Frequently Asked Questions

General

How do I pay an invoice?

We can accept payment by credit card, check, or wire transfer. To process a credit card payment, please call our office at +1.240.546.4030 to pay by Visa, MasterCard, Discover, or American Express. You can find detailed information on paying by check or wire transfer at the bottom of your invoice.

You prepared a manual for us. How can I get a PDF copy of it?

Once your manual is complete, we will email you a username and a password. Please use this login information to access your manual by either going to www.acgsms.com or clicking on the “Customer Login” link at the top of our website. If you do not have your username or password, or if you would like us to resend it to you, please email us at support@aviationmanuals.com.

I noticed that your manual has a copyright on it. Can I email it to one of my pilots?

Some, but not all, of our manuals are marked with a copyright. As one of our customers, you have our expressed permission to print, copy, and freely distribute your manual to anybody within your operation, your parent company, or to the necessary government authorities (such as the FAA). The copyright only prohibits you from distributing the manual to any other external groups or agencies.

Do you provide support?

In addition to revising your manual when required, we encourage all of our clients to call or email with any questions they may have, at any time. There is no charge for consultations.

Are there any subscription fees or recurring costs?

There are no required subscription fees or recurring costs for our manual services. However, we do offer optional reissue and revision services for several of our manuals. Our software does have an annual subscription fee associated with it, which covers hosting, site maintenance, and customer support.

How do I provide AviationManuals with manual revisions?

For manuals without a copyright, you can use our Manual Builder Application (MBA), an online content editing tool. When you are ready, simply contact us and we will incorporate your revisions into the manual. We can also accept revisions via a Word document, PDF file, email, or fax. Revisions made to the manual at the Operator’s request are charged at an hourly rate.

Flight Operations Manuals / Safety Management System Manuals

Do you have an off-the-shelf manual?

While there may be common elements between each operators’ manual, the intent of the manual is to reflect your particular operation. Therefore, the manual will be unique. An auditor will be able to determine if an operator has a boilerplate manual that does not specifically describe their operation.

Who will need to attend the online meetings?

Typically, we coordinate with one individual assigned to develop the Flight Operations Manual. However, we suggest that additional personnel familiar with the content to be covered attend those sessions, if available. (For example, the Director of Maintenance should attend any meetings on maintenance procedures).

Are there any subscription fees or recurring costs?

We do offer a Reissue Service, typically provided every year for a fixed fee. We will update the manual according to the latest IS-BAO standards and protocols, best practices, and regulatory changes. Any additional revisions you may have will be charged at an hourly rate.

I want to implement a Safety Management System / Flight Operations Manual, but I don’t want to pursue IS-BAO registration at this time. Can I still order an FOM?

We can still work with you to develop procedures that meet your needs. We start with an IS-BAO compliant manual, but we can remove any items that you choose not to incorporate. However, these items will need to be addressed if you plan on conducting an IS-BAO audit in the future.

How long does development take?

We work around your schedule, so the development time will vary from operator to operator. However, the average development time is usually 1 – 3 months, which includes the online sessions, time for you to review the document, and additional revisions, if needed.

How soon after the manual is developed can I schedule an IS-BAO audit?

Unless you have specific regulatory/civil aviation authority requirements, this is entirely up to you. To ensure you are fully prepared, we highly recommend that you take time to familiarize everyone in your department with the new manual and procedures.

We already have an operations manual, but it is outdated or does not meet our requirements. What kind of options do I have?

We recommend starting over with our document, as we regularly update it to ensure it meets current IS-BAO protocols and regulatory requirements. If there are certain sections of your manual you would like to retain, we can incorporate them into the new manual.

We already have an existing manual that is serving our needs. We want to develop and implement an SMS. What is the best method?

We can provide SMS procedures through a standalone manual, however we encourage operators to include these procedures in their existing operations manual. SMS is an integrated approach to identifying and managing risks and involves the entire department.

How do we revise the manual in between reissues?

You can send us revisions at any time. These revisions will be invoiced at an hourly rate. Alternatively, you can use the Company Directive process outlined in your manual. During the next Reissue, these Company Directives will be incorporated into the appropriate sections of the manual.

I want to develop a manual, but I also don’t want to limit the flexibility of our operation. How can I do this?

Generally, IS-BAO only outlines the items an operator needs to address and does not specify how this is to be accomplished. In many cases, as long as an operator meets the requirements of the State of Registry, they will meet the IS-BAO requirements. Additionally, IS-BAO provides a deviation process, so you may deviate from your manual as long as a risk assessment and analysis is conducted and the deviation is in accordance with any applicable regulations.

We use another vendor’s software to manage our SMS functions. Are you able to write the manual to this software?

The SMS section of the manual describes general procedures and concepts rather than explicit instructions to complete a form, submit a flight risk assessment tool, etc. However, we are able to modify this section to describe the system you have in place, whether paper-based or electronic.

We operate aircraft on multiple registries. Can we have a single manual for all of them?

As long as the appropriate civil aviation authorities have approved it, we can develop the manual to accommodate multiple registries. We have already done this with several operators, across many different registries, including U.S./Bermuda, Bermuda/Cayman, and Bermuda/South Africa.

We already have enough paperwork. Why do we need additional forms?

The new forms may seem demanding, but they only need to be completed consistently, not constantly.

Flight Attendant Manuals

How does this manual coincide with our existing Flight Operations Manual?

Some operators consider the FAM a supplement to their main operations manual, in which case there would be many references to the main manual and little duplication of content. Others want a standalone manual suitable for both contract and full-time Flight Attendants that covers everything a Flight Attendant needs to know (e.g., normal and emergency procedures, catering, security, training, SMS, etc.).

How is developing this manual different than developing the Flight Operations Manual?

Since airplane configurations and company procedures vary greatly, we provide general guidance for Flight Attendant duties (e.g., catering requirements). Typically online sessions are not required as operator specific information is gathered from your existing manuals or a short interview. For an additional fee, we can schedule an online session(s) to review revisions or other items that require discussion.

We operate multiple types of aircraft. How can the manual accommodate our fleet?

Some operators write the manual to describe general procedures that would apply to all aircraft and use appendices to describe type-specific items. Other operators will write the manual to a particular type, and then include any type differences in the body of the manual or as an appendix. We will ensure the manual is organized in the clearest way possible for your operations.

ARC Safety Management System Software

Do you provide support?

We will take any necessary steps to setup the software initially, train personnel in its use, and provide continuing support as needed to ensure the software runs smoothly. While the software is intuitive and you will be able to perform many functions on your own, we would be happy to help via phone at +1.240.546.4030 or email at support@aviationmanuals.com.

How is the software upgraded?

We are regularly updating our software, whether it is through behind-the-scenes coding, updating the user interface, or developing brand new features. Any feature upgrades for modules that you have already purchased are provided to you at no additional cost.

I want to see a specific feature integrated into the software. How can I request it?

We value feedback from our customers and we take their input into account when creating new features. Depending upon the complexity of the requested feature, we may be able to develop it for you free of charge.

RVSM Operations Manuals

You created our RVSM Manual for domestic operations, but now we need international support. Can we upgrade?

Yes. We will ask you to fill out one of our questionnaires to provide us with additional information. We will preserve as much of your existing RVSM maintenance program as we can. You will need to resubmit it to the FAA, but generally it is a faster review compared to a new application.

I thought I was going to get worldwide RVSM approval, but my manual only mentions “Domestic RVSM.” What’s going on?

If you are operating only within the US, you may have a manual or guidance that refers specifically to “Domestic RVSM.” However, the FAA does not issue a “United States RVSM” LOA. They only issue a standard “RVSM LOA” that is applicable worldwide.

Do I need a Letter of Authorization for Data Link / CPDLC (Controller-Pilot Data Link Communications) / FANS (Future Air Navigation Systems) / ADS-C (Automatic Dependent Surveillance – Contract) / Link-2000?

Yes. These types of operations are referred to by various terms, but they all fall under the umbrella of “Data Link Communications” (DLC). Authorization from your state authority is required for DLC prior to use. In the United States, DLC is controlled by Advisory Circular 120-70.

I have a CPDLC system, but it is only used over land (VHF / VDL). I heard that authorization is only needed for oceanic operations. Do I still need an LOA?

Yes. Any CPDLC operation is a form of Data Link Communications and still requires authorization from the state of registry prior to use.

Is ADS-B the same thing as, or a more advanced version of ADS-C?

Neither. Although there are some similarities in terms of purpose and implementation, ADS-B and ADS-C are two different technologies that utilize separate avionics. Each one has its own set of mandates for operations throughout the world. We offer support services to obtain LOAs for both systems.

Will you apply to the FAA on my behalf?

Because the FAA is providing an operational authorization, they require the Operator or its authorized agent to apply for the LOA. Although we do not formally serve as an agent, we actively advise and support our customers to ensure a successful submission.

Can you send my manual directly to the FAA?

The FAA typically will not accept a manual if it is not sent by the Operator or their Agent for Service. In some cases, we can send documents to a specific inspector you have already spoken to and is expecting a shipment from us.

What happens if my FSDO doesn’t like the manual?

To date, we have not had any of our manuals denied by the FAA. There may be differences between the various FSDOs. Sometimes they will return your application with an expectation for changes to be made. In those situations, we will make all requested changes at no additional charge. We can usually provide the updated manual within 1 to 2 business days.

How long will it take to get my LOA?

It depends on your local FSDO or IFO. We can prepare a manual and application package in approximately 2-3 business days or less. However, each individual FAA Office and Inspector has a different workload and process. It may take anywhere between 2 weeks or up to 6 months in some cases for the FAA to approve the application.

Is it a requirement to sign up for the IOM Revision Service (eBulletins)?

The Revision Service is optional. We highly recommend it as a cost-effective way to keep your manual up to date. If you do not subscribe to the service and you need to update your manual later, the cost will be much higher than simply purchasing a subscription now.

Note for Bermuda-registered aircraft: The Bermuda DCA requires operators to have a revision service.

Do you ever provide eBulletins for RVSM (Americas Edition) or RVSM / WATRS manuals?

Not yet, although we may in the future. The content in the RVSM (Americas) and RVSM / WATRS manuals does not change as frequently as that of the RVSM / International Operations Manual. However, we do offer an on-demand service to update your RVSM (Americas) or RVSM / WATRS Manual in the event that you need to re-submit it to the FAA or if you want to update the content to the most current standards and best practices.

My eBulletins begin at “No. 02.” Am I missing an eBulletin?

Not necessarily. Prior to November 2012, our eBulletin numbering method started over from 01 at the beginning of each year. From November 2012 and later, the year is placed first followed by the eBulletin number (e.g., #2012-02, #2013-01, #2013-02, etc.). If you are unsure if you are missing an eBulletin, we can double-check your manual against our current list and email a full set to you to bring your manual up to date. 

Do I need to re-submit my manual to the FAA when it is reissued?

We carry forward any pages approved by the FAA in each Reissue, so there typically are not any changes that the FAA would need to approve. If you are adding or removing any aircraft, or making other changes to previously-approved pages, then you will need to resubmit to the FAA. If you are a Part 135 operator, any change to your manual will need to be recorded and approved by the FAA, including Reissues.

My manual is very old. Is my LOA expired?

Please check your LOA to see if an expiration date is listed. Prior to 2008, some LOAs were issued with expiration dates. If all the information on your original LOA is still the same (e.g., company name, aircraft model / registration / serial, aircraft equipment, etc.) and there is no expiration date listed, then you may continue operations with your existing LOA.

I need to make changes to my RVSM Manual. Can you send me a Word document or post it to the Manual Builder Application?

We are not able to release an editable version of the manual because it is copyrighted. However, you can send your changes to us by email at iom@aviationmanuals.com or fax at +1.240.546.4031. If you need to make changes because of an FAA request, there will not be any charge and the turnaround time will usually be within the same day, and no later than 1-2 business days. If you want to make other changes, we will need to review the desired changes first to provide an estimate of the time and cost.

Automatic Dependent Surveillance – Broadcast (ADS-B) LOA Support

Is ADS-B required?

ADS-B is required in several regions and more mandates are forthcoming. Below is a brief timetable of worldwide ADS-B mandates:

Region When Required What Airspace
China, Hong Kong, Vietnam, and Singapore Now At FL290 and above
Europe (New Installation) 2015 – January All (For aircraft >12,500 lbs)
Australia 2015 – December At FL290 and above
Europe (Retrofit) 2017 – December All (For aircraft >12,500 lbs)
United States 2020 – January Above 10,000 feet
Be sure to check applicable State Aeronautical Information Pages (AIPs) for the most current information.

 

Is ADS-B included as part of the FANS / CPDLC / Data Link Communications / ADS-C approval process?

No. Although the terminology is similar (e.g., ADS-B vs ADS-C), ADS-B is a separate technology from Data Link Communications and requires its own LOA. If your aircraft has recently become fitted for CPDLC and ADS-B, then you will need to seek authorization for each one separately.

Am I required to have the ADS-B Out LOA (A153/A353)? I thought it was only needed for certain countries.

The requirements vary, but overall, the answer is Yes. The FAA’s application materials state that the LOA is required for a few countries and is not required for a few others, but makes no mention of the rest of the world. However, Advisory Circular #90-114 states that all US operators must receive FAA authorization to conduct international ADS-B Out operations. This authorization generally takes the form of the LOA (A153 or A353) and regional authorizations, as applicable.

If you plan to conduct ADS-B operations internationally, we recommend that you apply for the LOA to ensure compliance with future mandates.

How do I know when an ADS-B LOA is not required?

Currently, the LOA is not required for ADS-B Out operations in: the United States, Australia, and Fiji. As more countries implement ADS-B systems, this list may grow. For a quick reference, we recommend that you download the FAA’s InFO Letter #13009, which has a brief summary of worldwide ADS-B implementation at the moment:

http://www.faa.gov/other_visit/aviation_industry/airline_operators/airline_safety/info/all_infos/

What’s the difference between the A153 and A353 LOAs?

Functionally, there is no difference. A353 was the FAA’s original designation for the ADS-B LOA and required thorough documentation for approval, including crew training records and MEL pages. However, in August 2014, the FAA introduced A153 to streamline the approval process. The A153 designation reduces the overall requirements. In addition, A153 allows Inspectors at the FSDO level to issue approval, whereas A353 required approval from a regional office. Either LOA (A153 or A353) will provide an operator with the necessary authorization to conduct ADS-B Out operations.

I previously applied for the A353 LOA. Do I need to resubmit an application for A153?

In most cases, no. If you have either already been approved for A353 or if your Inspector has already forwarded your application to a regional FAA office, then there will probably not be any advantage for you to resubmit for A153. However, if you have recently (within the last 1-2 weeks) submitted for A353, we recommend re-submitting for A153.

Note: Remember, the FAA handles each LOA request individually. Even though you may have already sent in your documents for A353, a request for A153 will be treated as if you are starting over.

Will you help me with the LOA application process?

Absolutely! We will provide you with complete guidance on the materials that need to be submitted and we will assemble all documentation into an easy-to-use Application that can be sent to your FSDO, either in hard copy or electronically.

Emergency Response Plan

Can you provide assistance with a tabletop drill or other ERP training services?

While we do not offer tabletop drills to practice your ERP, we can provide an online familiarization session that will help individuals better understand where information can be found within the ERP.

How quickly can the ERP be developed?

The development process will vary depending on the resources you currently have available and the number of people in your company who may need to review or approve the Plan. We can usually provide a first draft within 2 weeks of your order.

I already have your Flight Operations Manual. Do I need the standalone ERP Manual?

Our Flight Operations Manual includes procedures for a very basic Emergency Response Plan, which is suitable for pursuing initial IS-BAO certification. The standalone ERP is recommended for operators who would like more robust procedures or who may be pursuing Stage 2 or 3 IS-BAO certification.

Transport Security Program

What happens if I am required to have a TSP and I don’t have one?

Operators who are required to have the Transport Security Program and operate without it are subject to heavy fines upon landing. In some cases, you may be denied entrance.

Can I use the security procedures in my Flight Operations Manual / existing documents?

Although we will develop the TSP based on your existing security procedures and make references to your current plans, the TSP must be submitted as a new document to the Australian Civil Aviation Safety Authority for approval.

Data Link

Do you provide Data Link / CPDLC training?

Currently, we do not offer instructor-led training for Data Link Communications. Instead, we provide online knowledge testing (quizzes) that you can use as part of an in-house academic training program. Please note that you may still need to complete additional practical training on Data Link systems and procedures before you apply for your LOA.

Is ADS-B the same thing as or a more advanced version of ADS-C?

Neither. Although there are some similarities in terms of purpose and implementation, ADS-B and ADS-C are two different technologies that utilize separate avionics. Each one has its own set of mandates for operations throughout the world. We offer support services to obtain LOAs for both systems.

Will you apply to the FAA on my behalf?

Because the FAA is providing an operational authorization, they require the Operator or its authorized agent to apply for the LOA. Although we do not formally serve as an agent, we actively advise and support our customers to ensure a successful submission.

Can you send my manual directly to the FAA?

The FAA typically will not accept a manual if it is not sent by the Operator or their Agent for Service. In some cases, we can send documents to a specific Inspector if you have already spoken with them and they are expecting a shipment from us.

What happens if my FSDO doesn’t like the manual?

To date, we have not had any of our manuals denied by the FAA. There may be differences between the various FSDOs. Sometimes they will return your application with an expectation for changes to be made. In those situations, we will make all requested changes at no additional charge. We can usually provide the updated manual within 1 to 2 business days.

How long will it take to get my LOA?

It depends on your local FSDO or IFO. We can prepare a manual and application package for you in approximately 2-3 business days or less. However, each individual FAA Office and Inspector has a different workload and process. It may take anywhere between 2 weeks or up to 6 months in some cases for the FAA to approve the application. We recommend that you contact your FSDO directly to obtain the most accurate estimate.

LOA Support Services

What happens if the FAA has findings in my application?

If the FAA requests any changes, we will make them at no additional charge as quickly as possible (usually within 1 to 2 business days).

The FAA just returned my application. What do I do next?

Please contact us as soon as practical and provide a copy of any correspondence with your Inspector. The FAA will provide a reason for returning the application. Typically the requested changes are minor and can be completed quickly. We will coordinate with you to produce a revised application package that will satisfy the FAA’s requests.

Will you submit my application to the FAA directly?

Because the FAA is providing an operational authorization, they require the Operator or its authorized agent to apply for the LOA. Although we do not formally serve as an agent, we actively advise and support our customers to ensure a successful submission.

Will you keep a copy of my LOA on file?

The FAA will address all correspondence to you, including your approved LOA. If you provide an electronic copy of your LOA to us, we will keep it on file for future reference, but the FAA will not send it to us automatically.

I am applying to the UK CAA / Australian CASA / another non-US organization. Can you still support my application for flight authorizations?

To some extent, but not as much as we can for the FAA. We can most likely provide you with a manual or other operating procedures, but we are presently not set up to assist you with the direct application to these other authorities. Please call or email for more information.

I am based internationally, but my aircraft is N-registered. Since I am still applying to the FAA, can you help me with our LOAs?

Absolutely! The process for an internationally based operator is not much different for those who are based within the United States, except that you will need to apply to an International Field Office (IFO) rather than a Flight Standards District Office (FSDO).

I need a temporary LOA and/or a flight permit. Can you assist me with applying for one?

We currently do not offer support for temporary LOAs or flight permits, which are typically used for sales, initial delivery, maintenance, or other special flights. For these situations, we recommend that you contact your FSDO for additional instructions.

IOM Revision Service (eBulletins)

Do you offer eBulletins for any of your other manuals?

Currently, eBulletins are only available for our International Operations Manual. If you are interested in updating a different manual, please contact us for a quote on any applicable update costs.

Do I take out the pages with IOM revisions and insert them into my manual?

No. Each eBulletin should be logged, in its entirety, behind the “Record of eBulletins” at the front of your manual. The revisions here are temporary and will be added to the body of your manual when it is Reissued later.

Do I need to keep past eBulletins when I receive a Reissue?

There is no requirement to maintain past eBulletins, but many clients find them to be a useful reference. We recommend that you maintain an electronic library just in case you have a need to review a previous eBulletin.

How can I set up a subscription for more people at my operation?

Please call +1.240.546.4030 or email ebulletin@aviationmanuals.com with the name and email address of the individuals who you would like to receive eBulletins. We will add them to our database with the appropriate settings so that they receive future releases.

How do I know if I’ve missed any eBulletins?

You can find a list of eBulletins that have been released on our website here </Resources>. You can also see which one was most recently incorporated on the “Record of eBulletins” page in your manual.

I think I’m missing an eBulletin. Where do I go to get a copy?

In the future, we will have an online distribution portal that will allow you to download a copy. For the time being, please email us at ebulletin@aviationmanuals.com with your request and we will send a copy via email.

We are a paperless office. How can I log the eBulletin in my manual electronically?

Many versions of Adobe Acrobat or other PDF software will allow you to insert pages into your manual. However, if you are unable to do so, please contact us for other solutions.