificated takeoff weight are considered to be small aircraft.

It may also help the reader understand when 14 CFR parts 121, 125, and 135 regulations apply, by taking a brief look at a list of flight operations where 14 CFR part 119 does not apply.
  1. Student instruction
  2. Nonstop sightseeing flights with less than 30 seats and less than 25 nautical miles (NM) from the departure airport
  3. Ferry or training flights
  4. Crop dusting or other agricultural operations
  5. Banner towing
  6. Aerial photography or surveying
  7. Fire fighting
  8. Powerline or pipeline patrol
  9. Parachute operations on nonstop flights within 25 NM from the departure airport
  10. Fractional ownership in accordance with 14 CFR part 91, subpart K

14 CFR Part 121—Operating Requirements: Domestic, Flag, and Supplemental Operations

Title 14 CFR part 121 establishes the operational rules for air carriers flying for compensation or hire. A domestic operation is any scheduled operation (within the 48 contiguous states, the District of Columbia, or any territory or possession) conducted with either a turbo-jet aircraft, an airplane having 10 or more passenger seats, or a payload capacity greater than 7,500 pounds.

A “flag” operation means any scheduled operation (operating in Alaska or Hawaii to any point outside of those states, or to any territory or possession of the United States, or from any point outside the United States to any point outside the United States) conducted with either a turbo-jet aircraft, an airplane having 10 or more passenger seats, or a payload capacity greater than 7,500 pounds.

“Supplemental” operation means any common carriage operation conducted with airplanes having more than 30 passenger seats (if less than 30, the airplane must also be listed on the operations specifications of domestic and flag carriers), with a payload capacity of more than 7,500 pounds.

Part 121 operators are required by 14 CFR part 119 to have the following personnel:
  • Director of Safety
  • Director of Operations
  • Director of Maintenance
  • Chief Pilot
  • Chief Inspector

There are 28 subparts and 16 appendices in this regulation. However, only subparts J and L are of concern for the mechanic. Subpart J—Maintenance, Preventive Maintenance, and Alterations, identifies Special Airworthiness Requirements that deals with many of the mechanical aspects of a passenger or cargo aircraft. Subpart L—Maintenance, Preventive Maintenance, and Alterations, requires that a part 121 operator have an operational manual that contains the following information:
  • Organizational chart
  • List of individuals who may perform required inspections
  • Company maintenance, preventive maintenance, or alterations
  • A system to both preserve and retrieve maintenance and inspection related information

Also, 14 CFR part 121, section 121.1105, establishes the requirement for conducting inspections on aging aircraft.

14 CFR Part 125—Certification and Operations: Airplanes Having a Seating Capacity of 20 or More Passengers or a Maximum Payload Capacity of 6,000 Pounds or More; and Rules Governing Persons on Board Such Aircraft

This regulation applies to private and noncommon carriage when such operations are conducted in airplanes having 20 or more seats (excluding crewmembers) or having a payload capacity of 6,000 pounds or more. There must also be “operations specifications” issued to the operator that include the following information:
  • Kinds of operations authorized
  • Types of aircraft and registration numbers of the airplanes authorized for use
  • Approval of the provisions of the operator’s manual relating to airplane inspections, together with the necessary conditions and limitations
  • Registration numbers of the airplanes that are to be inspected under an approved airplane inspection program (AAIP) under 14 CFR part 125, section 125.247
  • Procedures for the control of weight and balance of airplanes
  • Any other item that the administrator determines is necessary

Just as in 14 CFR part 121, subpart E identifies special airworthiness requirements dealing mostly with the mechanical devices of the aircraft.

14 CFR Part 135—Operating Requirements: Commuter and On-Demand Operations and Rules Governing Persons on Board Such Aircraft

As the title of this section states, this regulation is applicable to short distance commercial aircraft operations or “commuters” and nonscheduled carriers that operate “on­demand.” These aircraft are frequently referred to as air taxi or air charter aircraft.

Aircraft operated under 14 CFR part 135 must be operated and maintained in accordance with the certificate holder’s operations manual. This manual, when accepted by the FAA, specifies how the flight crew, ground personnel, and maintenance technicians conduct their operations.

A pivotal portion of this regulation is the first section in subpart J, 14 CFR part 135, section 135.411, Application. This section specifies that having a type certificated passenger seating configuration of nine or less may be maintained in accordance with the maintenance manual provided by the aircraft manufacturer. Those aircraft having a type certificated passenger seating configuration of 10 or more seats must be maintained in accordance with a maintenance manual written by the air carrier and must then be submitted to the FAA for approval. The requirements for the maintenance manual are specified in 14 CFR part 135, section 135.427. 14 CFR part 135, sections 135.415 through 135.417 and 135.423 through 135.443 specify additional maintenance requirements. 14 CFR part 135, sections 135.415 and 135.417 are applicable regardless of the number of seats in the aircraft.

A major change in the “nine or less” aircraft maintenance requirements occurred in February of 2005 when section 135.422, Aging Aircraft, was incorporated into 14 CFR part 135. This new subpart (note the even number) to 14 CFR 135 specifically prohibits a certificate holder from operating certain aircraft unless the Administrator has completed the aging aircraft inspection and records review. This inspection requires the certificate holder to show the FAA that the maintenance of age sensitive parts and components has been adequate to ensure safety.

This section only applies to multi-engine aircraft in scheduled operation with nine or fewer passenger seats. It does not apply to aircraft operating in Alaska. The required record review start date varies depending on the age of the aircraft. However, once initiated, the repetitive inspection intervals are not to exceed 7 years.

The certificate holder must make both the aircraft and the cords available to the FAA for inspection and review. The certificate holder must notify the Administrator at least 60 days in advance of the availability of the aircraft and the records for review.

The records must include the following information:
  1. Total years in service of the airplane
  2. Total time in service of the airframe
  3. Date of the last inspection and records review required by this section
  4. Current status of life-limited parts
  5. Time since the last overhaul of all structural components required to be overhauled on a specific time basis
  6. Current inspection status of the airplane, including the time since the last inspection required by the inspection program that the airplane is maintained under
  7. Current status of applicable ADs, including the date and methods of compliance, and, if the AD involves recurring action, the time and date when the next action is required
  8. A list of major structural alterations
  9. A report of major structural repairs and the current inspection status of those repairs

14 CFR Part 145—Repair Stations

This regulation underwent a major rewrite released in 2004 and was the most comprehensive change in nearly 20 years. It may be of interest to note an airframe and powerplant (A&P) certificate is not necessary to be employed at a repair station. The repair station may also employ both repairmen (under 14 CFR part 65, subpart E) and non FAA-certificated personnel. All work that is signed off is done so using the repair station certificate number and must be done only by persons authorized by 14 CFR part 65 to approve an article for return to service (RTS). Just as other certificate holders must have an operations manual, the repair station must have a repair station manual that contains the following:
  • An organizational chart
  • Procedures for maintaining rosters
  • Description of housing, facilities, and equipment
  • Procedures for revising the capability list and conducting a self-evaluation (audit)
  • Procedures for revising the training program
  • Procedures governing work done at another location
  • Procedures for working on air carrier aircraft
  • Description of the required records and record keeping
  • Procedures for revising the repair station manual
  • Description of the system to identify and control the sections of the manual

All records from repair station maintenance activity must be kept a minimum of 2 years. Domestic repair station certificates are effective until they are surrendered, suspended, or revoked. The certificates of foreign repair stations expire, usually after 1 or 2 years and must be renewed.

14 CFR Part 147—Aviation Maintenance Technician Schools

Title 14 CFR part 147 defines the requirements for obtaining a maintenance training certificate. This certificate may be for either airframe, powerplant, or a combination of the two. The minimum number of curriculum hours for conducting either airframe or powerplant training independently is 1,150.

If both A&P ratings are offered, the combined total curriculum hours are 1,900. This is because of the 1,150 hours specified to obtain either the airframe or the powerplant rating, 400 hours are devoted to general studies. Only one set of general studies hours is applicable to the combined total. Therefore, 400 hours can be subtracted from the implied total of 2,300 hours (1,150 × 2) to obtain the reduced figure of 1,900 hours. Requirements are detailed as follows:
  • Appendix A—Curriculum Requirements
  • Appendix B—General Curriculum Subjects
  • Appendix C—Airframe Curricular Subjects
  • Appendix D—Powerplant Curriculum Subjects

14 CFR Part 183—Representatives of the Administrator

As the aviation industry grows and the design, manufacture, and testing of aircraft gets more complex, the FAA faces both budget constraints and personnel shortages. As early as 1962, the FAA began a program to allow private sector persons in various areas of industry to be “designees” or “representatives of the FAA Administrator.” These people are NOT FAA employees, but rather are designated by the FAA to act on their behalf. Regular doctors may serve as “aviation medical examiners,” skilled pilots can become “pilot examiners,” and experienced airframe and/or powerplant mechanics can become “designated mechanic examiners (DME)” to administer the oral and practical portion of the FAA testing.

Other lesser known designees are the designated engineering representatives (DER), the designated manufacturing inspection representatives (DMIR), and the designated airworthiness representatives (DAR).
  • DERs approve data based upon their engineering training and their knowledge of FAA regulations.
  • DMIRs make conformity inspections only at their employer. They are similar to “designated repairmen” because they are only authorized to inspect parts at their employers’ facility.
  • DARs conduct aircraft certification and aircraft inspection functions on behalf of the FAA depending on specific functions they are authorized. They may perform work for either manufacturing facilities or maintenance entities depending on their designation.

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