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Section 1 General


13-55    OBJECTIVE. This section contains information concerning Aircrew Designated Examiner (ADE) programs and guidance to be used by principal operations inspectors (POI) and Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) managers when evaluating the prospect of implementing an ADE program.

A.    Risk Management. An ADE program requires a risk management approach that uses oversight based on differences in the potential impact on safety and the likelihood of error. Sufficient resources must be allocated to ensure effective management and efficient oversight of designees. The program must be periodically evaluated to ensure it is producing the desired results.

B.    Contents. Volume 13, Chapter 5, Section 1 contains a general description of the ADE program, in which airman certifications are accomplished on behalf of the Administrator by an air carrierís own specially authorized check airman. Section 2 contains guidance for the FAAís management of an ADE program. Section 3 contains guidance on the selection, training, and supervision of an air carrierís participants in the program.

NOTE:   This chapter does not pertain to Training Center Evaluators (TCE) or Designated Aircraft Dispatcher Examiners (DADE).

13-56    GENERAL. The primary objective of an ADE program is maximum safety for the public. A participating air carrierís objectives include scheduling advantages and business economies. The FAAís objectives include leveraging of limited inspector resources and accomplishing the most effective surveillance possible.

13-57    PROGRAM DESCRIPTION. The ADE program was established under the provisions of Title 14 of the Code of Federal Regulations (14 CFR) part 183 for the purpose of delegating certification authority and activity to select employees of 14 CFR part 121 and 135 operators.

A.    History. The program was originally intended for large operators with sophisticated training capabilities and programs that include the extensive use of flight simulators and flight training devices (FTD), highly trained personnel, and a large volume of certification activity. Eligibility requirements have since been relaxed to permit smaller air carriers to take advantage of the benefits of an ADE program. The ADE program was and still is based on the premise that a candid relationship must be maintained between the operator and the FAA.

B.    Personnel. The program comprises (1) one or more of an operatorís check airmen, further authorized by the FAA as Aircrew Program Designee(s) (APD) (which includes Designated Flight Engineer Examiners (DFEE) where appropriate) to conduct airman certifications on behalf of the Administrator; and (2) an FAA inspector known as an Aircrew Program Manager (APM) who oversees the APDsí activities. APDs and APMs are selected for their experience, knowledge, and professional standing, in the interest of maintaining high performance standards on the part of the operator and the regulator.

C.     Candidate Selection. An APD candidate is nominated by an operator from the ranks of its proficiency check airmen and is given training in FAA policies and certification procedures before being authorized by the FAA as an APD (see Section 3). An APM candidate is selected for knowledge and experience related to airman certification and air carrier training programs. Before being assigned APM duties an APM is trained by the operator to qualify as a pilot in command (PIC) and as a fully qualified check airman in one of the operatorís airplane types. If that airplane requires a Flight Engineer (FE), and FE certification is included in the ADE program, then the APM is trained by the operator to qualify additionally as an FE to oversee DFEEs.


A.    Prerequisites. This task requires knowledge of 14 CFR part 61, 63, 121, and/or 135, and 183 regulations and FAA policies, and qualification as an aviation safety inspector (ASI) (Operations) with designee oversight responsibilities.

B.    Coordination. This task may require coordination between the managing FAA office, the regional Flight Standards division (RFSD), and/or the Air Transportation Division (AFS‑200).


A.    References (current editions):

    14 CFR parts 1, 61, 63, 91,121, 135, and 183.

    Title 49 of the United States Code (49 U.S.C.).

    PTRS Procedures Manual.

B.    Forms: None.

13-60    GUIDELINES FOR ESTABLISHING AN ADE PROGRAM. A well‑run ADE program pays off in heightened public safety. A POI, a certificate‑holding district office (CHDO) manager, and the RFSD manager should consider establishing an ADE program whenever doing so would be desirable and feasible for an operator and for the FAA.

A.    Certification Activity. Circumstances vary widely from operator to operator, and each situation must be considered separately to determine if establishing an ADE program is desirable and feasible. Many factors should be considered such as the experience level of an operatorís pilot population, travel time to and from training sites, and the complexity of the operatorís airplanes and operations.

B.    New or Added Airplane Type. An ADE program may be particularly effective when a new airplane or a new derivative of existing airplane is introduced. APM training provided by the operator affords timely, appropriate training for the FAA inspector having oversight responsibility. This training, in turn, enables the FAA to provide good service to the operator in reviewing, approving, and overseeing the operatorís training program. Also, it empowers the APM to establish a highly effective surveillance program.

C.    Future Requirements. When inspectors evaluate the need for an ADE program, future requirements must be considered.

1)    For example, when an operator introduces a new airplane type into service, the FAA often experiences an exceptionally high demand for airman certification work. That additional workload comes together with a need for expert FAA surveillance during the familiarization period, the first few years when the new airplane is worked into the operatorís system. In such cases the operator may benefit by the FAAís anticipating those unusual demands, and being ready to implement an ADE program as the airplane is entered into service.
2)    CHDO and RFSD managers should consider timing the selection of an APM for at least two purposes:
a)    Newly certificated airplane, and the Flight Standardization Board (FSB). It is highly desirable that a selectee participate in the FSB activities to determine type rating and training program requirements.
b)    The initial cadre. It is particularly important that an APM selectee attend initial cadre training together with the operatorís own employees.


A.    Qualifications. In order to qualify for participation in an ADE program, a certificate holder must be a part 121 or 135 operator, and should have at least 1 year of experience in conducting an approved part 121, appendix H advanced simulator training program or in conducting a training program under a single‑visit exemption as part of the enrollment process for the Advanced Qualification Program (AQP). An ADE/APD program should be in place prior to initial operation of an AQP pilot training curriculum. The operator must have an acceptable history of safe operating performance and of compliance with regulations, and must have sustained a good working relationship with the FAA.

B.    Program Requirements. Operators considering participation in an ADE program must commit to:

1)    Entering into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). An MOU is a written agreement between the operator and the FAA which describes how the ADE program is to be conducted. In particular, an MOU must specify:
a)    That the operator will have the benefit of one or more APDs, and in return:
b)    That the operator will provide initial and recurrent training at the operatorís expense to the following FAA inspectors:

    An APM,

    One or more Partial Program Managers (PPM), when workload requires, and

    A planned replacement for an APM or PPM before either of those positions is vacated, to ensure the continuity of the ADE program.

2)    Extending privileges and courtesies to the APM (and PPM, when applicable) beyond those extended to other ASIs. These privileges include all those that the operator grants to its own check airmen, except that of acting as PIC of an airplane in flight. For example, an APM must be granted the same authority to operate the controls of flight simulators and FTDs that the operator grants to its own check airmen.

RESERVED. Paragraphs 13‑62 through 13‑75.