3/17/15

 

8900.1 CHG 382

Volume 3  GENERAL TECHNICAL ADMINISTRATION

Indicates new/changed information.

Chapter 19  TRAINING PROGRAMS AND AIRMAN QUALIFICATIONS

Section 13  Pilot in Command: Line Checks: Routes and Airports for Parts 121 and 135 (PTRS Code 1544)

3-19-13-1    GENERAL. This section contains direction and guidance for inspectors to use while conducting line checks required by Title 14 of the Code of Federal Regulations (14 CFR) part 121, § 121.440 or part 135, § 135.299.

A.    Line Checks. Line checks are necessary to test the pilot’s ability to operate in the National Airspace System (NAS), coordinate with the ground operations at airports used by the operator, and ensure the pilot’s compliance with company procedures and operations.

B.    Responsibility. The operator and the pilot are jointly responsible for ensuring that the pilot has completed a line check within the preceding 12 calendar-months, before the pilot serves as pilot in command (PIC). An authorized company check pilot or a qualified Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Operations aviation safety inspector (ASI) may conduct line checks. Typically, an ASI conducts line checks for operators who do not have authorized check pilots, such as a part 135 single pilot, single PIC, or basic operator. An ASI may also need to conduct a check for a 9 or less or a 10 or more operator that does not have a qualified check airman. An ASI may also need to conduct a line check when a new type of aircraft is being introduced into either part 121 or part 135 service. ASIs should become familiar with the type of aircraft that they will conduct a check in, before administering checks in a given aircraft.

3-19-13-3    SPECIFIC LINE CHECK INSPECTION PRACTICES AND PROCEDURES.

A.    FAA ASI (Operations) Qualifications. Office management should ensure that the ASI conducting the line check is qualified in accordance with the current edition of FAA Order 4040.9, FAA Aircraft Management Program, and the Flight Program Division (AFS-60) Flight Operations Manual (FOM).

B.    FAA ASIs (Operations). ASIs (Operations) must:

1)    For Part 121:
a)    Hold an airline transport pilot (ATP) Certificate with the appropriate category and class ratings for the aircraft in which the line check is being conducted;
b)    Hold the appropriate type rating if conducting an initial, transition, or upgrade line check (a type rating is not required to conduct a recurrent line check); and,
c)    Meet the specific requirements of the Flight Standards Service (AFS), Flight Program FOM, required by Order 4040.9.
2)    For Part 135:
a)    Hold either a Commercial Pilot Certificate (with an instrument rating) or an ATP Certificate with the appropriate category and class ratings for the aircraft in which the line check is being conducted;
b)    Hold the appropriate type rating if conducting an initial, transition, or upgrade line check (a type rating is not required to conduct a recurrent line check); and,
c)    Meet the specific requirements of the AFS, Flight Program FOM, required by Order 4040.9.

C.    ASI Preparation. ASIs should become familiar with the operator’s procedures before conducting the line check. An ASI should review the operator’s standard operating procedures (SOP), checklists, manuals, training program, and operations specifications (OpSpecs), as applicable. An ASI may also need to consult with the operator’s principal operations inspector (POI) prior to conducting the line check to discuss any areas of specific emphasis.

D.    Route and Duration of Line Checks.

1)    Number of Flight Segments. The ASI must observe at least one flight segment, including a takeoff and landing that allows the ASI to observe the PIC perform the duties and responsibilities associated with the conduct of a revenue flight. It may be desirable to have the PIC fly two flight segments or to perform the duties as pilot monitoring (PM) during a second segment while the second in command (SIC) performs the duties of the pilot flying (PF).
2)    Route. The flight segment must:
a)    For part 121 domestic and flag operations, be flown over a typical part of the certificate holder’s route, over a foreign or Federal airway, or over a direct route.
b)    For part 121 supplemental operations, be flown over a part of a Federal airway, foreign airway, or advisory route to which the pilot may be assigned.
c)    For part 135 pilots authorized to conduct instrument flight rules (IFR) operations, be flown over a civil airway, an approved off-airway route, or a portion of either.

E.    Rotorcraft Operations.

1)    Some helicopter operations, such as air tour operators, may have established specific, preapproved routes established for the safe conduct of flight. If an approved route exists, ASIs should periodically evaluate the operator’s adherence to the approved route(s).
2)    Helicopters often operate under visual flight rules (VFR), and may not fly defined routes, airways or operate into airports. Landing Zones (LZ) vary in configuration; some are elevated, some may be unlighted, others may be collocated at hospitals. In an effort to ensure regulatory compliance with § 135.299, and that the appropriate observation is conducted, ASIs are encouraged to collaborate with the operator to define what an ‘area’ may consist of, in an effort to help ensure continued operational safety, and that the operator has adequate procedures for maintaining currency, as required by § 135.299(c). Examples consist of mountainous versus non‑mountainous terrain, over-water operations, and areas that are prone to whiteouts from snow or sand, or other types of obscurations that are induced through normal helicopter operations. For part 135 operators, ASIs should make an effort to vary the routes flown from year to year, without causing undue burden to the operator.

F.    ASI Seating Location. For aircraft with one or more observer’s seats, the ASI must sit in the forward observer’s seat with a headset or speaker. For aircraft without an observer’s seat, the ASI must sit in the forward passenger seat with a headset or speaker.

G.    Conduct of Line Checks. A line check differs from a proficiency or competency check in that the inspector is not required to conduct a knowledge exam with the applicant that consists of specific questions about aircraft systems. However, in the normal course of interacting with the pilot or crewmembers, questions pertaining to the route of flight and airworthiness status of the aircraft, as well as questions on OpSpecs, Weight and Balance (W&B), and weather, are examples of reasonable questions that an ASI could ask before administering the line check; these are typical of normal flying. It is realistic to expect the crew to have performed all of the standard preflight procedures normally associated with a typical revenue flight, and they should make those documents available for review if requested.

NOTE:  If an ASI suspects a knowledge deficiency, the ASI should discuss his or her concerns with the operator, discontinue the evaluation if necessary, and contact the Flight Standards District Office (FSDO) manager. ASIs must only conduct the type of evaluation that the operator and ASI have planned for, in accordance with the associated Program Tracking and Reporting Subsystem (PTRS) function or necessary regulatory function. For unsatisfactory part 121 line checks, contact the POI or appropriate aircrew program manager (APM).

H.    Internal Areas to Observe. Areas within the aviation system that are internal to the operator and are observable during the line check may consist of the following:

·    Crewmembers;

·    Operator manuals and checklists;

·    Use of minimum equipment lists (MEL), and Configuration Deviation Lists (CDL);

·    Operational control functions (flight locating or flight following);

·    Use of checklists, approved and accepted procedures, if applicable, and safe operating practices;

·    Crew coordination/crew resource management (CRM);

·    Cabin safety;

·    Aircraft condition and servicing;

·    Training program effectiveness;

·    Weather analysis;

·    Airplane Performance; and

·    W&B procedures.

I.     External Areas to Observe. Areas within the aviation system that are external to the operator and are observable during the line check may consist of the following:

·    Airport/heliport surface areas;

·    Ramp activities;

·    Airport construction and condition;

·    Aircraft movements;

·    Air traffic control (ATC) and airway facilities;

·    ATC and airspace procedures;

·    Instrument approach procedures (IAP);

·    Departure procedures (DP);

·    Standard Terminal Arrival Routes (STAR);

·    Navigational Aids (NAVAIDS) and communications; and

·    For Helicopter Air Ambulance (HAA) operators, evaluations for off airport/helipad landing sites, ensuring that the evaluations take into account OpSpec A021, as appropriate.

J.    Line Check Conducted in Conjunction with Another Type of Check. In certain part 135 operations, it may not be practical to conduct a line check during an actual revenue operation. In these cases, the POI may authorize conducting the line check in conjunction with the competency check. If the line check is conducted in this manner, the line check portion must meet the requirements in this section, and, the competency check must meet the requirements specified in Volume 3, Chapter 19, Section 7.

K.    Debriefing. After completion of the flight, the ASI must notify the PIC of the results. Time permitting, the ASI should debrief the crew, and provide constructive feedback based on the roles each crewmember served in, i.e., if the PIC also performed PM duties. The ASI is required to comment on any procedure believed to be deficient or unsafe. The ASI must use discretion when debriefing crewmembers or commenting about procedures that were approved or accepted by the FAA.

L.    Documentation. The ASI must record the completed line check using FAA Form 8410‑3, Airman Competency/Proficiency Check, or in accordance with the operator’s procedures, as applicable. Inspectors are not required to keep copies of these forms, but ASIs are required to record this activity in PTRS, as the PTRS entry serves as the official FAA record, if PTRS is applicable for recording this check.

M.   Satisfactory Line Check. If the ASI determines the pilot satisfactorily performed the duties and responsibilities of a PIC, the ASI must certify the satisfactory performance on FAA Form 8410‑3 or in accordance with the operator’s procedures, as applicable.

N.    Unsatisfactory Line Check. If the ASI determines the pilot did not satisfactorily perform the duties and responsibilities of a PIC, the ASI must notify the applicant as well as the operator. For part 121 operations, the line check should be recorded in accordance with the procedures established between the operator and PI. The ASI must also make a PTRS entry detailing the area(s) of unsatisfactory performance. The ASI should also remind the operator and the pilot that the pilot is no longer qualified to perform any operations under the applicable operating part until the pilot satisfactorily completes a line check. For unsatisfactory part 121 line checks, contact the POI or appropriate APM.

O.    PTRS Input. The ASI must record the line check in PTRS using the following activity codes, including relevant comments:

1)    Use PTRS code 1544 for a § 121.440 line check.
2)    Use PTRS code 1544 for a § 135.299 line check, not in conjunction with another check.
3)    Use PTRS codes 1541 or 1543, and 1544 for a § 135.299 line check conducted in conjunction with a § 135.293 or § 135.297 check.

NOTE:  For part 135 operations, assuming the airman required a Comp Check (1541) or Prof Check (1543), before receiving a line check (1544), the ASI must make separate PTRS entries reflecting what tasks were accomplished. A (1543) does not properly reflect a line check (1544), and must not be used to account for a line check. Only a (1544) may be used to record that a line check was conducted.

NOTE:  For part 135 operations, anytime an ASI administers a line check, there must be a PTRS entry of (1544), shown for the day he or she accomplished the line check. Not only does this accurately reflect what check was accomplished, but it aids the ASI in deciphering National Program Tracking and Reporting Subsystem (NPTRS) entries for purposes of determining qualifications for 14 CFR part 119 positions, if applicable.

RESERVED. Paragraphs 3-19-13-5 through 3-19-13-21.