8900.1 CHG 532

VOLUME 8  general technical functions


Indicates new/changed information.

Section 3  Flight Operations Evaluation Board

8-62    GENERAL.

Indicates new/changed information.

A.    Purpose. This section establishes the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Flight Standards Service (AFS) policy guidance for the establishment and conduct of the Aircraft Evaluation Group (AEG) Flight Operations Evaluation Board (FOEB). The FOEB develops and maintains each aircraft’s Master Minimum Equipment List (MMEL).

B.    Scope. This section applies to all AEGs conducting FOEBs for the purpose of developing MMELs used for conducting operations under Title 14 of the Code of Federal Regulations (14 CFR) parts 91, 91 subpart K (part 91K), 121, 125, 129, and 135.


A.    FOEB. The FOEB is a group of FAA personnel designated by the responsible AEG to develop and/or revise an aircraft’s MMEL. It is responsible for coordinating with internal and external stakeholders, such as FAA Aircraft Certification Offices (ACO), FAA Flight Standards District Offices (FSDO), aircraft and engine manufacturers, operators, and private-sector groups.

B.    MMEL. The MMEL is a master list of aircraft instrument and equipment items which may be inoperative under certain operational conditions, while maintaining an acceptable level of safety. The MMEL is the document on which an operator must base its FAA-approved minimum equipment list (MEL).

C.    Regulatory Basis.

1)    The regulatory basis allowing operation of aircraft with inoperative instrument and equipment items is cited in part 91, §§ 91.213 and 91.1115; part 121, § 121.628; part 125, § 125.201; part 129, § 129.14; and part 135, § 135.179. These operating regulations are the authority for MEL use in flight operations. Additional regulations pertinent to the regulatory basis include the following:

    Title 14 CFR part 21, § 21.181 states, in pertinent part, that an airworthiness certificate is effective as long as the maintenance, preventive maintenance, and inspections are performed in accordance with 14 CFR parts 43 and 91.

    Section 91.203(a)(1) states that no person may operate an aircraft unless it has within it an appropriate and current airworthiness certificate.

    Section 91.405 states each owner or operator of an aircraft shall have the aircraft inspected as prescribed and shall, between inspections, have defects repaired as prescribed.

    Sections 121.153, 125.91, and 135.25(a)(2) state no certificate holder, and § 91.7 states no person, may operate an aircraft unless that aircraft is in an Airworthy condition.

    Sections 121.303 and 135.143 state no person may operate an aircraft unless the instruments and equipment in it are approved and operable.

2)    Without a change in type design to address missing or inoperative instruments and equipment, installed items (including optional items) must be operative for all operations to maintain the validity of the airworthiness certificate. Operations with inoperable instrument and equipment items would be contrary to §§ 91.405, 121.153, 121.303, 125.91, 135.25, and 135.143.
3)    Under §§ 91.1115, 121.628, 125.201, and 135.179, the FAA-approved MEL, as authorized by the operations specification (OpSpec) or management specification (MSpec) (as applicable), constitutes an approved change in type design without requiring recertification. Under § 91.213, the MEL and a letter of authorization (LOA) constitute a Supplemental Type Certificate (STC) for the aircraft.

D.    Terminology Used in This Section.

1)    Proposed Item. Any instrument or equipment item (system or component) submitted to the FOEB for consideration to be added to the MMEL.
2)    Proposed Master Minimum Equipment List (PMMEL). A proposal for a new MMEL, applicable to a new aircraft or an aircraft with an amended type certificate (TC) or STC.

8-64    ADDITIONAL GUIDANCE (current editions):

    Guidance related to MELs for aircraft operated in accordance with 14 CFR part 91, 137, or 142 is located in Volume 4, Chapter 4, Section 2.

    Guidance related to the nonessential equipment and furnishings (NEF) program is located in Volume 4, Chapter 4, Section 4.

    Guidance related to Maintenance Review Boards (MRB) is located in Volume 8, Chapter 2, Section 7.

    FAA Order 8430.21, Flight Standards Division, Aircraft Certification Division, and Aircraft Evaluation Group Responsibilities.

8-65    THE NEED FOR AN FOEB. Before an FOEB begins the process of developing a new or revised MMEL, there must be a need to establish the board. FOEB need is determined by the information received by the AEG from industry or within the FAA for the initiation of a new MMEL or MMEL revision. Information supporting the need for an FOEB may come from different entities, for multiple reasons, and in many forms, to include the following:

A.    Industry. An aircraft manufacturer, operator, STC holder, or Industry Focal may initiate a request for a revision to an existing MMEL.

B.    Existing FOEB. A request for an established FOEB to revise an existing MMEL may be due to multiple reasons, including revised/updated FAA MMEL policy or information resulting from aircraft accident or incident reports, Airworthiness Directives (AD), or Service Bulletins (SB). The frequency of nonmandatory/interim revisions are often affected by the date of the last revision, workload impact on operators and FAA field offices, and the availability of the primary FOEB members.

C.    New Aircraft. When new aircraft are proposed, the FAA encourages aircraft manufacturers to develop a PMMEL during the aircraft certification process. Early initiation of the FOEB process will help ensure new MMELs are available for use before aircraft entry into service.

8-66    FOEB COMPOSITION. The composition of an FOEB includes those primary member positions normally included, plus additional member positions as deemed required by the FOEB Chair.

A.    Primary FOEB Members.

1)    FOEB Chair. The FOEB Chair is an AEG FAA Operations aviation safety inspector (ASI) responsible for a particular make and model (M/M) of aircraft. The Chair is the primary position within the FOEB. Responsibilities of the FOEB Chair include:
a)    Determining the need to convene an FOEB.
b)    Determining the date of the FOEB.
c)    Determining whether an FOEB will be formal or electronic, depending on which will be the most efficient use of resources.
d)    Notifying the aviation industry and general public of the FOEB.
e)    Developing FOEB agenda items and their supporting rationale for discussion. Each proposed item placed on the agenda must be complete with justification and supporting information. In most cases, the Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) provides the agenda. When this is not the case, the FOEB Chair determines who will prepare the agenda for the FOEB meeting.
f)    Arranging aircraft familiarization, engineering support, simulator support, and ground or flight validation testing (when necessary).
g)    Arranging meetings with industry users, manufacturers, or TC holders (if applicable) to gather additional information on proposed MMEL items.
h)    Confirming that the resulting MMEL is technically correct and allows for the safe operation of the aircraft.
i)    Resolving all disagreements within the FOEB, both technical and administrative. The FOEB Chair is the final authority for all internal FOEB issues.
j)    Complying with the applicable Job Task Analysis (JTA) (AT JTA 4.1.201 (OP), Conduct a Flight Operations Evaluation Board (FOEB)).
k)    Engaging the Technical Information and Communications Programs Branch (AFS-140) process for FAA review and publication of the MMEL at the conclusion of the FOEB. MMEL approval, whether initial or revision, is based on FOEB consensus, FAA headquarters (HQ) concurrence, and the AEG manager’s approval.
l)    Maintaining FAA FOEB records. The FOEB Chair is responsible for the retention of records necessary to accurately reflect the intent of the FOEB’s decisions.

NOTE:  The use of the Flight Standards Information Management System (FSIMS) is not considered a permanent AEG office record.

2)    Airworthiness ASI. The Airworthiness ASI is the ASI assigned to the aircraft per the current AEG office aircraft assignment listing.
3)    Avionics ASI. The Avionics ASI is assigned to the aircraft per the current AEG office aircraft assignment listing.

B.    Additional FOEB Members. The FOEB Chair is responsible for recruiting and selecting additional FOEB members, as necessary. The AEG manager and the individual’s manager must coordinate and approve all participation of non-AEG personnel as an FOEB member prior to actual board participation. Participation of non‑FAA personnel is optional. Additional members may include:

1)    A representative from the ACO; typically, a flight test pilot or flight test engineer.
2)    A Boston AEG (BOS-AEG) Maintenance ASI assigned to the aircraft to address powerplant, propeller, and auxiliary power unit (APU) concerns.
3)    A field office (non-AEG) Operations ASI qualified in the aircraft.
4)    An Operations ASI from FAA HQ, either the Air Transportation Division (AFS-200) or the General Aviation and Commercial Division (AFS-800), as appropriate. HQ personnel are responsible for MMEL compliance with 14 CFR and FAA policy.
5)    The Industry Focal. For many air carrier aircraft, industry will designate an operator as the Industry Focal. The Industry Focal is designated as the industry representative for a specific model aircraft. The purpose of the Industry Focal is to serve as the focal point for industry input and comment to the FOEB and help expedite the FOEB process. The Industry Focal representatives conduct industry coordination, meetings, and so forth.
6)    The manufacturer. Many aircraft do not have an Industry Focal assigned. In these cases, the aircraft manufacturer may fulfill the same role as an Industry Focal.

C.    Memorandum: AEG Establishment of the FOEB (Formal or Informal). Once all managers of the potential members agree to participate and a date is identified to conduct the board, the AEG manager’s memorandum to AFS-200 formally establishes the FOEB. The memorandum identifies the Chair and the other board members and provides available details concerning planned board activities, if applicable.

8-67    THE FOEB PROCESS. Once the FOEB need is established, the members are identified, and AFS-200 is notified, the FOEB process begins.

A.    Establish the Type of Meeting Process. The FOEB Chair will establish if the process will be held formally or electronically.

1)    Formal. A formal FOEB is a development process by which FOEB members meet in person at a prescribed location to determine item consensus and then present their findings in an industry meeting that follows. The industry meeting is held at a prescribed, scheduled location. A formal FOEB is typically used for a new MMEL or an MMEL revision proposal with many changes.
2)    Electronic. An electronic FOEB is a development process conducted using electronic means to coordinate item consensus. In lieu of meeting in person, FOEB members may communicate electronically by email, teleconference, or other virtual method. Industry input is received electronically through the draft comment period process.

B.    Meeting Notification.

1)    Aviation Industry and General Public. Formal FOEB meetings are open to the general public. The FOEB Chair is responsible for ensuring notification is made to all interested organizations, operators, and individuals, so that everyone is given the chance to participate in the process. The notification will include specific information, to include:

    Aircraft M/M;

    MMEL revision number;

    Formal or electronic meeting process;

    Date(s), time(s), and location(s);

    Timeframe for submitting proposed agenda items;

    Last date to submit proposed agenda items; and

    The AEG point of contact (POC) for more information, email, and phone number.

2)    Means of Notification. The two primary means of notification are through the use of FSIMS and email.
a)    FSIMS. The primary means of notifying the aviation industry and general public of a future FOEB meeting is FSIMS. When an FOEB is scheduled, the Chair will notify AFS-140 of the impending FOEB and include all the aforementioned information. AFS-140 will post the information on FSIMS, where it will remain posted until the FOEB Chair requests removal or a date of removal has been previously indicated. The FOEB notification website may be accessed at http://fsims.faa.gov/PICResults.aspx?mode=Publication&doctype=FOEB.
b)    Email. Email may be used to notify aviation industry entities known to have an interest in specific MMEL development and to ensure they are aware of the scheduled FOEB meeting. Aviation entities that are emailed may include aircraft manufacturers, operators, STC holders, FAA offices, and the Industry Focal. The email serves as a record of notification for the FOEB records.

C.    Agenda. The FOEB meeting is primarily for the purpose of discussing items, completing a technical review, and rendering a decision on the submitted agenda item proposals. Because of this, the overall meeting agenda is developed primarily from the submitted agenda item proposals. Additionally, the AEG may need to create an FOEB meeting agenda for an aircraft whose manufacturer is no longer in business.

1)    Item Proposal Submission. Proposed MMEL items are normally submitted by the aviation industry (e.g., manufacturers and operators) to the FOEB Chair for consideration. The FOEB may submit items for consideration based on FAA policy requirements or requests from operators. However, FOEBs should not create items for relief on their own unless there is a safety concern to address.
2)    Item Proposal Format. Although specific templates may vary, agenda item proposals should be submitted in a standard format that depends on the nature of the proposal. If a new item is being proposed to an existing MMEL, the new item proposal template should be used (see Figure 8-4, New MMEL Item Proposal Standard Template). If a revision to an existing MMEL item is proposed, the present MMEL page(s) (marked “Present”) and the proposed MMEL page(s) (marked “Proposed”) should be used. If a PMMEL is being presented, it should be presented in the standard MMEL format.

Figure 8-4.  New MMEL Item Proposal Standard Template





(Insert aircraft make and model)





Figure 8-4. New MMEL Item Proposal Standard Template

Sequence No.














Proposed Procedures





3)    Item Justification. Regardless of the item proposal format used, each proposed MMEL item must have accompanying supporting justification before it will be considered. The justification information needed by the FOEB allows a thorough evaluation of the risk associated with operating the aircraft with the item inoperative. The FOEB may reject an item proposal if the justification information is inadequate. At a minimum, the following information should accompany all item proposals:
a)    The title and number of the proposed MMEL item;
b)    A brief system description and intended functions;
c)    A summary of proposed MMEL relief;
d)    A brief description of intent;
e)    The effect of dispatching a flight with this item inoperative;
f)    The operating rule that requires the item to be operative (if any);
g)    The transfer of function when the item is inoperative;
h)    The next most critical failure;
i)    The effect on increased flightcrew workloads (including risk mitigations);
j)    The certification requirements for the item;
k)    Any conflicts with Aircraft Flight Manual (AFM) limitations, procedures, or ADs;
l)    If the item affects or is required to accomplish an emergency procedure;
m)    The effect on aircraft capability in an emergency;
n)    Maintenance (M) and Operations (O) procedures required for the proposed dispatch condition; and
o)    Any information that adds support to the proposal (e.g., wiring diagrams, schematic drawings, or STC documents).
4)    Item Proposal Suspense. An item proposal suspense date must be established to identify when item proposals will no longer be accepted. The suspense date allows for the timely preparation of the meeting agenda.

NOTE:  The FOEB Chair may consider an industry recommendation for timelines when there is an Industry Focal involved in the project, and the FOEB Chair may adjust those timelines as appropriate. However, the FOEB Chair should include in the timeline both the time needed to prepare, reproduce, and distribute the agenda, and the time that the FOEB members will need for agenda review before the meeting.

5)    Agenda Preparation. The FOEB Chair will determine who prepares the consolidated agenda for the FOEB meeting (see Figure 8-5, Flight Operations Evaluation Board Agenda/Minutes Sample Template). The FOEB Chair will decide if the minutes are to be a part of the consolidated agenda or a separate document for record.
a)    Formal FOEB. The FOEB Chair may delegate agenda responsibility for agenda preparation. This is often the case when involving an Industry Focal. At the Chair’s discretion, the Industry Focal may be tasked with proposing and preparing a consolidated FOEB agenda that has been coordinated with all interested industry participants.
b)    Electronic FOEB. The FOEB Chair normally prepares the agenda. This allows the flexibility to seek clarification and additional justifications for items when needed.
6)    Final Agenda. The FOEB Chair sets a date by which to have the agenda completed or when to receive the FOEB agenda from the Industry Focal or manufacturer (if applicable). The Chair may utilize both electronic and paper copies of the meeting agenda to distribute to the FAA and industry.

Figure 8-5.  Flight Operations Evaluation Board Agenda/Minutes Sample Template

Aircraft Make/Model FOEB Agenda/Minutes


These minutes consider proposals made to the FAA for Revision 4 of the XYZ Aerospace, XX-567 Master Minimum Equipment List (MMEL). These FOEB positions are based on FOEB meeting XX/XX/XXXX:

Item #

Item Description




Ram Air Check Valve

Accept With Modification

Removed NOTE. Does not comply with PL-031, para. 12.


Automatic Temperature Control Cabin




Automatic Temperature Control Cockpit




Manual Temperature Control Cockpit

Open More Information Required



Cabin Pressurization Control System


Added AFM Limitations reference.


Outflow/Safety Valves

Accept With Modification

Made more restrictive “Overwater” vs “Extended overwater.” Does not comply with PL-031, para. 12.

D.    The Formal FOEB Meeting.

1)    Three-Phase Meetings. Along with the option of a formal or electronic FOEB meeting, the FOEB Chair will decide on the need to use some or all of the three-phase meeting concept, consisting of pre‑public, public, and post-public phases.
a)    Pre-Public: FAA Internal FOEB Meeting. During the pre-public phase, all FOEB members come together to evaluate each agenda item. The duration of this phase depends on the length and complexity of the agenda. This meeting phase may be conducted in person, by teleconference or poly conference, or electronically, as appropriate.

1.    This phase begins with an in-briefing by the FOEB Chair that includes the agenda and meeting procedures; attendance is taken and the Chair records the meeting minutes. The minutes include the FOEB position on each agenda item, which are typically Accept, Accept With Modification, Deny, or Open  More Information Required.

2.    The FOEB Chair may invite non-FAA technical advisors, such as an aircraft manufacturer, Industry Focal, operator, or vendor, to portions of these meetings, if the board needs clarification on how some aircraft systems operate or on the proposal itself.

3.    If an industry FOEB meeting is going to be held, the FOEB Chair should brief the members on their responsibilities prior to completing the pre-public meeting.

b)    Public: Formal and/or Concurrent Industry FOEB Meeting. During the public formal and/or concurrent industry FOEB meeting, all of the FOEB members and FOEB participants come together in one location to evaluate each agenda item.

1.    The meeting begins with an in-briefing by the FOEB Chair that includes a presentation on the agenda and meeting procedures; meeting attendance is taken. The Chair may distribute and review previous meeting minutes and respond to questions and comments.

2.    The meeting must resolve as many agenda items as possible. However, some agenda items may be intentionally left open for the Industry Focal or manufacturer (as applicable) to provide more information to the FOEB, or the FOEB may need to perform additional evaluation(s) of proposed MMEL items.

3.    The FOEB Chair is responsible for the coordination of open FOEB items, including setting deadlines for the receipt of followup information. If the deadline is missed, the open item will be closed and deferred to the next MMEL revision. At the end of this phase of the FOEB meeting, the Chair should provide an estimated date of release for the MMEL and revise the FOEB minutes.

4.    This meeting (public formal and/or concurrent industry) may take one or more days, depending on the length and complexity of the agenda.

c)    Post-Public: FAA Internal FOEB Meeting. During the post-public meeting, all of the FOEB members come together to consider all of the information and comments received and to close as many of the items as possible. The FOEB Chair may choose to assign each open item to an FOEB member for followup. At the end of this meeting, the FOEB Chair should revise the minutes and distribute them to the FOEB members and participants.

NOTE:  As with the pre-public meeting, this meeting may be conducted in person, by teleconference or poly conference, or electronically, as appropriate.

2)    Additional Meeting Options. The FOEB Chair will ultimately decide how the FOEB meeting will be conducted. The decision on meeting format will be based on the complexity of the draft MMEL or revision and the timeframe designated to adequately review the proposed MMEL items and evaluate the risk mitigation for relief consideration. The myriad FOEB meeting format options include the following:
a)    Conducting an FAA FOEB internal “FAA-only” meeting (pre-public formal), followed by an industry (aircraft manufacturer and operators) meeting (public formal), followed by an FAA FOEB internal “FAA-only” meeting (post-public formal);
b)    Bringing the FOEB members, aircraft manufacturer, and operators together in one meeting (concurrent formal);
c)    Holding an FAA FOEB internal meeting by teleconference (pre-public electronic) followed by the draft MMEL comment period for industry input (public electronic), followed by FAA FOEB internal teleconference disposition of comments (post-public electronic); or
d)    FOEB members email their input on each item to the Chair, who will then draft the FOEB position on each item (pre-public electronic) followed by the draft MMEL comment period for industry input (public electronic), followed by the disposition of comments (post-public electronic).

NOTE:  For an electronic FOEB, posting of the draft MMEL or revision for comment serves as the industry opportunity for input (public electronic).

3)    Flight Evaluation of Proposed MMEL Items. FOEB members may determine that a proposed item (e.g., a cockpit display or nosewheel steering item) needs a ground or flight evaluation to decide if it can be addressed in the MMEL. If so, the entity that requests the MMEL relief (e.g., the manufacturer or Industry Focal) is responsible for:
a)    Submitting an evaluation plan to the FOEB Chair for acceptance. The evaluation plan should consider all phases of flight operation and demonstrate that flight operations with the proposed item inoperative have an equivalent level of safety to flight with the item operative and considering the next most critical failure.
b)    Providing an aircraft, simulator, or both for the evaluation.
4)    Disposition of Open Items and the Meeting Minutes. Agenda items may be left open after the FOEB meeting in order for the Industry Focal (if applicable) or manufacturer to provide more information to the FOEB, or for the FOEB to perform aircraft flight evaluations. Once the information is received and all evaluations are completed:
a)    The FOEB Chair will provide the information and results to the FOEB members to determine the final FOEB position.
b)    An item should be denied if insufficient information was provided.
c)    The FOEB Chair will revise the FOEB minutes and distribute them to the FOEB members, the Industry Focal (if applicable), and the manufacturer.
5)    FAA Processing of the Draft MMEL. Once the FOEB Chair has achieved FOEB concurrence on the draft MMEL, the AEG manager must review and approve the draft prior to sending it to FAA HQ for review and concurrence. The AEGs will follow the AFS Office of the Director (AFS-1)-approved work instructions for the processing of draft MMELs at FAA HQ.

E.    FOEB Chair Final Actions. Once the MMEL is approved and posted on FSIMS, the FOEB Chair completes the following actions:

1)    Retains a copy of the approved MMEL in accordance with office record procedures.
2)    Closes the FOEB project record in the AEG database.

RESERVED. Paragraphs 8-68 through 8-81.