Volume 6 SURVEILLANCE
CHAPTER 1 PART
Section 2 Inspect a Part
6-40 PROGRAM TRACKING AND REPORTING SUBSYSTEM (PTRS) ACTIVITY CODES.
A. Maintenance: 3681, 3425, 3426.
B. Avionics: 5691, 5425, 5426.
6-41 OBJECTIVE. This section discusses procedures to monitor aircraft
and Aircraft Inspection Programs under Title 14 of the Code of Federal Regulations (14 CFR) part
6-42 INSPECTION PROGRAMS. Several inspection programs are available to part
A. Small Airplanes, Turbine-Powered Single-Engine Airplanes, and
Turbine-Powered Rotorcraft. With a few exceptions, these aircraft must be inspected using either an annual under §
91.409(a) or using
a progressive inspection program under §
turbine-powered rotorcraft owner/operators can choose one of these options or an option under §
1) Annual and 100-Hour Inspections. The annual and 100-hour inspections
are standardized, basic inspection programs, have no Federal Aviation Administration
(FAA) approval requirements, and are identical in scope and detail. The difference
is in the performance and approval of the annual inspection, which must be accomplished by a person authorized under 14 CFR part
scope and detail of the annual and 100-hour inspections is defined in part
D, and the contents of appendix D must be included in a checklist, which must be used while performing the inspections. While its use is required,
the checklist is not a document that must be retained as a maintenance record. Additional rotorcraft systems to be inspected are contained in §
if applicable, must also be included in the checklist.
a) Annual Inspections. Except as detailed in §
91.409(c) and §
that persons may operate an aircraft only if, within the preceding 12 calendar-months, the aircraft has had an annual inspection.
1. Annual inspections provide a complete and comprehensive inspection of an aircraft.
They are performed at least each 12 calendar-months by persons authorized under §
inspection determines the condition of the aircraft and the maintenance required to return the aircraft to an Airworthy condition.
2. An aircraft inspected and approved on any day of a calendar month will become
due for inspection on the last day of the same month, 12 calendar-months later.
However, the owner/operator/program manager of an aircraft may have annual inspections
performed at any interval that does not exceed the maximum of 12 calendar-months between inspections, as specified by §
43.15 and part
D indicate that all systems, components, and appliances must be checked to ensure proper installation and satisfactory operation.
a. Before conducting surveillance of annual inspections performed by maintenance
personnel, inspectors should become familiar with the manufacturer’s recommended inspection procedures, special instructions, etc., in as much
b. Inspectors should know the acceptable degree of deterioration or defect
permitted by the manufacturer, as detailed in the manufacturer’s manuals or other data.
4. In all cases, persons authorized to perform inspections under §§
determine from records and physical inspection that the aircraft conforms to the contents of:
• Properly altered condition (refer to FAA Form
• STCs, if applicable, and Airworthiness Directives (AD).
5. The above documents must be available to maintenance personnel conducting an inspection.
Applicability of an STC may be determined by reference to the aircraft maintenance records.
6. Ensure the required recording procedures of §
43.11 and §
91.417 are met.
a. Under the provisions of §
agency or person approving or disapproving the aircraft for return to service is responsible for recording the inspection in the maintenance records.
The owner/operator must ensure that the maintenance records contain proper entries according to §
and § 91.417.
b. If the person conducting the inspection finds the aircraft to be unairworthy,
appropriate entries must be made in the aircraft maintenance records. The owner/operator/program
manager must be provided a list of discrepancies or unairworthy items. The owner/operator/program
manager must have any discrepancies repaired, as described in part
the aircraft is returned to service.
7. When conducting surveillance, airworthiness inspectors will review aircraft
maintenance records to determine if the requirements of an annual inspection have been accomplished.
b) The 100-Hour Inspection. The 100-hour limitation may be exceeded by not more
than 10 hours while enroute to reach a place where the inspection can be done.
The excess time used to reach a place where the inspection can be done must
be included in computing the next 100 hours of time in service. The 100‑hour
inspection is required, in addition to the annual inspection, under the following situations:
• Aircraft are operated for carrying persons for
compensation or hire, and
• Aircraft are used for flight instruction for hire,
and the aircraft is provided by the flight instructor.
NOTE: When a flight instructor is not included in the rental agreement, a 100-hour inspection is not required on an aircraft
when it is rented out.
c) Surveillance Considerations. When performing surveillance of aircraft
after having received an annual or 100-hour inspection, the following steps should be followed:
1. Verify that the maintenance personnel/facility has the necessary
technical data to include a manufacturer’s maintenance manual, aircraft specifications
or Type Certificate Data Sheets (TCDS), and aircraft maintenance records that include FAA Form
Repair and Alteration (Airframe, Powerplant, Propeller, or Appliance) for major alterations or repairs and any associated Supplemental
Type Certificates (STCs) for major alterations/modifications. See paragraph 6-43 for greater detail of surveillance criteria.
2. After confirming the aircraft’s airworthiness and registration certificates
are current and accurate the aviation safety inspector (ASI) should conduct
a general visual inspection of the aircraft. This inspection should be performed
on the inside and outside of the aircraft but does not require removal of any inspection panels or equipment.
3. Examine the aircraft maintenance records to ensure the required recording procedures of 14 CFR part
43.11 and §
met. The maintenance logbook entries for the annual or 100-hour inspection must include the aircraft total time in service, date, and description
of the inspection and any associated maintenance are documented. If any ADs
are performed, the AD number and method of compliance is to be documented. If
it is a repetitive AD, the date or time when it is due again should also be
noted. Finally, the record must include the signature of the person approving the aircraft for return to service and their certificate type and number.
2) Progressive Inspections. The progressive inspection is a complete
inspection of the aircraft, conducted in stages, with all stages to be completed in a period of 12 calendar-months.
a) Must Be Requested. An owner/operator using a progressive inspection
program must submit a written request to the responsible Flight Standards office
having jurisdiction within the applicant’s location. In response to the owner/operator’s
request, the FAA will review the submitted program and either concur with the
request, or issue a letter of denial. There is no requirement for the FAA to approve a progressive inspection.
1. Since progressive inspection programs developed by the manufacturer may not
automatically fit the needs of individual owner/operator, an owner/operator may have tailored its progressive inspection program to fit its operation.
2. The owner/operator’s progressive inspection program may be more restrictive
than the manufacturer’s program, but it may not be less restrictive unless sufficient justification is presented to and accepted by the FAA.
b) Starting a Progressive Inspection. Progressive inspections must
start out with a complete aircraft inspection, either an annual or 100-hour
inspection. Inspections after this initial inspection follow the schedule defined
in the program. The owner/operator must provide an Inspection Procedures Manual
(IPM) that explains the progressive inspections with the inspection schedule
and examples of the forms and records with instruction for their use. They must
also provide, with the written request, the name of a mechanic with Inspection
Authorization (IA), a certificated and appropriately rated repair station, or the aircraft manufacturer who will conduct or supervise the inspections.
c) Inspection Intervals. Intervals for the inspection of aircraft
are based on the manufacturer’s recommendations, field service experience, malfunction
and defect history, and the type of operation in which the aircraft is engaged.
d) Discontinuance. If the progressive inspection is discontinued,
the owner or operator must notify the FAA responsible Flight Standards office
in writing immediately. After the discontinuance, the first annual inspection
is due within 12 calendar-months after the complete inspection has been accomplished according to the progressive inspection program.
B. Large Airplanes, Turbine Powered Multi-Engine Airplanes, and (Optionally)
Turbine‑Powered Rotorcraft. In addition to compliance with the replacement times of life-limited parts as specified in §
airplanes and turbine-powered rotorcraft must be inspected
according to the requirements of an inspection program selected by the owner/operator/program manager under
§ 91.409(f)(1)‑(f)(4), hereafter
called the F1, F2, F3, or F4 programs respectively.
The options specified for F1, F2, and F3 programs refer to existing inspection programs from a 14 CFR part
or manufacturer-recommended programs. These programs do not require that the field inspector issue a specific approval, as they refer to
manufacturer-developed programs or programs already separately approved. However,
the ASI should recognize that at the time the selection was made, these programs must be either currently in use by a part
providing its program to the operator, or the program was the one most recently published and recommended by the manufacturer, which includes
any temporary revisions to the program. The following sections outline the options available to the operators of applicable aircraft:
NOTE: An exception is provided in §
allows turbine-powered rotorcraft operators to use the inspection provisions of §
(d) in lieu of an inspection option under
1) A Continuous Airworthiness Inspection Program – F1. Owner/operators can
choose an inspection program that is part of a Continuous Airworthiness Maintenance
Program (CAMP) currently in use by a person holding an air carrier Operating Certificate or an Operating Certificate issued under part
is most common with air carriers that own aircraft that are not being operated under their certificate, such as for corporate use or for newly
purchased aircraft before being added to the carrier’s certificate. But a non-certificate
holding owner/operator could also select and use one of these programs, but
it must have access to the most recent information about the current program
being used by the air carrier. Also, the program would have to be directly applicable
to the aircraft; same make/model and similarly configured. Note that this is just
the portion of the CAMP that encompasses the inspection program and not
the entire CAMP. Inspection programs do not encompass overhaul limits, Corrosion
Prevention and Control Programs (CPCP), repair processes, or scheduled replacement
of parts, which are items of maintenance and outside the scope of an inspection program.
NOTE: The rule does not provide for the use of a CAMP that may have
been approved for other types of operators such as those under 14 CFR part
125 or part
91 subpart K (part
2) Approved Aircraft Inspection Programs (AAIP) – F2. This is
nearly identical to an F1 program except that the program in question is an AAIP from a part
seats or less operation instead of a CAMP program. All the same qualifiers applicable to an F1 are applicable here too (same make/model, similar
configuration, access to the program, etc.). However, since this should just
be an “inspection” program, it should be much easier to determine applicability,
assuming that the original program was developed correctly. However, like an
F1 program, the owner/operator cannot change or modify the program, and must
comply with the entire program as written. If the program doesn’t exactly fit
the aircraft or type of operation, another option would have to be chosen, such as an F3 or F4 program.
3) Manufacturer’s Recommended Inspection Programs – F3. These programs may be published in the Aircraft
Maintenance Manual (AMM) or offered
by the manufacturer separately. Typically, they provide the owner/operator with a degree of scheduling flexibility and a minimum of downtime.
a) Inspectors should be aware that what the airframe manufacturer
provides may not be all inclusive. They may not cover items such as aftermarket
avionics installations, emergency equipment, or other equipment installed by
a person other than the manufacturer. However, modifying the aircraft, such as through an STC or FAA Form
not make selection of an F3 program inappropriate. In such cases, the owner/operator must be careful to comply with all inspections
required by manufacturers of all aftermarket equipment and/or modifications.
This is where commercially available tracking programs can make tracking the various required inspections easier, but their use is not required.
b) The use of WINDOWS—allotted periods of time—within the inspection programs accepted under §
allowed only if contained as part of the manufacturer’s recommended program
(see Volume 6, Chapter 2, Section 28).
c) Figuring out a manufacturer’s inspection program can be difficult at times because
manufacturers often mix items of an inspection program and maintenance program
together. Remember that inspection programs are one part of a maintenance program
and will likely be included in the same chapter with other maintenance requirements (frequently found in chapter 5 of the AMM.
1. Again, it is good to have a sound understanding of the difference between an inspection requirement
and a maintenance requirement.
2. For example, because we are talking about inspection requirements,
it would not include items of scheduled maintenance such as overhaul limits,
CPCPs, repair processes, scheduled replacement of parts or other maintenance
actions called out in Service Bulletins (SB), Service Letters (SL), or service instructions. Those items are outside the scope of an inspection program.
d) As discussed in an FAA legal interpretation, changes made to the
manufacturer’s recommended inspection program after an owner/operator has already
selected and identified that program in the maintenance records are not mandatory
in a regulatory sense. Owner/operators are required to comply with the inspection
program the way it was at the time the selection was made. If owner/operators
were required to comply with every change made by the manufacturer, it would
essentially enable the manufacturer to impose regulatory‑like requirements without
the review and comment process required by the Administrative Procedures Act
(APA). However, if the owner/operator changes to a different inspection program
and then wants to switch back to an F3 program, they would be required to comply
with the most current version of the inspection program as published at that time.
1. The same is true for any new aircraft the owner/operator obtains;
F3 programs are aircraft specific, and not owner/operator specific. This means
the owner/operator must comply with the most current version of the manufacturer
inspection program at the time it is selected for each individual aircraft.
Of course, owner/operators can voluntarily comply with the changed requirements,
and the FAA encourages owner/operators to keep their programs current in the interest of safety.
2. It may also be easier for owner/operators of multiple like-model
aircraft to simply comply with the latest version of a manufacturer’s inspection
program, rather than have multiple aircraft on different revision levels. The
owner/operator also cannot pick-and-choose parts of an inspection program to comply
with, such as keeping some older elements while adopting parts of the
latest inspection program; it is an all-or-nothing selection. However, this
can be a gray area as owner/operators can always elect to perform more inspections
that their selected program requires. Basically ensure that owner/operators
are at least meeting the requirements of their selected program, or are being more restrictive.
NOTE: Not all manufacturers provide, or recommend, specific detailed
inspection programs for their aircraft. This is especially true for some older
and ex-military aircraft. In these cases, selection of an F3 program would not be appropriate.
4) Approved Inspection Program – F4. These programs are completely custom
programs designed specifically for an aircraft. These programs are typically
a customized version of one of the above programs, most often the F3. This program
is used when one of the above programs is not directly applicable to the aircraft
in question, or the owner/operator desires more flexibility due to the type
of operation (low utilization, unique environments, etc.). This type of program
can also be used if the manufacturer didn’t provide an adequate F3 program.
For more information on what this type of program should contain, refer to AC
Inspection Programs, and guidance on the review and approval of these programs can be found in
Volume 4, Chapter 14, Section 3.
NOTE: We generally refer to an inspection program approved under part
an Approved Aircraft Inspection Program, or AAIP, and an F4 inspection program more generically as just an Approved Inspection Program, or AIP. They
are all forms of “Approved Inspection Programs,” but the term AAIP has long been associated with part
the term “AAIP” should be used when referring to an inspection program approved under part
the term “AIP” should be used when referring to a program approved under any other part to reduce confusion.
C. Special Considerations for Experimental Aircraft. Experimental
aircraft are generally exempt from the requirements of annual/100-hour inspections;
however, their operating limitations will prescribe some minimum level of inspection
they must perform. Additionally, large and multiengine turbine-powered experimental aircraft are not exempt from the inspection requirements in §
aircraft should follow the same procedures for developing
and identifying an inspection program as described above. In addition, the following items should also be considered.
1) F4 Programs. For experimental aircraft, the program may be
based off a current manufacturer’s recommended program, a current military program
(preferably the Technical Order, North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) recognized
version, or developed by the service organization), or based on a program previously
approved for the same make/model. However, prior FAA approval of an inspection
program does not guarantee an automatic approval for a similar make/model because
inspection programs are aircraft specific. If no current program exists on which
to base the program, review the owner/operator’s proposal for adequacy. If possible,
consult with other FAA offices that might have experience on the specific make/model,
and/or contact the Aircraft Evaluation Group (AEG) for any assistance they can
provide. The decision is ultimately up to the professional discretion of the FAA inspector approving the program.
2) Operable Ejection Seats. For experimental aircraft with operable
ejection seats or other military‑related systems, the inspection program must
contain inspection tasks recommended by the current manufacturer or military
program. However, inspection tasks for aircraft systems that have been removed or deactivated may be excluded.
3) Manufacturer/Military Manuals. If the manuals were not originally published
in English, the owner/operator should submit an English translation of the original
manuals. It is to the owner/operator’s benefit to ensure the translation is
performed by a technically competent individual familiar with aviation terms and practices.
6-43 REFERENCES, FORMS, AND JOB AIDS.
A. References (current editions):
• Title 14 CFR Parts
39-7, Airworthiness Directives.
43-9, Maintenance Records.
Signatures, Electronic Recordkeeping, and Electronic Manuals.
• Volume 6, Chapter 1, Section 3, Inspect Part
• Volume 6, Chapter 1, Section 7, Evaluating
and Inspecting Part
B. Forms. None.
C. Job Aids. None.
A. Review and Accept a Progressive Inspection Program.
1) Advise the owner/operator desiring a progressive inspection
program to submit a written request and a copy of the program, as required by §
progressive inspection is authorized on a case-by-case basis per
aircraft, not by the operator, so each aircraft needs to be specifically authorized.
If the owner is creating a progressive program, the program can list multiple
aircraft as long as each aircraft is clearly identified in the program. Also,
ensure that there are enough similarities between the aircraft so that one program
will work. There can be small variances between the aircraft (such as installed
equipment, modifications, SBs, etc.), but if the differences cause a change in the
inspections required, ensure those differences are clearly identified, such as effectivity identified for a given task (e.g., “N12345 Only”).
2) Upon receipt of the request and the program, ensure:
a) The program includes the entire aircraft and its components.
b) The program will provide a complete inspection of the aircraft
within 12 calendar-months. The owner/operator should base inspection intervals
on the manufacturer’s recommendations, field service experience, service difficulty history, and the type of operation in which the aircraft is engaged.
c) The scope of the inspection is at least equal to that of an annual inspection.
d) The inspection schedule ensures that the aircraft will be Airworthy at all times
and will conform to all applicable life limits, ADs, and other approved data.
e) The program includes procedures for immediate written notification
of the responsible Flight Standards office upon the discontinuance of the progressive program and the assumption of an annual inspection program.
3) Notify the operator of any deficiencies found in the program
and request that the operator inform the FAA of plans for resolving deficient
items. Once the operator has corrected the deficiencies, notify the operator
the FAA has accepted the program and authorized its use on the specific aircraft
in question. Acceptance can also be indicated by applying the signature of the
FAA inspector in the inspection program, such as on the list of effective pages, if desired.
4) Establish and maintain an operator file according to agency orders.
B. Periodic Review of Maintenance Records and Other Applicable Records.
If the aircraft records are available, review them in accordance with
Volume 6, Chapter 1, Section 3. This
should include life-limited items.
1) Ensure that persons approving and disapproving equipment for
return to service after any required inspection have recorded the inspection
in the record of that equipment. If the owner/operator maintains separate records
for the airframe, engines, powerplants, propellers, appliances, and components, ensure the entry for required inspections is made in each record.
2) Title 14 CFR part
maintenance recording requirements, and includes
requirements for persons approving or disapproving equipment for return to service after any required inspection.
3) The maintenance record entry required by §
provide enough detail to ensure all requirements of the program have been met. The entry should identify the inspection program by name
or document and include revision information. For example: “I certify that this
aircraft has been inspected in accordance with a [insp type] [insp name] Inspection
per [OEM manual or other instruction reference] [revision #] and was determined
to be in Airworthy condition [date accomplished]. Aircraft total time in service: [enter hours] [signature] [certificate number] [certification held]”.
4) Specific inspection program requirements.
a) For an annual and 100-hour inspection:
• Review maintenance record entries to ensure compliance
with all applicable requirements of §
43.11 and §
• Determine that the entries made meet the regulatory
• If possible, verify that a checklist was (or is being)
used while performing the inspection, and if the checklist contains all required inspection items as specified in §
b) For a progressive inspection, ensure that records indicate all of the following:
• The aircraft has had a complete inspection prior to the
start of a progressive inspection program.
• Compliance with the inspection intervals prescribed
in the progressive program.
• Completion of the inspection cycle within 12
• Appropriate use of forms and instructions as explained
in the inspection manual.
5) For aircraft on F1, F2, F3 or F4 programs, ensure the maintenance
records indicate that the owner/operator has selected and identified a program according to §
that the inspection program instructions and procedures have been followed specific to the type of inspection program.
a) For a part
use of a CAMP inspection program from part
121 or part
§ 135.411(a)(2) operator
(F1), ensure that the inspection program is currently in use by the part
and that the make and model is applicable. Although the part
does not have to be affiliated with the part
they almost always are, because the part
must have some legitimate way to gain access to the inspection program.
b) For a part
use of a part
AAIP, approved under §
135.419 (F2), ensure
the AAIP is currently in use by the part
As with the option above, the operator does not need to be affiliated with the part
but they usually are in some way due to the information sharing needed for this type of program to be feasible.
c) For a part
use of the inspection program recommended by the manufacturer (F3), ensure all items required to be inspected have been inspected per the
manufacturer’s recommendations. This includes temporary revisions issued by the Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM).
d) For a part
use of an approved inspection program under §
ensure the program is approved and that the specific
procedures and intervals defined in the program are being followed. If there are safety concerns with the program, refer to §
91.415 for additional information.
C. Conduct Surveillance of the Aircraft. Examine the aircraft
to determine to the extent possible that it is in condition for safe operation.
The ASI must ensure surveillance is accomplished either in the presence of, or with specific approval from, the owner/operator.
1) Airworthiness Certificate. Inspect the airworthiness certificate. Ensure that it is current, correct, and in the aircraft.
2) Registration Certificate. Inspect the registration certificate.
Ensure that it is current and correct. If it is a temporary certificate, ensure that it has not expired.
3) Inspect the Aircraft. Inspect the aircraft to ensure:
• The general condition of the aircraft is Airworthy.
• The Aircraft Flight Manual (AFM), or pilot’s
operating handbook (POH), is complete and current.
• The aircraft complies with applicable maintenance,
operating, and equipment rules.
• The aircraft complies with applicable ADs.
• The aircraft records indicate compliance with
life-limited parts requirements.
• Properly certificated persons have been performing maintenance
and inspections, and maintenance recording entries comply with requirements.
4) Additional Items to Check. Although by no means a complete list, the following are examples of items to be checked:
• Proper internal and external placarding.
• Obvious signs of excessive wear and deterioration,
including corrosion, worn places on tires, nicks in the leading edge of propeller blades, broken windshields, etc.
• Condition of fabric on fabric-covered control surfaces,
wings, or fuselages.
• The interior of the aircraft for obvious deterioration.
• Tires and brakes for serviceability.
• Any other indication that would render the aircraft unsafe
6-45 TASK OUTCOMES.
A. Complete the PTRS Record.
B. Complete the Task. Successful completion of the task will
result in assurance that the aircraft is Airworthy and is maintained and inspected per applicable regulations.
6-46 FUTURE ACTIVITIES. Carefully monitor inspection systems for compliance
with appropriate 14 CFR parts and for continued airworthiness of subject aircraft.
Revisions and amendments to approved programs are to be reviewed only for new
or revised material provided. The FAA person performing the approval for the
revision is only responsible for reviewing the changed or revised material.
It is not required or expected that the entire program be reviewed for approval
again, nor should it be required for an operator to rejustify any existing approved
intervals or processes. If there are safety concerns about the currently approved program, those issues should be addressed separately per §
91.415 and not as part of the revision process.
RESERVED. Paragraphs 6-47 through 6-63.