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Sat, Jun 10, 2006

ANN's Daily Aero-Tips (06.10.06): Airworthiness -- Another View

Aero-Tips!

A good pilot is always learning -- how many times have you heard this old standard throughout your flying career? There is no truer statement in all of flying (well, with the possible exception of "there are no old, bold pilots.") It's part of what makes aviation so exciting for all of us... just when you think you've seen it all, along comes a scenario you've never imagined.

Aero-News has called upon the expertise of Thomas P. Turner, master CFI and all-around-good-guy, to bring our readers -- and us -- daily tips to improve our skills as aviators, and as representatives of the flying community. Some of them, you may have heard before... but for each of us, there will also be something we might never have considered before, or something that didn't "stick" the way it should have the first time we memorized it for the practical test.

It is our unabashed goal that "Aero-Tips" will help our readers become better, safer pilots -- as well as introducing our ground-bound readers to the concepts and principles that keep those strange aluminum-and-composite contraptions in the air... and allow them to soar magnificently through it.

Look for our daily Aero-Tips segments, coming each day to you through the Aero-News Network. Suggestions for future Aero-Tips are always welcome, as are additions or discussion of each day's tips. Remember... when it comes to being better pilots, we're all in this together.

Aero-Tips 06.10.06

Although the FAA itself proclaims:

"The term "airworthy" is not defined in Title 49, United States Code (49 U.S.C.), or in 14 CFR [which contains the Federal Air Regulations]..."

A reader wrote in response to the recent Aero-Tips item "Is It Airworthy?" with the following interpretation from the FAA, repeated here in full:

FAA Order 8130F-2F

Chapter 1 - Introduction

9. INTERPRETATION OF THE TERM "AIRWORTHY" FOR U.S. TYPE-CERTIFICATED AIRCRAFT. The term "airworthy" is not defined in Title 49, United States Code (49 U.S.C.), or in 14 CFR; however, a clear understanding of its meaning is essential for use in the agency's airworthiness certification program. Below is a summary of the conditions necessary for the issuance of an airworthiness certificate. A review of case law relating to airworthiness reveals two conditions that must be met for an aircraft to be considered "airworthy." 49 U.S.C. § 44704(c) and 14 CFR § 21.183(a), (b), and (c) state that the two conditions necessary for issuance of an airworthiness certificate: a. the aircraft must conform to its TC. Conformity to type design is considered attained when the aircraft configuration and the components installed are consistent with the drawings, specifications, and other data that are part of the TC, which includes any supplemental type certificate (STC) and field approved alterations incorporated into the aircraft. b. The aircraft must be in a condition for safe operation. This refers to the condition of the aircraft relative to wear and deterioration, for example, skin corrosion, window delamination/crazing, fluid leaks, and tire wear. NOTE: If one or both of these conditions are not met, the aircraft would be considered unairworthy. Aircraft that have not been issued a TC must meet the requirements of paragraph 9b above.

This FAA's interpretation stipulates requirements for issuance of an airworthiness certificate—which, once issued, is valid for the life of the airplane.  It agrees, however, with my recent Aero-Tips article that describes the day-to-day continued airworthiness check of a preflight inspection, by including TCDS and STC compliance and a check is that "the aircraft is free from damage or defect that would interfere with the safe conduct of the flight" as part of determining that an aircraft remains airworthy.

Thanks, reader, for your added perspective, and for reminding us that sometimes the FAA works under interpretive guidance and case law that does not have a basis in the regulations themselves.

Aero-tip of the day: As before, uphold a high standard of airworthiness in your preflight inspections.  Ultimately it's protection of your life, and the lives of your passengers that is the definitive measure of airworthiness. 

FMI: Aero-Tips

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