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VOLUME 6  SURVEILLANCE

CHAPTER 2  PARTS 121, 135, AND 91 SUBPART K INSPECTIONS

Section 20 Part 121 Pilot-in-Command (PIC) Operating Experience Observations (PTRS Codes 1356 and 1645)

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Source Basis: Section 121.434, Operating Experience, Operating Cycles, and Consolidation of Knowledge and Skills.

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6-605    GENERAL. This section contains direction and guidance to be used by Operations inspectors for conducting Operating Experience (OE) observations as required by Title 14 of the Code of Federal Regulations (14 CFR) part 121,  121.434(c)(1)(ii). A Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector must observe a pilot who is qualifying as a pilot in command (PIC) in an initial new-hire, initial equipment, or an upgrade curriculum. The inspector must observe the pilot while the pilot is performing the prescribed duties of a PIC before serving unsupervised in revenue service. This observation is conducted while the candidate is acquiring OE. The purpose of this observation is to ensure that the transfer of learning from training to line operations has occurred and that the candidate has acquired the skills and judgment necessary to effectively perform PIC responsibilities.

6-606    SCHEDULING POLICIES. The following policies apply to scheduling 121.434(c)(1)(ii) observations.

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A.    Inspector Qualifications. See Volume 1, Chapter 3, Section 6.

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B.    Scheduling Prerequisites. The FAA observation is not the line check required by  121.440; therefore, the inspector does not have to observe a line check being administered by the check pilot. The preferred procedure is for an FAA inspector to observe the PIC’s performance during the latter stages of OE. Earlier observation, though allowed, may result in a need for additional observation. The principal operations inspector (POI) should coordinate with the operator for effective scheduling of OE observations to preclude the need for followup observations.

6-607    PRACTICES AND PROCEDURES. The following practices and procedures must be observed by inspectors while observing PIC candidates.

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A.    Introduction. The inspector will meet the crew and gain access to the aircraft through the normal procedures for conducting en route inspection. In addition, the inspector must discuss the conduct of the flight with both the check pilot and the candidate and review the candidate’s progress to date. During the discussion, the inspector should ensure that the check pilot and the candidate understand the following information:

1)    The FAA recognizes that the check pilot is the PIC. The candidate, however, is expected to perform all of the duties of the PIC. The check pilot is expected to act as a qualified second in command (SIC).
2)    As the actual PIC, the check pilot is ultimately responsible for the safety of the flight. Should a situation arise that involves in-flight safety, the check pilot must take charge of the situation.

B.    Conduct of the Observation. The inspector who performs the observation should evaluate the items specified in Volume 6, Chapter 2, Section 9. The inspector should be as unobtrusive as possible during the flight and avoid intruding into the interaction between crewmembers. The inspector should not conduct oral examinations during the flight. Should an event occur that raises a question about the candidate’s knowledge, the inspector should take notes and make inquiries after the flight.

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C.    Postflight Procedures. After the flight, the check pilot and the inspector should conduct a debriefing. The check pilot’s comments are beneficial, as the check pilot is more familiar with specific company procedures.

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1)    If the candidate’s performance during the flight meets the required standards, the inspector must inform the candidate and the check pilot that the observation is complete. If the candidate’s performance does not yet meet required standards, the inspector must indicate the areas in which the candidate’s performance needs to improve and that another observation has to be made before the candidate can enter revenue service as a PIC. The inspector should inform the candidate that, before the next observation, the candidate must receive further training or OE, and a check pilot must again certify that the candidate is ready for the observation.
2)    If the inspector has indicated to the candidate that the observation is incomplete because the candidate’s performance has not yet reached required standards, the inspector should contact the POI by telephone and provide a description of the candidate’s performance so that the POI can take followup action.

6-608    PROGRAM TRACKING AND REPORTING SUBSYSTEM (PTRS) INPUT.

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A.    Complete Observation. The observation of a check pilot conducting OE for a flightcrew member, in conjunction with the requirement of 121.434(c)(1)(ii), is recorded in the PTRS by using activity code 1645 (check airman surveillance), with 1356 in the tracking field. When the 1645 activity code is used, the check pilot must be entered in section I. A separate PTRS entry must be made by using the activity code 1356, with 1645 in the tracking field. When the 1356 activity code is used, the qualifying PIC must be entered in section I. This method of using two PTRS entries is unique to the OE observation activity.

B.    Incomplete Observation. The inspector should report an incomplete observation in the PTRS as an en route inspection (activity code 1624) with appropriate comments.

RESERVED. Paragraphs 6-609 through 6-623.