A Moment of Silent Prayer

A Moment of Silent Prayer

It was just after lunch, on a hot July day when I found my heavy eyelids slowing closing. I was faintly aware that my forehead began its slow motion plunge toward my computer keyboard. As I gently crashed headfirst on to the delete key, I slip unconsciously back to days of yore when I was an instructor at the FAA Academy in OKC in 1985. I was an educator, a teacher and not a lowly pusher of paper. I remember . . . zzzz.

Good Afternoon Inspectors! Today, I would like to talk about a very important piece of bureaucratic paperwork. It is called an Airworthiness Certificate. It is the second most important piece of paperwork in a U.S. registered aircraft. Can anyone tell me the most important piece of paperwork? Yes Mr. Kline, it is the registration certificate. Hmmm, I noticed that some of you look surprised at Mr. Kline’s answer, most likely betting that I misspoke and the airworthiness certificate is the most important of all the aircraft’s paperwork. However, Mr. Kline’s correct response is easily verified by the fact that Block 1 on the Form 8100-2 Airworthiness Certificate itself asks for the ‘N’ number of the aircraft. This need for a registration number before the airworthiness certificate is signed by the FAA or its representative, clearly validates Mr. Kline’s answer.

Two pieces of paper
Continuing on, there are two classifications of airworthiness certificates: Standard and Special.

The Standard Airworthiness Certificate (Form 8100-2) is issued to an aircraft that meets the FAR that applies to Normal, Utility, Aerobatic, Commuter, or Transport category aircraft. It can also be issued to manned Free Balloons. This form is found in approximately 95 percent of all U.S. registered aircraft.

No doubt so very few mechanics ever read it because the small, white piece of paper appears so innocuous as it sits stuffed in the plastic pouch in a general aviation two-seater, or displayed on the cockpit door of a 300-seat transport.

The words Standard Airworthiness Certificate on the airworthiness certificate are followed by six blocks and the approval section in very small print. Blocks 1 through 4, identify the aircraft. Block 5 is titled: Authority and Basis for Issuance. This is a very important block because it identifies the law (Federal Aviation Act of 1958) that created airworthiness certificates and then proceeds with the definition of airworthy: “Meets its type design therefore it is in a condition for safe operation.”

This is not the only place where the definition of airworthy is defined. Recently, the definition of airworthy was added to the glossary section on the newly revised AC 43.23-1B.

Block 6 is titled Terms and Conditions. While most standard airworthiness certificates have no termination date, Block 6 of the airworthiness certificate states the airworthiness certificate is effective as long as the maintenance, preventive maintenance, and alterations are performed in accordance with Part 21, 43, and 91 of the FAR and the aircraft is registered in the United States.

Note that the standard airworthiness certificate calls out only Parts 21, 43, and 91 rules. These are the core regulations for airworthiness. The big air carrier rules, Parts 121, 127, or 135 are not mentioned because those regulations are for the most part, regulations that define “organizations dealing with air commerce.”

In the last paragraph of Block 6, the registration certificate is again noted as a the primary document clearly stating if the registration is not current and legal, all else including the airworthiness certificate becomes a moot point. The last blocks of the form are for the date, signature of the FAA representative, and Designation number or FAA office number.

A friendly reminder
As FAA inspectors, please remind the IAs and mechanics in your FSDO’s geographical area that the date on the airworthiness certificate is very important. Tell the IA that when he performs an annual inspection or the A&P does a 100-hour, he must sign a log book entry in accordance with Part 43, section 43.11 declaring that the aircraft is airworthy. When that entry is signed, the IA has bought off every major or minor repair, every major or minor alteration, inspection, AD, service bulletin, etc., back to the issue date of the airworthiness certificate.

As an example, suppose we have a 1955 Piper Tri-pacer, that was issued a Standard Airworthiness certificate and then shortly thereafter, it was exported overseas. A year ago, the Tri-pacer was recently imported back into the States and issued a new airworthiness certificate on August 1, 1999. When the annual inspection is signed off, the IA is responsible for the work performed from the date on the airworthiness certificate to the date of the annual not to the date of manufacture. It is the person who signs the airworthiness certificate — FAA inspector or DAR — who is responsible to determine if all of the other work performed from the date of manufacturer in 1954 to July 31, 1999 is airworthy and meets the FAR.

Before you inspectors sign the Airworthiness Certificate, I recommend that you perform a conformity inspection to ensure all is right with the world. Now don’t get the wrong impression. The IA is not let off the hook if the DAR or FAA inspector missed an AD, or if he finds something wrong with an repair done 15 years ago or there is a recurrent AD. The IA still must determine if the aircraft is airworthy and approve the aircraft for return to service. All that I am saying in this exercise is that the FAA inspector or the DAR is accountable for determining the airworthiness of the aircraft for more years time in service than our IA.

What is a category?
Good question because the word category means different things to pilots and mechanics. To a pilot, it means a pilot rating in a broad classification or category of aircraft such as airplane, rotorcraft, glider, or lighter-than-air. To a mechanic, the term means a group of aircraft that have been certificated within a particular Part of the FARs such as normal aerobatics and utility are in Part 23 or old CAR 3 and transport is in Part 25 or old CAR 4b.

Very light aircraft
“Are there any other aircraft certificated that are issued a Standard Airworthiness Certificate?”

Very good, Mr. Dickerson, you have been reading FAA Order 8130-2D. There is one other aircraft that is issued a Form 8100-2 form. It is for Very Light Aircraft. These aircraft must be built under a type certificate or production certificate and it must be a single engine, two seats or less, with a maximum take-off weight of 1,654 lbs. and a stall speed of not more than 45 knots. So far, very few airplanes are issued standard airworthiness certificates in this category of aircraft.

Special Airworthiness Certificates
The second classification of airworthiness certificate is issued to aircraft that meet the rules pertaining to Primary, Restricted, Limited, Provisional, and Experimental. The special airworthiness certificate contains two parts. The first part is the Form 8130-7 titled Special Airworthiness Certificate and it is pink in color. The second part of the special airworthiness certificate contains the attached operating limitations for the aircraft that can include up to as many as 30 specific operating limitations such as prohibiting flight over congested airspace or requiring special inspections.

Form 8130-7 is also issued as a special flight permit to aircraft that do not currently meet applicable airworthiness requirements, but are capable of safe flight. The Special Flight permits are effective for a short time period and are issued under section 21.197, Special Flight permits. There are six specific reasons a special flight permit can be issued.

1. To allow an aircraft to fly to a base for storage or where repairs can be performed such as complying with an AD.
2. Delivering or exporting the aircraft.
3. Production flight testing new production aircraft.
4. Evacuating aircraft from areas of impending danger.
5. Conducting customer demonstration flights in new production aircraft that have satisfactory completed production flight-test.
6. Authorize the operation of an aircraft at a weight in excess of its maximum certificated take-off weight for a flight over water.

Most special flight permits are issued for one flight, in order to move the aircraft so maintenance can be performed or get it out of harm’s way.

Special Airworthiness certificate categories

Primary Category (section 21. 184).
This is a relatively recent rulemaking attempt by the FAA to promote the production of new general aviation aircraft. Primary category is for aircraft that have a production certificate, that are non-pressurized, have a maximum of four seats, with reciprocating naturally-aspirated engine, with a stall speed of 61 knots and weighs 2,700 lbs. or less.

Restricted category (section 21.185)
Allows aircraft to perform special purpose operations. To be eligible for restricted category, these aircraft must have been in a previous life, manufactured under a FAA production or Type Certificate, or were surplus military aircraft that were originally type certificated in the restricted category and manufactured in the United States, or an aircraft imported into the United States in accordance with section 21.29 that is type certificated and certified by the country of manufacture that it meets the approved type design. Some of the special purpose operations of restricted category aircraft are:
• Agricultural: such as spraying, seeding, livestock and predatory animal control.
• Forest and wildlife conservation
• Aerial surveying including photography mappings and oil and mineral exploration
• Patrolling such as pipe line, power lines, and canals
• Weather control such as cloud seeding
• Aerial advertising, such as skywriting, banner towing, airborne signs, public address systems.

There are two other special airworthiness certificates that can be issued. One is Limited category that is called out in section 21.189, which covers older military surplus aircraft that in the dim past has been issued a limited Type Certificate as part of its original certification. There are 33 eligible aircraft for limited category some examples are P-51, Grumman F8F-1, B 25, B17F, and B17G. The other special airworthiness certificate is for Experimental aircraft, which is called out in section 21.191, can be issued for

1. Research and development
2. Showing compliance with regulations such as conducting flight test to see that everything works
3. Crew training
4. Exhibition – Very popular with the warbird community
5. Air racing — This is for the folks who make the pilgrimages to Reno every year
6. Market survey
7. Operating amateur-built aircraft –the most popular category
8. Operating kit-built aircraft – this ties into primary category rule

Both the Standard and Special airworthiness certificates are effective unless they are surrendered, suspended, revoked, or a termination date is otherwise established by the FAA Administrator. Replacement airworthiness certificates are issued by the local FAA office in the case where the aircraft has been issued a new “N” number or the airworthiness certificate is lost, mutilated or no longer legible. The replacement airworthiness certificate will still show the original issue date of the original certificate with the exception that a capital “R,” which means replacement, will precede the issue date.

Now class, we will next review — huh? mmiissterrrr?. My classroom was being interrupted by this ever-increasing murmur that sounded like my name.

“Mr. O’Brien, Mr. O’Brien! Are you OK?” Snapping to attention in my seat at the touch of a hand on my left shoulder, I turned to find the division secretary. Her kind face first mirrored initial fright at the possibility that she discovered a bureaucrat cold, stone dead at his desk. When she found that I was still in this world, her face slowly evolved from abject fear into a sly, knowing, mischievous grin.

“You were asleep,” she teased.

It was just after lunch, on a hot July day when I found my heavy eyelids slowing closing. I was faintly aware that my forehead began its slow motion plunge towards my computer keyboard. As I gently crashed headfirst on to the delete key, I slip unconsciously back to days of yore when I was an instructor at the FAA Academy in OKC in 1985. I was an educator, a teacher and not a lowly pusher of paper. I remember . . . zzzz.
Good Afternoon Inspectors! Today, I would like to talk about a very important piece of bureaucratic paperwork. It is called an Airworthiness Certificate. It is the second most important piece of paperwork in a U.S. registered aircraft. Can anyone tell me the most important piece of paperwork? Yes Mr. Kline, it is the registration certificate. Hmmm, I noticed that some of you look surprised at Mr. Kline's answer, most likely betting that I misspoke and the airworthiness certificate is the most important of all the aircraft's paperwork. However, Mr. Kline's correct response is easily verified by the fact that Block 1 on the Form 8100-2 Airworthiness Certificate itself asks for the ÔN' number of the aircraft. This need for a registration number before the airworthiness certificate is signed by the FAA or its representative, clearly validates Mr. Kline's answer.

Two pieces of paper
Continuing on, there are two classifications of airworthiness certificates: Standard and Special.
The Standard Airworthiness Certificate (Form 8100-2) is issued to an aircraft that meets the FAR that applies to Normal, Utility, Aerobatic, Commuter, or Transport category aircraft. It can also be issued to manned Free Balloons. This form is found in approximately 95 percent of all U.S. registered aircraft.
No doubt so very few mechanics ever read it because the small, white piece of paper appears so innocuous as it sits stuffed in the plastic pouch in a general aviation two-seater, or displayed on the cockpit door of a 300-seat transport.
The words Standard Airworthiness Certificate on the airworthiness certificate are followed by six blocks and the approval section in very small print. Blocks 1 through 4, identify the aircraft. Block 5 is titled: Authority and Basis for Issuance. This is a very important block because it identifies the law (Federal Aviation Act of 1958) that created airworthiness certificates and then proceeds with the definition of airworthy: "Meets its type design therefore it is in a condition for safe operation."
This is not the only place where the definition of airworthy is defined. Recently, the definition of airworthy was added to the glossary section on the newly revised AC 43.23-1B.
Block 6 is titled Terms and Conditions. While most standard airworthiness certificates have no termination date, Block 6 of the airworthiness certificate states the airworthiness certificate is effective as long as the maintenance, preventive maintenance, and alterations are performed in accordance with Part 21, 43, and 91 of the FAR and the aircraft is registered in the United States.
Note that the standard airworthiness certificate calls out only Parts 21, 43, and 91 rules. These are the core regulations for airworthiness. The big air carrier rules, Parts 121, 127, or 135 are not mentioned because those regulations are for the most part, regulations that define "organizations dealing with air commerce."
In the last paragraph of Block 6, the registration certificate is again noted as a the primary document clearly stating if the registration is not current and legal, all else including the airworthiness certificate becomes a moot point. The last blocks of the form are for the date, signature of the FAA representative, and Designation number or FAA office number.

A friendly reminder
As FAA inspectors, please remind the IAs and mechanics in your FSDO's geographical area that the date on the airworthiness certificate is very important. Tell the IA that when he performs an annual inspection or the A&P does a 100-hour, he must sign a log book entry in accordance with Part 43, section 43.11 declaring that the aircraft is airworthy. When that entry is signed, the IA has bought off every major or minor repair, every major or minor alteration, inspection, AD, service bulletin, etc., back to the issue date of the airworthiness certificate.
As an example, suppose we have a 1955 Piper Tri-pacer, that was issued a Standard Airworthiness certificate and then shortly thereafter, it was exported overseas. A year ago, the Tri-pacer was recently imported back into the States and issued a new airworthiness certificate on August 1, 1999. When the annual inspection is signed off, the IA is responsible for the work performed from the date on the airworthiness certificate to the date of the annual not to the date of manufacture. It is the person who signs the airworthiness certificate - FAA inspector or DAR - who is responsible to determine if all of the other work performed from the date of manufacturer in 1954 to July 31, 1999 is airworthy and meets the FAR.
Before you inspectors sign the Airworthiness Certificate, I recommend that you perform a conformity inspection to ensure all is right with the world. Now don't get the wrong impression. The IA is not let off the hook if the DAR or FAA inspector missed an AD, or if he finds something wrong with an repair done 15 years ago or there is a recurrent AD. The IA still must determine if the aircraft is airworthy and approve the aircraft for return to service. All that I am saying in this exercise is that the FAA inspector or the DAR is accountable for determining the airworthiness of the aircraft for more years time in service than our IA.

What is a category?
Good question because the word category means different things to pilots and mechanics. To a pilot, it means a pilot rating in a broad classification or category of aircraft such as airplane, rotorcraft, glider, or lighter-than-air. To a mechanic, the term means a group of aircraft that have been certificated within a particular Part of the FARs such as normal aerobatics and utility are in Part 23 or old CAR 3 and transport is in Part 25 or old CAR 4b.

Very light aircraft
"Are there any other aircraft
certificated that are issued a Standard Airworthiness Certificate?"
Very good, Mr. Dickerson, you have been reading FAA Order 8130-2D. There is one other aircraft that is issued a Form 8100-2 form. It is for Very Light Aircraft. These aircraft must be built under a type certificate or production certificate and it must be a single engine, two seats or less, with a maximum take-off weight of 1,654 lbs. and a stall speed of not more than 45 knots. So far, very few airplanes are issued standard airworthiness certificates in this category of aircraft.

Special Airworthiness Certificates
The second classification of airworthiness certificate is issued to aircraft that meet the rules pertaining to Primary, Restricted, Limited, Provisional, and Experimental. The special airworthiness certificate contains two parts. The first part is the Form 8130-7 titled Special Airworthiness Certificate and it is pink in color. The second part of the special airworthiness certificate contains the attached operating limitations for the aircraft that can include up to as many as 30 specific operating limitations such as prohibiting flight over congested airspace or requiring special inspections.
Form 8130-7 is also issued as a special flight permit to aircraft that do not currently meet applicable airworthiness requirements, but are capable of safe flight. The Special Flight permits are effective for a short time period and are issued under section 21.197, Special Flight permits. There are six specific reasons a special flight permit can be issued.
1. To allow an aircraft to fly to a base for storage or where repairs can be performed such as complying with an AD.
2. Delivering or exporting the aircraft.
3. Production flight testing new production aircraft.
4. Evacuating aircraft from areas of impending danger.
5. Conducting customer demonstration flights in new production aircraft that have satisfactory completed production flight-test.
6. Authorize the operation of an aircraft at a weight in excess of its maximum certificated take-off weight for a flight over water.
Most special flight permits are issued for one flight, in order to move the aircraft so maintenance can be performed or get it out of harm's way.

Special Airworthiness certificate categories
Primary Category (section 21. 184).
This is a relatively recent rulemaking attempt by the FAA to promote the production of new general aviation aircraft. Primary category is for aircraft that have a production certificate, that are non-pressurized, have a maximum of four seats, with reciprocating naturally-aspirated engine, with a stall speed of 61 knots and weighs 2,700 lbs. or less.

Restricted category (section 21.185)
Allows aircraft to perform special purpose operations. To be eligible for restricted category, these aircraft must have been in a previous life, manufactured under a FAA production or Type Certificate, or were surplus military aircraft that were originally type certificated in the restricted category and manufactured in the U.S., or an aircraft imported into the U.S. in accordance with section 21.29 that is type certificated and certified by the country of manufacture that it meets the approved type design. Some of the special purpose operations of restricted category aircraft are:
• Agricultural: such as spraying, seeding, livestock and predatory animal control.
• Forest and wildlife conservation
• Aerial surveying including photography mappings and oil and mineral exploration
• Patrolling such as pipe line, power lines, and canals
• Weather control such as cloud seeding
• Aerial advertising, such as skywriting, banner towing, airborne signs, public address systems.
There are two other special airworthiness certificates that can be issued. One is Limited category that is called out in section 21.189, which covers older military surplus aircraft that in the dim past has been issued a limited Type Certificate as part of its original certification. There are 33 eligible aircraft for limited category some examples are P-51, Grumman F8F-1, B 25, B17F, and B17G. The other special airworthiness certificate is for Experimental aircraft, which is called out in section 21.191, can be issued for
1. Research and Development
2. Showing compliance with regulations such as conducting flight test to see that everything works
3. Crew Training
4. Exhibition - Very popular with the warbird community
5. Air Racing - This is for the folks who make the pilgrimages to Reno every year
6. Market survey
7. Operating amateur-built aircraft - the most popular category
8. Operating kit-built aircraft - this ties into primary category rule
Both the Standard and Special airworthiness certificates are effective unless they are surrendered, suspended, revoked, or a termination date is otherwise established by the FAA Administrator. Replacement airworthiness certificates are issued by the local FAA office in the case where the aircraft has been issued a new "N" number or the airworthiness certificate is lost, mutilated or no longer legible. The replacement airworthiness certificate will still show the original issue date of the original certificate with the exception that a capital "R," which means replacement, will precede the issue date.
Now class, we will next review - huh? mmiissterrrr?. My classroom was being interrupted by this ever increasing murmur that sounded like my name.
"Mr.O'Brien, Mr. O'Brien! Are you okay?" Snapping to attention in my seat at the touch of a hand on my left shoulder, I turned to find the division secretary. Her kind face first mirrored initial fright at the possibility that she discovered a bureaucrat cold, stone dead at his desk. When she found that I was still in this world, her face slowly evolved from abject fear into a sly, knowing, mischievous grin.
"You were asleep," she teased.
"Nonsense," I lied. Taking the congressional folder from her outstretched hand, I shooed her away with my standard response, "Can't a man have a moment of silent prayer?"

Loading