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Maintenance Flights


AngelFire_91
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Myself and a couple other CFI's were having a discussion the other day about maintenance flights. So I'm going to try and keep my personal opinion out of this and see what you guys all say. I'll throw out a couple different situations:

 

Situation #1

You hold a Commercial certificate and are hourly employed by Joe's Flying Service as a pilot. One of Joe's MX guys needs you to do a T&B flight on a helicopter owned by Joe's Flying Service. You will be paid for doing the flight and will log it, but you are not using the time for a rating. Only to increase your TT and PIC time.

 

Situation #2

Same as #1 only you are Salaried (not being paid for that flight specifically) and will log it.

 

Situation #3

Same as #1 only you will not be paid, but will log it.

 

Situation #4

Same as #1 only no pay and no log.

 

Question is:

Do you need a 2nd class medical? Does anyone have reference for your opinion?

 

 

 

 

Different Situation now:

 

Situation #5

You are a Private rated pilot, Bill is a private A&P who works out of his personal hanger and has a helicopter ready to go but needs a Mx flight to return it to service. Bill ask's you to do it, you will not be paid. Can you do it? can you log it?

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In my opinion, if you are being paid, you need a Commercial and a 2nd class medical. If not, you could do it on a private.

I'm sure someone may go into it in more depth but thats what I think!

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Well to start, By calling it Joe's flying service, I'm assuming they're a commercial operator of aircraft and not a private company that happens to own an aircraft that would be used for operations incidental to the company(Private Carriage if memory serves me). I think the catch on that particular gray area has something to do with you not being hired only as a pilot or something like that.

 

Sit #1 & 2; Yes because you are a commercial pilot and you are getting paid for the services you provide as a pilot which happens to rely on you practicing the privileges of a commercial pilot certificate. Also see note 1 below.

 

Sit #3 & 4; Yes, because you are providing a pilot service to a commercial operator. I'll refer you to note 1 again though. Also, please see note 2 below.

 

Sit #5; If Bill is getting paid for this full service he's providing including the sign-off which requires a maintenance test flight, then yes. See note 1 & 2 below. If it's Bill's personal aircraft, and you're doing your buddy a favor, then Mr FSDO probably will leave both of you guys alone, just cause you're a great friend, and probably more so because Bill isn't competing with another aircraft maintenance business!

 

 

Note 1; Having made the above statements keep in mind, it could be argued that the maintenance test flight is not a commercial operation. Also keep in mind that, the FAA will find a way to slap something on your ass even if it's not directly related to this particular operation if they think you're operating in the gray area of the FAR's, or if you've annoyed them in some way. I've seen it happen. Also, there are plenty of Commercial operators that spend a lot of money maintaining their operator certificates that will report you in a heartbeat if it is affecting their business, and some would argue rightly so.

Note 2; You're a commercial pilot now, and you're not getting paid for doing commercial ops? What the hell is wrong with you. You're hurting our industry, your dignity, and yourself in a few years time when you can't pay off your mortgage and flight school loans, while raising your new family because you're not getting paid enough. You're a disgrace to our profession. Ok, maybe that last part was a little harsh, but only a little!

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no, you don't need a 2nd class med... no maintenance flight is a commercial op... find maintenance flight in the FAR's!??? it is easy to quantify it as a part 91 flight as there is no carriage of persons or property for hire... just because you're getting paid isn't enough to disqualify it. I'm sure this example is just for exercise and it is an interesting question but I doubt anyone out there is considering it a commercial flight... even the FAA.

 

My real beef comes because a maintenance flight is NOT REQUIRED to return an aircraft to service! It might be a good idea to do a test flight to see that everything functions normally and obviously necessary for track and balance... BUT!!... The aircraft MUST have the records in order and signed BEFORE the test flight saying that is in an airworthy condition or you have busted the FAR's.

 

Lastly... Darren... chill...If the helicopter industry was so prestigious any amount of free work would be considered a help to the industry.

Edited by apiaguy
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My real beef comes because a maintenance flight is NOT REQUIRED to return an aircraft to service! It might be a good idea to do a test flight to see that everything functions normally and obviously necessary for track and balance... BUT!!... The aircraft MUST have the records in order and signed BEFORE the test flight saying that is in an airworthy condition or you have busted the FAR's.

 

Actually, for 135 ops, a "Flight Ops" check is required after maintenance before the aircraft is returned to service. That is effectively the same as what I think Angel Fire meant by "Maintenance Flight". Well that's the we operate and how it was taught to me during my 135 training. For part 91 ops, maybe not. I'm definitely no expert on the subject. For me FAR's are a necessary evil that I have to force myself to digest!

 

 

 

Lastly... Darren... chill...If the helicopter industry was so prestigious any amount of free work would be considered a help to the industry.

 

 

That last part was meant to add a little humor to the post while highlighting the frustration "Professionals" feel when people talk about working for free, or food, or whatever. I don't want to hijack this topic in the name of that subject though, as this Maintenance Flight discussion is an important one. There are plenty of other topics on VR that deal with sniffling little weasels working for free!! Ok that last part was uncalled forunsure.gif.

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My real beef comes because a maintenance flight is NOT REQUIRED to return an aircraft to service! It might be a good idea to do a test flight to see that everything functions normally and obviously necessary for track and balance... BUT!!... The aircraft MUST have the records in order and signed BEFORE the test flight saying that is in an airworthy condition or you have busted the FAR's.

 

 

 

91.407 Operation after maintenance, preventive maintenance, rebuilding, or alteration.

 

B) No person may carry any person (other than crewmembers) in an aircraft that has been maintained, rebuilt, or altered in a manner that may have appreciably changed its flight characteristics or substantially affected its operation in flight until an appropriately rated pilot with at least a private pilot certificate flies the aircraft, makes an operational check of the maintenance performed or alteration made, and logs the flight in the aircraft records.

 

© The aircraft does not have to be flown as required by paragraph (B) of this section if, prior to flight, ground tests, inspection, or both show conclusively that the maintenance, preventive maintenance, rebuilding, or alteration has not appreciably changed the flight characteristics or substantially affected the flight operation of the aircraft.

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Well to start, By calling it Joe's flying service, I'm assuming they're a commercial operator of aircraft and not a private company that happens to own an aircraft that would be used for operations incidental to the company(Private Carriage if memory serves me). I think the catch on that particular gray area has something to do with you not being hired only as a pilot or something like that.
Let's say for the sake of argument, "Joe's flying service" does everything from training to 135 ops, and is in business for that specifically.

 

...I'm sure this example is just for exercise and it is an interesting question but I doubt anyone out there is considering it a commercial flight... even the FAA.
This is just for exercise, but the questions stem from a discussion among about 5 CFI's all huddled around trying figure out if we could do a Mx flight or not on one of our Heli's.

 

My real beef comes because a maintenance flight is NOT REQUIRED to return an aircraft to service! It might be a good idea to do a test flight to see that everything functions normally and obviously necessary for track and balance... BUT!!... The aircraft MUST have the records in order and signed BEFORE the test flight saying that is in an airworthy condition or you have busted the FAR's.
Our company policy is we have to do a Mx flight prior to RTS. But in all reality you could put anything in there, T&B flight, Mx flight, Gremlin flight, the point is a flight that Mx requested after something was done to the aircraft.

 

"You hold a Commercial certificate and are hourly employed by Joe's Flying Service as a pilot."

 

How are you doing this without a second class medical?

I'm employed as an hourly pilot with a commercial certificate but only a 3rd class medical. The only difference is I don't do any commercial ops, I only instruct, therefore no need for a 2nd class. Now if I wanted to do some commercial work, then yes I would need a 2nd class. That's pretty much why these questions came up, are Mx type flight's commercial work?
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I love these questions and all the different logic applied to justify one position or the other. The FAA however will only have one opinion...theirs!

 

This is what happens when you mix black and white paint together....shades of gray!

 

If you do it and get paid for it, my opinion is you will need the 2nd class. But I always jump over to the "safe" side of interpretation!

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Discussions about Regs and legalities are good and stimulate all of us to "Look" at what is required even if it is not clear what that is!

 

Another perspective is to "Look" at who you want to do this RTS flight, what is their experience in doing this, and do they know how to sign the flight off for RTS. Do they understand what their sign off makes them liable for in the future?

 

Many of you that know me understand that I have been very fortunate to be "Over Trained" at someone elses expense and I appreciate that. I was trained at an OEM in a week long course as "Functional Check Pilot". The course trains a pilot on all of the aircrafts systems, procedures to check functionality of every system and the required paperwork/log book entries for RTS validation. I have experience in RTS of overhauled B206L and first ever overhauled B407, plus completions of many green aircraft with installation of new STCd equipment. I have also attended the "Field Mantenance Course" on the B407.

 

Having stated the above qualifications of just one pilot, I ask you, "Who do you want to do a RTS run up/flight? A private pilot with a third class medical? A Commercial Pilot with a first class medical? A CFI? My point is, after meeting legalities of FARs, much consideration should be given to "the knowledge and experience " of the person doing the RTS check! Do you want to get in the aircraft afterwards?

 

I am not stating that it must be someone as experienced as me but rather stimulating everyone to think about the planning, preparation and responsibility that goes along with RTS flights and having the correct mentality about accomplishing this if YOU are the pilot performing this function! What does the MM say to do?

 

Be Safe,

 

Mike

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Maintenance flights are basic Part 91 operations. A pilot with at least a private pilot certificate may perform maintenance check flights whether required or desired (FAR 91.407). To simplify these five situations you can break them into two groups, what can be done on a 2nd class medical vs. what can be done with a 3rd class medical.

 

I.) With a Commercial Certificate and 2nd class medical there's no problem performing under situations 1 thru 5. FAR 61.23(a)(2); 61.133(a)(1)

 

Note: A commercial pilot holding only a 3rd class medical can only exercise private pilot privileges; however, if also a CFI holder they may exercise CFI privileges. Moreover, a CFI holder can exercise CFI privileges without any medical at all if not acting as PIC. 61.23(a)(3)(i); 61.23(a)(3)(v); 61:23(a )(5)

 

There's not much of an upside for you holding a Commercial with CFI and walk around with a 3rd class medical. This was mostly a way of allowing older and experienced pilots the ability to remain flight instructors without having to meet the higher requirements of a 2nd class medical.

 

II.) With a 3rd class medical with either a commercial or private certificate, situations 1 thru 5 come down to whether you can comply with FAR 61.113(a or 61.113(b.

 

Issues of compensation and the operation being incidental to your business or employment become factors.

 

FAR 61.113

 

(a) Except as provided in paragraphs (b through (h) of this section, no person who holds a private pilot certificate may act as pilot in command of an aircraft that is carrying passengers or property for compensation or hire; nor may that person, for compensation or hire, act as pilot in command of an aircraft.

 

 

b ) A private pilot may, for compensation or hire, act as pilot in command of an aircraft in connection with any business or employment if:

 

(1) The flight is only incidental to that business or employment; and

 

(2) The aircraft does not carry passengers or property for compensation or hire.

 

 

Here's the problem, in situations 1 and 2 you need to deal with the compensation issue. In order to fall under 61.113(b the flight must be incidental to that business or employment. However, Joe's Flying Service runs a flight school and 135 charter operation.

 

It could be argued that maintenance flights in support of Joe's Flying Service's core commercial endeavor would be merely incidental to that business. Therefore, persons with only Private privileges who receive compensation for acting as pilot-in-command for such operations would fall under 61.113(b

 

Incidental:

 

Accompanying but not a major part of something; occurring by chance in connection with something else; liable to happen as a consequence of an activity; not occurring often.

 

The problem with situation 3 thru 5 is the appearance of compensation. However, situation 5 deals with a maintenance operation that may make the flight incidental of that operation.

 

The FAA's has a longstanding policy to define compensation in very broad terms: "Anything that can be considered as of value or goodwill." Even the accumulation of flight time, since there is value gained from such flight time, even if not logged.

 

The FAA wants to maintain a clear dividing line between Private and Commercial, but sometime it's not so clear.

 

FAA Legal Interpretations & Chief Counsel's Opinions:

 

http://www.faa.gov/a...2008/Murphy.pdf

 

http://www.faa.gov/a...s/2010/Grau.pdf

 

http://www.faa.gov/a...2010/Lamb-1.pdf

 

http://www.faa.gov/a...s/1997/Grau.rtf

 

http://www.faa.gov/about/office_org/headquarters_offices/agc/pol_adjudication/agc200/interpretations/data/interps/2010/Sommer.pdf

 

http://www.faa.gov/about/office_org/headquarters_offices/agc/pol_adjudication/agc200/interpretations/data/interps/2010/Perry.pdf

 

Edited by iChris
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If the said aircraft is on the 135 Certificate, the Certificate holders Ops Specs and GOM will mandate that anyone maintaining/flying the aircraft for Part 135 Ops or maintenace will be on an approved drug and alcohol testing program.

 

No private pilot or any company pilot not designated at least as PIC Qualified in that aircraft would be allowed to do a RTS flight!

 

It would not matter if the aircraft returned from a part 91 flight and maintenance was required, 135 requirements must be met at all times once the aircraft is listed on the certifcate.

 

Mike

Edited by Mikemv
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Chris- you did a great job going thru the different scenarios. I think my point was just when things start to get this gray, the FAA may have a stricter interpretation that you or I do.

 

So in any case, I feel you should just do things in a manner that is above question. We can't all agree what is the MINIMUM required but we all pretty much agree that a commercial pilot with a second class would be the "cleanest" and most compliant with various interpretations....so that's what I would want.

 

I just can't get past the compensation part...regardless of what other sections may say.

 

Can't remember who started this post, but it's a good review.

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If the said aircraft is on the 135 Certificate, the Certificate holders Ops Specs and GOM will mandate that anyone maintaining/flying the aircraft will be on an approved drug and alcohol testing program.

 

No private pilot or any company pilot not designated at least as PIC Qualified in that aircraft would be allowed to do a RTS flight!

 

It would not matter if the aircraft returned from a part 91 flight and maintenance was required, 135 requirements must be met at all times once the aircraft is listed on the certifcate.

 

Mike

 

Let's take a look at this situation, is that the case? Joe's Flight Service (JFS) runs a flight school (part 61/91 training) with two R22 Helicopters and a part 135 operation with an EC120.

 

Employed at JFS is John a 1,200 hour CFII (2nd class medical), currently not part 135 PIC qualified: however, John completed the EC120 factory course. Then there's Tom, the owner of the EC120. Tom is a 1,500 hour Private Pilot and has leased his EC120 back to JFS. The lease back agreement (FAA compliant) has given JFS full "Operational Control". In addition, neither John nor Tom are on the JFS approved drug and alcohol testing program.

 

Is it possible and within FAA rules (no waivers or exceptions) for John or Tom to fly and even perform RTS flights in the EC120, which is currently on a 135 certificate?

Edited by iChris
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iChris, my post that you quoted was all within the scope of part 135 Ops. Of course the aircraft could be flown by part 91 pilots but maintenance would be governed by part 135 Ops Specs and GOM. I have lived with this very situation as a 135 Director of Operations.

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iChris, my post that you quoted was all within the scope of part 135 Ops. Of course the aircraft could be flown by part 91 pilots but maintenance would be governed by part 135 Ops Specs and GOM. I have lived with this very situation as a 135 Director of Operations.

 

So Mike, of course, I understand you agree with the following:

 

1. John and Tom in the example would not need to be on any drug and alcohol program to fly the EC120 (they are not crewmembers or instructors on any 135 flight or any other type 135 operation, (FAR 120.105 & 120.215).

 

2. John and Tom (not currently 135 PIC approved) are qualified to sign-off an Return to Service (RTS) for the EC120 under FAR 91.407.

 

3. Part 91/135 maintenance requirements must be met; however, operating and pilot requirements allow John or Tom to fly under part 91.

 

Text from on-demand 135 Ops Spec, page A001-1 line (d)

 

d. The certificate holder is authorized to conduct flights under 14 CFR Part 91 for crewmember training, maintenance tests, ferrying, re-positioning, and the carriage of company officials using the applicable authorizations in these operations specifications, without obtaining a Letter of Authorization, provided the flights are not conducted for compensation or hire and no charge of any kind is made for the conduct of the flights.

 

Standard on-demand 135 Ops Spec

 

135.411 Applicability.

 

(a) This subpart prescribes rules in addition to those in other parts of this chapter for the maintenance, preventive maintenance, and alterations for each certificate holder as follows:

 

(1) Aircraft that are type certificated for a passenger seating configuration, excluding any pilot seat, of nine seats or less, shall be maintained under parts 91 and 43 of this chapter and §§135.415, 135.417, 135.421 and 135.422. An approved aircraft inspection program may be used under §135.419.

 

Quote:

 

"If the said aircraft is on the 135 Certificate, the Certificate holders Ops Specs and GOM will mandate that anyone maintaining/flying the aircraft will be on an approved drug and alcohol testing program.

 

No private pilot or any company pilot not designated at least as PIC Qualified in that aircraft would be allowed to do a RTS flight!

 

It would not matter if the aircraft returned from a part 91 flight and maintenance was required, 135 requirements must be met at all times once the aircraft is listed on the certificate."

Edited by iChris
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iChris, I went back and edited my first post referring to Part 135, maintenance, pilots, drug and alcohol testing, etc.

 

I do not agree with item #2. My Principle Maintenance Inspector (PMI) once explained to me that the intent of Part 135 is to protect the public for on demand charter ops and that the maintenance program of aircraft inspected and on the certificate must be performed by pilots and mechanics that are enrolled and tested in drug and alcohol programs. If a part 91 private pilot or commercial pilot not PIC qualified on the certificate could perform a RTS flight, how is the public protected and how does this meet and ensure for the general public that the RTS was performed adequately and with competence?

 

I know, I know, you quoted regs and I do not necessarily disagree with you but my PMI stated it is about the intent of the 135 theory of protection to comply in my stated manner. It does make sense to me! Actually, as DO, I never considered doing it any other way for both Safe Ops, liabilty protection and protection of the general public. Our DOM was a former FAA PMI.

 

I also want to state that iChris, you make some of the most informative and professional post on this Forum. There is much discussion here about black, white & grey areas of regs. I have learned that many areas when looked at by the FAA for Compliance or Violation come down to "Intent" and discussion with a pilot or operator.

 

Be Safe,

 

Mike

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iChris, I went back and edited my first post referring to Part 135, maintenance, pilots, drug and alcohol testing, etc.

 

I do not agree with item #2. My Principle Maintenance Inspector (PMI) once explained to me that the intent of Part 135 is to protect the public for on demand charter ops and that the maintenance program of aircraft inspected and on the certificate must be performed by pilots and mechanics that are enrolled and tested in drug and alcohol programs. If a part 91 private pilot or commercial pilot not PIC qualified on the certificate could perform a RTS flight, how is the public protected and how does this meet and ensure for the general public that the RTS was performed adequately and with competence?

 

I know, I know, you quoted regs and I do not necessarily disagree with you but my PMI stated it is about the intent of the 135 theory of protection to comply in my stated manner. It does make sense to me! Actually, as DO, I never considered doing it any other way for both Safe Ops, liabilty protection and protection of the general public. Our DOM was a former FAA PMI.

 

I also want to state that iChris, you make some of the most informative and professional post on this Forum. There is much discussion here about black, white & grey areas of regs. I have learned that many areas when looked at by the FAA for Compliance or Violation come down to "Intent" and discussion with a pilot or operator.

 

Be Safe,

 

Mike

 

Sir, that's correct. People like yourself who have been involved in these operations many years, sometimes like myself, may use terms somewhat loosely. However, between those who have been involved, we know the true meaning.

 

To clarify this, your A&P mechanic or Director of Maintenance, authorized in 43.7, is the person that legally signs-off the RTS. That is how part 135 maintenance integrity is maintained, as Mike's PMI explained.

 

The pilot is only performing a sometime required "operational check". He is technically not the person signing-off the RTS. So when we say the pilot did a RTS flight, you know what we really mean (the pilot completed an "operational check" and logged the flight in the maintenance log).

 

Please note some 135 operators may go beyond the minimum FAA requirements and require in their 135 manual (GOM) that the check pilot have defined (higher) levels of experience and training.

 

I have completed an operational flight check of the maintenance performed and/or alterations made as required by FAR 91.407(b ) All related flight characteristics, flight system operations, and system functions were normal with no problems found.

 

Signature___________________________________________

 

Certificate#_________________________________________

 

ACTT:_______________________ DATE:_______________

 

§ 91.407 Operation after maintenance, preventive maintenance, rebuilding, or alteration.

(a) No person may operate any aircraft that has undergone maintenance, preventive maintenance, rebuilding, or alteration unless—

 

(1) It has been approved for return to service by a person authorized under §43.7 of this chapter; and

 

(2) The maintenance record entry required by §43.9 or §43.11, as applicable, of this chapter has been made.

 

(b )No person may carry any person (other than crewmembers) in an aircraft that has been maintained, rebuilt, or altered in a manner that may have appreciably changed its flight characteristics or substantially affected its operation in flight until an appropriately rated pilot with at least a private pilot certificate flies the aircraft, makes an operational check of the maintenance performed or alteration made, and logs the flight in the aircraft records.

 

c. The aircraft does not have to be flown as required by paragraph (b ) of this section if, prior to flight, ground tests, inspection, or both show conclusively that the maintenance, preventive maintenance, rebuilding, or alteration has not appreciably changed the flight characteristics or substantially affected the flight operation of the aircraft.

 

Edited by iChris
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Actually, for 135 ops, a "Flight Ops" check is required after maintenance before the aircraft is returned to service. That is effectively the same as what I think Angel Fire meant by "Maintenance Flight". Well that's the we operate and how it was taught to me during my 135 training. For part 91 ops, maybe not. I'm definitely no expert on the subject. For me FAR's are a necessary evil that I have to force myself to digest!

 

 

apiaguy

"My real beef comes because a maintenance flight is NOT REQUIRED to return an aircraft to service! It might be a good idea to do a test flight to see that everything functions normally and obviously necessary for track and balance... BUT!!... The aircraft MUST have the records in order and signed BEFORE the test flight saying that is in an airworthy condition or you have busted the FAR's."

 

 

Actually, apiaguy is right. The sign-off needs to be completed first, before any flight, per 91.407(a). Otherwise you're afoul 91.7.

 

Many are guilty of this because that's the way it's normally done. Maintenance completes the work on the helicopter and then the pilot takes the ship up for the checkout. After landing everything is normally working fine. Sometime before the end of the day, maintenance finally gets around to completing the sign-offs and paperwork. No harm no foul.

 

This happen to a pilot that picked up a S300 from a repair shop after an engine overhaul. The pilot said a shop mechanic told him he would return the maintenance logs in the morning. On the flight back home the pilot experienced an engine failure. The auto ended in a rollover. After hearing the news the repair shop refused to sign-off the work after the fact. The shop said the mechanic that the pilot talked to had not done the work and had only advised the pilot he would check on the logbooks the next day. The mechanic also said he never told the pilot the helicopter was ready for return-to-service. The pilot received a 90-day suspension for violating 91.7.

 

91.407 Operation after maintenance, preventive maintenance, rebuilding, or alteration.

 

(a) No person may operate any aircraft that has undergone maintenance, preventive maintenance, rebuilding, or alteration unless—

 

(1) It has been approved for return to service by a person authorized under §43.7 of this chapter; and

 

(2) The maintenance record entry required by §43.9 or §43.11, as applicable, of this chapter has been made.

 

 

91.7 Civil aircraft airworthiness.

 

a) No person may operate a civil aircraft unless it is in an airworthy condition.

 

b The pilot in command of a civil aircraft is responsible for determining whether that aircraft is in condition for safe flight. The pilot in command shall discontinue the flight when unairworthy mechanical, electrical, or structural conditions occur.

Edited by iChris
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Part 91 and Part 135 are not the same. You can do lots of things under Part 91 that you can't do under Part 135. Most Part 135 operators have an AAIP (Approved Aircraft Inspection Program) which governs their maintenance operations. Operational check flight requirements are generally spelled out there, and specify when a flight is required, who can do it, and how it will be done. The ones I've dealt with require a certificated mechanic to sign off the work, and a pilot on the 135 certificate to return the aircraft to service after the flight, assuming it's a light aircraft. Transport category aircraft, 10 or more passenger seats, are different, and the pilot can't return it to service; he can just sign off the flight, stating 'no faults noted' or similar, and then an A&P makes another entry to return it to service. Some small operations may not use an AAIP, but all larger operators I know of do, and will almost certainly require a pilot with a commercial license, on the 135 certificate, to do the check flight. The requirements of Part 91 must be complied with, but those are only a bare minimum, and Part 135 operators have to comply with more restrictive requirements. I've known of operators being fined large amounts for not doing operational check flights properly, even for not doing the documentation correctly, and I've known of certificate action against pilots for maintenance check flight discrepancies, either incorrect logbook entries or not doing the flight at all. The Part 91 quotes are fine, but they apply to Part 91 operations, not Part 135. You had better be very meticulous with Part 135 documentation, because the FAA can make things very unpleasant for you if you make mistakes.

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Gomer... you stated 2 DIFFERENT ways above... I'd like someone with a part 135 cert. to check their manual to confirm the proper way..

 

Your first way said:

"The ones I've dealt with require a certificated mechanic to sign off the work, and a pilot on the 135 certificate to return the aircraft to service after the flight, assuming it's a light aircraft."

 

2nd:

"Transport category aircraft, 10 or more passenger seats, are different, and the pilot can't return it to service; he can just sign off the flight, stating 'no faults noted' or similar, and then an A&P makes another entry to return it to service."

 

 

What I'd specifically like to know is weather the mechanic MUST sign the work done BEFORE the pilot flies and signs the "no faults" RTS statement. (mechanic signs before the test flight)(cannot fly first then all signing after)

That is the way I understand it regardless of part 91 or 135... so any of you 135 guys let me hear the exact quote in the book.

Edited by apiaguy
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Gomer... you stated 2 DIFFERENT ways above... I'd like someone with a part 135 cert. to check their manual to confirm the proper way..

 

Your first way said:

"The ones I've dealt with require a certificated mechanic to sign off the work, and a pilot on the 135 certificate to return the aircraft to service after the flight, assuming it's a light aircraft."

 

2nd:

"Transport category aircraft, 10 or more passenger seats, are different, and the pilot can't return it to service; he can just sign off the flight, stating 'no faults noted' or similar, and then an A&P makes another entry to return it to service."

 

 

What I'd specifically like to know is weather the mechanic MUST sign the work done BEFORE the pilot flies and signs the "no faults" RTS statement. (mechanic signs before the test flight)(cannot fly first then all signing after)

That is the way I understand it regardless of part 91 or 135... so any of you 135 guys let me hear the exact quote in the book.

It's the same for both categories, in that a certificated mechanic has to sign off the work before the check flight. The difference is that for transport category, there are 3 entries required - mechanic signoff of work, pilot signoff of check flight, then (same or another) mechanic signoff of return to service. For a light aircraft, it's just two signoffs, mechanic signs work performed, pilot returns it to service. Someone has to sign off any work performed, before a flight can be made. A pilot can sign off some work, as long as it's permitted by the AAIP. It's common for a pilot to be allowed to change light bulbs, add oil, check chip detectors, etc, but he has to be trained to do it, and the training documented. Those items don't require an operational check flight, of course. For anything that would require a check flight, a mechanic must always sign off the work before the flight, but a pilot has to sign off the flight before the aircraft can be returned to Part 135 service. It's possible to do multiple track and balance flights without a logbook entry for each, as long as the AAIP allows it and the work and flights are documented on a separate track/balance document. If that isn't specifically spelled out in the AAIP, you have to have an entry for every adjustment and every flight. People have gotten themselves into trouble on this, and probably will continue to.
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that's what I'm trying to make clear here that many operators/mechanics fail to properly record... The maintenance sign off BEFORE the test flight (weather such test flight is required or not)... even for track and balance (if occuring after maintenance)... if you work on the helicopter it must be documented and signed off before you can do the test or track and balance work.

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The requirements of Part 91 must be complied with, but those are only a bare minimum, and Part 135 operators have to comply with more restrictive requirements. I've known of operators being fined large amounts for not doing operational check flights properly, even for not doing the documentation correctly, and I've known of certificate action against pilots for maintenance check flight discrepancies, either incorrect logbook entries or not doing the flight at all. The Part 91 quotes are fine, but they apply to Part 91 operations, not Part 135. You had better be very meticulous with Part 135 documentation, because the FAA can make things very unpleasant for you if you make mistakes.

 

This is one of the most incorrect statements that could be made. Unfortunately, it is one I hear far to often, that part 91 rules don't apply to 135 operations. Lets take a look at that.

 

1. Since we're talking about part 135 maintenance, let's start with 135.411. FAR 135.411 state that these are rules in addition to those in other parts of this chapter. When we look at the FAR layout we find both part 91 and part 135 are under the same chapter. Part 91 is under title 14, chapters I, subchapter F. Part 135 is under title 14, chapter I, subchapter G.

 

2. When you look at 135.411a) 1) it tells you that part 91 dose in fact apply to the maintenance of 135 aircraft.

 

3. When we look at the applicability of part 91 (FAR 91.1) it states it applies to the operation of aircraft within the U.S.

 

4. Even when we look at FAR 135.419 the Approved Aircraft Inspection Program (AAIP) rule, it states that a part 91 inspection program is allowed for 135 aircraft. The AAIP is an additional program used when deemed necessary by the FAA or requested by the certificate holder.

 

5. The AAIP is used in lieu of the aircraft inspection requirements of 14 CFR § 91.409. However, it does not supersede other requirements of part 91, such as the altimeter system tests and equipment check. An AAIP can include additional maintenance requirements specified by 14 CFR § 135.421, repetitive Airworthiness Directives (AD) compliance, Airworthiness Limitation Items, and life-limited part retirement times, but the AAIP cannot override or alter Airworthiness Limitation Items, or AD or life-limited requirements. {8900.1 3-3733 B} http://fsims.faa.gov...525734F007665F1

 

135.411 Applicability.

 

(a) This subpart prescribes rules in addition to those in other parts of this chapter for the maintenance, preventive maintenance, and alterations for each certificate holder as follows:

 

(1) Aircraft that are type certificated for a passenger seating configuration, excluding any pilot seat, of nine seats or less, shall be maintained under parts 91 and 43 of this chapter and §§135.415, 135.417, 135.421 and 135.422. An approved aircraft inspection program may be used under §135.419.

 

91.1 Applicability.

 

(a) Except as provided in paragraphs b and c) of this section and §§91.701 and 91.703, this part prescribes rules governing the operation of aircraft (other than moored balloons, kites, unmanned rockets, and unmanned free balloons, which are governed by part 101 of this chapter, and ultralight vehicles operated in accordance with part 103 of this chapter) within the United States, including the waters within 3 nautical miles of the U.S. coast.

 

135.419 Approved aircraft inspection program.

 

(a) Whenever the Administrator finds that the aircraft inspections required or allowed under part 91 of this chapter are not adequate to meet this part, or upon application by a certificate holder, the Administrator may amend the certificate holder's operations specifications under §119.51, to require or allow an approved aircraft inspection program for any make and model aircraft of which the certificate holder has the exclusive use of at least one aircraft (as defined in §135.25 b.

 

TITLE 14 LAYOUT

Edited by iChris
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