8900.1 CHG 431


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Section 1  CDL

4-621    GENERAL.

A.    Purpose. This section establishes the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) requirements for oversight of an operator’s use of an FAA-approved Configuration Deviation List (CDL) as applicable to operations conducted under Title 14 of the Code of Federal Regulations (14 CFR) parts 91, 91 subpart K (part 91K), 121, 125, 129, 135, and 142.

NOTE:  All regulatory references in this section are found in 14 CFR unless otherwise indicated.

B.    Scope. This section applies to all parts 91, 91K, 121, 125, 129, 135, and 142 operators and part 125 Letter of Deviation Authority (LODA) holders utilizing aircraft with an approved CDL.

1)    Part 129 Foreign Air Carriers or Foreign Persons.Part 129 references within this section apply only to part 129 operations conducted by a foreign air carrier or foreign person using U.S.-registered aircraft in accordance with part 129, § 129.14 (refer to § 129.14 and see Volume 12, Chapter 2, Section 10 and Volume 12, Chapter 3, Section 2).
2)    Part 142 Training Centers. Part 142 training centers utilizing aircraft as part of their training programs.

C.    Terminology Used in This Section.

1)    Operator. Unless otherwise noted, the term “operator” in this section applies to an aircraft owner or aircraft operator conducting part 91 operations, a program manager conducting part 91K operations, a certificate holder conducting part 121, 125, or 135 operations, a LODA holder conducting part 125 operations, and a foreign air carrier or foreign person conducting operations in accordance with § 129.14. This section uses the singular term “operator” for simplicity.
2)    Flight Standards (AFS) Field Office. The use of the term “AFS field office” in this section refers to an FAA AFS certificate management office (CMO), Flight Standards District Office (FSDO), or certificate-holding district office (CHDO), as appropriate.


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A.    Program Tracking and Reporting Subsystem (PTRS) Activity Codes (Part 91K, 125, 129, and 142 only). The PTRS Work Activity Pocket Guide can be downloaded from the following Web site: http://efsas.avs.faa.gov/default.aspx. There is no PTRS activity code specifically assigned to CDL. The review of deferred CDL items should be captured through ramp, en route, and record inspection PTRS activity codes:

1)    Operations: 1622, 1624, 1627, 1628, 1638, and 1661.
2)    Maintenance: 3623, 3627, 3629, and 3634.
3)    Avionics: 5627, 5629, and 5634.

B.    Activities Recorded in the Safety Assurance System (SAS) (Part 121 and 135 Only).

1)    Operations:
a)    System/Subsystem Performance (SP) Data Collection Tool (DCT) 3.3 Flight Planning and Monitoring.
b)    Element Performance (EP) and Element Design (ED) DCT 3.3.4 MEL/CDL/NEF Procedures.
2)    Airworthiness:
a)    SP DCT 4.3 Maintenance Operations.
b)    EP and ED DCT 4.3.3 MEL/CDL/NEF and Other Deferred Maintenance.

NOTE:  Never enter the same data into SAS and PTRS.

4-623    BACKGROUND.

A.    Historical. The CDL evolved over several years from what was commonly known as a “missing parts list,” which was a list of non-structural external parts of an airplane that were found missing after flight. The missing parts list is known today as the CDL.

B.    Role of the CDL. The CDL plays an important role in the operator’s ability to safely continue flight operations. It is a list of externally exposed aircraft parts that may be missing for flight while the aircraft remains Airworthy. CDLs are developed by aircraft manufacturers, approved by the FAA, and tailored for each model aircraft.

C.    Which Aircraft Has a CDL. A CDL is developed for most U.S.-built transport 14 CFR part 25 aircraft and many 14 CFR part 23 aircraft by aircraft manufacturers during the initial certification process. However, they are not a required element for aircraft certification. The manufacturer makes the decision to develop or not to develop a CDL. If deemed necessary, the aircraft manufacturer develops a proposed CDL and submits it to the responsible Aircraft Certification Office (ACO). The ACO reviews, evaluates, conducts the required testing, and coordinates with the appropriate Aircraft Evaluation Group (AEG), if needed, to resolve any problems and/or discrepancies. Final evaluation and FAA approval of a CDL is a function of the ACO.

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1)    U.S.-Manufactured Aircraft. For U.S.-manufactured airplanes, once the CDL is FAA‑approved, it is either:
a)    Incorporated into the limitations section of the Airplane Flight Manual (AFM) as an appendix; or
b)    Published as a supplement to the AFM.
2)    Aircraft Manufactured Outside the U.S. For airplanes manufactured outside the U.S., the CDL may be a standalone document that is part of the Structural Repair Manual (SRM) or other manufacturer’s document.

D.    What the Aviation Safety Inspector (ASI) Must Know. For effective oversight and surveillance of CDL use, the ASI must:

·    Be familiar with a CDL and how it is used by an operator;

·    Know where to access current FAA-approved CDLs for specific model aircraft; and

·    Monitor the operator for proper application of fuel and performance penalties, procedures, and/or restrictions and limitations while conducting flight operations utilizing the CDL.

1)    Operator Limitations. The operator may make their CDL more restrictive than the FAA‑approved CDL (e.g., by increasing fuel and/or performance penalties, adding additional limitations and/or restrictions). Under no circumstances may their CDL be less restrictive than the FAA-approved CDL.
2)    Operator’s Manual. The FAA-approved CDL must be part of the operator’s manual system.
a)    A page control system must exist to show that the CDL is current and complete.
b)    The maintenance manual must include instructions governing CDL use.
c)    The manuals used by flightcrew members and dispatch personnel must include instructions governing CDL use.
d)    Operators may reformat the FAA-approved CDL to meet their individual document standards. However, FAA-approved CDL items and their associated fuel and performance penalties, procedures, and/or restrictions and limitations must not be changed or altered due to reformatting.
e)    A copy of specific sections of an operator’s FAA-approved CDL, or their reformatted version, may be attached to their MEL for quick reference by flightcrews, maintenance personnel, and flight operations personnel.
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3)    ACO Approval. The ACO has final FAA approval of all requests for revisions to an FAA‑approved CDL.

4-624    ASI PROCEDURES. ASIs conduct surveillance of CDL use by an operator prior to and during flight. Primary areas of concern are the proper application of fuel and performance penalties, if applicable, and compliance with the procedures, restrictions, and limitations imposed by CDL items.

A.    Adequate Operator Policies and Procedures. Prior to conducting surveillance on specific flights, ASIs must ensure that the operator has adequate policies and procedures in place to ensure that all penalties, limitations, and restrictions associated with a CDL item are properly addressed. These procedures can be combined with the operator’s approved MEL management program procedures (see Volume 4, Chapter 4, Section 3 for information regarding an MEL management program).

B.    Prior to Actual Flight. Before a flight takes off, ASIs should review all penalties, limitations, and restrictions associated with any deferred CDL item(s) applied to the aircraft.

1)    Newly-Identified Missing CDL Items. For new missing items identified as CDL items, ASIs must verify that operators accomplish the following:
a)    The airplane manufacturer’s or Supplemental Type Certificate (STC) holder’s FAA-approved CDL must list relief for the CDL item.
b)    If the CDL item is discovered by a maintenance person positioned at the aircraft, that person notifies the flightcrew and the maintenance organization (e.g., Maintenance Control). The maintenance organization or flightcrew notifies flight operations personnel (dispatch, flight following, and/or other persons authorized to exercise operational control) in accordance with the aircraft operator’s approved MEL and/or CDL procedures.
c)    If the CDL item is discovered by the flightcrew, the flightcrew notifies the maintenance organization and appropriate flight operations personnel.
d)    Each CDL item is entered into the aircraft maintenance logbook.
e)    Each CDL item is listed on a placard and affixed in the cockpit in clear view of the flightcrew, per the AFM:

1.    Operators may establish a standard procedure for advising flightcrews and maintenance personnel of an airplane’s status with current CDL and MEL issues and the conditions and limitations that apply.

2.    Principal operations inspectors (POI) may allow operators to use their MEL procedures for addressing an aircraft’s CDL status and limitations. However, any procedure used must conform to the CDL placarding requirements found in the AFM.

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f)    Fuel and performance penalties, limitations, and restrictions associated with each CDL item are calculated and entered in the appropriate flight documentation (e.g., dispatch, flight release, flight plan). If flight documentation has been issued prior to the application of the CDL item, ASIs must ensure that fuel and performance planning are recalculated and flight levels are adjusted in accordance with the CDL item, if applicable. Operators conducting part 121 operations are required to issue a new or amended dispatch or flight release to include these penalties.
2)    Open CDL Items. If a CDL item remains applied to an aircraft conducting a series of flights, ASIs should monitor that the flightcrew, maintenance, and flight operations personnel are aware of the item for each flight, and continually comply with steps listed in subparagraphs 4-624B1)d), e), and f).

C.    During Flight. ASIs should verify that the aircraft continues to be operated in accordance with the fuel and performance penalties, procedures, and/or restrictions and limitations specified in the AFM, as amended by the CDL.


NOTE:  See Volume 14, Compliance and Enforcement, for AFS compliance philosophy and specific requirements associated with it.

A.    Unsafe Operation. ASIs must immediately bring any condition determined to be unsafe to the attention of the flightcrew.

B.    Discrepancies. Any discrepancies or deficiencies associated with the application of a CDL must be rectified with the flightcrew either when found or upon debrief, as appropriate. If issue resolution cannot be attained through discussions with the flightcrew, ASIs should discuss the discrepancies with the assigned POI or Front Line Manager (FLM) at the geographically responsible AFS field office, as appropriate.


A.    Surveillance. Principal inspectors (PI) and ASIs must ensure through regular surveillance that operators consistently apply the CDL policies and procedures.

B.    Enforcement. A CDL is an FAA-approved document and is typically part of an AFM and/or MEL management program. All penalties, limitations, and restrictions imposed by a CDL must be complied with. If an ASI determines that an operator is not complying with the requirements of a CDL, the ASI is responsible for pursuing the required compliance or enforcement activity.

C.    Revisions. The ACO must approve all revisions to an FAA-approved CDL.

1)    ASIs and PIs are not authorized to approve operator requests for CDL revisions.
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2)    ASIs and PIs may assist the operator’s efforts in coordinating with the ACO. However, it is the operator’s responsibility to work with the aircraft manufacturer and ACO to achieve FAA-approved CDL revisions.
3)    An Airworthiness Directive (AD) and/or an alternate method of compliance (AMOC) could affect a CDL. For example, an AD exists for an EMB-145 aircraft which requires an item to be removed from the CDL. The ACO may grant an AMOC to the operator that allows them to keep the item in the CDL without going through a revision process.

RESERVED. Paragraphs 4-627 through 4-641.