The code - Part I

Early on in my aviation career, as a young mechanic with hair, I kept hearing about and just as quickly forgot about, the code.


Recently, in a telephone conversation, I gave a counselor the two-minute rote answer to "What is the fee scale for a witness in the proceedings?" The answer is found in Part 13, Section 13,121. Imagine my surprise when I found out that he turned around and charged his client a 1/2 hour ($100) for "consulting" with the FAA!

Part 21: certification procedures for products and parts
A rule in Part 21 that is worth your time to read is Section 21.181. It talks to the duration of airworthiness certificates. If you read into the rule, it says: This airworthiness certificate is effective as long as the maintenance, preventive maintenance, and alterations are performed in accordance with Parts 43 and 91 of this Chapter and the aircraft is registered in the United States.

This statement is duplicated on the standard (white) airworthiness certificate which is found in most seat pockets or backs of cockpit doors. But the real message is: The registration certificate, not the airworthiness certificate, is the most important document in the aircraft because the airworthiness certificate is worthless without it.

If you have a problem with the above statement, like I first did when I first found it staring up at me, take a look at an airworthiness certificate. The validity of my statement is found in Block 1 of the airworthiness certificate. Block 1 identifies the "N" number of the aircraft which is found on the registration certificate.

Section 21.197: Special Flight Permits, is another rule worth reading. The rule allows an aircraft that does not meet all the applicable airworthiness requirements but is capable to fly, to make a flight. There are five reasons or purposes that a special flight permit is issued for.

1. Flying the aircraft to a base where repairs, alterations, or maintenance are to be performed or to a point of storage.
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 satisfactorily completed production flight tests.

If you need one of the above special flight permits, please contact your local FSDO. An FAA Airworthiness Inspector will help you process the paperwork in accordance with Section 21.199.

Another important rule in Part 21 is Section 21.303: Replacement and Modification of Parts. The rule states that no person may produce a modification or a replacement part for sale for installation on a type certificated product unless it is PMA approved. However, there are four exceptions.

1. Parts produced under a type or production certificate.
2. Parts produced by an owner or operator for their own product.
3. Parts produced under a TSO.
4. Standard parts conforming to an established military or industry standard.

Without getting into a lengthy explanation of owner produced parts, here are some things you must remember. The part is for the owner's aircraft only. The owner or his agent must use approved data to produce the part(s). No reverse engineering — like tracing out a damaged spar on the garage floor and then whittling a spar blank to size is permitted! FAA figures if Boeing has to have approved data to make a part, so does the owner.

Now, if the owner has only acceptable data, it is time to contact the local FSDO and see if the acceptable data can be field approved. Also, don't forget that the owner must sign the maintenance record that the part is owner-produced and is airworthy, and also signs his name. The mechanic who installs the part will still follow Section 43.9 maintenance record entry requirements.

Another area not really taught to mechanics in A&P schools is Export Airworthiness Approvals, found in Subpart l of Part 21.

Exports are broken down into three groups or "classes." A Class I product is a complete type-certificated (TC) aircraft, or TC aircraft engine, or TC propeller. A Class II product is a major component of a Class I product such as a wing or a fuel control, or control surfaces. Finally, a Class III product is anything that is not a Class I or II.

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