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ALC-25: Flight Review Prep Guide
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As PIC, you are responsible to have "an appropriate and current airworthiness certificate" in the aircraft (14 CFR 91.203(a)(1)), but the certificate itself does not mean that the aircraft is airworthy, your job is to determine if the aircraft you intend to fly is airworthy, and in a condition for safe flight (14 CFR 91.7).  What does that mean?  

Preflight

 

 

 

 

 

 

14 CFR FAR 91.7 has two parts - FAR 91.7 (a) states that “No person may operate an aircraft unless it is in an airworthy condition” – which means it complies with FAR 3.5(a) and AC 43.13 1B – Appendixes, which states that Airworthy means the aircraft conforms to its type design and is in a condition for safe operation, and only an FAA licensed mechanic can attest to the airworthiness.  The mechanic follows the procedures outlined in FAR 43 for the maintenance, preventative maintenance, rebuilding, and alterations of the aircraft in order to maintain the “airworthiness condition” of the aircraft.

FAR 91.7 (b) states that “The pilot in command of a civil aircraft is responsible for determining whether that aircraft is in condition for safe flight. The pilot in command shall discontinue the flight when unairworthy mechanical, electrical, or structural conditions occur.”  This occurs through a complete and thorough preflight of the aircraft and being alert to changing conditions of the aircraft systems and structure. 

FAA Handbook 8083-19A (Plane Sense) explains these requirements in more detail, but in general:

  • Conformity to type design means that the required and proper components are installed, and that they are consistent with the drawings, specifications, and other data in the type certificate.  Conformity includes applicable supplemental type certificates (STCs), and field-approved alterations.  It would also include compliance with airworthiness directives (ADs).
     

To be in a safe condition to fly, it must have been maintained and inspected as required. 


There are two equipment-related regulations that you need to know especially well. 

The first is 14 CFR 91.205, which lists the instruments and equipment required for different types of flight.   Some pilots use acronyms to remember these items.  Another way is to think of them in terms of three categories:  engine, performance/navigation, and safety.  Click on this link - Required Equipment Chart for a chart listing required equipment for each of these categories.

The second is 14 CFR 91.213, which deals with inoperative instruments and equipment.  The first part of this regulation relates to aircraft for which there is an approved Minimum Equipment List (MEL).  If your aircraft does not have a MEL (often the case for light GA aircraft), you need to ask yourself several questions to determine whether you can legally fly with inoperative instruments or equipment.  Specifically:

  • Is the affected equipment part of the VFR-day type certificate?  
  • Is the affected equipment listed as required on the aircraft's equipment list or kinds of operation list?
  • Is the affected equipment required by any other regulation, e.g., 91.20591.207?
  • Is the affected equipment required to be operative by an airworthiness directive

If the answer to any of these questions is "yes," then the aircraft must be grounded.  If the answer to all of these questions is "no," then the last step is to remove or deactivate the affected item, and mark it as "inoperative."  Click this hyperlink – AC 91-67  Minimum Equipment Requirements for General Aviation Operations Under FAR Part 91, to read the FAA's advisory circular on acceptable methods for the operation of aircraft under Federal Aviation Regulations Part 91 with certain inoperative instrument and equipment, which are not essential for safe flight.


Related Media for this Section
View the file Equipment Chart.pdf
Required Equipment Charts
Equipment Chart.pdf (25.27 KB)
View the file AC 91-67 Chap1-2.pdf
AC 91-67 Chapters 1-2
AC 91-67 Chap1-2.pdf (2.14 MB)
View the file AC 91-67 Chap3-appendix.pdf
AC 91-67 Chapter 3
AC 91-67 Chap3-appendix.pdf (3.1 MB)

The owner or operator of an aircraft is primarily responsible for maintaining that aircraft in an airworthy condition (14 CFR 91.403).  These duties, as outlined in 14 CFR 91.403,  91.407, and 91.417, include ensuring that:

  • Required inspections are performed.
  • Discrepancies are repaired.
  • Maintenance personnel make appropriate logbook entries, to include description of work, date of completion, and signature and certificate number of the person who approves the aircraft for return to service.
  • Inoperative instruments and equipment are treated in accordance with 14 CFR 91.213.

As PIC, you do not have to perform these duties yourself.  You do, however, have primary responsibility for verifying that the aircraft you intend to fly is airworthy and in a condition for safe flight. 


Part of ensuring that the aircraft you intend to fly is airworthy and in condition for safe flight involves verifying that all required inspections have been completed.  The chart below summarizes what to look for:

  What How Often Reference
A Annual inspection & ADs Every 12 calendar months
(ADs are required)

14 CFR 91.409(a)(1)

V VOR check (if used for IFR) Every 30 days 14 CFR 91.171
1 100 hour inspection (if used for hire or flight instruction) Every 100 hours 14 CFR 91.409(b)
A Altimeter & Pitot-Static System Every 24 calendar months 14 CFR 91.411(a)(1)
T Transponder Every 24 calendar months 14 CFR 91.413
E ELT (emergency locator transmitter) operation & battery currency Every 12 calendar months
(see ref for
replacement schedule)
14 CFR 91.207
 

GPS / RNAV Navigation Databases - Required for IFR Navigation

(For any flight - VFR or IFR -  check Aircraft Flight Manual Supplement (AFMS) for any additional restrictions or authorizations)

Every 28 Days AFMS is Controlling Document

 


If you are flying an aircraft in a restricted or experimental category, you will need to review the regulations concerning operation of these aircraft.  You will find the provisions applicable to restricted category aircraft in 14 CFR 91.313.  Operating limitations that apply to aircraft with experimental certificates are located in 14 CFR 91.319.

If you operate a restricted or experimental category aircraft, remember to take time and become familiar with the limitations on carrying passengers and where the aircraft can be operated.    


What does it take to be pilot-in-command of a glass cockpit aircraft – or a Technically Advanced Aircraft (TAA)? The rapid rise of glass cockpit avionics is showing us that pilot skills for both normal and emergency operations must include not just mechanical manipulation of stick and rudder, but also the mental mastery of three key flight management skills: information management, automation management, and risk management. Are you up to the challenge?  The first challenge is to acquire the “how-to” knowledge needed to operate advanced avionics systems.  The second challenge is learning to manage the many information and automation resources now available to you in the cockpit.  The third challenge is learning how advanced avionics systems affect the pilot.

TAA are able to provide increased ‘available safety,’ i.e., a potential for increased safety. However, to actually obtain this available safety, pilots must receive additional training in the specific TAA systems in their aircraft that will enable them to exploit the opportunities and operate within the limitations inherent in their TAA systems.”  An excellent reference source for operating these advanced avionics is the FAA Advanced Avionics Handbook, packed with excellent “how to’s” and an essential skills lists to keep you at the top of your game.

Safety of flight can be hampered if you are not aware of what data the presentation is displaying or confuses that data with other information. Safety of flight can be compromised if you attempt to use the advanced avionics to substitute for required weather or aerodynamic needs. Safety of flight can be negated if you attempt to learn the advanced avionics system while in flight. You should use advanced avionics to reduce risk.  Proper use of checklists and systematic training should be used to control common error-prone tasks and notice errors before they become a threat to safety of flight.  There are many “gotch ya’s” when operating TAA and a pilots lack of skill and attention can have dire consequences, including notification of next of kin.

Is your FMS/RNAV unit approved for IFR navigation?

The first place to check when determining IFR certification for an FMS is the Pilot’s Operating Handbook (POH), the Aircraft Flight Manual (AFM) – or AFM Supplement (AFMS). For every aircraft with an IFR approved FMS/RNAV unit, the AFM explicitly states that the unit has been approved for IFR navigation and what IFR operations are specifically authorized for that installation.

The effective dates for the navigation database are shown on a start-up screen that is displayed as the FMS cycles through its startup self-test. Check these dates to ensure that the navigation database is current (they are updated in 28 day cycles).  The navigation database contained in the FMS must be current if the system is to be used for IFR navigation and approaches.  The use of an expired navigation database for VFR flight might cause you to stray into airspace that was not yet designated at the time the expired navigation database was published. Some VFR-only GPS units do not alert you when signal reception has faded, which could lead to reliance on erroneous position information.

The AFMS should state the certification status of the installed system. The supplements to the AFM should state the status of the installed equipment, including the installed avionics. Most systems require that the advanced avionics manuals be on board as a limitation of use.

NOTAMs relevant to GPS - It is important to check all NOTAMs prior to IFR flights and, especially,

GPS and WAAS NOTAMs before flying. Remember, when talking to a flight service station (FSS)/automated flight service station (AFSS) briefer, you must specifically request GPS/WAAS NOTAMs.

Sometimes anolomies are observed in the behavior of the GPS system and cause a GPS UNRELIABLE NOTAM to be issued. Similarly, published instrument procedures that rely on RNAV equipment sometimes become “Not Available” when safety concerns arise, such as ground-based interference.

Many GPS RNAV units include a feature called receiver autonomous integrity monitoring (RAIM) that

allows you to view predictions about future signal reception at specific locations. Be sure to specifically request a RAIM report from your AFSS briefer.  WAAS-enabled receivers do not have this restriction or limitation due to the error corrections available from the WAAS.

It is very important to know what equipment is installed in the aircraft. GPS-based FMS/RNAV units certified to TSO-C145A or TSO-146A may be used when an alternate airport is required in the flight plan for the approaches at the destination and alternate airport if the WAAS is operational.  No other navigation avionics would be required. Units certified under TSO-C129 are not authorized for alternate approach requirements.

Since air traffic control (ATC) issues clearances based on aircraft equipment suffixes, consult the Aeronautical Information Manual AIM Table 5-1-3, Aircraft Suffixes, to ensure that the flight plan includes the correct equipment suffix for a particular aircraft.


Fuel-related light aircraft accidents usually involve one of two problems.  The first is fuel starvation, which means that fuel cannot get to the engine(s), even though there may be plenty of fuel in the tanks.  Knowing your aircraft's fuel system very thoroughly is key to avoiding fuel starvation accidents.

AirBP.jpg

The second is fuel exhaustion, which results from running out of gas.  The regulations attempt to prevent this problem by specifying minimum fuel requirements for different kinds of flight.  Regardless of time of day and flight rules (VFR or IFR), the regulations always require you to carry enough fuel to the first point of intended landing, and then continue for a specified period of time.  Specifically:

  • Day VFR - Destination + 30 minutes at cruising speed (91.151)
  • Night VFR - Destination + 45 minutes at cruising speed (91.151)
  • IFR - Destination + alternate + 45 minutes at cruising speed (91.167).

Remember that these numbers are absolute minimum levels.  Many pilots plan to have a least a 1 hour reserve for VFR, and more for IFR flight.