SUBJECT: FAR Part 91 MEL Approval

    PL-36 Revision 2                              August 15,1997

   

    SUBJECT:    FAR Part 91 MEL Approval & Preamble

   

    MMEL CODE:  00 (GENERAL)

   

    REFERENCE:  Previous Policy Letter 36, dated July 5, 1990.

                Original signed by Daniel C. Beaudette.

   

    FROM:       Manager, Air Transportation Division, AFS-200

    TO:         All Region Flight Standards Division Managers

                All Aircraft Evaluation Group Managers

   

    REPLY TO

    ATTN OF:    Manager, Program Management Branch, AFS-260

   

    PURPOSE:

    This policy letter provides policy with regard to approval of

    Minimum Equipment Lists (MEL) issued under the provisions of

    FAR 91.213. The policy is unchanged, but is reformatted in a

    standardized manner in Revision 2.

   

    DISCUSSION:

    Revision 2 reformats policy letter 36 with no change to policy.

    To alleviate delays involved with the approval process for Part 91

    MELs, and to provide relief for field inspectors with respect to

    time and work expenditure, the following procedural changes were

    instituted in the previous issues of this policy letter. The key

    changes are as follows:

   

         * Inspector's are no longer required to review the

    operator's O and M procedures prior to issuing the letter of

    authorization.

         * Operators are required to countersign the letter of

    authorization prior to its issuance.

         * Letters of authorization are to be issued without an

    expiration date.

         * When operators relocate, the letter of authorization is

    not required to be reissued.

    Field offices will issue Part 91 MEL applicants the Master

    Minimum Equipment List (MMEL) for their specific aircraft type

    with the accompanying new Part 91 preamble and letter of

    authorization.  This new preamble will also be available from the

    national MMEL data base in the near future.  The operator is

    authorized to use the MMEL in place of an MEL when the new

    preamble and other listed requirements are complied with.  The

    letter of authorization and the preamble clarify that the burden

    of compliance is on the operator.  It is not necessary to review

    the operator's O and M procedures prior to issuance of the

    letter.

   

    POLICY:

    The operator, as always, is responsible for developing and

    accomplishing operation and maintenance (O and M) procedures, for

    the disabling, or rendering inoperative items of equipment in

    accordance with FAR Part 91, Part 145, or Part 43, as

    appropriate.  Those procedures should be developed from guidance

    provided in the manufacturer's aircraft flight and/or maintenance

    manuals, manufacturer's recommendations, engineering

    specifications, and other appropriate sources.

    Operators are required to develop O and M procedures that

    correspond with those listed in the MMEL with respect to listed

    ATA codes and to place them in a separate document.  All MMEL

    items that contain the statement "as required by FAR" must either

    list the specific FAR by part and section in this separate

    document (with the specific FAR carried on board the aircraft) or

    describe the operational restrictions/limitations for dispatch in

    this separate document.  This document must accompany the MMEL,

    preamble, and letter of authorization and must be on board the

    aircraft anytime it is operated.

   

    It will be necessary for the operator to contact the FSDO to

    schedule an appointment for the purpose of obtaining a copy of

    its aircraft's MMEL and Part 91 preamble and to discuss MEL

    operational procedures with operations, airworthiness, and

    avionics aviation safety inspectors (subject to their

    availability).  It will be the responsibility of operators to

    develop O and M procedures that comply with all FAR.  These

    procedures will not be subsequently reviewed by the FAA prior to

    their implementation by the operator.  Following that discussion,

    which will cover operator responsibilities and use of the MMEL,

    the operator will be issued a letter of authorization signed by

    the principal operations inspector and cosigned by the operator

    affirming to operate in compliance with all FAR.  The operator's

    name and address will be entered into the national MMEL data base

    (for postcard updates when a revision to the MMEL occurs) at this

    time.

   

    The FSDO should open a file on the operator which will contain a

    copy of the letter of authorization and any subsequent

    correspondence.  Copies of surveillance reports on the operator

    and postcard notices from the national MMEL data base sent to the

    FSDO relating to revisions of the MMEL for the operator's

    aircraft should also be placed in the operator's FSDO file.

    When revisions to the MMEL occur, both the issuing FSDO and the

    operator will be notified by the national MMEL data base.  It is

    then incumbent upon the operator to request a copy of the

    revision from the FSDO.  The operator will then incorporate the

    revised items and procedures into its O and M procedures, as

    applicable, within 30 calendar days of notification by the

    national MMEL data base system.

   

    Some operators have items of equipment installed on their

    aircraft (other than passenger convenience items such as galley

    equipment and passenger entertainment devices), such as "TCAS,"

    windshear detection devices, and ground proximity warning systems

    (GPWS) that are in excess of what is required and are not listed

    on the MMEL.  If such is the case, O and M procedures for those

    items of equipment must be developed and comply with all FAR.

    Operation may be conducted with those items disabled in

    accordance with those O and M procedures until the earliest

   opportunity for the Flight Operations Evaluation Board (FOEB) to

    be convened to consider adding the equipment to the MMEL.

    Operators wishing to obtain relief through an MMEL change must

    notify the FSDO exercising jurisdiction over its operation, in

    writing, within 10 calendar days (includes weekends and holidays)

    following the completion of the installation.  The FSDO will then

    contact the Aircraft Evaluation Group (AEG) for scheduling the

    FOEB to consider adding the equipment to the MMEL.  Operators not

    seeking MMEL relief need not contact the FSDO, and will

    thereafter be required to maintain those items of equipment in

    operable condition for dispatch.

   

    When the operator initially contacts the FSDO for the purpose of

    obtaining an MMEL, if the aircraft has items of equipment

    installed that are (other than passenger convenience items) not

    listed on the MMEL, the FSDO will contact the AEG to request

    those items be considered at the next FOEB meeting.  The operator

    may conduct operations until the FOEB convenes to consider the

    request.

   

    Operators that utilize several aircraft of the same type may be

    issued a single letter of authorization that lists each aircraft

    by registration and serial number; however, for aircraft of

    different types, separate letters should be issued.

    When more than one operator will operate a specific aircraft,

    each operator must meet with appropriate aviation safety

    inspectors at the issuing FSDO prior to issuance of a letter of

    authorization containing the name of their company.  A single

    letter may be issued containing all names of authorized aircraft

    users, or separate letters may be issued at the FSDO's

    discretion.  If more than one operator is using a specific

    aircraft, all the operators must sign the "Statement of Operator"

    on the letter of authorization.

   

    Should the operator's principal base of operations (address)

    change, it must notify both the FSDO exercising oversight of the

    jurisdictional area in which it operates and the new FSDO which

    will exercise oversight, in writing, within 10 calendar days

    following the relocation.  The previous FSDO will then forward

    the operator's MEL file to the acquiring FSDO which will enter

    the new address information into the national MMEL data base for

    revision and update.  It is not necessary to reissue the letter

    of authorization.

   

    Letters of authorization, as in the past, are signed by principal

    operations inspectors and now are additionally countersigned by

    the operator.  The office file copy is also initialed by the

    principal airworthiness and avionics inspectors present during

    the FSDO/operator meeting.  Due to the revision and update

    capability of the automated MMEL data base, the letters of

    authorization are issued without expiration dates and remain

    valid until voluntarily surrendered by the operator, the operator

    ceases to be the owner or operator of the aircraft (sale, etc.),

    or the FAA suspends or revokes the authorization for cause.  In

    any case, should it become invalid, it must be returned to the

    holding FSDO (the FSDO currently having jurisdiction) within

    10 calendar days.

   

    A sample of the letter of authorization and Part 91 preamble are

    attached for your use.  This procedure will be incorporated into

    the Order 8700.1 and other related handbooks, orders, and

    documents as soon as possible.  This action notice information

    should be provided to all applicants during the interim.

    Program requirements to be accomplished within available

    resources.

 

    2 Attachments

    Sample Letter of Authorization

    Part 91 Preamble

 

                   *** SAMPLE LETTER OF AUTHORIZATION ***

 

    Mr. John Dough

    President, John Dough Enterprises

    Hangar 9, Suite 203

    Washington National Airport

    Washington, DC  20001

    Dear Mr. Dough:

    This letter is issued under the provisions of Section 91.30(a)(2)

    [NEW Section 91.213(a)(2)] of the Federal Aviation Regulations

    (FAR) and authorizes John Dough Enterprises ONLY to operate

    Cessna Citation 500, N81149, Serial No. 12345, under the master

    minimum equipment list (MMEL), using it as a minimum equipment

    list (MEL).

    This letter of authorization and the MMEL constitute a

    supplemental type certificate for the aircraft and must be

    carried on board the aircraft as prescribed by

    Section 91.30(a)(2) of the FAR [NEW Section 91.213(a)(2)].

    Operations must be conducted in accordance with the MMEL.

    Operations and maintenance (O and M) procedures for the

    accomplishment of rendering items of equipment inoperative must

    be developed by the operator.  Those procedures should be

    developed from guidance provided in the manufacturer's aircraft

    flight and/or maintenance manuals, manufacturer's

    recommendations, engineering specifications, and other

    appropriate sources.  Such operations or maintenance procedures

    must be accomplished in accordance with the provisions and

    requirements of Part 91, Part 145, or Part 43 of the FAR.

    A means of recording discrepancies and corrective actions must be

    in the aircraft at all times and available to the pilot in

    command.  Failure to perform O and M procedures in accordance

    with Part 91, Part 145, or Part 43, as appropriate, or to comply

    with the provisions of the MMEL, preamble, O and M procedures,

    and other related documents, is contrary to the FAR and

   invalidates this letter.  All MMEL items that contain the

    statement "as required by FAR" must either state the FAR by part

    and section (i.e., 91.33, NEW 91.205) with the appropriate

    carried aboard the aircraft, or the operational

    requirements/limitations required for dispatch must

    be clearly stated.  When the MMEL is revised by the Flight

    Operations Evaluation Board (FOEB), John Dough Enterprises will

    be notified by postcard of the revision.  John Dough Enterprises

    must then obtain a copy of the revision from this Flight

    Standards District Office (FSDO), or the FSDO having

    jurisdiction, and incorporate any changes as soon as practicable

    including O's and M's as required.

   

    John Dough Enterprises must develop O and M procedures that

    correspond with those listed in the MMEL.  John Dough Enterprises

    must also list the "as required by FAR" by specific FAR part and

    section or state the operational requirements/limitations for

    dispatch.  These items must be contained in a document separate

    from the MMEL and must accompany the MMEL, preamble, and letter

    of authorization.  They must all be on board the aircraft anytime

    it is operated.

   

    Equipment installed on this aircraft (other than passenger

    convenience items such as galley equipment and passenger

    entertainment devices) that are in excess of what is required,

    and are not listed on the MMEL, must be operational for dispatch

    unless a request is made to this FSDO (or subsequent FSDO that

    has jurisdiction) to seek relief from the FOEB, through a

    revision to the MMEL, at the earliest opportunity for the FOEB to

    convene.  If MMEL relief is sought, this FSDO (or subsequent

    FSDO) must be notified within 10 calendar days (including

    weekends and holidays) following installation.  The operator may

    then conduct operations with the equipment inoperative for

    dispatch provided it is disabled, or rendered inoperative, in

    accordance with all FAR.  It is the responsibility of John Dough

    Enterprises to endeavor to determine if O and/or M procedures

    must be developed for disabling, rendering inoperative, or

    removal of the equipment.  If so, any procedures that are

    developed must comply with all FAR.  If MMEL relief is not

    sought, the FSDO need not be notified following installation of

    the equipment.

   

    Should John Dough Enterprises relocate its principal base of

    operations (address), it must notify, in writing, both this FSDO

    and the new FSDO that will have jurisdiction within 10 calendar

    days following relocation.

   

    This letter is issued without an expiration date and will remain

    valid until voluntarily surrendered by John Dough Enterprises,

    John Dough Enterprises ceases to be the operator of N81149, or it

    is surrendered or revoked for cause by the FAA.  In any case,

    should it become invalid, it must be returned to this office or

    the FSDO having jurisdiction within 10 calendar days from the

    date it becomes invalid.

   

    STATEMENT OF OPERATOR

    As evidenced by my signature below, I certify that John Dough

    Enterprises will operate Cessna 500, N81149, in compliance with

    the authorizations, provisions, and limitations incumbent with

    the utilization of this letter of authorization issued in

    accordance with Section 91.30(a(2) of the FAR [NEW

    Section 91.213(a)(2)].  A copy of this letter will be made a part

    of the MEL file maintained by this FSDO of John Dough

    Enterprises.

 

    _________________________________________________________________

    Signature                    Title                        Date

 

    Sincerely,

 

    Principal Operations Inspector

 

 

 

 

                       Preamble - PART 91 ONLY

                         *** PART 91 PREAMBLE ***

                   FEDERAL AVIATION ADMINISTRATION

                    MASTER MINIMUM EQUIPMENT LIST

                           (AIRCRAFT TYPE)

                       Preamble - PART 91 ONLY

    This preamble is applicable to, and will be included in, master

    minimum equipment lists (MMEL) issued under the provisions of

    Section 91.30(a) [NEW Section 91.213(a)(2)].  It is not

    applicable to MMEL's issued under the provisions of Parts 121,

    125, 129, and 135 of the FAR.

   

    Except as provided in Section 91.30(d) [NEW Section 91.213(d)],

    or under the provisions of an approved MMEL, all equipment

    installed on an aircraft in compliance with the airworthiness

    standards or operating rules must be operative.  Experience has

    shown that with the various levels of redundancy designed into

    modern aircraft, operation of every system or component installed

    may not be necessary when the remaining equipment can provide an

    acceptable level of safety.

   

    An MMEL is developed by the FAA, with participation by the

    aviation industry, to improve aircraft utilization and thereby

    provide more convenient and economic air transportation for the

    public.  The FAA-approved MMEL includes only those items of

    equipment which the Administrator finds may be inoperative and

    yet maintain an acceptable level of safety by appropriate

    conditions and limitations.  The MMEL and FAA-issued letter of

    authorization are used as an MEL by an operator and permit

    operation of the aircraft with inoperative equipment.

    The MMEL includes all items of installed equipment that are

    permitted to be inoperative.  Equipment required by the FAR, and

    optional equipment in excess of FAR requirements, is included

    with appropriate conditions and limitations.  For each listed

    item, the installed equipment configuration considered to be

    normal for the aircraft is specified.  Items of equipment

    installed on aircraft (except for passenger convenience items

    such as galley equipment and passenger entertainment devices),

    such as "TCAS," windshear detection devices, and ground proximity

    warning systems (GPWS) that are in excess of what is required,

    and are not listed on the MMEL, must be operational for dispatch

    unless MMEL relief is sought through the FSDO having jurisdiction

    for the operator.  If MMEL relief is sought, the operator must

    notify the FSDO who will make a request of the FOEB to convene

    and consider adding the equipment to the MMEL.  The operator may

    then dispatch with the equipment disabled, or rendered

    inoperative, in accordance with all FAR.  It is incumbent on the

    operator to endeavor to determine if O and/or M procedures for

    that equipment must be developed.  If so, any procedures

    developed must comply with all FAR.  Procedures developed to use

    the MMEL must not conflict with either the aircraft flight manual

    limitations, emergency procedures, or with airworthiness

    directives (AD), all of which take precedence over the MMEL and

    those procedures.  Suitable conditions and limitations in the

    form of placards, maintenance procedures, crew operating

    procedures, and other restrictions, as necessary, are required to

    be accomplished by the operator to ensure that an acceptable

    level of safety is maintained.  Those procedures should be

    developed from guidance provided in the manufacturer's aircraft

    flight and/or maintenance manuals, manufacturer's

    recommendations, engineering specifications, and other

    appropriate sources.  Procedures must not be contrary to any FAR.

    Wherever the statement "as required by FAR" appears in the MMEL,

    the operator must either list the specific FAR by part and

    section and carry the FAR on board the aircraft or specify the

    requirements and/or limitations to conduct the flight in

    accordance with the appropriate FAR.

   

    The MMEL is intended to permit operations with inoperative items

    of equipment for the minimum period of time necessary until

    repairs can be accomplished.  It is important that repairs be

    accomplished at the earliest opportunity in order to return the

    aircraft to its design level of safety and reliability.

    Inoperative equipment in all cases must be repaired, or inspected

    and deferred, by qualified maintenance personnel at the next

    required inspection [Section 91.165(c), NEW Section 91.405(c)].

    The repair intervals indicated by the Letters A, B, and C

    inserted adjacent to column 2 are NOT applicable to this MMEL.

    The MMEL provides for release of the aircraft for flight with

    inoperative equipment.  When an item of equipment is discovered

    to be inoperative, it is reported by making an entry in the

    aircraft maintenance records.  The item is then either repaired

    or deferred per the MMEL or other approved means acceptable to

    the Administrator prior to further operation.  In addition to the

    specific MMEL conditions and limitations, determination by the

    operator that the aircraft is in condition for safe operations

    under anticipated flight conditions must be made for all items of

    inoperative equipment.  When these requirements are met, the

    aircraft may be considered airworthy and returned to service.

    Operators are responsible for exercising the necessary

    operational control to ensure that an acceptable level of safety

    is maintained.  When operating with multiple inoperative items,

    the interrelationship between those items, and the effect on

    aircraft operation and crew workload, must be considered.

    Operators are expected to establish a controlled and sound repair

    program, including the parts, personnel, facilities, procedures,

    and schedules to ensure timely repair.

   

    WHEN USING THE MMEL, COMPLIANCE WITH THE STATED INTENT OF THE

    PREAMBLE, DEFINITIONS, CONDITIONS, AND LIMITATIONS SPECIFIED IN

    THE MMEL IS REQUIRED.