Non-FAA Documents


Air Transport Association A4A iSPec 2200

To standardize the technical data and maintenance activities on large and therefore complex aircraft, the A4A has established a classification of maintenance related actions. These are arranged with sequential numbers assigned to A4A chapters. These chapters are consistent regardless of the large aircraft that is being worked on. [Figure]

Aviation Publications
Maintenance classification

Manufacturers’ Published Data

The original equipment manufacturer (OEM) is usually the best source of information for the operation of and maintenance on a particular product. If the product is a TC’d or STC’d item, 14 CFR part 21, section 21.50 requires the holder of the design approval to provide one set of complete ICAs. Additional requirements for ICAs are specified in sections 23.1529, 25.1529, 27.1529 and 29.1529. These sections further refer the reader to 14 CFR part 23, Appendix A; part 25, Appendix H; part 27, Appendix A; and part 29, Appendix A.


Regardless of the appendix referred to, the requirements in the appendix for the ICA are as follows:

  General: The aircraft ICA must contain instructions for continued airworthiness for each engine, propeller, or appliance and the interface of those appliances and products with the aircraft.

  Format: The ICA must be in the form of a manual or manuals appropriate to the data being provided.

  Content: The manual contents must be in English and must include the following:
  • Introductory information, including an explanation of the airplane’s features and data as necessary to perform maintenance or preventive maintenance
  • A description of the aircraft and its systems, including engine, propeller, and appliances
  • Basic operating information describing how the aircraft and its components are controlled
  • Servicing information with such detail as servicing parts, task capacities, types of fluid to be used, applicable pressures for the various systems, access panels for inspection and servicing, lubrication points, and types of lubricants to be used

The maintenance instructions must include the following data:
  • Recommended schedule for cleaning, inspecting, adjusting, testing, and lubricating the various parts
  • Applicable wear tolerances
  • Recommended overhaul periods
  • Details for an inspection program that identifies both the frequency and the extent of the inspections necessary to provide for continued airworthiness
  • Troubleshooting information
  • The order and method for proper removal and replacement of parts
  • Procedures for system testing during ground operations
  • Diagrams for structural access plates
  • Details for application of special inspection techniques
  • Information concerning the application of protective treatments after inspection
  • Information relative to the structural fasteners
  • List of any special tools needed

Airworthiness Limitations

The ICA must contain a separate and clearly distinguishable section titled “Airworthiness Limitations.” Within this section are mandatory replacement times, structural inspection interval, and related inspection procedures.

All of this is included in the initial release of documents when the aircraft is delivered. However, over the course of the life of an aircraft, various modifications can and often do occur. Whether these are as simple as a new cabin to galley sliding door, or as complex as a navigation related STC, any major alteration requires that this type of maintenance data be provided to the owner, so that subsequent maintenance, inspection, and repair can be properly accomplished. As aircraft and their systems become more and more complex, and society continues its preoccupation with litigation for every incident, it is imperative that the technician have the right information, that it is current, and that he or she has the proper tools, including those required for any special inspection, and correct replacement parts. If any one of these items is required, and the technician does not have it accessible, he or she is in violation of 14 CFR sections 65.81(b), 43.13(a), and 43.16 if he or she attempts to return the aircraft to service.

Manufacturers may provide this required information in a variety of different manuals:
  • Operating Instructions—The Airplane Flight Manual (AFM) or the Pilot’s Operating Handbook (POH) provides the pilot with the necessary information to properly operate the aircraft. These manuals are usually listed in the aircraft TCDS, and therefore are a required item for the aircraft to be considered airworthy. Note that the AFM is generally serial number specific, whereas the POH is model specific. After 1978, the POHs generally took on both roles.
  • Maintenance Manuals—These manuals are often referred to as Aircraft Maintenance Manual (AMM) or Component Maintenance Manual (CMM).


The AMM is focused on the entire aircraft and provides the “big picture” for the maintenance technician. It provides information concerning the maintenance, including troubleshooting and repair, of the aircraft and systems on the aircraft.

The CMM, on the other hand, is focused on a specific item or component, such as hydraulic pump, generator, or thrust reverser. It provides the bench mechanic with detail troubleshooting information and usually serves as an overhaul manual giving details for disassembly, cleaning, inspection, repair as necessary, reassembly, and testing in accordance with approved standards and technical data accepted by the Administrator. Refer to 14 CFR part 43 section 43.2(a). When maintenance is done according to the CMM, the technician must always include the appropriate references in the maintenance record entry required by 14 CFR part 43, section 43.9 or 43.11.

Service Bulletins (SB)

Throughout the life of a product (whether TC’d or not), manufacturing defects, changes in service, or design improvements often occur. When that happens, the OEM frequently uses an SB to distribute the information to the operator of the aircraft. SBs are good information and should be strongly considered by the owner for implementation to the aircraft. However, SBs are not required unless they are referred to in an AD note or if compliance is required as a part of the authorized inspection program. Refer to section 14 CFR part 39, 39.27.

Structural Repair Manual (SRM)

As the name implies, this manual carries detail information for the technician concerning an aircraft’s primary and secondary structure, criteria for evaluating the severity of the detected damage, determining the feasibility of a repair, and alignment/inspection information. This manual is usually a separate manual for large aircraft. On small aircraft, this information is often included in the AMM.

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