8900.1 CHG 0

VOLUME 6  surveillance

Chapter 2  part 121, 135, and 91 subpart k inspections

Section 11  Safety Assurance System: Manual Inspections for Parts 121 and 135

6-422    GENERAL. Title 14 of the Code of Federal Regulations (14 CFR) requires certificate holders to prepare and keep current various manuals and checklists for the direction and guidance of flight and ground personnel conducting air transportation operations. Each operator is required to maintain a complete manual (or set of manuals) at its principal base of operations and to furnish a complete manual (or set of manuals) to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) certificate-holding district office (CHDO). A certificate holder’s manual must be reviewed by principal inspectors (PI) and other qualified inspectors to ensure adequate content and compliance with applicable regulations, safe operating practices, and the certificate holder’s operations specifications (OpSpecs). While inspectors are encouraged to provide guidance and advice to certificate holders in the preparation of their manuals, the development and production of an acceptable manual is solely the responsibility of the certificate holder. This section contains information about the definitions and regulations concerning different manuals and direction and guidance to be used by inspectors when conducting manuals inspections of 14 CFR part 121 and 135 certificate holders.

6-423    BACKGROUND DEFINITIONS. Inspectors should have knowledge of the following regulations, definitions, and guidance concerning the various types of manuals and guidance materials.

A.    Flight Manual. Part 121, 121.141 or part 135, 135.81(c) (as applicable), and 14 CFR part 91,  91.9(b) require that an FAA-approved flight manual be carried aboard each aircraft for the guidance of crewmembers when conducting flight operations. A flight manual is any manual approved by the FAA that an operator uses to comply with this requirement. A flight manual may either be an approved Airplane Flight Manual (AFM), an approved Rotorcraft Flight Manual (RFM), or an approved Company Flight Manual (CFM). Principal operations inspectors (POI) must review a certificate holder’s flight manuals to ensure that the manuals contain adequate direction and guidance for those operations the certificate holder conducts and for the environment in which the operations are conducted (see Volume 3, Chapter 32, Section 5).

B.    General Manual. Sections 121.133 and 135.21 require that each certificate holder (except part 135 single-pilot certificate holders and those certificate holders granted a deviation from this requirement) prepare and keep current a manual providing guidance for all categories of flight and ground personnel conducting air transportation operations. The manual required by 121.133 and 135.21 is termed the general manual. The operator’s general manual must include the duties and responsibilities of each category of employee. The general manual must also include adequate policy, direction, and guidance for the safe and efficient performance of the duties assigned to each category of employee. In practice, a system of manuals is required to meet both operational and airworthiness regulatory requirements, even for relatively simple operations. When the general manual is subdivided into more than one part, the segment of all portions applicable to operations is termed the General Operations Manual (GOM).

C.    Guidance Material. Inspectors should become familiar with the contents of Volume 3, Chapter 32, Manuals, Procedures, and Checklists for Parts 91K, 121, 125, and 135, before conducting a manuals review. Inspectors should direct particular attention to Volume 3, Chapter 32, Section 2.

6-424    PROCEDURES FOR REVIEWING OPERATIONS MANUALS. A PI or an assigned representative must review a certificate holder’s manuals before issuing an operating certificate and periodically thereafter. Inspectors should use the following procedures when reviewing the manuals:

Indicates new/changed information.

A.    Initial Review. A comprehensive review of flight manuals and the GOM must be conducted by the PIs and other assigned inspectors before the initial certification of an applicant. During the initial review of these manuals, PIs must ensure that the certificate holder has addressed the applicable topics required by 121.135 and 135.23. In addition, those items in the certificate holder’s final compliance statement which require the operator to develop a policy statement, system, method, or procedure must be addressed in these manuals. If user manuals are furnished, those topics which apply to the specific user must be addressed. Each topic must be presented with enough detail to ensure that the user can properly carry out the portion of the policy or procedure for which the user is responsible.

B.    Review of Changes to Manuals. The POI or a designated inspector must review each revision or proposed revision to a manual, checklist, or procedure per Safety Assurance System (SAS) guidance:

1)    Approval of Manual Changes. Changes to manuals or sections of manuals or checklists which require approval must be approved by the FAA in writing before the operator can use the change. POIs should endeavor to review approved material in a timely manner.
2)    Acceptance of Manual Changes. Only a portion of an operator’s manuals are “approved” by the FAA, while the remaining portions are “accepted” by the FAA. The operator may begin using accepted portions of a manual once the change is delivered to the CHDO. POIs should attempt to review changes to accepted portions of manuals promptly, but may need to delay the review of accepted material due to higher priority work. If the POI subsequently concludes that an accepted section of a manual is not acceptable, the POI shall formally notify the operator of the deficiency. Upon notification, the operator must take action to resolve the deficiency.
Indicates new/changed information.

NOTE:  This activity shall be recorded in the Program Tracking and Reporting Subsystem (PTRS) using code 1303. If the manual revision impacts an approved or accepted program, then the PI may want to select an Element Design Data Collection Tool (ED DCT) or a Custom Data Collection Tool (C DCT) to record the revision.

C.    Manual Reviews During En Route Surveillance. Inspectors conducting en route inspections and ramp inspections should review the flight manual and those portions of the GOM carried by the flightcrew for completeness and currency. When a flight is long enough to make it practical, inspectors should review these manuals more indepth, particularly those sections that are operationally relevant to the flight in progress. An inspector conducting both cockpit and cabin inspections should check the personal manuals of crewmembers to ensure that all required revisions have been made. Inspectors should record any discrepancies found with the manuals in SAS automation.

6-425    PERIODIC REVIEW OF MANUALS. The continual review of a certificate holder’s manuals by inspectors is necessary because both the aviation environment and the operations conducted by the certificate holder are constantly changing. Each PI is responsible for developing a surveillance plan for the certificate holder’s manual system. The certificate holder’s manual system should be reviewed per the SAS process.

RESERVED. Paragraphs 6-426 through 6-440.