8900.1 CHG 761



Section 1  Safety Assurance System: Certification Services Oversight Process

Source Basis:

    Section 91.1014, Issuing or Denying Management Specifications.

    Section 119.35, Certificate Application Requirements for All Operators (applicable to parts 121 and 135 operators).

    Section 125.21, Application for Operating Certificate.

    Section 133.15, Application for Certificate Issuance or Renewal.

    Section 137.15, Application for Certificate.

    Section 141.13, Application for Issuance, Amendment, or Renewal.

    Section 142.11, Application for Issuance or Amendment.

    Section 145.51, Application for Certificate.

    Section 147.5, Application and Issue.

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10-12-1-1    GENERAL. This chapter explains the policy, concepts, principles, roles, responsibilities, and process for managers responsible for the Certification Services Oversight Process (CSOP).

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A.    Purpose. CSOP is designed to assist the Flight Standards Service (FS) in the management of certification applications. CSOP provides guidance to FS offices in accepting, sequencing, tracking, and reporting new certification applicant status. CSOP tracks applications for initial certification associated with Title 14 of the Code of Federal Regulations (14 CFR) parts 91 subpart K (part 91K), 121, 125, 133, 135, 137, 141, 142, 145 (including satellites), and 147. CSOP begins upon receipt of the preapplication information and continues until the project is completed or terminated.

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B.    Scope. This section applies to FS managers and provides CSOP policy and procedures.

10-12-1-3    RESERVED.

10-12-1-5    BACKGROUND.

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A.    Certification Process. FS uses the certification process to determine if an applicant is qualified to hold a certificate and possesses the ability to operate in a safe manner. Before CSOP can begin, the applicant should conduct an initial inquiry with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). The applicant is also expected to read and understand the certification process requirements for the certificate being sought. The office receiving an initial inquiry for certification should direct the applicant to https://www.faa.gov/ to familiarize themselves with the certification process requirements. The initial inquiry activity is informational only and does not initiate CSOP or the certification process.

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NOTE:  CSOP and certification are two distinct processes. See Volume 2 for certification process guidance.

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B.    Overview. CSOP provides a standard process for communication and coordination. It allows management to share information for analysis and sequencing of initial certification applicants. CSOP policy and automation tools are necessary in the decision-making process, but it is important to recognize they are only support tools. It is essential for all involved to apply critical thinking, interdependence, and sound judgment while working through the process. CSOP policy is designed to provide the best possible outcome for each set of circumstances.

C.    FS Responsibility. From the start of the application phase through Continued Operational Safety (COS) oversight, FS is responsible for the certification process. While the FS office is the focal point for all phases of the certification process, the success and effectiveness of this critical function requires active engagement, timely communication, and collaboration of management at all levels in support of the flying public.

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D.    Assessment and Documentation. The FS office must perform an accurate assessment of the applicant’s proposed operation and the FS resource requirements to support the project. The results of the assessment must be documented in automation. Documentation of reasoning and thought process is essential for the long-term success and understanding for each project. The information will assist in sequencing and any subsequent timeline or information request.

NOTE:  Applicants have the option to use the External Portal for 14 CFR parts managed within Safety Assurance System (SAS) automation. Title 14 CFR parts not managed using SAS automation and applicants choosing not to use the External Portal will require manual entry of preapplication information in the automation.

E.    Resources. The organizational intent is for FS offices to manage local resources to accomplish a national objective. The objective is to maintain a single Applicant List. FS will use all available resources to sequence and start certification projects. This should be applied to the decision-making process when evaluating applications for certification, initiating a certification, and any time circumstances change the office’s ability to perform a certification activity. CSOP policy, process, and automation is designed to work when the certification is accomplished in the office receiving the application or where COS will occur. Resources to support a certification project may be provided from any FS office and/or multiple offices. Applicants may be advanced based on the availability of resources and/or support national interests.

F.    COS. COS is an important consideration of CSOP and must be determined during the certification process. In most cases, the office who receives the application will be responsible for COS; however, this may not occur due to size and scope of the operation and/or availability of resources. The certification team must communicate with the receiving office to discuss COS from the beginning of the certification process until COS is established. Factors to consider when determining COS:

    Availability of aviation safety inspector (ASI) specialties once the certification project has been completed. If there is a specialty shortfall, then consider if that specialty is available from another office.

    Potential risk to the office where the certification project may impact current COS workload. ASIs should not be assigned to a new certification if oversight of existing certificate holders will be compromised.

    Current office challenges (e.g., noncompliant certificate holders requiring additional resources for oversight and surveillance).

    If office technical expertise meets the surveillance requirements for the proposed operation.

    The applicant’s geographic location relative to the availability of ASI resources conducting COS.

    Changes in office personnel, leaves of absence, training schedule, or other personnel changes affecting the office.

    These considerations are not considered to be all inclusive.

NOTE:  If the receiving office has a resource shortfall, the Office Manager (OM) should discuss this with their division manager to determine how to approach COS until resources are available.

G.    Communication. Consistent communication and a commitment to collaboration are necessary and expected. Regular communication between the FS office and the applicant regarding the status of a certification project is a requirement of CSOP. The office will notify an applicant regarding the status of their application via telephone, letter, email, or the use of messaging functionality in the automation. If a notification is made by telephone, the office should follow up with a letter.

1)    The office receiving the application for certification is responsible for sending:
a)    Applicant List Letter. Send within 10 calendar-days of “Accept for RA” status.
b)    Preapplication Information Not Accepted Letter. Send within 30 calendar-days of receiving the application.
c)    Applicant List Status Letter. This letter advises the applicant of their status while on the Applicant List. Send every 60 calendar-days while on the Applicant List.
d)    Transfer Letter, when applicable.
e)    Termination Letter, when applicable.
2)    The office with responsibility for the certification is responsible for sending:
a)    In Progress Letter.
b)    Termination Letter, when applicable.
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H.    Expectations. To ensure standardization and consistency, the Executive Director, Flight Standards Service (AFX-1), expects every employee at every level to adhere to the CSOP policy. The use of local procedures is not authorized.

I.    Documents. Only preapplication documents, letters of intent, or documents necessary for resource analysis should be considered for uploading to the automation in CSOP.

Table 10-12-1A.  Terms and Definitions



Applicant List

National list of applicants who have applied for certification in accordance with 14 CFR parts 91 subpart K (part 91K), 121, 125, 133, 135, 137, 141, 142, 145 (including satellites), and 147.

Certification Office

The office with primary responsibility for performing the certification. Resources may be located inside or outside of the certification office.

Continued Operational Safety (COS) Office

The office with responsibility for COS after the certification is complete.

Receiving Office

The office receiving the application for certification.

J.    Roles and Responsibilities.

1)    Executive Director, Flight Standards Service (AFX-1).
a)    Aviation safety, aviation commerce, and service, which includes the certification activities covered by CSOP;
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b)    Ensure policy and guidance supports the development, coordination, and execution of CSOP;
c)    Foster a culture within FS that supports the objectives of CSOP; and
d)    Review the CSOP program as necessary to ensure that it is functioning correctly.
2)    Office of Safety Standards (OSS), Safety Analysis and Promotion Division, System Approach for Safety Oversight (SASO) Program Office (AFS-910).
a)    Overall program management of CSOP;
b)    Establish CSOP policy and automation to support the certification process;
c)    Serve as an information resource for all FS managers;
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d)    Communicate automation changes and enhancements to all FS managers; and
e)    Assign a national point of contact (POC) for CSOP.
3)    Safety Assurance Director and Deputy Directors.
a)    Designate a member(s) of management as CSOP coordinator(s). The assignment could be a collateral duty;
b)    Foster a culture within FS that supports the objectives of CSOP; and
c)    Review the CSOP program as necessary to ensure it is functioning correctly.
4)    Safety Assurance Division Managers.
a)    Foster a culture within FS that supports the objectives of CSOP;
b)    Assist OMs in determining COS office, if necessary; and
c)    Interact with CSOP coordinator(s) on FS certification activity.
5)    OSS, International Program Division, International Field Office Management Branch (AFS-54) Manager.
a)    Designate a member(s) of management as CSOP coordinator(s). The assignment could be a collateral duty; and
b)    Assign certification applicants to an office as necessary for the most effective use of FS resources.
6)    CSOP Coordinator.
a)    Monitor and report Applicant List information to division, deputy, and director level management. Ensure senior managers are informed of certification activity level and any individual certification project of significant interest;
b)    At least monthly, evaluate CSOP Applicant List to determine if there are resources in other locations to assist with certifications;
c)    Work with FS OM(s) to evaluate applicant advancement, resource availability, on-the-job training (OJT) opportunities, etc.;
d)    Seek consistent and efficient deployment of certification resources by providing CSOP technical and management support to FS offices;
e)    Demonstrate interdependency and adhere to CSOP policy and procedures; and
f)    Work interdependently with deputy/director, division manager, and OM for CSOP.
7)    FS OMs.
a)    Demonstrate interdependency and adhere to CSOP policy and procedures;
b)    Apply critical thinking for resource analysis required for each certification project, and document resource analysis based on unique characteristics of the applicant’s proposed operation;
c)    Use the automation to document resources needed for certification and COS;
d)    Communicate with the applicant; and
e)    Ensure timely entry of CSOP preapplication information in the automation.

NOTE:  The OM is responsible for CSOP and the accuracy of the associated documentation and may not delegate those responsibilities. The OM may assign an aviation safety assistant (ASA), aviation safety technician (AST), ASI, or Frontline Manager (FLM) as the office CSOP POC to perform CSOP functions, such as entering and maintaining records and preparing letters. The OM retains responsibility to begin, analyze, process, resource, or terminate certification projects.


Figure 10-12-1A.  Certification Services Oversight Process Flowchart

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Figure 10-12-1A. Certification Services Oversight Process Flowchart

10-12-1-9    PROCEDURES.

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A.    Submit Preapplication Information (see flowchart process step 10-12-1-9A). The applicant submits the preapplication information to the FAA using the appropriate form (e.g., FAA Form 8400-6, Preapplication Statement of Intent; FAA Form 8420-8, Application for Pilot School Certification; letter of intent; or statement of intent). Applicants seeking certification under parts 121, 135, 141, 142, 145, and 147 may use the External Portal to submit preapplication information. Upon receipt, the receiving FS OM or POC will enter preapplication information in the automation for applicants seeking certification under parts 91K, 125, 133, and 137, or those applicants who choose to not use the External Portal.

B.    Review Preapplication Information (see flowchart process step 10-12-1-9B). The receiving OM/POC reviews the preapplication information to ensure it is complete and accurate.

NOTE:  Automation includes an option on the “Section 2” tab to reroute an applicant to a different office, when appropriate.

C.    Is Preapplication Information Acceptable? (see flowchart process step 10-12-1-9C). Within 30 calendar-days of receipt, the receiving office must make the preapplication acceptance decision. If the information is acceptable, see Step 10-12-1-9D, Is the Applicant in Peer Group H? If the information is not acceptable, see Step 10-12-1-9E, Return Preapplication Information.

NOTE:  See Table 10-12-1B, Certification Services Oversight Process Peer Groups, for a complete list.

D.    Is the Applicant in Peer Group H? (see flowchart process step 10-12-1-9D). If the applicant is in Peer Group H and applying for FAA certification under provisions of a Bilateral Aviation Safety Agreement (BASA), check the box in the automation, which moves the applicant to Certification Projects, and see Step 10‑12-1-9L, Initiate Certification. If the applicant is not in Peer Group H, see Step 10-12-1-9G, Resource Analysis.

E.    Return Preapplication Information (see flowchart process step 10-12-1-9E). If the preapplication information is not acceptable, select “Return” in the “Disposition Request” block located in the “Section 2” tab of Preapplication Information/CSOP. Notify the applicant using the template letter in the automation. The applicant may then choose to resubmit the preapplication information.

F.    Resubmit Preapplication Information? (see flowchart process step 10-12-1-9F). If the applicant decides to resubmit the preapplication information, then see Step 10-12-1-9A, Submit Preapplication Information.

G.    Resource Analysis (see flowchart process step 10-12-1-9G). Within 10 calendar-days of “Accept for RA” status, the OM/POC of the receiving office completes the resource analysis. This includes the characteristics of the applicant’s proposed operation and the minimum number of inspectors, by specialty, required for the certification. Additionally, an assessment of the receiving office’s ability to conduct COS once the certification is complete is required. This information will provide clarity to the office that ultimately works the project from the Applicant List.

H.    Add to Applicant List (see flowchart process step 10-12-1-9H). The receiving office selects the “Applicant List” button in the automation, which adds the project to the list, see Step 10-12-1-9I, Applicant List. Notify the applicant using the template letter in the automation. The receiving office retains responsibility for communication with the applicant while on the Applicant List.

NOTE:  General Aviation Safety Assurance (GASA) applicants must be placed on the Applicant List in the automation. Peer Group A and IFO applicants may proceed to Step 10-12-1-9K, Resource Assignment.

I.    Applicant List (see flowchart process step 10-12-1-9I). While the applicant is on the list, the receiving office must communicate with the applicant regarding their status on the list at least every 60 calendar‑days using the template letter in the automation. Document the date in the automation each time a letter is sent using the “Date Last Official Notification” on the “Applicant List” tab. Automation sets the date of reference for the 60 calendar-days based on the date the applicant was last contacted.

NOTE:  The office must refrain from speculating as to when the certification project might begin.

J.    Manage the Applicant List (see flowchart process step 10-12-1-9J). Managers should continually assess their office’s ability to support the organizational priorities surrounding certification. This also includes the receiving office’s ability to manage COS. Opportunities to interact with the Applicant List and initiate certifications include:

    Any time the receiving office adds an applicant to the Applicant List;

    Office leadership/team meetings;

    Division manager assignment of a project to an office;

    Annual Planning Meeting;

    Quarterly Planning Review—anticipate certification capabilities for each quarter; and

    Any time circumstances change the office’s ability to perform a certification, such as OJT, newly qualified inspectors, or resource sharing opportunities.

1)    Applicant Advancement. When considering certification, begin by selecting the first applicant on the Applicant List. If an office is unable to support a certification for the first applicant on the Applicant List, managers may begin a certification out of order by choosing “Applicant Advancement.” When this occurs, the manager must select the reason for advancement and provide justification in the “Applicant List” tab.
2)    Transfers. If the receiving office determines they do not have sufficient resources, then managers may determine that an applicant should be transferred to another office for COS. Managers involved with the applicant’s transfer should contact the applicant by phone or email to inform them that their application will be transferred. When the applicant is transferred, the transferring office sends the Transfer Letter using the template in the automation. The office receiving the transferred applicant must contact that applicant within 10 calendar-days. The applicant must be on the Applicant List prior to transfer. The office receiving the transferred applicant begins the process using flowchart process Step 10-12-1-9J, Manage the Applicant List.

NOTE:  If a decision regarding COS has not been made by the completion of phase 4, then the certification OM, receiving OM, and division managers, if necessary, should determine which office will manage COS. This should be done prior to beginning phase 5 of the certification project.

K.    Resource Assignment (see flowchart process step 10-12-1-9K). The certification office assigns one or more resources to work a certification. Resources, including the certification project manager (CPM), may be provided from any office and may involve multiple offices.

L.    Initiate Certification (see flowchart process step 10-12-1-9L). The certification office initiates certification and sends the applicant the In Progress Letter using the template in the automation. Initiate certification in accordance with Volume 2.

M.    Review Applicant List (see flowchart process step 10-12-1-9M). The CSOP coordinator will at least monthly:

    Review the Applicant List Report;

    Report applicant advancements; and

    Report applicant transfers.

N.    Interdependence Discussion with OM (see flowchart process step 10-12-1-9N). The CSOP coordinator collaborates with OMs to manage the Applicant List (see Step 10-12-1-9J, Manage the Applicant List) as follows:

    Determine resource requirements for applicants on the Applicant List;

    Assess resource availability and locate additional resources, as necessary;

    Use reports to assist in locating additional resources and identify offices that have resources available to begin a certification from the Applicant List;

    Request information regarding applicants on the Applicant List from the receiving office; and

    Recommend the division manager assign an applicant to an office for certification.

NOTE:  If there is disagreement regarding resource allocation or project assignment, the division manager will make the final determination on disposition of the certification for applicants on the Applicant List.

10-12-1-11    TERMINATIONS. In the event a certification is terminated, the manager will document the reason for the termination and notify the applicant using the template letter in the automation.

10-12-1-13    CSOP PEER GROUPS. CSOP includes CFR parts not currently managed in SAS. Peer groups M, N, O, and P are in the CSOP portion of SAS only. A complete list of peer groups is listed in Table 10-12-1B below.

Table 10-12-1B.  Certification Services Oversight Process Peer Groups

CSOP Peer Groups

Peer Group Description


Part 121 Operators


Part 135 (10 or More Seats)


Part 135 (9 or Less Seats)


Part 135 (9 or Less Seats/Single Pilot)


Part 135 (HAA)


Part 145 Within U.S.


Part 145 Outside the U.S. Without Aviation Safety Agreement


Part 145 Outside the U.S. With Aviation Safety Agreement


Part 141 Pilot Schools


Part 142 Training Centers


Part 147 Aviation Maintenance Technician Schools


Part 91K Fractional Ownership


Part 125 Operators


Part 133 Rotorcraft External-Load Operations


Part 137 Agricultural Aircraft Operations

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10-12-1-15 through 10-12-1-29 RESERVED.