VOLUME 3 GENERAL TECHNICAL ADMINISTRATION
CHAPTER 20 CHECK AIRMAN, INSTRUCTOR, AND SUPERVISOR PROGRAMS FOR TITLE 14 CFR PARTS
135 CERTIFICATE HOLDERS
Section 6 Safety Assurance System: Part
Pilot Approval and Surveillance
and Recurrent Pilot Testing Requirements.
in Command: Instrument Proficiency Check Requirements.
in Command: Line Checks: Routes and Airports.
and Terms Used.
Program: Special Rules.
Check Airmen (Aircraft) and Check Airmen (Simulator).
and Transition Training and Checking: Check Airmen (Aircraft), Check Airmen (Simulator).
and Flight Attendant Crewmember Training Programs.
3-20-6-1 REPORTING SYSTEM(S).
A. Program Tracking and Reporting Subsystem (PTRS) Codes.
• Approve Check Pilot: 1346.
• Remove Check Pilot: 1359.
• Check Pilot ObservationProficiency Check Oral or Part
• Check Pilot ObservationProficiency or
Competency Check (Simulator): 1642.
• Check Pilot ObservationProficiency or Competency Check §
135.293(b) or §
135.297 (Aircraft): 1643.
• Check Pilot ObservationLine Check §
• Check Pilot ObservationOperating Experience (OE): 1645.
B. Safety Assurance System (SAS) Element(s). This section is
related to SAS Element 2.1.2 (OP) Training of Check Airmen and Instructors.
3-20-6-3 OBJECTIVE. This section establishes Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)
procedures for the approval and surveillance of check pilots. All check pilots
must be approved by a certificate holder’s Principal Operations Inspector (POI)
or, for training centers approved to deliver standardized curricula, their Training
Center Program Manager (TCPM). TCPM approval is limited to those Training Center
Evaluators (TCE) (check pilots) evaluating pilots completing a standardized
curriculum listed in the training center’s training specification (TSpec) B005. The
check pilot approval process follows the five phases described in this section.
NOTE: TCPMs should follow guidance found in
Volume 3, Chapter 54, Section 3 when
adding check pilot authority to a TCE’s Letter of Authorization (LOA) for standardized
curricula listed in TSpec B005.
3-20-6-5 APPROVAL BASIS. Approval is based on a candidate:
• Satisfying the qualifications and training requirements found
in Title 14 of the Code of Federal Regulations (14 CFR) part
• Having the proper certificates and ratings;
• Being qualified in accordance with the
certificate holder’s approved initial, transition, or upgrade training program;
• Having completed the certificate holder’s approved check pilot
training program for the appropriate check functions; and
• Having demonstrated the ability to conduct a check and to evaluate
the performance of flightcrew members to the satisfaction of an FAA inspector.
3-20-6-7 PHASE ONECERTIFICATE HOLDER FAMILIARIZATION WITH REQUIREMENTS AND LETTER OF REQUEST.
A. Beginning the Approval Process. The first phase of the check pilot approval process
involves a discussion between the certificate holder and the POI. The POI should
ensure that the certificate holder understands the regulatory check pilot training
requirements and that a candidate must satisfactorily demonstrate the ability
to perform check functions to an FAA inspector before approval. The POI should
also ensure that the certificate holder is prepared to submit the necessary
documentation to initiate the approval process, which is as follows.
B. Required Information. The letter of request constitutes the certificate holder’s
nomination. It originates from the certificate holder, not a training center, candidate, or some other party. It includes:
• The candidate’s name;
• Business address;
• Applicable Airman Certificate number;
• Current flightcrew member position;
• Requested check pilot classification and functions;
• Aircraft type(s);
• Brief résumé of the candidate’s aviation
background and experience; and
• Copies of the candidate’s training records, including his or her
initial, transition, or upgrade training in requested aircraft type; most recent applicable recurrent training; and check pilot training.
NOTE: See paragraph 3-20-6-33, Affidavit Use, for additional training
record options. Applicable only to contract check pilots associated with 14 CFR part
142 training centers.
NOTE: A POI may require that this information be expanded for unique circumstances.
3-20-6-9 PHASE TWOSUBMISSION OF DOCUMENTATION. Phase two begins when the certificate
holder submits the documentation listed in paragraph 3-20-6-7 to the POI for
evaluation. The certificate holder may transmit this submission by conventional
mail, email, fax, or by other means mutually acceptable to the certificate holder
and the POI. The POI will initially review the information to determine if the
candidate meets the basic qualification requirements for the classification
of check pilot approval sought (see
Volume 3, Chapter 20, Section 5).
A. Unacceptable Submission. If the certificate holder’s submission is unacceptable, the
POI should return the submitted documentation with a letter defining the reason for nonacceptance.
B. Acceptable Submission. If the certificate holder’s submission is acceptable, the POI
should initiate phase three.
3-20-6-11 PHASE THREEREVIEW OF DOCUMENTATION.
A. Verification. The POI will verify the candidate’s certificates
and background using the enhanced Vital Information Database (eVID), the Safety
Performance Analysis System (SPAS), PTRS, other sources, and local office procedures.
The POI will then create a file for the individual in the check airman section of eVID.
NOTE: Creation of the eVID file at this point in the process will allow for documentation of
subsequent action regarding the individual without having the records rejected.
During the upload/download process, check pilot surveillance records are cross-checked
(last name and certificate number) against the check airman ancillary file in
the eVID file for the certificate holder.
B. Training Requirements and Considerations. Before the POI can evaluate a candidate
for approval as a check pilot, all required training must be completed. The
candidate’s training records must show satisfactory completion of initial, transition,
or upgrade training and all training required under the certificate holder’s
approved check pilot training program for the specified classification and functions
requested. The approved training program must contain all training required by §§
is applicable to the approval being sought.
C. Check Pilot Expansion of Approved Functions. Check pilot training requirements are identified in §
additional check pilot functions are requested, the certificate holder must ensure the
respective check pilot training is completed.
1) Aircraft That Require a Type Rating.
a) A check pilot approved to conduct §
checks may be approved to conduct
§ 135.293(a)(1) through
or oral tests if the check pilot is current and qualified, including holding the type rating, on the specific
aircraft. The certificate holder must conduct additional training for the check pilot on this additional function. See
Volume 3, Chapter 20, Section 7.
b) A check pilot may be approved to conduct §
or oral tests if the check pilot is current and qualified; the check
pilot is not required to hold the type rating for the specific aircraft. The
certificate holder must conduct additional training for the check pilot on this
additional function. See
Volume 3, Chapter 20, Section 7.
2) Aircraft That Do Not Require a Type Rating.
a) A check pilot approved to conduct § 135.299 line checks may be approved to conduct
§ 135.293(a)(1) through
or oral tests if the check pilot is current and qualified on the specific aircraft. The certificate holder must
conduct additional training for the check pilot on this additional function. See
Volume 3, Chapter 20, Section 7.
b) A check pilot may be approved to conduct §
or oral tests if the check pilot is current and qualified; the check
pilot is not required to be qualified for the specific aircraft. The certificate
holder must conduct additional training for the check pilot on this additional function. See
Volume 3, Chapter 20, Section 7.
D. Nonqualification. If after reviewing the documentation the
POI determines that the candidate does not qualify as a check pilot, the POI will provide
the certificate holder with a statement identifying the reason for nonqualification.
3-20-6-13 PHASE FOURCHECK PILOT EVALUATION GENERAL. In order to evaluate a candidate
effectively, inspectors must become thoroughly familiar with the certificate
holder’s procedures. Inspectors must also become familiar with any special regulatory
requirements affecting the certificate holder, such as special conditions contained
in the operations specifications (OpSpecs) and exemptions.
A. Choosing Airmen as Subjects. The inspector conducting an evaluation
for an original check pilot approval must observe the candidate conducting an
actual check. The purpose of the evaluation is to ensure that the candidate
has achieved the required skills for briefing, evaluating, and debriefing a
flightcrew member. The flightcrew member receiving the check should be a line
flightcrew member who is due for an evaluation. The flightcrew member will not
be an instructor or check pilot, unless previous approval has been received
from the POI. Such approval is reserved for unusual circumstances.
B. Candidate’s Flying Skills. Except for an initial cadre approval, an evaluation does
not entail an evaluation of the candidate’s flying skills in a flightcrew member
duty position. A certificate holder should not request approval of an individual
as a check pilot when there is any question about the individual’s flying skills
in a flightcrew member duty position. Should the POI have reason to question
a candidate’s proficiency, the evaluation will not be conducted until the candidate’s
proficiency is verified. An acceptable way to verify the candidate’s proficiency
is to check the candidate. An inspector may conduct a proficiency check, a competency
check, or a line check of the candidate, scheduled at some time before the official
evaluation. (Such checks are not routinely required.)
C. Satisfactory Evaluation. If the inspector determines that
a candidate meets criteria for the requested approval, the inspector will inform
the candidate that a recommendation of approval will be reported to the POI.
In this case, the candidate will certify the proficiency of the flightcrew member
receiving the check and complete the necessary recordkeeping tasks. The POI
may permit the new check pilot to be scheduled immediately as a check pilot,
even though processing of the letter of approval has not been completed, provided
that a PTRS entry has been completed to document the satisfactory evaluation.
D. Unsatisfactory Evaluation.
1) If the inspector determines a candidate does not qualify for
the requested approval, the inspector will inform the candidate that approval
will not be granted. In such a case, the inspector must determine whether the
flightcrew member receiving the check performed satisfactorily, and must certify
the flightcrew member’s proficiency and complete the necessary records.
2) The failure of a candidate is uncommon and usually ends a candidate’s eligibility
for check pilot status. In rare circumstances, the POI may allow a reevaluation.
In such a case, the certificate holder must conduct sufficient additional training,
recertify the candidate’s proficiency, and arrange to have another evaluation
conducted by an FAA inspector.
3-20-6-15 PHASE FIVECHECK PILOT APPROVAL. All check pilots approved for part
must be approved by the certificate holder’s POI.
A. Check Pilot Letter of Approval. All check pilots approved to conduct part
must be approved by the certificate holder’s POI. Approval of a check
pilot will be in the form of a letter of approval found in Figure 3-20-6B, Sample
Check Pilot Letter of Approval, addressed to a responsible official of the certificate
holder, and signed by the POI or a representative approved by the POI. This
letter of approval may be transmitted to the certificate holder by conventional
mail, email, fax, or by other means acceptable to the certificate holder and
the POI. The responsible Flight Standards office must retain a copy of the check
pilot letter of approval together with the certificate holder’s original letter
of nomination for the candidate.
B. Check Pilot Approval Renewal Requirements. Regulations do not require renewal
or a term of expiration for the approvals of check pilots. However, check pilots
must continue to demonstrate competency and ability in those functions authorized.
Since check pilot oversight requirements have defined intervals, the need to
reissue approvals is unwarranted, inefficient, and thus not required. Inspectors
make performance assessments of the check pilot on an ongoing basis and address
deficiencies as needed. Check pilots are selected, appointed, and trained to
serve the needs of the certificate holder to meet regulatory requirements. Therefore,
a check pilot’s approval may be given, limited, or withdrawn at the discretion
of the POI for any reason considered appropriate by the Administrator. Check
pilots who are performing poorly as a check pilot or as a pilot in line operations,
or require excessive resources to manage may have their approval withdrawn to
ensure continued effectiveness of the check pilot program. The check pilot letter
of approval must contain the following (see Figure 3-20-6B):
• Name and certificate number of the certificate holder for
which the approval is granted;
• Check pilot’s name and applicable FAA Airman Certificate number;
• Approved check pilot classification;
• Specified category, class, or type of aircraft;
• Authorizations and limitations; and
• Effective date of each approval. (Since different approvals may
occur at different times, this information simplifies record checks. The date on which the check pilot was recommended for
approval by an inspector will be the effective date of approval.)
C. Letter of ApprovalOther Copies.
1) The original letter of approval will be sent to the certificate holder for which
the check pilot has been approved.
2) A copy of the letter of approval will be retained in the POI’s files, together
with the certificate holder’s original letter of request for the check pilot.
Additional documentation submitted with the letter of request must also be retained
if it is not accessible in an FAA database. The file must be maintained in the
FAA office files in accordance with the current edition of FAA Order
3) When the individual is a training center instructor or TCE who is being approved
to evaluate a certificate holder’s personnel, and if the POI anticipates requesting
assistance from the TCPM with check pilot surveillance and oversight, a copy
of the letter of approval may be forwarded to that TCPM for inclusion in his or her records.
D. PTRS and eVID. PTRS and eVID entries are required whenever
there is a change in the approval status of the check pilot. The POI must ensure
that a record of the initial approval or when additional functions are added,
a PTRS is completed. Each time an approval is given or withdrawn, the POI must
ensure that the check pilot eVID file reflects the classification of check pilot
and approved functions.
1) Recording Check Pilot Functions in the eVID. Check the following
boxes in the eVID Configuration Check Airman Information Panel (see Table 3-20-6A,
Configuration Check Airman Information Panel). In addition, add comments in
eVID when optional functions are approved.
Table 3-20-6A. Configuration Check Airman Information Panel
Pilot Line All Seats
authorized in all seats
Pilot Line Observer’s (Jump) Seat Only
limited to observer seat only
2) Issuing Functions. Comment entries:
a) When issuing functions that allow §
or oral tests for other multiple airplanes (applicable for all check
pilots types), enter a comment in eVID as follows:
“§ 135.293(a)(1) and
airplanes, (list airplane type(s)).”
b) When issuing functions that allow §
or oral tests for other multiple rotorcraft (applicable for all check
pilots types), enter a comment in eVID as follows:
“§ 135.293(a)(1) and
rotorcraft, (list rotorcraft type(s)).”
c) When issuing functions that allow §
or oral tests for other multiple airplanes and rotorcraft (applicable
for all check pilots types), enter a comment in eVID as follows: “§
aircraft, (list aircraft type(s)).”
d) When issuing functions that allow §
or oral tests (applicable only to line check pilots), enter a comment in eVID as follows: “§
or oral tests, (list aircraft type(s)).”
3) Initial Approval and/or Additional Functions. When the POI
determines the initial approval of the check pilot or adds additional functions,
it must be recorded in the PTRS using code 1346.
NOTE: Due to PTRS archiving, the PTRS record of initial approval or
addition of functions may not be available.
3-20-6-17 PREVIOUSLY ISSUED LETTERS OF APPROVAL. Previously issued letters of approval
will remain in effect until replaced. Approval letters for contract check pilots
do not need to be updated at this time.
3-20-6-19 APPROVAL OF INITIAL CADRE CHECK PILOTS. During the early phases of establishing
a check pilot program, initial cadre check pilots are required. Initial cadre check pilot candidates
must first become fully qualified as flightcrew members and then be trained, evaluated, and
approved as check pilots. Because the regulatory language of part
not address a training process for initial cadre check
pilots, this section provides guidance. This process that follows is valuable
for startup operations for at least two reasons:
• It is a practical way to initiate and build a check pilot program; and
• It takes advantage of proving flights, when the
certificate holder/applicant is under close FAA scrutiny, with desirable effects on the check pilot program.
A. Letter of Request from Certificate Holder. The overseeing inspector must arrange
with the certificate holder/applicant to approve one or more likely candidates
to form an initial cadre of temporary check pilots. The certificate holder/applicant
will submit a letter of request, as described earlier in this section. This
letter comprises the request for initial cadre check pilots and a description
of the training that they will undergo.
B. Letter of Approval. The POI must approve the candidates using
procedures described earlier in this section. The initial cadre letter of approval
is a temporary approval, to be replaced with a permanent letter of approval
after the check pilot is fully qualified. The initial cadre letter must contain
a statement similar to the following:
“(Name) is approved as an initial cadre check pilot with the following functions for
the purpose of initiating operations with the (type of aircraft) for (name or
certificate holder). This approval expires on (expiration date).”
C. Training, Certification, and QualificationStartup. The certificate
holder must provide a full qualification process for its initial cadre check pilots.
D. Initial Training and Certification. The certificate holder must first arrange to
have initial cadre check pilots trained and appropriately certificated for their
flightcrew member duty positions. The certificate holder may provide the training
by contracting with a manufacturer, with another certificate holder of the same
14 CFR operating part, or with properly qualified individuals. An inspector
or an Aircrew Program Designee (APD) Designated Examiner (DE) may certificate
the initial cadre, provided that the examiner is employed by a U.S. air carrier/certificate holder.
E. Gaining Proficiency as Instructors. After the initial training and certification,
initial cadre check pilots must become proficient in the certificate holder’s
proposed training program by instructing each other, or in the case of a single
initial cadre check pilot, by self-training. During this training, a certificate
holder may arrange for a pilot from the manufacturer, from another certificate
holder, or from another source to act as the safety pilot or instructor pilot.
F. Proficiency and Competency Checks. After the first initial
cadre check pilots have become proficient as instructors, they may then begin the training
and checking of other initial cadre check pilots in accordance with the certificate holder’s
initially approved flight training and qualification curriculum segments. Each
check must be observed by an FAA inspector who holds the appropriate Airman
Certificate, and the appropriate type rating, when applicable. If the inspector
determines that the performance of an initial cadre check pilot conducting a
certain check is satisfactory, the inspector will recommend to the overseeing
inspector that the candidate be approved as an initial cadre check pilot for
that type of check. One initial cadre check pilot may check another, with the
process repeated until each candidate has been approved as an initial cadre
check pilot or has been terminated from the program. If only one person is being
considered to be the initial cadre check pilot an inspector will observe that
person conducting a check of another flightcrew member. If the candidate’s performance
is satisfactory, the inspector must recommend to the POI that the candidate be removed from temporary status and
approved for full-time check pilot duty with the certificate holder.
1) Initial cadre check pilots will be permitted to acquire OE
flight hours on any flight that can be credited toward the proving test flight-hour
requirement (including training flights, ferry flights, and representative en
route proving flights). OE flight hours may be accrued by initial cadre check
pilots while they are:
• Conducting aircraft checks,
• Overseeing the OE of other flightcrew members,
• Being checked, or
• Acquiring OE under the supervision of other initial cadre check pilots.
2) Initial cadre check pilots must receive a line check and conduct a line check during
an en route proving flight or a ferry flight. The same process (see above) will
apply: one initial cadre check pilot line checks another while being observed
by an FAA inspector. If the check pilot’s performance is satisfactory, the inspector
may recommend that the person be removed from temporary status and approved
for full-time duty as a check pilot for the certificate holder. If there is
only one initial cadre check pilot, then the FAA inspector will conduct the
3-20-6-21 APPROVAL OF A CHECK PILOT IN MULTIPLE AIRCRAFT. Before a candidate may be
approved as a check pilot in more than one type of aircraft, the certificate
holder must show that there is a need. The candidate must be fully qualified
and current in each of the aircraft types. Overseeing inspectors must be judicious
in approving check pilots and vigilant in overseeing their performance. There
are various acceptable combinations of check pilot approvals.
A. All Single-Engine, Normal, or Commuter Category Airplanes. A check pilot may
be approved to serve in all single-engine, normal, or commuter category airplanes
that a certificate holder operates under
B. Helicopters. A check pilot may be approved to serve in two
different types of helicopters.
C. More Than One Aircraft Family. A check pilot may be approved
to serve in a combination of two of the following aircraft families:
• One series of multiengine, normal, or commuter category airplanes;
• Single-engine, normal, or commuter category airplanes; or
D. More Than One Commuter or Transport Category Aircraft Type. Before
a candidate may be approved as a check pilotaircraft in two commuter
category aircraft types or two transport category types, the overseeing inspectors
must ensure that the following conditions are met:
1) Check pilots with §
135.293 or §
The candidate must have logged at least 500 hours as pilot in command (PIC) in each type.
2) Check pilot with only §
seats. The candidate must have logged at least 100 hours as PIC in each type and at least 1,000 hours
as PIC in transport or commuter category airplanes.
3-20-6-23 APPROVAL OF A CHECK PILOT OR FOR MULTIPLE CERTIFICATE HOLDERS. This paragraph
provides a standardized method for approving a check pilot to serve multiple
certificate holders. When the following considerations are satisfied a letter
of approval may be issued by the certificate holder’s POI. Only one certificate
holder may be listed on a check pilot’s letter of approval.
A. Limitations. The approval of a check pilot to serve more
than one certificate holder is limited to those cases in which the certificate holder’s aircraft,
aircraft operating manuals, procedures, and checklists are compatible in the judgment of the overseeing inspector(s).
B. Multiple Check Pilot Approvals. Provision for multiple check pilot approvals may be made for
part 135 single-pilot
certificate holders, part
PIC certificate holders, and part
holders with programs that are compatible, in the judgment of the respective certificate holder’s POI.
C. Temporary Check Pilot Approval. A certificate holder’s POI
may also approve a check pilot on a temporary basis, when a startup operation
is initiated or when new equipment is being introduced.
D. Other Situations. Other multiple approvals may be made with
the concurrence of the applicable General Aviation (GA) division manager when justified.
E. Unique Situations. For unique situations, the Air Transportation Division may be
consulted for additional information.
3-20-6-25 TRAINING CENTER INSTRUCTORS/EVALUATORS APPROVED BY A CERTIFICATE HOLDER’S POI
AS CONTRACT CHECK PILOTS.
A. Applicability. This paragraph only applies to POIs responsible
for certificate holders issued OpSpec A031 and the curricula identified within
the OpSpec. POIs responsible for certificate holders approved to utilize the
standardized curriculum and issued OpSpec A131 must use guidance in
Volume 3, Chapter 19, Section 16 for
TCE (check pilot) approval considerations. The TCPM approves TCEs (check pilots) associated
with standardized curricula. Additional information can be found in
Volume 3, Chapter 54, Section 3. All
inspectors should become familiar with the current edition of Advisory Circular (AC)
Curricula Delivered by Part
142 Training Centers, which
provides additional information.
B. General. Training centers have made flight simulation training
device (FSTD) training and checking available to a broad range of aviation users,
including certificate holders with smaller fleets and smaller aircraft. With
the approval of a certificate holder’s POI, an employee of a part
142 training center may
serve one or more certificate holders as a contract check pilot.
The guidance contained in this paragraph applies to training center personnel
who have been requested to serve as such contract check pilots.
C. POI Approves the Check Pilot Candidate. Only the POI may approve a check pilot
for use in a certificate holder’s training program. Normal procedures apply,
including a letter of request from the certificate holder, and a letter of approval
from the certificate holder’s POI.
D. TCPM Role. Without diminishing the responsibility or authority of the POI, experience
has shown that the TCPM may be in the best position to make quality assessments
at training centers on behalf of the Administrator. The TCPM continually assesses
training programs conducted by a training center for certification of airmen under 14 CFR part
the TCPM assesses the instructors and TCEs employed by a training center. At the request
of a certificate holder’s POI, a training center’s TCPM may therefore assist with the evaluation of
a certificate holder’s request to use the services of a center’s employee as a contract check pilot.
E. Scheduling Multiple Use Check Pilots and Maintaining Check Pilot Status. Before a multiple‑use
approval is made, the overseeing inspector must ensure that the certificate
holders understand that the scheduling and use of the check pilot is their responsibility.
A certificate holder entering into a multiple-use arrangement may employ a check
pilot on a part-time basis, may contract with another certificate holder
or training center to provide a check pilot, or may contract directly with the check pilot.
NOTE: Each certificate holder is responsible for ensuring that the check pilot maintains
currency as specified in the appropriate operating rule, and in
Volume 3, Chapter 20, Section 5, and
that he or she performs adequately when serving the certificate holder.
F. Issuing Additional Letters of Approval. A certificate holder
seeking check pilot approval for an individual who is serving as a check pilot
for another certificate holder must provide the necessary information to its
POI. The certificate holder’s POI must consider the means the certificate holder
will use to train, to qualify, and to maintain qualification of the contract
check pilot candidate and the documentation that will be required. Contract
check pilots may be able to meet recurrent training requirements for more than
one certificate holder simultaneously. When the certificate holder and the POI
have agreed on the training and qualification necessary for the contract check
pilot, the certificate holder must submit a written letter of request to the
POI, as described earlier in this section. When the second or subsequent POI
approves the individual as a contract check pilot for his or her certificate
holder, that POI will issue an additional letter of approval following the procedures
described above. Additionally, if the subject check pilot is an employee of a part
142 training center, the
POI will forward a copy of the new approval letter to the center’s TCPM.
G. Primary Oversight Responsibility. Each certificate holder for which an individual
is approved as check pilot along with the certificate holder’s POI, has responsibility
for oversight of the contract check pilot. When the check pilot is employed
by a training center, the FAA TCPM may provide assistance as requested by the
POI with this responsibility. Any POI who has issued a letter of approval to
the check pilot may, however, conduct surveillance activities at any time.
H. Contract Check Pilot or Letter of Approval. When approved as a contract check pilot
for a certificate holder, the POI of that certificate holder will issue a letter
of approval showing the certificate holder, the check pilot classification,
the type(s) of aircraft authorized, and the type(s) of checks authorized (by
regulatory reference). A sample contract check pilot letter of approval is provided at
I. Recordkeeping. Each certificate holder is required by their
operating rules to maintain training and qualification records for their check
pilots. This responsibility cannot be delegated. However, by agreement between
the certificate holder and the training center, a training center may keep a
contract check pilot’s training and qualification records. This agreement must
be documented in each certificate holder’s recordkeeping system and approved
by the POI. The POI must maintain a record in the certificate holder’s file
that documents the details of any such arrangement, including the location in
the certificate holder’s manual where such arrangement is described.
3-20-6-27 FLIGHTCREW MEMBER FAILURE RATES. The repetitive failure of a single flightcrew
member or the failure of several flightcrew members during proficiency or competency
checks, may indicate a training program deficiency. Overseeing inspectors must
establish procedures with their certificate holders that provide for FAA notification
when flightcrew member unsatisfactory performance occurs. Identified deficiencies
should be promptly investigated and corrective action taken.
3-20-6-29 OVERSIGHT OF CHECK PILOTS, CONTRACT CHECK PILOTS, AND TCEs (CHECK PILOTS). For the purpose
of brevity, the term “check pilot” will be used to mean either a check pilot,
contract check pilot, or TCE (check pilot) unless otherwise noted for the remainder
of this paragraph. Responsible inspectors must establish a surveillance program
for each check pilot at the time of approval.
A. Biennial Check Pilot Observation.
1) Observation of Approved Checking Activity. The surveillance
program for each office must include an observation by an FAA inspector or APD
of each approved check pilot in his or her area of responsibility at least once
every 24 months. Check pilot observations should be conducted while the check
pilot is conducting an approved checking activity. For example, a check pilot
approved to conduct proficiency checks and line checks should be observed conducting
a proficiency check in the aircraft or FSTD or conducting a line check. At the
discretion of the POI or TCPM (for TCEs (check pilots)) an observation conducted by another inspector
for a check under the same rule part need not be repeated. It is the responsibility
of the certificate holder and training center with standardized curricula to
maintain records showing that this observation has been completed. See paragraph
3-20-6-31, Check Pilot Oversight and Surveillance, for additional details regarding
the 24-month observation required by §
a check pilot to be observed conducting a “proficiency or competency check.” In the preamble to the
Training and Qualification Requirements for Check Airmen and Flight Instructors final rule (61 FR
30734), which established this requirement, the FAA explained that, “This final
rule addresses check airmen as a broad category. Other specific categories of
check airmen (i.e., line check airmen, proficiency check airmen, etc.) also
were not mentioned. It was not the intent of this rule to address specific categories
of check airmen beyond check airmen (airplane) and check airmen (simulator).” Therefore, in §
phrase “proficiency or competency check” is used broadly to include checks required under part
assess a pilot’s flight proficiency or competency. Observation of a check pilot conducting
any of the following checks can meet the requirement of §
or second in command (SIC) §
instrument proficiency check, or §
line check. An FAA inspector or APD should observe the check pilot conducting a check appropriate
to the checking functions approved for that check pilot. For example, a check pilot who is only authorized to conduct §
line checks should be observed conducting a PIC line check.
2) Constraints of Aircraft With Two Pilot Seats. Inspectors may
encounter difficulties in conducting the surveillance of check pilots whose
activities are restricted to two-place airplanes or helicopters. In such
cases, it may not be possible for an inspector to observe the check pilot conducting
actual checks. In lieu of these observations, the POI may review the check pilot’s
activities and arrange for an inspector to administer the check pilot’s competency
and line checks.
B. Periodic Report by the Certificate Holder. The POI
or TCPM (for TCEs (check pilots)) should arrange to have the certificate holder
or training center provide the POI or TCPM with a periodic report of each check
pilot’s activities, including a pass/fail rate, to coincide with the POI’s or
TCPM’s periodic review (annual, semiannual, or other). A POI or TCPM may arrange
for these reports to arrive at a time that meets the POI’s or TCPM’s needs.
A check pilot should be active enough to retain the required knowledge and skills.
This activity level may vary depending on the check pilot function, the size
of the certificate holder, and the number of approved check pilots. The POI
should specifically reassess the certificate holder’s need for those check pilots
whose records indicate low activity levels or when deficiencies are observed
when performing authorized functions.
C. Withdrawing Check Pilot Approval. The POI’s reasons for withdrawing the approval of
a check pilot may include a lack of check pilot activity, a request by the certificate
holder, or an unsatisfactory performance on the part of the check pilot. To withdraw
approval of a check pilot, the POI must notify the certificate holder by letter
that approval is withdrawn. The letter should include the name of the check
pilot, the effective date of withdrawal, and the reason approval is being withdrawn.
If the approval of a check pilot is withdrawn because of
unsatisfactory performance, the letter of withdrawal must be sent to the certificate
holder by certified mailreturn receipt requested. The POI must make a PTRS
entry identifying the reason for the withdrawal or termination of a check pilot’s
letter of approval.
NOTE: Under current regulations, no normal term of expiration is specified
for approvals of check pilots. Contract check pilots who are employees of a part
142 training center will
have their term contingent upon continued employment with the training center and
maintaining their instructor or evaluator qualification with the employing center.
D. POI Authority. A check pilot’s approval may be given, limited,
withdrawn, or terminated at the discretion of the POI.
E. TCPM Authority. A TCE (check pilot) approval may be given, limited, withdrawn,
or terminated at the discretion of the TCPM. The TCPM should follow guidance found in
Volume 3, Chapter 54, Section 2 and
Volume 13, Chapter 1, Section 2 or
Designee Management System (DMS)-associated guidance when DMS is deployed.
3-20-6-31 CHECK PILOT OVERSIGHT AND SURVEILLANCE. This paragraph will explain the
surveillance methods available to inspectors as well as general oversight considerations.
A. Elements of a Check Pilot Evaluation. Maintaining an accurate
surveillance records in the Enhanced Flight Standards Automation System (eFSAS)
is crucial to long term management of individual check pilots.
B. Surveillance Event Types. Inspector surveillance events are
1) Check Pilot Observation. Refer to §
observation conducted by the FAA or APD is to determine if the check pilot has the ability to perform
the function(s) authorized in accordance with the certificate holder’s training
program and regulatory requirements. Use PTRS activity codes 1641 through 1645.
2) Records Review. Records review is an administrative function
that allows the POI to review the quality of the records submitted by the check
pilot, whether paper or electronic.
3) Check Pilot Interaction. This is a record of any interaction
that has occurred with the check pilot that the POI deems relevant enough to
include in the check pilot’s file.
C. Check Pilot Observations. Section
that check pilots are observed by an inspector or an Aircrew Designated Examiner
(ADE) within the preceding 24 calendar-months. Check pilots are required
to be observed conducting an applicable §
check or §
instrument proficiency check in an aircraft or FSTD, or §
line check in an aircraft, in addition to optional functions that are issued.
The observation check required by §
considered to have been completed in the month required if completed in the calendar-month before, or
the calendar-month after, the month in which it is due. If the observation check
is not conducted, the individual may no longer serve as a check pilot.
D. Check Pilot With Optional Function Approval(s). The following
oversight applies to the content of the inspector’s evaluation of the check
pilot when additional functions have been approved. The content of the evaluation
is dependent upon the approval(s) requested.
1) Written or Oral Test Approval (Available to §
Pilots Only). As part of the
§ 135.339 observation
check, an inspector must evaluate the candidate while the candidate conducts a complete written/oral test required by §
2) Written or Oral Test Multiple Aircraft Approval (Available to
All Check Pilots Except Contract Check Pilots). As part of the §
check, an inspector must evaluate the check pilot conducting an
oral/written test required by §
authorized in their approval letter. (Section
applies to rotorcraft.)
E. Check Pilot Performance Measures. The performance measures
below have been established to aid in the consistent evaluation of all check
pilots. The three categories of performance measures are technical, procedural,
and professional (see Figure 3-20-6A, Performance Measure Consolidation). The
type of oversight activities conducted will determine the performance measure
attributes considered by the inspector.
Figure 3-20-6A. Performance Measure Consolidation
1) Technical. The check pilot must demonstrate a superior level
of technical knowledge, skill, and ability in order to conduct authorized tasks.
a) Equipment and Materials. Does the check pilot select or use the appropriate
equipment, device, tools, and reference material when planning or conducting checks?
b) Knowledge and Understanding.
1. Does the check pilot understand the technical
terminology contained in the certificate holder manual, the training program, and other reference
material used in planning, describing, or conducting pilot checks?
2. Is the check pilot thoroughly familiar with the certificate holder’s
standard operating procedures (SOP), authorizations/limitations, checklists,
and other items used by the certificate holder?
3. Does the check pilot demonstrate an expert level of knowledge about
the aircraft operation and systems?
c) Interpret and Apply.
1. Does the check pilot correctly interpret and apply the technical
performance standards defined by the appropriate training program standard?
2. Does the check pilot demonstrate effective questioning techniques?
2) Procedural. The check pilot must demonstrate
compliance with the certificate holder policies and procedures contained within the certificate
holder’s manuals and applicable regulations used to conduct approved functions. Factors
in determining procedural proficiency:
a) Does the check pilot properly submit information, documents, or data to the certificate
holder when required by certificate holder procedures and FAA regulations?
b) While conducting the check:
• Does the check pilot follow the correct procedures when conducting,
grading, and providing feedback to pilots during checks or observations?
• Does the check pilot have a plan of action to conduct the check?
• Do prebriefings contain clear objectives, safety briefing elements,
and completion standards?
c) Does the check pilot:
• Complete required events?
• Demonstrate effective workload management?
• Identify deviations from applicable standards,
procedures, crew functions, and safe operating practices?
• Demonstrate knowledge and observation of the certificate holder’s
• Conduct the check and ensure safe operation of aircraft or proper
operation of the FSTD?
• Use proper air traffic control (ATC) phraseology?
• Conduct a debriefing that is accurate, appropriate, clear/concise
• Demonstrate the proper use of training aids and FSTDs that are
realistic and contain appropriate scenario progression?
• Utilize training aid and FSTD capabilities?
• Demonstrate the ability to efficiently use FSTDs?
d) Does the check pilot follow the correct procedure(s) when completing
approvals, recording results, or other administrative items upon completion of the checking activity?
3) Professional. Professionalism means compliance with ethical
and technical standards that indicate a professional representation of a person
approved by the Administrator. This includes the quality, completeness, and
timeliness of oral and written communications and the continual demonstration
of integrity, tact, and diplomacy with pilots, industry, and the FAA. Factors
in determining professionalism are:
a) Oral/Written Communication. There are no reported issues of deficient communications between
the check pilot, certificate holder, and FAA.
b) Professional Representation of the Certificate Holder and the FAA. The
POI should consider whether the check pilot demonstrates a positive reflection
of the approval provided by the FAA and a willingness to comply with FAA requirements
and certificate holder policies and procedures.
c) Cooperative Attitude. The POI should consider whether the check pilot works effectively
with and presents a positive attitude when interacting with pilots, certificate holders, and the FAA.
d) Ethics and Judgment. The POI should consider whether the check pilot
maintains the highest standards and demonstrates good judgment in the conduct
of authorized activities.
F. Overall Oversight Assessment. In determining the overall oversight
assessment, the inspector considers the frequency, causal considerations, and
safety significance of the three performance measure criteria.
1) Frequency of Deficiencies. The frequency of deficiencies is
based on the inspector’s evaluation with the following considerations applied:
a) No performance related issues noted.
b) Few or minor performance related issues noted.
c) Some issues noted, but were corrected and/or were of minimal impact to safety.
d) Some significant issues were noted and were safety related.
2) Causal Considerations.
a) Unknowinglythe check pilot was not aware of the error.
b) Carelesslyas a result of inattention by the check pilot, an error was made.
c) Intentionallythe check pilot demonstrates a disregard for policy, procedures,
or regulatory requirements.
3) Safety Significance.
a) Because the role of the check pilot is to ensure that the pilot has met competency and
safety standards required by regulations and the certificate holder, the position
requires an exceptional level of integrity, dedication, knowledge, and professionalism.
With high initial standards required, any deficiencies should be carefully noted,
reviewed, and appropriate action taken.
b) There is minimal tolerance for the display of safety deficiencies, less
tolerance for careless acts, and no tolerance for the intentional disregard
of safety standards by check pilots. The inspector must carefully consider the
cumulative safety significance of deficiencies and causal factors when determining
the overall assessment of the check pilot. If the inspector determines that
the level of performance expected of the check airman is unsatisfactory, actions
must be taken to rescind the check pilot’s approval.
4) Recording the Observation. Upon completion of the check pilot
observation, the inspector must record the result of the inspection in PTRS
by using the appropriate activity codes 16411645. If the POI determines
that the results of the event require additional review, the POI should determine
and record in eFSAS any appropriate followup activity.
3-20-6-33 AFFIDAVIT USE. This paragraph is applicable only to contract check pilots
and instructors associated with part
142 training centers.
A. Lost or Unattainable Records. A POI may accept an affidavit
for initial training records if a contract instructor or contract check pilot
is unable to produce all required records because:
• The records are lost;
• The air carrier is defunct; or
• The air carrier remains in existence, but no
longer has the records.
B. Supporting Documentation. The pilot and the air carrier/certificate holder or program
manager for which the contract instructor or contract check pilot nomination
has been requested may submit a signed and notarized statement (affidavit) attesting
to the completion of training identified in
Volume 3, Chapter 54, Section 5, subparagraph
3-4415F3) as the basis for having completed the training. The statement
must be substantiated by all available evidence, such as completed check ride
forms, available training records, logbook entries and other records attesting
to flight operation participation, associated pay stubs, W-2 forms (with financially
confidential information redacted), tax returns, a statement from a current
or former employee of the air carrier/certificate holder or program manager, and other proofs of employment.
The pilot and the air carrier/certificate holder or program manager representative
must read, sign, and submit a notarized statement containing the information
found in Figure 3-20-6D, Contract Instructor and Contract Check Pilot Nominee Training Records Affidavit, and Figure 3-20-6E,
Nominating Air Carrier/Certificate Holder Affidavit for Lost/Unobtainable Pilot
Training Records, and provide supporting documentation to the POI. If the affidavit
and documentation that reasonably support the affidavit are provided, the POI
may accept the information as meeting the initial new-hire training requirement.
An affidavit without supporting documentation must not be accepted.
C. False Statements. A pilot who has lost or is unable to obtain
training records should be reminded that any fraudulent or intentionally false
statements concerning these records are a basis for enforcement action in accordance
with Title 18 of the United States Code (18 U.S.C.) § 1001 and part
could result in a fine, imprisonment, and action against any certificate or rating held.
D. Supporting Documentation Review. The POI should consider the
following when determining the acceptability of the documentation provided:
1) Review Records. Review and determine the validity of the records.
2) Ensure Clarity. Ensure that records clearly identify the air carrier/certificate
holder and associated employment.
3) Review FAA Database(s). Review FAA database(s) to determine if the air carrier/certificate
holder or program manager has records to verify its existence.
4) Review PTRS Records. Review PTRS records that may support the nominee’s activities
with the air carrier/certificate holder or program manager. (This is not required,
but could be used for confirmation in some cases.)
5) Review Evidence. Review the evidence the nominee has provided that confirms the
air carrier/certificate holder or program manager no longer retains the records
or has not responded to a record request for an air carrier/certificate holder
or program manager that currently remains in existence.
6) Review Participation and Qualification. Review records or supporting documents
(e.g., logbooks, dispatch releases, evidence of employment, or a statement from
a current or former employee of the air carrier/certificate holder or program
manager) that attest to or confirm the nominee’s flight program participation
and qualification as a pilot for the air carrier/certificate holder or program manager.
7) Recordkeeping Requirements. For a contract check pilots only,
the POI must maintain a copy of the affidavits in the FAA’s check airman file.
Figure 3-20-6B. Sample Check Pilot Letter of Approval
April 19, 2013
Mr. Sam A. Frost
Transcon Express, Inc.
48 Perimeter Rd.
Utica, OH 22032
Dear Mr. Frost:
John R. Smith, FAA certificate number 467120928, is approved as a check
pilot. This check pilot is approved to conduct checks for Transcon Express,
certificate number A1BC, and their pilots. This approval is applicable for the
following checking functions:
135.293 competency check
135.297 proficiency check
135.299 line check
Observer’s seat only, or
Optional functions when §
135.299 or §
or oral test
(Not used when check pilot has §
or oral test for pilots assigned to the following airplanes
G-V, CL-604, multiengine Cessna reciprocating-series airplanes
or oral test for pilots assigned to the following rotorcraft
S-76D, BHT-206, R-22
N/A = Not approved
Please retain a copy of this letter in Mr. Smith’s individual flight training records.
James J. Jones
Principal Operations Inspector
Flight Standards Office (XXXX)
Figure 3-20-6C. Check Pilot Approval Job Aid
[ ] Name of candidate.
[ ] Business address of candidate.
[ ] Flightcrew member duty position and aircraft type.
[ ] Check pilot
classification and functions requested.
2. Training Records (Copies):
[ ] Initial,
transition, or upgrade to requested aircraft and flightcrew member
[ ] Recurrent.
[ ] Check pilot training.
3. [ ] Résumé
of Experience Included.
4. [ ] eVID,
SPAS, and PTRS Verification Satisfactory.
5. [ ] Open eVID File.
6. [ ] Check Pilot Evaluation Scheduled.
7. [ ] Report
of Evaluation Received From PTRS.
8. Prepare Letter of Approval:
[ ] Original
letter to certificate holder.
[ ] Copy
to certificate holder file.
[ ] Copy
to other POI (if check pilot for another certificate holder).
9. [ ] Update
Certificate Holder eVID File.
10. [ ] Complete PTRS.
11. [ ] Prepare Letter to
Certificate Holder Indicating Disapproval.
12. [ ] Update Certificate
Holder eVID File.
13. [ ] Complete PTRS.
Figure 3-20-6D. Contract Instructor and Contract Check Pilot Nominee Training Records Affidavit
STATE OF ___________________________________
COUNTY OF _________________________________
[Name of Applicant], being duly sworn, says:
1. On [today’s date], I, [Name of Applicant], certify that I have been unable to
find or obtain the training records documenting my completion of initial training
with [name of air carrier/certificate holder/program manager] on [date].
2. I acknowledge that any fraudulent or intentionally false statements concerning
aeronautical experience are a basis for suspension or revocation of any certificate
or rating I hold.
Considering the above, I offer the following statement in lieu of the actual records:
I, [Name of Applicant], hereby attest that I successfully completed initial training
as a pilot for [name air carrier/certificate holder/program manager], a 14 CFR part(s)
carrier/certificate holder/program manager] based
in [city, state, country], on [date training completed].
Airman’s Name (Printed) and Pilot Certificate Number
SUBSCRIBED AND SWORN TO before me this ___________ day of _________________, _________
Notary Public in and for
State of ______________________________________________________________________________
My Commission expires on ______________________________________________________________
Figure 3-20-6E. Nominating Air Carrier/Certificate Holder Affidavit for
Lost/Unobtainable Pilot Training Records
STATE OF ___________________________________
COUNTY OF _________________________________
[Name of Company Representative], being duly sworn, says:
1. On [today’s date], I, [Company Representative], [Company Name], certify
that I have been unable to find or obtain the training records documenting that
[Nominated Contract Check Pilot’s Name] completed the initial training curriculum
with [Company Name] on [date].
2. I have made a good faith effort to obtain such training records. Notwithstanding
this effort, I have been unable to find such records. I do not know where such
records presently are, or where they may be found. I believe them to be lost
3. I acknowledge that any fraudulent or intentionally false statements concerning
aeronautical experience are a basis for suspension or revocation of any certificate
or rating I hold, as well as revocation or suspension of this [air carrier certificate/operating
For the above reason, I offer the below statement in lieu of the actual
I, [Company Representative], on behalf of [Company Name], attest the information
above is accurate, and therefore [Name of Nominated Contract Check Pilot] meets
the baseline requirements of a(n) [instructor/check pilot] as set forth in FAA Order 8900.1,
Volume 3, Chapter 54, Section 5; and
14 CFR part(s)
Company Representative’s Signature______________________________________________________
Company Representative’s Pilot Certificate Number (if applicable)______________________________
Company Representative’s Name (Print)___________________________________________________
Company Name and Certificate Number___________________________________________________
SUBSCRIBED AND SWORN TO before me this __________ day of _________________, _________
Notary Public in and for
State of ______________________________________________________
My Commission expires on ______________________________________
3-20-6-35 through 3-20-6-49 RESERVED.