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8900.1 CHG 444

VOLUME 8  GENERAL TECHNICAL FUNCTIONS

CHAPTER 2  TECHNICAL GROUPS, BOARDS, AND NATIONAL RESOURCES

Section 2  Aircraft Evaluation Division

8-40    GENERAL. This section outlines the roles and responsibilities of the Aircraft Evaluation Division (AFS‑100), which is a technical resource for aviation safety inspectors (ASI). AFS-100 serves as Flight Standards Service technical subject matter experts (SME) for operational and engineering activities. AFS-100 ASI specialties are in operations and airworthiness (i.e., maintenance and avionics). AFS-100 also serves as a liaison with the Aircraft Certification Service (AIR) Aircraft Certification Offices (ACO) during the initial certification of an aircraft and continues throughout the service life of the aircraft.

NOTE:  Due to the 2017 Flight Standards office realignment, Aircraft Evaluation Groups (AEG) have become AFS-100. However, using the term “AEG” to refer to a specific AFS-100 office is acceptable.

A.    Background. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) established the AEG to provide Aircraft Certification Directorates support for the managing of aircraft certification programs. The AEG also assists in the oversight of continued airworthiness and operational aspects of the aircraft throughout its operational life.

1)    FAA Order 8000.51, Aircraft Certification Directorates’ Delegation of Authority, established the Aircraft Certification Directorate system in 1982. To implement the directorate concept, it was necessary to realign certain functions previously performed by regional Flight Standards divisions (RFSD), the Air Transportation Division (AFS-200), and the Aircraft Maintenance Division (AFS-300) in FAA headquarters (HQ).
2)    Formerly, each RFSD, with operational responsibilities for Flight Operations Evaluation Boards (FOEB), Flight Standardization Boards (FSB), and Maintenance Review Boards (MRB) handled by the same division, performed its respective certification functions. Board members from regions having operators that place the new aircraft in service assist the RFSDs.
a)    AIR has four certification directorates:

    Transport Airplane,

    Engine and Propeller,

    Small Airplane, and

    Rotorcraft.

b)    The RFSD provides all technical services to the directorates through its AEG. FAA Order FS 1100.1, Flight Standards Service Organizational Handbook, contains the AEG mission and functional statements, and specifies responsibility for establishing and conducting operations and maintenance technical boards.
c)    FAA Order 8900.1 contains current instructions and guidelines for the AEGs concerning the various operations and maintenance boards, and complements other guidance concerning the Aircraft Certification Directorate system. These boards encompass all U.S.-registered aircraft and foreign-manufactured (State of Design Holder) aircraft certificated for operation by U.S. air carriers and operators.
d)    It should be noted the Engine and Propeller Directorate is unique in that its certificated products are incorporated into aircraft certificated by other directorates. References to “aircraft” in this chapter also include engines and propellers, as appropriate.

B.    AEG ASI Role. AFS-100 specialists are fully qualified Flight Standards ASIs and are SMEs in their fields. The AEG ASIs work with Flight Standards, AIR, and industry personnel during the certification process and throughout the operational life of the aircraft. AEG ASIs evaluate, as appropriate:

    Aircraft, engine or propeller, and associated systems for operational and maintenance suitability evaluations.

    Flightcrew type rating requirements (via the FSB).

    Minimum equipment required for dispatch (via the FOEB).

    Continued airworthiness (via the MRB and Maintenance Type Board (MTB)).

    Instructions for continued airworthiness (ICA).

    Airworthiness Directives (AD), alternate methods of compliance (AMOC), and mandatory continuing airworthiness information.

8-41    AEG ASI RESPONSIBILITIES. An AEG ASI has a variety of responsibilities, which includes, but is not limited to, the following:

A.    Airworthiness Maintenance ASIs.

1)    Participate in the Type Certification Board (TCB) as a board member to make decisions related to maintenance of aircraft produced by the aircraft manufacturer.
2)    Serve as a maintenance representative on FOEBs.
3)    Serve as MRB Chairman. For details, see Volume 8, Chapter 2, Section 7.
4)    Serve as a focal point for maintenance information on assigned aircraft and powerplant related to achievement of reliability and evaluation of maintenance requirements. Maintenance requirements include:

    Service Difficulty Reports (SDR)/Malfunction and Defect Reports (M&D),

    Alert Service Bulletins (SB),

    National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) and FAA safety recommendations,

    FAA HQ,

    Safety Alerts for Operators (SAFO),

    ADs,

    AMOCs,

    Mandatory continuing airworthiness information,

    Accident and incident reports,

    Time between overhaul (TBO) escalation,

    Repair specification data, and

    Extended Operations (ETOPS).

5)    Provide AEG outreach during AD development. For details, see Volume 8, Chapter 2, Section 9.
6)    Provide expert consultation in support of accident and incident investigations, analysis, and implementation of corrective actions related to assigned aircraft/powerplant.
7)    Perform aircraft maintainability evaluations to determine the acceptability of ICAs.
8)    As assigned members of the Organization Management Team (OMT), supervise Organization Designation Authority (ODA) delegation and assist in approving ODA manuals. AEG representatives review the ICAs and support the ACOs regarding yearly technical inspections.
9)    Evaluate conformance to operational suitability and maintenance requirements.
10)    Provide technical support, as a Flight Standards liaison, to ACOs/Engine Certification Offices (ECO).
11)    Evaluate the aircraft, its systems, and the manufacturer’s recommended procedures for unique operational characteristics.
12)    Validate maintenance procedures for product manufacturers by ensuring a product meets established standards through sampling and teardown.
13)    Evaluate to determine the acceptability of ICAs of new and modified products, and evaluate ICAs provided by foreign regulatories for harmonization.
14)    Approve changes to Maintenance Steering Group — 3rd Task Force (MSG-3) analysis for task optimization/evolution.
15)    Serve as a resource specialist for principal maintenance inspector (PMI) councils.
16)    Participate in the activities of the International Maintenance Review Board Policy Board (IMRBPB), attending meetings as directed by AFS-300, and in the activities of the FAA MRB Policy Board (MRBPB), attending meetings as directed by office management.
17)    At the request of AFS-300, participate in Aviation Rulemaking Advisory Committee (ARAC) and Aging Transport Systems Rulemaking Advisory Committee (ATSRAC) studies.
18)    Work with, evaluate, and formulate the use of new technologies (e.g., software, structural health monitoring, composites, electronic flight bag, etc.).
19)    Evaluate proposed advisory circulars (AC) and orders, as required.

B.    Avionics ASIs.

1)    Participate in the TCB as a board member to make decisions related to maintenance of aircraft produced by the aircraft manufacturer.
2)    Serve as an avionics representative on FOEBs.
3)    Serve as a focal point for maintenance information on assigned aircraft and powerplant related to achievement of reliability and maintenance requirements. Maintenance requirements include:

    SDRs,

    Alert SBs,

    NTSB and FAA safety recommendations,

    FAA HQ,

    SAFOs,

    ADs,

    AMOCs,

    Mandatory continuing airworthiness information, and

    Accident and incident reports.

4)    Provide AEG outreach. For details, see Volume 8, Chapter 2, Section 9.
5)    Provide expert consultation in support of accident investigations, incident investigations, analysis, and implementation of corrective actions related to assigned aircraft/powerplant.
6)    Perform aircraft maintainability evaluations to determine the acceptability of ICAs.
7)    As assigned members of the OMT, supervise ODA delegation and assist in approving ODA manuals. AEG representatives review the ICAs and support the ACOs regarding yearly technical inspections.
8)    Provide technical support, as a Flight Standards liaison, to the ACOs.
9)    Evaluate the aircraft/powerplant systems and the manufacturer’s recommended procedures for unique operational characteristics.
10)    Evaluate to determine the acceptability of ICAs of new and modified products, and evaluate ICAs provided by foreign regulatories for harmonization.
11)    Ensure a product meets established standards through sampling and teardown.
12)    Serve as a resource specialist for principal avionics inspector (PAI) councils—Advisory Group.
13)    Evaluate proposed ACs and orders, as required.

C.    Operations ASIs.

1)    Participate in the TCB as a board member to make decisions related to aircraft systems and configuration by assessing operational suitability requirements that can/will be met during the aircraft design and type certification process.
2)    Evaluate and determine the minimum flightcrew member training, checking, and currency requirements used for the development of an aircraft FSB report.
3)    Participate in flightcrew complement determinations and evaluate aircraft for new/common/same type rating.
4)    Establish special training requirements for unique flight characteristics.
5)    Establish pilot type rating needs and requirements.
6)    Develop and revise the Master Minimum Equipment Lists (MMEL).
7)    Serve as the MMEL Industry Group (MMEL-IG) co-chairperson. This position will serve as the FAA liaison between the MMEL-IG and the FAA to coordinate reviews and approvals of MMEL Policy Letters (PL).
8)    Provide operational guidance for ADs and SDRs.
9)    Review and evaluate Airplane Flight Manual (AFM) and Rotorcraft Flight Manual (RFM) and supplements.
10)    Serve as Chairman for FSBs and FOEBs for assigned aircraft.
11)    Conduct initial flight checks of Flight Standards Operations ASIs, aircraft manufacturer’s initial pilot cadre, initial operator pilots, and FAA engineering flight test pilots for aircraft type.
12)    Coordinate with the National Simulator Program (NSP) on the evaluation of data packages for aircraft flight simulation design, acceptance, and approval.
13)    Evaluate proposed ACs and orders, as required.

8-42    ACCIDENT OR INCIDENT INVESTIGATION SUPPORT. When accidents or incidents involving AEG-assigned aircraft occur, investigating Flight Standards offices should use the experience of AEG ASIs to support the investigation or to develop corrective actions. These AEG ASIs are assigned to aircraft types and are able to address operational safety concerns, such as crew procedures, flight operations, maintenance, and, to a limited extent, human factors (HF).

8-43    BOARDS CONDUCTED BY AFS-100. AFS-100 provides many of its technical services through the FOEBs, FSBs, and MRBs. Membership on MRBs, however, is restricted to Airworthiness and Avionics ASIs. Volume 8, Chapter 2 covers current instructions and guidelines for conducting these boards. These boards encompass all U.S.-registered aircraft and foreign-manufactured aircraft certificated for operation by U.S. air carriers and operators.

8-44    AFS-100 ISSUE PAPERS (IP). AFS-100 develops IPs as a means for identifying and resolving significant technical, regulatory, and administrative issues occurring during the type certification or type validation processes. IPs provide a structured means for describing and tracking the resolution of significant issues occurring during a project.

NOTE:  AFS-100 IPs must be developed and tracked using the procedures defined in FAA Order 8110.112, Standardized Procedures for Usage of Issue Papers and Development of Equivalent Levels of Safety Memorandums, when an IP is required. Additionally, IPs must be coordinated with the applicable primary aircraft certification office (PACO) project officer/project manager.

8-45    AFS-100 BRANCHES. The AFS-100 branches and their functions are as follows:

A.    Propulsion and Auxiliary Power Unit (APU) Branch (EA-67), Burlington, Massachusetts. This AEG is responsible for aircraft engines and propellers certificated under Title 14 of the Code of Federal Regulations (14 CFR) parts 33 and 35.

B.    Rotorcraft and Powered Lift Branch (SW-25), Fort Worth, Texas. This AEG is responsible for rotorcraft certificated under 14 CFR parts 27 and 29, and vertical lift.

C.    Small Aircraft Branch (CE-60), Kansas City, Missouri. This AEG is responsible for those airplanes certified under 14 CFR part 23, including commuter category airplanes and Special Federal Aviation Regulation (SFAR) 41 airplanes, some small airplanes certificated under 14 CFR part 25, and gliders and airships.

Indicates new/changed information.

D.    Transport Aircraft Long Beach Branch (NM-17), Long Beach, California. This AEG is responsible for part 25 airplanes, such as Bombardier and Gulfstream.

Indicates new/changed information.

E.    Transport Aircraft Seattle Branch (NM-15), Seattle, Washington. This AEG is responsible for part 25 airplanes, such as Boeing and Airbus.

NOTE:  FAA certification of foreign-built aircraft is handled by the AFS-100 branch responsible for that particular aircraft (e.g., SW-25 for foreign-built helicopters).

RESERVED. Paragraphs 8-46 through 8-61.