8900.1 CHG 531

VOLUME 3  General technical administration


Section 10  Safety Assurance System: Evaluate a Maintenance Manual/Revision for a Part 135, § 135.411(a)(1) Program

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3-3351    REPORTING SYSTEM(S). Use Safety Assurance System (SAS) automation and the associated Data Collection Tools (DCT).

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3-3352    OBJECTIVE. Title 14 of the Code of Federal Regulations (14 CFR) part 135, § 135.21(a) requires each certificate holder, other than one who uses only one pilot in the certificate holder’s operations, to prepare and keep current a manual setting forth the certificate holder’s procedures and policies acceptable to the Administrator. This section provides guidance for evaluating a certificate holder/applicant’s manual or revision to ensure that policies, procedures, and technical criteria meet regulatory requirements. This section applies to part 135 certificate holders who maintain their aircraft under § 135.411(a)(1) only.

3-3353    GENERAL.

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A.    General Considerations. The manual should enable the certificate holder/applicant’s maintenance and servicing personnel to carry out their duties at a high level of safety. The complexity of the manual will vary with the complexity of the operation. The manual must cover specific items in accordance with 14 CFR, but may include additional items at the discretion of the certificate holder/applicant. A manual is therefore accepted rather than approved.

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B.    Manual Acceptance. Manual acceptance can cause a delay in the certification process. If the certificate holder/applicant does not have experienced and qualified personnel to prepare an acceptable manual, using a consultant may be appropriate. A consultant can be used in an advisory position only. After the review, the manual must be returned to the certificate holder/applicant with a list of any discrepancies found. The certificate holder/applicant must be informed that final certification will not be completed until discrepancies are corrected. Aviation safety inspectors (ASI) should be concerned primarily with ensuring regulatory compliance.

C.    Debrief Certificate Holder/Applicant.

1)    If discrepancies were noted, notify the certificate holder/applicant to resolve them.
2)    If acceptance of a certificate holder’s manual is to be accomplished, there are various means to include, but not limited to, a letter to the certificate holder or by taking no action. By taking no action, this indicates that there is no FAA objection to the proposal.


A.    Manual’s Purpose. The manual is an administrative tool used to control and direct personnel. It should define all aspects of the maintenance operation, including organizational structure.

B.    Manual’s Content. The manual should include detailed instructions or specific references for accomplishing inspection and maintenance functions, ground and flight operational check requirements, and other subjects as applicable. It should also include forms, instructions, and references for recurring nonroutine requirements, such as engine changes and inspections following abnormal occurrences (hard landings, lightning strikes, severe turbulence, high brake energy stops, etc.).

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C.    Technical Manuals. Manufacturers’ technical manuals provide instructions for accomplishing specific tasks. These documents also establish methods, technical standards, measurements, and operational test procedures. The policy and procedures section of the certificate holder’s manual must describe areas of application for the pertinent technical documents.

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D.    Manual Sections. The following is a list of examples of manual sections and titles the certificate holder may use:

    General policy and procedures,

    Inspection procedures,

    Maintenance procedures,





    Structural repair,

    Manufacturers or vendors,

    Weight and Balance (W&B) control, and


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E.    Revisions. Manuals should be easy to revise and show the date of last revision on each page. The manuals should have a page control system showing the number of pages and including the latest revision. The page control system is usually identified as a list of effective pages.

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F.    Responsibility for Manual. The certificate holder/applicant is responsible for ensuring that their manuals contain adequate guidance to meet all regulatory requirements. The certificate holder/applicant must understand and accept this responsibility early in the certification process.

3-3355    COORDINATION REQUIREMENTS. This task requires close coordination between principal maintenance, avionics, and in some areas, operations inspectors.


A.    References:

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    Title 14 CFR Parts 43, 91, and 135;

    Title 49 of the Code of Federal Regulations (49 CFR) Part 173; and

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    Volume 10, Safety Assurance System Policy and Procedures.

B.    Forms. None.

C.    Job Aids. None.

3-3357    PROCEDURES.

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A.    Brief Certificate Holder/Applicant. Provide the certificate holder/applicant with policies and regulatory requirements. Schedule and conduct a preliminary meeting, if necessary.

B.    Review Schedule of Events (SOE). If this task is to be performed as part of an original certification, review the SOE to ensure that the task can be accomplished on schedule.

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C.    Evaluate General Manual (GM) Requirements and Content. Ensure that the certificate holder/applicant’s policies and procedures manual includes procedures, levels of authority, and information appropriate to part 135.

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1)    Certificate Holder Philosophy and Goals. The manual should include a description introducing the certificate holder’s philosophy and goals. If the manual is in more than one volume, it should describe the division of contents between the volumes. The manual should also contain a list of effective dates.
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2)    Manual Revision and Distribution. The manual must describe the revision control procedures and how the distribution of manuals will be controlled (refer to § 135.21). The certificate holder’s procedures are required to provide current information to all manual holders. The manual should include provisions to make it available to maintenance and ground personnel, and to furnish a copy to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) certificate-holding district office (CHDO) per § 135.21. Manuals should be easy to revise and have the date of the latest revision on each page. The manuals should have a page control system that shows the number of pages and ensures that the latest revision is included. The page control system is usually identified as a list of effective pages (refer to § 135.23). The manual should detail requirements to carry the appropriate parts of the manual on the aircraft, if applicable, as required by § 135.21.
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3)    Terms, Acronyms, or Abbreviations. Significant terms, acronyms, or abbreviations unique to the manual should be defined. Common industry terms do not need to be defined if the common meaning is intended. Terms clearly defined in the text do not need to be included.
4)    Organizational Elements. The names of all management personnel authorized to sign applicable operations specifications (OpSpecs) and act on behalf of the certificate holder/applicant per 14 CFR part 119, § 119.69(a) and § 135.23(a), to include:

    The person’s assigned area of responsibility,

    The person’s duties,

    The person’s responsibilities,

    The person’s authority, and

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    The name and title of each person authorized to exercise operational control under § 135.77.

5)    Training. A description of training for maintenance personnel and procedures on how it will be carried out, if applicable.
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6)    Aircraft Maintenance Logbook. Procedures that would ensure that an adequate number of pages be retained in the aircraft maintenance logbook (or equivalent document). This would alert the flightcrews of any routine and nonroutine maintenance performed since the last flight.
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7)    W&B Limitations. Procedures to ensure compliance with aircraft W&B limitations, and for multiengine aircraft, for determining compliance with § 135.185 (refer to § 135.23(b)).
8)    Accident Notification. Procedures for complying with accident notification requirements.
9)    OpSpecs. Copies of OpSpecs, as appropriate, that are normally included in the manual. The certificate holder may decide, however, to insert pertinent excerpts of its OpSpecs or reference the OpSpecs in such a manner that they retain their identity (refer to § 135.23(c)).
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10)    Return to Service. Procedures for ensuring the pilot in command (PIC) knows that required airworthiness inspections have been made and that the aircraft has been approved for return to service in compliance with applicable maintenance requirements.
11)    Mechanical Irregularities. Procedures for reporting and recording mechanical irregularities that comes to the attention of the PIC before, during, and after completion of a flight. The procedures should include:
a)    Recording actions in the aircraft maintenance log (refer to § 135.65).
b)    Ensuring the aircraft maintenance log is readily accessible to each flightcrew member (refer to § 135.65).
c)    Minimum equipment list (MEL) (refer to §§ 135.21 and 135.179).
d)    MEL placard system.
e)    Deferred maintenance.
f)    Maintenance record entry requirements in the maintenance section of the manual.
g)    Providing a copy to the PIC.
h)    Providing a list of required maintenance related forms and the requirements for preparation.
i)    Distributing required reports and forms (refer to §§ 135.415 and 135.417).
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j)    Flight operational check requirements and limitations, including the following:

    Items requiring flight operational check; and

    Procedures for performing flight operational checks.

12)    PIC to Obtain Maintenance. Procedures to be followed by the PIC to obtain maintenance, preventive maintenance, and servicing of the aircraft at a place where previous arrangements have not been made by the certificate holder, when the pilot is authorized to so act for the certificate holder.
13)    MEL/Configuration Deviation List (CDL). Procedures, policies, instructions, and controls for the use of the MEL and CDL, if applicable. This includes the release or continuation of flight if any item of equipment required for the particular type of operation becomes inoperative or unserviceable en route.
14)    Refueling. Procedures for refueling aircraft, eliminating fuel contamination, protecting from fire (including electrostatic protection), and supervising and protecting passengers during refueling (refer to § 135.23(j)).
15)    Special Flight Permit. Procedures the certificate holder will follow, as appropriate, for an aircraft that may not currently meet applicable airworthiness requirements, but is capable of safe flight for purposes identified in 14 CFR part 21, § 21.197(a).
16)    Required Reports. Per § 135.415 and § 135.417, the certificate holder must have procedures for:
a)    Reporting the occurrence or detection of each failure, malfunction, or defect in an aircraft in accordance with § 135.415 Service Difficulty Reports (SDR).
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b)    Reporting each interruption to a flight, unscheduled change of aircraft en route, or unscheduled stop or diversion from a route caused by known or suspected mechanical difficulties (Mechanical Interruption Summary Report (MISR)).
17)    Maintenance and Inspection Programs. Per § 135.411(a)(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.” Section 135.421(a) states that “each certificate holder who operates an aircraft type certificated for a passenger seating configuration, excluding any pilot seat, of nine seats or less, must comply with the manufacturer’s recommended maintenance programs, or a program approved by the Administrator, for each aircraft engine, propeller, rotor, and each item of emergency equipment required by this chapter.” The certificate holder should identify what maintenance and inspection program they will use for each aircraft they operate. The certificate holder’s program should identify the who, what, when, where, and how of these maintenance and inspection functions and details should be described in their manual. Examples include, but are not limited to, the use of the following:

    An Approved Aircraft Inspection Program (AAIP) per § 135.419.

    Annual/100-hour inspection program per part 91, § 91.409(a)(1).

    Progressive inspection program per § 91.409(d).

    Manufacturer’s recommended inspection and maintenance program per §§ 91.409(f)(3) and 135.421.

18)    Other Procedures. The certificate holder may have procedures for the following, as appropriate:

    Parking aircraft in high winds;

    Short-term storage;

    Long-term storage;

    Seasonal operation;

    Removing ice and snow from aircraft;


    Emergency procedures;

    Run-up/taxi personnel authorizations;

    Aircraft ground run-up;

    Taxiing aircraft;

    Ramp signals and procedures;

    Jacking, lifting, and hoisting;

    Use of landing gear down locks;

    Use of external gust locks;

    Aircraft cleaning, including materials used for cleaning and flame-proofing materials after dry cleaning;

    Engine change;

    Propeller change;

    Cylinder change;

    Engine and propeller overspeed;

    High oil consumption;

    Oil leaks;

    Engine and propeller troubleshooting; and

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    Oxygen and nitrogen servicing and storage.

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3-3358    TASK OUTCOMES.

A.    Document the Task. Use SAS automation and the associated DCTs.

B.    Analyze Results. Follow SAS guidance for Module 5.

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C.    Debrief Certificate Holder/Applicant. If discrepancies were noted, notify the certificate holder/applicant to resolve them.

3-3359    FUTURE ACTIVITIES. Follow SAS guidance in planning future risk-based surveillance in SAS.

RESERVED. Paragraphs 3-3360 through 3-3375.