Federal Aviation
Administration

 

MMEL Policy Letter (PL) 56, Revision 5

 

Date:

January 1, 2012

 

To:

All Region Flight Standards Division Managers
All Aircraft Evaluation Group Managers

 

From:

Manager, Air Transportation Division, AFS-200

 

Reply to Attn of:

Manager, Technical Programs Branch, AFS-260

 

SUBJECT:

Flight Deck FWD Observer Seat

 

MMEL CODE:

25 (EQUIPMENT & FURNISHINGS)

 

REFERENCE:

PL-56, Revision 4 GC, dated September 15, 2004

PL-56, Revision 3, dated January 16, 2001, signed by Gregory L. Michael

PL-56, Revision 2, dated August 15, 1997

PL-56, Revision 1, dated June 29, 1995, signed by David R. Harrington

PL-22, Revision Original, dated July 19, 1985, signed by John S. Kern

PL-20, Revision Original, dated May 17, 1985

14 CFR §§121.581, 125.317(b), and 135.75(b)

 

PURPOSE:

 

To establish standardized Master Minimum Equipment List (MMEL) relief for the flight deck observer seat(s).

 

DISCUSSION:

Revision 5 omits the Global Change (GC) designation for this PL.  Refer to PL-59 for post-GC policy.

 

Revision 4 adds additional MMEL relief for the flight deck observer seat(s) installed on aircraft operated under 14 CFR 91.  Aircraft operated under 14 CFR 91 are not required to have an observer seat(s), therefore, the Remarks/Exceptions need to reflect these differences.

Revision 3 standardized the “Purpose” statement, deleted "OR" and "(2)" from provisos, revised previous proviso e) into two provisos and deleted "May be inoperative" from sub-item 2).

Revision 2 reformatted and incorporated previous policy letters 20 and 22 regarding the observer seat associated equipment, oxygen system and audio control panel.

The standard MMEL proviso for the Forward Observer Seat (14 CFR 121.581) as contained in Notice 8430.40 dated June 19, 1991, is amended as set forth in the new proviso herein.  During the period when the MMEL proviso as described in Notice 8430.40 dated June 19, 1991, was in effect, a number of inquiries were made by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) field offices and some air carriers which required explanation.  Based on those inquiries and requests from the air carrier industry, changes have been made as clarifying in nature.  This change provides standard relief for aircraft with a single forward observer seat and aircraft with a forward and second observer seat on the flight deck.  Any additional seats or equipment on the flight deck not encompassed by this proviso will be reviewed by the Flight Operations Evaluation Board (FOEB) for inclusion in the MMEL.  Also, this change provides for the inspector to decide whether to occupy an observer seat by accepting certain defects, such as lights or other non-safety item(s) that would not adversely affect the performance of official duties.

 

The FAA designated observer seat on the flight deck is primarily designed for aviation safety inspectors and company check airman for use in the official performance of their duties.  They are considered to be crewmembers performing flight deck duties when occupying the observer seat and shall be provided with oxygen and an audio control panel.  The oxygen system and audio control panel provided must be equivalent to the system provided to the pilot/crewmember for the rules under which their operations are conducted.

 

POLICY:

 

The following standard MMEL proviso is established to provide limited relief for the forward observer seat, the observer seat (primary), or the observer seat selected by the Administrator, including associated equipment.  Observer seat associated equipment is defined as all systems or components used in support of or in conjunction with the seat, i.e., audio selector panel, oxygen system, microphone, headset, lights, etc.  This change provides the inspector an option, to occupy the forward observer seat or the second observer seat (if installed) with certain non-safety equipment inoperative when the inspector has determined that the official duty can be accomplished.

The pilot in command (PIC) will determine if either observer seat may be occupied with certain non-safety equipment inoperative for persons, other than FAA inspectors, authorized by the air carrier.

Air carrier check airman may occupy an observer seat with certain non-safety equipment inoperative when it has been determined by the PIC that the flight check can be accomplished safely.

The described options to occupy the forward or second observer seat do not in any way alter the established repair interval.

Each FOEB chairman is to take appropriate action to have all applicable MMELs amended to include the following proviso for the forward observer seat as provided by 14 CFR 121.581, 125.317(b), and 135.75(b).  The FOEB will also review any additional observer seats and equipment on the flight deck not encompassed by this proviso for inclusion in the MMEL.  Except as provided herein, it is not intended that any existing MMEL relief for certain equipment on the flight deck be removed as a result of this proviso.  Principal inspectors may amend assigned air carrier MELs in accordance with this policy letter when requested by the certificated operator/air carrier.

 

25 (EQUIPMENT & FURNISHINGS)

 

 

 

 

 

25-XX

Observer Seat(s)

Repair Interval

Number Installed

Number Required for Dispatch

Remarks or Exceptions

 

1)

Primary Observer Seat (including associated equipment)

A

-

-

May be inoperative provided:

a)            A passenger seat in the passenger cabin is made available to an FAA inspector for the performance of official duties, and

b)            Repairs are made within two flight days.

 

 

 

A

-

-

May be inoperative provided:

a)            Secondary observer's seat is available to the FAA inspector for the performance of official duties, and

b)            Repairs are made within two flight days.

 

25-XX

Observer Seat(s)

Repair Interval

Number Installed

Number Required for Dispatch

Remarks or Exceptions

 

 

 

 

 

A

-

-

May be inoperative provided:

a)            Required minimum safety equipment (safety belt and oxygen) is available,

b)            Seat is acceptable to the FAA inspector for performance of official duties, and

c)            Repairs are made within two flight days.

 

 

 

 

 

 

NOTE 1: These provisos are intended to provide for occupancy of the above seats by an FAA inspector when the minimum safety equipment (oxygen and safety belt) is functional and the inspector determines the conditions to be acceptable.

NOTE 2: The pilot-in-command will determine if the minimum safety equipment is functional for other persons authorized to occupy any observer seat(s).

 

*** 2)

Additional Observer Seat(s) (including associated equipment)

D

-

0

NOTE: The pilot-in-command will determine if the minimum safety equipment is functional for other persons authorized to occupy any observer seat(s).

 

3)

Observer Seat Not Required by FAR (including associated equipment)

D

-

0

NOTE: The pilot-in-command will determine if the minimum safety equipment is functional for other persons authorized to occupy any observer seat(s).

 

 

 

Each FOEB Chairperson should apply this Policy to affected MMELs through the normal FOEB process.

 

 

 

 

 

John S. Duncan

Manager, Air Transport Division