11/18/15

 

8900.1 CHG 431

VOLUME 4  AIRCRAFT EQUIPMENT AND OPERATIONAL AUTHORIZATIONS

Indicates new/changed information.

CHAPTER 4  CONFIGURATION DEVIATION LIST (CDL) AND MINIMUM EQUIPMENT LIST (MEL)

Section 4  Nonessential Equipment and Furnishings (NEF) Program

4-700    GENERAL.

A.    Purpose. This section establishes Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Flight Standards (AFS) requirements for approval, oversight, and surveillance of Title 14 of the Code of Federal Regulations (14 CFR) parts 91, 91 subpart K (part 91K), 121, 125, 129, 135, and 142 Minimum Equipment List (MEL) nonessential equipment and furnishings (NEF) programs.

B.    Scope. This section applies to all parts 91, 91K, 121, 125, 125 Letter of Deviation Authority Holder (LODA), 129, 135, and 142 operators authorized to conduct operations with an FAA-approved MEL.

1)    Part 129 Foreign Air Carriers or Foreign Persons. The information contained in this section applies only to part 129 operations conducted by a foreign air carrier or foreign person using U.S.-registered aircraft in accordance with § 129.14.
2)    Limited Applicability to Part 142 Training Centers. The information in this section regarding part 142 training centers which utilize aircraft as part of their training programs.

C.    Terminology Used in This Section.

1)    Operator. Unless otherwise noted, the term “operator” within this section applies to part 91 aircraft owners and operators; a program manager conducting part 91K operations; a certificate holder conducting part 121, 125, or 135 operations; an 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)    AFS Field Office. Unless otherwise noted, the term “AFS field office” applies to a certificate‑holding district office (CHDO), certificate management office (CMO), Flight Standards District Office (FSDO), International Field Office (IFO), or an International Field Unit (IFU), as appropriate. This section uses the singular term “AFS field office” for simplicity.

4-701    ADDITIONAL GUIDANCE.

·    Guidance related to Configuration Deviation Lists (CDL) is located in Volume 4, Chapter 4, Section 1.

·    Guidance related to the Aircraft Evaluation Group (AEG) and the Master Minimum Equipment List (MMEL) development, approval and revision process is located in Volume 8, Chapter 2, Section 3.

·    Guidance related to operations specification (OpSpec) D095 (except for parts 91, 129, and 142) is located in Volume 3, Chapter 18, Section 6.

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·    Guidance related to the use of a D095 or D195 Letter of Authorization (LOA) for parts 91 and 142 operators is located in Volume 4, Chapter 4, Section 2.

·    Guidance related to OpSpec D095 for part 129 foreign air carriers and foreign persons operating U.S.-registered aircraft in accordance with § 129.14 is located in Volume 12, Chapter 2, Section 6.

4-702    AFS FIELD OFFICE RESPONSIBILITIES. AFS field offices are responsible for approval and oversight of all NEF programs developed by parts 91K, 121, 125, 125 LODA, 129, 135, and 142 operators for which they have MEL oversight responsibility. NEF programs of parts 91 (excluding part 91K) and 142 are not FAA-approved but still require surveillance by the AFS field office.

A.    Principal Operations Inspector (POI). The POI is the primary FAA official responsible for the overall process of administering, evaluating, and approving an operator’s NEF program for parts 91K, 121, 125, 125 LODA, 129, and 135 operators. When POIs require additional technical information related to a specific item, they will consult the AEG Flight Operations Evaluations Board (FOEB) Chair responsible for the aircraft.

B.    Aviation Safety Inspector (ASI). ASIs conduct surveillance on operator NEF programs. Before conducting surveillance, all ASIs must have a good understanding of at least the following:

1)    The scope and purpose of the NEF deferral program;
2)    The primary differences between a parts 91 and 142 operator NEF program and parts 91K, 121, 125, 125 LODA, 129, and 135 operator NEF programs;
3)    The AFS field office responsibilities for approval, oversight, and surveillance of NEF programs; and
4)    How items are selected for inclusion into an NEF program.

4-703    INSPECTOR ACTIVITY CODES.

A.    Program Tracking and Reporting Subsystem (PTRS) Activity Code. The PTRS Work Activity Pocket Guide can be downloaded from the following Web site: https://efsas.avs.faa.gov/Default.aspx.

1)    Operations: 1321, 1322, 1425, 1426, and 1622.
2)    Maintenance: 3312, 3313, 3418, 3419, 3627, and 4630.
3)    Avionics: 5312, 5313, 5418, 5419, 5627, and 6630.

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

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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 activity data into SAS and PTRS.

4-704    BACKGROUND. NEF originated from what was once called Passenger Convenience Items (PCI). PCI were those items related to passenger convenience, comfort, or entertainment located in the cabin, galley, and lavatory areas. PCI did not allow for nonessential items that were missing or inoperative located elsewhere throughout the aircraft. Due to the limited nature of PCI, the FAA replaced the PCI title in Air Transport Association of America (ATA) code 25 of all MMELs, with NEF.

NOTE:  ATA changed its name to Airlines for America (A4A). Use of the acronyms ATA and A4A are interchangeable.

4-705    THE NEF PROGRAM. An NEF program allows operators to use the deferral authority granted in the MMEL to provide deferral relief for inoperative, damaged, or missing nonessential items located throughout the aircraft. An NEF program is developed by operators within their MEL, approved by the FAA (excluding parts 91 and 142 operators), and tailored to meet their individual needs. An NEF program encompasses an NEF list (or equivalent), a process for evaluating an item in accordance with NEF requirements, reporting procedures, and repair and/or replacement policy and procedures.

A.    Definition.

1)    NEF items are:
a)    Items installed on the aircraft as part of the original type certification (TC), Supplemental Type Certificate (STC), or other form of alteration that have no effect on the safe operation of the aircraft;
b)    Items that, if inoperative, damaged, or missing, have no effect on the aircraft’s ability to be operated safely under all operational conditions;
c)    Items not required by the applicable certification or operational rules;
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d)    Nonessential items that may be installed in areas including, but not limited to, the passenger compartment, flight deck area, service areas, cargo areas, crew rest areas, lavatories, and galley areas;
e)    Cosmetic items which are fully serviceable but worn.

NOTE:  Cosmetic items may have associated fire retardant/blocking requirements that must be considered before approving as an NEF item.

2)    NEF items are not (not all-inclusive):
a)    Items that are already identified in the CDL or MEL of the applicable aircraft;
b)    Items functionally required for meeting any certification rule;
c)    Items required for compliance with any operational rule;
d)    Items deferred contrary to an operator’s-approved Continuous Airworthiness Maintenance Program (CAMP);
e)    Paint (mismatched, bad, or worn condition);
f)    Rodent or pest (bug) infestations of any type; and
g)    Items which are only dirty or soiled.

B.    Deferral Authority. The deferral authority granted in the MMEL is the basis for developing an operator-specific NEF program.

1)    Although the NEF program is listed under ATA chapter 25, it may address items that fall under other ATA chapters.
2)    The operator’s NEF process must not provide for deferral of items within serviceable limits identified in the manufacturer’s maintenance manual or operator’s approved maintenance program (e.g., CAMP).
3)    NEF items are not deferred under the authority of an Airframe and Powerplant (A&P) certificate but rather the operator is deferring the item under their approved NEF program.

C.    Where to Find an Operator’s NEF Program.

1)    Parts 91 and 142. An NEF program for an operator under part 91 or 142 becomes a supplement to the MMEL or MEL depending on whether a D095/D195 LOA is issued. The NEF program is not a standalone program.
2)    Parts 91K, 121, 125, 125 LODA, 129, and 135. The NEF program for an operator under part 91K, 121, 125, 125 LODA, 129, or 135 is part of, and resides within, the operator’s MEL management program.
Indicates new/changed information.

NOTE:  The operator’s MEL management program is an operations OpSpec/management specification (MSpec) D095 requirement.

4-706    DEVELOPMENT OF AN NEF PROGRAM. The operator develops, implements, maintains, and revises each NEF program. The PIs should ensure that the operator designs their NEF program so that it can be managed at the local AFS field office level to provide expedited handling of NEF items. Failure to comply with the FAA-approved NEF program may result in the removal of the NEF authorization in the MEL.

A.    Required NEF Program Elements. POIs and ASIs must ensure that the following elements are included in an NEF program:

1)    Method of Tracking NEF Items. A list or other equivalent method of tracking NEF items may be used.
a)    A list does not need to be developed and maintained, nor does an operator need to include the specific NEF items inside the MEL. However, a list reduces both the FAA and operator’s time spent analyzing recurring deferrals of the same item.
b)    Operators who choose not to develop an NEF list must treat each NEF deferral as a newly discovered NEF item, as outlined in their individual NEF program.
c)    FAA safety inspectors must work with those operators who choose not to develop a NEF list to determine a mutually acceptable timeframe in which each newly identified and deferred NEF items will be reported for review.
d)    If used, the NEF list should be comprehensive but may be listed in general terms with the concurrence of the POI or ASI with oversight responsibility. For example, cosmetic trim-strips may be listed rather than identifying each strip individually on the NEF list.
e)    If the operator develops an FAA-approved NEF list, the POI, or ASI with MEL oversight responsibility, must review all subsequent additions/revisions.
f)    Whether in paper or electronic format, the applicable portions of the list (if applicable) and NEF process must be available to the flight and cabin crews, maintenance, and flight operations personnel, as appropriate, when items are being deferred in accordance with the operator NEF program.
g)    The POI should work with the operator to determine a mutually acceptable timeframe in which the newly identified and deferred NEF items will be reported for review (parts 91K, 121, 125, 125 LODA, 129, and 135).
2)    Identifying Deferrals. Procedures and processes for identifying NEF items that may be deferred.
3)    Tracking Deferrals. Procedures for tracking program deferrals.
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4)    Reporting Deferrals. Procedures for the reporting of deferrals, as required, to the POI (parts 91K, 121, 125, 125 LODA, 129, and 135).

NOTE:  NEF lists and processes may reside together or separately, in the location and manner selected by the operator and acceptable to the POI/ASI.

5)    Documentation Procedures. Documentation procedures for inoperative, damaged, or missing NEF items.
6)    (M) and (O) Procedures. Appropriate (M) and/or (O) procedures.
7)    Follow-up Maintenance. Procedures for follow-up maintenance, repair, and replacement.
8)    Repair Intervals. Repair intervals are prescribed for NEF items. Operators may use the current MEL deferral categories at their discretion or an alternate method acceptable to the Administrator.
9)    Section 43.13 Compliance. Any portions of an NEF program that references maintenance must comply with standard practices defined in § 43.13.
10)    NEF Proviso. The following proviso to an NEF program (see Figure 4-51) must be included into MEL ATA chapter 25 for parts 91 and 142 operators, and for approved NEF programs under parts 91K, 121, 125, 125 LODA, 129, and 135. The reference proviso must be copied verbatim. However, as indicated in the proviso, the aircraft operator’s manual where the NEF program, processes, and procedures are found must be specific (see Figure 4-51 for the required NEF proviso).

Figure 4-51.  Required NEF MEL Proviso for an FAA-Approved NEF Program

System & Sequence Numbers

25 Equipment / Furnishings

Repair Interval

Number Installed

Number Required For Dispatch

Remarks or Exceptions

Non-Essential Equipment and Furnishings (NEF)

-

-

0

May be inoperative, damaged or missing provided that the item(s) is deferred in accordance with the NEF deferral program. The NEF program, procedures and processes are outlined in the operator’s (insert name) Manual. (M) and (O) procedures, if required, must be available to the flightcrew and included in the aircraft operator’s appropriate document.

NOTE:Exterior lavatory door ash trays are not considered NEF items.

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B.    NEF Program Approval.

1)    Parts 91K, 121, 125, 125 LODA, 129, and 135 Operators. Parts 91K, 121, 125, 125 LODA, 129, and 135 operators submit their NEF program to the local AFS field office with oversight responsibility for approval via the normal MEL approval process. Once approved, a reference proviso to the program must be incorporated into MEL ATA chapter 25 (see Figure 4-51). This proviso indicates approval of the operator’s NEF program.
a)    An operator may develop and submit a list of items desired to be included on the NEF list. The AFS field office will review and concur with the list (if included) prior to approval of the operator’s program.
b)    The NEF list does not have to be part of the standard MEL and may be kept in a form and manner as agreed upon by the operator and the AFS field office.
2)    Part 91 and Part 142 Operators. Parts 91 and 142 operators are not required to submit their NEF program (and NEF list, if applicable) to the local AFS field office for approval. However, the FAA may conduct surveillance on an operator’s NEF program at any time. When conducting surveillance, ASIs must ensure that the proviso found in Figure 4-51 is incorporated into MEL ATA chapter 25 of the part 91 or 142 operator MEL.

C.    NEF Program Revisions. The POI will review all additions and revisions to an FAA-approved NEF program (parts 91K, 121, 125, 125 LODA, 129, and 135). Additions and revisions for parts 91 and 142 NEF programs do not require FAA review but are subject to FAA surveillance at any time.

D.    NEF Criteria Elements for Item Selection. Before parts 91K, 121, 125, 125 LODA, 129, and 135 operators can defer an NEF item, they must follow their FAA-approved program for determining if an item can be considered for inclusion as an NEF item. NEF items are not safety of flight items. They have not been evaluated through the normal AEG review process and may require the concurrence of the flightcrew, maintenance, and operational personnel, if applicable. POIs/ASIs must ensure that operators address specific elements when submitting items for review prior to inclusion into their approved NEF program. Both PIs and ASIs (for part 91 operators) must apply the following questions when reviewing items and potential items for inclusion in an operator’s NEF program:

NOTE:  See Figure 4-52 for a flowchart that includes the following elements in sequence. The flowchart is provided as a guide for developing a NEF deferral process. The process may be modified to facilitate inclusion in an operator’s overall MEL deferral program; however, the intent of the elements outlined in the flowchart below must be addressed.

·    Is the item required for the operational rules in which the aircraft is operated?

·    Does the item create the potential for fire/smoke or other hazardous condition?

·    Could the item have an adverse effect on other required systems or components?

·    Is the item contrary to the operator’s FAA-approved CAMP?

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·    Does the item’s condition potentially affect the safety of passengers, crew, or service personnel?

·    Could the item have a negative impact on emergency or abnormal procedures?

·    Does the item create an additional workload for the crew at critical times of flight or flight preparation?

·    Do crewmembers need to evaluate the deferred NEF item on a flight-by-flight basis?

NOTE:  When conducting surveillance on a part 91 operator’s NEF program, the above questions should be answered for the inoperative, damaged, or missing item at its face value and for the underlying cause of the discrepancy.

1)    Documentation. For an inoperative, damaged, or missing item to be considered for inclusion in an NEF program, the discrepancy must be documented in the aircraft logbook (or other approved location) per the operator’s discrepancy reporting system. This action is completed by the flightcrew, company maintenance personnel, or personnel authorized and approved to perform such functions as outlined in the operator’s maintenance program.
2)    Current NEF Items. If the inoperative, damaged, or missing item is already on the NEF deferral list (if used); the established procedures for NEF deferral of the item will be followed.
3)    Master MEL, CDL, or MEL Items. An MMEL, CDL, or MEL item may not be deferred in accordance with the operator’s NEF program. Deferral procedures for inoperative, damaged, or missing items listed in the MMEL, CDL, or operator’s MEL must be followed.
4)    Subcomponents of MMEL, CDL, or MEL Items. If the inoperative, damaged, or missing item is a subcomponent of a system identified in the MMEL/MEL/CDL, where no previous relief was authorized, the subcomponent may not be deferred in accordance with the operator’s NEF program.
5)    Required by Certification or Operational Rules. If the item is required by any applicable certification or operational rules, the item may not be deferred in accordance with the operator’s NEF program. If the item is functionally required to meet a certification rule, or for compliance with any operational rule, the item may not be deferred in accordance with the operator’s NEF program.
6)    Safety of Flight Issues. If it is obvious from a maintenance or operational perspective that the item, in and of itself, could have an adverse effect on the safe conduct of flight; or if there is a Safety of Flight issue with an inoperative, damaged, or missing item, that item may not be deferred and must be repaired prior to flight.
7)    Source (Underlying Cause). If the presence of a safety of flight issue is unknown, not present, or not applicable, ascertain whether the source (underlying cause) for the inoperative, damaged, or missing item can be identified and further evaluated. If the source (underlying cause):
Indicates new/changed information.
a)    Cannot be identified, that item may not be deferred in accordance with the operator’s NEF program and must be repaired prior to flight.
b)    Can be identified, determine whether that source (underlying cause) affects an equivalent level of safety. If source (underlying cause) is not applicable, evaluate the effect of the item on an equivalent level of safety.
8)    Effects on an Equivalent Level of Safety. Identify the effect of the source (underlying cause) of the inoperative, damaged, or missing item on an equivalent level of safety. If the source (underlying cause):

NOTE:  In making this determination, close coordination between the flightcrew, maintenance, and operations personnel may be required.

a)    Has no effect on an equivalent level of safety; that item may be deferred in accordance with the operator’s NEF program.
b)    Affects an equivalent level of safety, the item may not be deferred in accordance with the operator’s NEF program and must be repaired prior to flight.
9)    Isolation with Applicable Maintenance Procedures. If it cannot be determined, or remains uncertain that the discrepancy is a safety of flight issue, determine if any applicable maintenance procedures can isolate the source (underlying cause) of the inoperative, damaged, or missing item discrepancy from the system. If the source (underlying cause) of the discrepancy:
a)    Cannot be safely isolated using applicable maintenance procedures, it must be repaired prior to flight.
b)    Can be isolated using applicable maintenance procedures, it must pass a reevaluation of steps 6 through 9. If no safety of flight concern exists after the reevaluation, the item may be deferred in accordance with the operator’s NEF program.
10)    Defer in Accordance with the Operator’s NEF Program.
11)    Update the NEF List, as Required.
12)    Provide the NEF Items to the AFS Field Office.
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Figure 4-52.  Flowchart—Criteria Elements for NEF Item Selection

Note:  This flowchart is not required to be included in the operator’s NEF program.

Figure 4-52. Flowchart—Criteria Elements for NEF Item Selection

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4-707    PROCEDURES. Approval, oversight, and surveillance of operator NEF programs are conducted by ASIs from the local AFS field office. ASIs must have the knowledge base defined in paragraph 4-702 to effectively conduct the following procedures for initial review and approval.

A.    NEF Program Review. The NEF program review commences upon submission of a draft NEF program from the operator to the local AFS field office; or, for parts 91 and 142 operators, when conducting surveillance. The ASI must ensure the operator’s NEF program:

1)    Conforms to the definition found in paragraph 4-705;
2)    Conforms to the parameters of NEF program development found in paragraph 4-706; and
3)    Identifies that the NEF items listed (if applicable) are in compliance with the criteria elements listed in subparagraph 4-706D.

B.    NEF Program Approval. The ASI will approve the operator’s NEF program in accordance with paragraph 4-706.

4-708    TASK OUTCOMES.

A.    Safety of Flight. By definition, items deferred by an operator’s NEF program must have no connection to the safe operation of the aircraft. ASIs identifying NEF items that have safety of flight issues must bring them to the attention of the operator immediately.

B.    Discrepancies. Any discrepancies or issues discovered by ASIs during review or surveillance of an NEF program must be addressed with the operator:

1)    Prior to approval of the NEF program (parts 91K, 121, 125. 129, 135, and 142);
2)    Immediately if related to a safety of flight issue; or
3)    During a revision review.

4-709    FUTURE ACTIVITIES.

A.    Surveillance. Through regular surveillance, ASIs must ensure that operator’s NEF policies and procedures are applied consistently.

B.    Enforcement. Failure to comply with the FAA-approved NEF program may result in the removal of the operator’s FAA-approval to participate in the NEF portion of the MEL (parts 91K, 121, 125, 129, and 135).

C.    Revisions. See paragraph 4-706.

RESERVED. Paragraphs 4-710 through 4-915.