AviationManuals Plays Integral Role in Development of an Updated Streamlined FAA Approval Process

AviationManuals’ procedural insights helped reduce letter of authorization process wait times from months to days

AviationManuals is the leading provider of manual development services and Safety Management System (SMS) software. Today the company announced that for the past year it has been working closely with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) as a key stakeholder in the development of a new, streamlined, letter of authorization process (LOA) for Part 91 operators. That process is now available to all Part 91 operators leveraging FAA approved vendors like AviationManuals to apply for LOAs with the FAA and have those applications reviewed (and approved) on a streamlined basis.

“We have been collaborating with industry leaders the past several months to develop a more optimized process for obtaining LOAs,” said Clement Meersseman, Senior Advisor – International Procedures, AviationManuals. “With our company’s deep knowledge and expertise in aviation safety, AviationManuals played an integral role in the direction of this project, and created the new standards and procedures for obtaining this essential document for operators.”

AviationManuals is the first aviation safety provider approved by the FAA provide this service. This event marks yet another long and distinguished step forward in the company’s history of promoting safety in the skies.

Up until now, the previous LOA process was cumbersome with disjointed approval procedures and wait times of several months. Utilizing AviationManuals’ proficiency in aviation safety practices, the company helped to create the new system that enables operators to continuously obtain the required authorizations from specific vendors.

It is a revolutionary approach that will ensure a more streamlined final LOA approval process. This saves both the FAA and operators considerable time and money in maintaining their authority to operate.

Currently in the testing phase, this new process (available for new aircraft only) reduces the LOA approval time from weeks or months to days.

“We are extremely proud to have played such an important role in developing this new streamlined process,” said Mark Baier, CEO of AviationManuals. “The fact that we were the very first safety provider approved to participate by the FAA is a strong testament to what we do as a company. We look forward to the official roll out later this year.”

About AviationManuals 

Products and services include SMS Software, FBO Manuals, Flight/Company Operations Manuals, International Operations and Procedures Manuals, Minimum Equipment Lists, Emergency Response Plans, and Internal Audit Programs, as well as Letters of Authorization (LOA) support for RVSM, Data Link (CPDLC / ADS-C), PBN (RNP-10 / -4, NAT HLA, B-/P-RNAV, and RNP-1), Enhanced Flight Vision Systems (EFVS), Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS), and EFBs.

AviationManuals is a member of the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA), International Business Aviation Council (IBAC), and the National Air Transportation Association (NATA). For more information on AviationManuals, go to www.aviationmanuals.com.

AviationManuals’ sister company ARC Safety Management is a modular online and app solution for managing safety, communications and overall aviation operations. The company offers customizable web and mobile Safety Management Systems for aircraft operations, FBOs, and commercial drone operators to submit, store and analyze SMS data. For more info go to www.arcsky.com.

How to take to the skies with the right LOA [+ Free LOA Guide]

The LOA development and application process may seem daunting, especially when you’re doing it alone. With our free LOA Guide (Download Here), we provide an overview of what LOAs are, when you need them, and how straightforward the application process can be.

 

Get Your LOA Guide

 

What is an FAA Letter of Authorization (LOA)?

A Letter of Authorization (LOA) in aviation is a formal document approved by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for Part 91 operators (known as Operations Specifications (OpSpecs) for Part 135) authorizing them to engage in specific flight activity. For example, when an operator wishes to use data link when flying outside of the United States, they would need to apply for a Data Link Communications LOA – otherwise known as an LOA A056. Always check which LOAs are required when planning your trip, especially when flying abroad.

Here are a few useful LOA facts:

  • LOAs do not expire, unless under exceptional circumstances. You do not need to renew your LOA, unless significant operational information changes, since LOAs are tied to the aircraft and operator.
  • For an LOA to be in effect, the indicated operator should have operational control of the flight.
  • Once you receive your approved LOA, there’s not much else to do – no follow up is required with your Flight Standards District Office, unless you’re looking to add an authorization or revise the information on an LOA.

For an overview of all LOAs and when you need them, take a look at our LOA Guide.

Applying for an LOA

The FAA is responsible for issuing LOAs to the rightful operator, or the entity with operational control over the aircraft for a particular flight. However, the operator is not necessarily the manager or owner of the aircraft. Where multiple operators use the same aircraft, separate LOAs would be required for each operator. 

When applying for an LOA, there are a few steps to take to ensure you have all the required materials:

  1. Make sure you have the right manual for the right LOA ready and up-to-date. Prepare the necessary operations procedures by either creating a standalone manual, or adding an appendix to an existing one.
  2. Gather all supporting documentation required by the FAA, such as training certificates, or company procedures, as well as a cover letter, along with potential FAA checklists, forms, or job aids.
  3. Once you have all documentation in place and have looked over all FAA instructions, the final step is submitting the application. Each FSDO (Flight Standards District Office) is different though, so you can expect additional instructions or feedback. Be meticulous in preparing all documentation to avoid your application being delayed or even denied. Keep in mind that we can support you throughout the entire LOA application process.

Application turnaround times vary according to which LOA you’ve applied for. Since it can take anywhere from three weeks to six months, plan your LOA application well before you plan to take to the skies.

Download your free LOA guide now to learn more about the application process, which LOAs are required when, as well as application turnaround times. Reach out to us for any questions you may have. Our LOA experts are here to help!

International Operations Proves to be a Key Topic of NBAA Webinar

NBAA Webinar Attended by over 900 Aviation Professionals as AviationManuals assembles robust panel to answer post-covid international operations’ questions.

On June 23rd, AviationManuals, the leading provider of manual development services and Safety Management System (SMS) software, hosted an exceptionally well attended webinar as part of the NBAA News Hour entitled “Flying Internationally in the New Norm Is Anything But Routine – Are you Prepared?

Coinciding with the NBAA’s Safety Month, the webinar featured information on what flight departments and pilots need to know about flying internationally today, as well as upcoming changes. The panel discussion included members of the FAA, Gulfstream, Scott IPC, and AviationManuals, and Q&A continued well beyond the end of the webinar.

“Operators really do need to be proactive in today’s operating environment,” said Kevin Honan, Senior Advisor of Operations Manuals. “As the world continues to reopen, this webinar hopefully addressed some of the lingering unknowns by providing up-to-date information for pilots, flight departments, and individuals responsible for safe operations.”

“The webinar was a great opportunity to get various industry partners together to provide operators with valuable insights on current and upcoming matters and requirements.” added Clément Meersseman, Senior Advisor, International Procedures. “By having different stakeholders together in one forum it provided an opportunity to cover essential topics during one value packed hour.”

A recording of the webinar is now available. For access, please visit https://bit.ly/36cv7Ro.

For more information on AviationManuals, please also visit www.aviationmanuals.com.

About AviationManuals 

Products and services include SMS Software, FBO Manuals, Flight/Company Operations Manuals, International Operations and Procedures Manuals, Minimum Equipment Lists, Emergency Response Plans, and Internal Audit Programs, as well as Letters of Authorization (LOA) support for RVSM, Data Link (CPDLC / ADS-C), PBN (RNP-10 / -4, NAT HLA, B-/P-RNAV, and RNP-1), Enhanced Flight Vision Systems (EFVS), Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS), and EFBs.

AviationManuals is a member of the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA), International Business Aviation Council (IBAC), and the National Air Transportation Association (NATA). For more information on AviationManuals, go to www.aviationmanuals.com.

AviationManuals’ sister company ARC Safety Management is a modular online and app solution for managing safety, communications and overall aviation operations. The company offers customizable web and mobile Safety Management Systems for aircraft operations, FBOs, and commercial drone operators to submit, store and analyze SMS data. For more info go to www.arcsky.com.

AviationManuals Launches Innovative Membership Service Integrating Manuals and SMS for Enhanced Aviation Safety

The new one-of-a-kind offering combines the company’s renowned content with its Safety Management System software creating a single platform for manuals, updates, and SMS.

AviationManuals, the leading provider of manual development services and Safety Management System (SMS) software, announces the launch of an entirely new and unique membership experience www.aviationmanuals.com.

The exciting new offering pairs AviationManuals’ valuable operations manual development and update services with an online tool that includes document hosting, verification, distribution, industry news, and ready access to safety metrics data.

The combination of ARC, AviationManuals’ SMS Software, with its coveted manuals provides a more wholistic approach to managing operational improvement and safety.

Moving forward, all manuals and LOA services will be paired with software, enabling the company to provide regular content updates as well as valuable industry and regulatory information, helping its 4,000-strong and growing customer base continually become better and safer. The goal is to create a central platform for business aviation operators and FBOs to manage the resources they need to operate safely.

The new package includes:

  • A single online location to manage all manuals, updates and distribution
  • Unlimited storage and file formats
  • Read and Initial Tracking
  • News, resources, updates, and member only content and expert topics
  • Real time safety metrics

Operators can save time and money by replacing paid document hosting and management tools with this all-in-one content and software solution. Operators can read and initial documents, automate notifications, develop customized file structures, get news and updates, and easily see the latest global safety metrics.

The company believes this improved approach helps bring together all the tools and information that aircraft operators and FBOs need to operate better and safer. “This isn’t just a tweak – but a fundamental change in how we will be delivering our content, our expertise, and software access to our customers moving forward.” said Mark Baier, CEO of AviationManuals.

“We now offer the most holistic continual improvement and safety system available anywhere on the market.” says Baier. “I’m truly excited about this, because SMS combined with continual operational improvement is the future of our industry, so the more we can help to get users to participate the better. As a company, we care about making it easy for every aviation operator to be better and safer. This really is a one-of-a-kind offering.”

About AviationManuals 

Products and services include SMS Software, FBO Manuals, Flight/Company Operations Manuals, International Operations and Procedures Manuals, Minimum Equipment Lists, Emergency Response Plans, and Internal Audit Programs, as well as Letters of Authorization (LOA) support for RVSM, Data Link (CPDLC / ADS-C), PBN (RNP-10 / -4, NAT HLA, B-/P-RNAV, and RNP-1), Enhanced Flight Vision Systems (EFVS), Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS), and EFBs.

AviationManuals is a member of the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA), International Business Aviation Council (IBAC), and the National Air Transportation Association (NATA). For more information on AviationManuals, go to www.aviationmanuals.com.

AviationManuals’ sister company ARC Safety Management is a modular online and app solution for managing safety, communications and overall aviation operations. The company offers customizable web and mobile Safety Management Systems for aircraft operations, FBOs, and commercial drone operators to submit, store and analyze SMS data. For more info go to www.arcsky.com.

AviationManuals hosting webinar with the NBAA during Safety Month

AviationManuals to Host Key Webinar Focused on Flying Safely Internationally

AviationManuals, the leading provider of manual development services and Safety Management System (SMS) software, will be hosting a webinar as part of the NBAA News Hour on June 23rd at 11:00am EST, entitled “Flying Internationally in the New Norm Is Anything But Routine – Are you Prepared?”

REGISTER HERE

Coinciding with the NBAA’s Safety Month, the webinar will feature information on what flight departments and pilots need to know about flying internationally today. The seminar will include a presentation, Q&A session, and a robust panel discussion by members of the FAA, Gulfstream, and AviationManuals. The panel will be moderated by Clement Meersseman, Senior Advisor, International Procedures of AviationManuals, and Kevin Honan, Senior Advisor of AviationManuals. The panel members confirmed to attend includes:

John Attebury
Safety Standards / General Aviation and Commercial Division / Commercial Operations Branch (AFS-820)
Federal Aviation Administration

Kevin C. Kelley
Flight Operations Group / Flight Technologies and Procedures Division (AFS-400) / FAA Flight Standards
Federal Aviation Administration

Justin Maas
Gulfstream Flight Test
Gulfstream Aerospace

Scott McLellan
Operations Aviation Safety Inspector / Flight Technologies and Procedures Division (AFS-400) / EFVS Policy
Federal Aviation Administration

Shawn Scott
Founder
Scott IPC

As international travel begins to return to normal, flight departments will need to restart flying once again. “The world is reopening,” said Mark Baier, CEO of AviationManuals. “This is the ideal time to discuss how you fly safely when traveling internationally.”

Key take-aways from the session will include:

  • The operational guidelines that apply to international travel (such as procedures manuals, SMS needs, contingency procedures, inspections, and other operational aspects)
  • Flight authorizations needed and the requirements for airworthiness and operations
  • Aircraft equipment needs for safe international operations

This information-packed session is expected to be highly attended by pilots, flight departments, and individuals responsible for safety operations. For more information and to register please visit Webinar: Flying Internationally in the New Norm is Anything But Routine – Are You Prepared? by NBAA (bigmarker.com). Note: you do not have to be a NBAA member to attend.

About AviationManuals 

Products and services include SMS Software, FBO Manuals, Flight/Company Operations Manuals, International Operations and Procedures Manuals, Minimum Equipment Lists, Emergency Response Plans, and Internal Audit Programs, as well as Letters of Authorization (LOA) support for RVSM, Data Link (CPDLC / ADS-C), PBN (RNP-10 / -4, NAT HLA, B-/P-RNAV, and RNP-1), Enhanced Flight Vision Systems (EFVS), Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS), and EFBs.

AviationManuals is a member of the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA), International Business Aviation Council (IBAC), and the National Air Transportation Association (NATA). For more information on AviationManuals, go to www.aviationmanuals.com.

AviationManuals’ sister company ARC Safety Management is a modular online and app solution for managing safety, communications and overall aviation operations. The company offers customizable web and mobile Safety Management Systems for aircraft operations, FBOs, and commercial drone operators to submit, store and analyze SMS data. For more info go to www.arcsky.com.

 

Flight Planning Codes Demystified [+ Free Guide]

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on December 10th, 2019. It has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.

November 16, 2020

A flight plan is a critical part of a flight and it is essential to ensure that it’s properly prepared. Unfortunately,mistakes are often made when completing them, due to lack of knowledge or confusion about regulations. It’s important to ensure your flight plans are going to ATC with the right codes to help you avoid clearance changes and delays. Errors on sample flight plans are also a frequent reason why Letters of Authorization are either delayed or not approved.

Our experts have compiled a free Flight Planning Guide with equipment checklists for operators and their planning providers to make sure their flight plan meets ATC’s and the FAA’s expectations.

 

Download Your Free Guide with Checklists

 

Flight planning codes for LOA approval

When applying for a Letter of Authorization (LOA), there is a lot of paperwork to prepare and the FAA wants to make sure everything is in order. For applications for LOAs A056, Data Link Communications (CPDLC/ADS-C), and B036, Oceanic and Remote Operations (RNP-10/RNP-4/RNP-2), a sample flight plan is required.

Since you’re requesting Data Link and PBN authorization for the aircraft, the FAA will specifically be checking whether the flight planning codes listed in ICAO Items 10 and 18 are correct for the aircraft capabilities. 

Unfortunately, there are often errors in this section, which end up causing delays in the approval of LOAs. While flight planning codes may seem like just a bunch of letters and numbers on paper, errors can have real consequences when received by ATC, such as inadvertent flight penalties or the inability to receive an in-flight clearance. Operators and planning providers must share the responsibility in correctly filing flight planning codes. 

Your flight planning code checklist

We’ve put together a list of important form items operators can run through to check the most common Flight Plan Form errors.

For the full list of codes you need to consider, download the Flight Planning Guide

Item 10

List the navigation and communication equipment and capabilities of your aircraft.

Item 10a

  • Review your data link codes (J codes).
    These codes will include “J1” through “J7”
    Most DLC-capable aircraft are capable of VDL M2. If your aircraft is VDL M2 capable then you need to have the “J4” code listed.
    There has been some confusion regarding this code and TSO C-160/160a compliance. TSO compliance relates to determining domestic enroute capability which affects Item 18, but does not affect this item.
  • Determine if you should include the “P2” code.
    If the aircraft is PBCS capable, “P2” should be included. If the aircraft is not PBCS capable, do not include this code. (Note that if your aircraft has Honeywell FMSs that have not yet been updated with a proper latency timer fix, then you should NOT include “P2.”)
  • Check if you will list a COM/, NAV/, or DAT/ entry in item 18.
    If you will be listing an entry in item 18, then add a “Z” code here.
    You will always list an entry in item 18 and need a “Z” code if your aircraft is data link capable.

Item 10b

  • Ensure the transponder code is correct.
    For example, if the aircraft has 1090 MHz ADS-B installed, which is very common, one of the “extended squitter” codes should be used. The most common code is L, but your aircraft may differ.

Item 18

List additional technical equipment codes to clearly communicate your aircraft capabilities. There are a lot of codes and a specific order, so errors in this section are frequent. Depending on your flight planning provider and their system, you may only have to do this once, when you set up your aircraft profile.

  • Check the code sequence.
    Keep the codes in the preferred sequence as indicated in the FAA’s flight planning brochure to prevent truncation of your flight plan resulting in an incomplete flight plan.
  • Ensure applicable RNP-4 codes are listed.
    If the aircraft is RNP-4 capable, the PBN/ entry must include L1, in addition to “A1” for RNP-10.
  • All data link equipped aircraft must include a DAT/ entry.
    Aircraft capable of US domestic en route CPDLC, without any known “push-to-load” message errors, will typically use the code DAT/1FANSE2PDC.
    Aircraft capable of US domestic en route CPDLC, with known “push-to-load” message errors, will typically use the code DAT/1FANSER2PDC.
    Aircraft not capable of US domestic en route CPDLC, but FANS equipped, will typically use DAT/1FANS2PDC.
  • Make sure the SUR/ entry is correct.
    If ADS-B is installed, it should be SUR/260A or SUR/260B, depending on the equipment.
    If the aircraft is PBCS capable/authorized, make sure to add “RSP180” to this entry.
    If the aircraft is not PBCS capable/authorized, do not enter an RSP code.
  • Make sure there are REG/, SEL/, CODE/, and OPR/ entries.
    These are all operator/aircraft specific and reflect the aircraft registration, aircraft SELCAL code, aircraft hexadecimal Mode S code, and the operator’s name, respectively.

Item 19

Include items specific to survival equipment and information for search and rescue teams. This section of the form usually isn’t transmitted to air traffic control, but the FAA considers it mandatory for LOA approval.

Finally, although not related to flight planning codes, we have seen the FAA taking notice of the fuel information as well. Here are a few key items to check:

Fuel

Equal Time Point (ETP)

  • Ensure these calculations are included in the flight plan
    The equal time point is a point along the route from which it takes the same amount of time to return to the departure point as it would to continue to the destination.

Fuel Block: This is a detailed breakdown of fuel usage.

  • Ensure fuel listed meets requirements.
    ICAO specifies seven different fuel blocks that are to be present on the flight plan.
  • Check that your naming conventions are correct.
    Keep in mind that there are different naming conventions. For best results, it is recommended that you keep your fuel block as closely matched to ICAO’s terminology as possible.
    If you name your reserve fuel “reserve” or “RESV”, rename it to “contingency”, or “CONT”.
  • Check your back up fuel.
    Authorities want to see how you plan on using your fuel and if there is enough fuel planned in the event you would need to fly to an alternate airport.
    • Be sure to add 30 minutes of holding/final reserve fuel.
    • Be sure to add 5% contingency fuel (5% of the trip fuel).

Don’t forget to download our free Flight Planning Guide

Looking for more detail on each of these items? Our International Operations and Procedures Manual has expanded information with charts explaining each code in the appendices.

Contact us for any LOA support, and check out our free LOA Guide for more information.  

MEL, MMEL, NEF: What Are You Required to Have? [+ Free MEL Guide]

Are you required to have an MEL? Could your aircraft be grounded if you don’t have an NEF Program? MMELs, MELs, and NEFs (nonessential equipment and furnishing lists) allow you to operate even if some aircraft equipment and furnishings are inoperative.  Knowing which you need though can be confusing.

Did you know that the use of an MMEL as an MEL requires more than simply having the MMEL? Find out what other documents you need to have on board the aircraft. Download our free MEL guide for clear guidance on what you need, how to use it, and how to maintain it.

 

Get Your Free MEL Guide

 

MMEL Explained

Master Minimum Equipment List (MMEL): A master list of items on an aircraft that are allowed to be inoperative under specific conditions without impacting the safety of flight.

The MMEL is established by the aircraft manufacturer and approved by the national aviation authority. The goal of the document is to detail what equipment and furnishings can be inoperative without compromising safe operations. When developing the MMEL a number of factors are taken into consideration including:

  • Engineering and flight testing of failures
  • Effects of inoperative items on flight safety and the crew
  • Impact of multiple failures

MEL Explained

Minimum Equipment List (MEL): Based on the MMEL, it is an adapted list of items specific to a given aircraft/fleet aircraft that may be inoperative taking into consideration specific regulatory and operations limitations unique to each operator.

With an MEL, the operator can far more easily determine the conditions under which an aircraft can operate even with inoperative equipment, since it is more concise and customized to the aircraft/fleet and operator.

An MEL must also be approved by the aviation authority, but unlike an MMEL, which is designed to cover an entire aircraft series/models’ potential configurations, spanning years or even decades, an MEL can be fully customized to remove non-applicable items as well as add procedures. 

MEL customization is based on:

  • Aircraft type, variant, and serial number
  • Applicable regulations related to the type of operation, aircraft size and capacity, airworthiness directives, MMEL supplements, STCs, etc.; and special approvals granted to the operator (CAT II, PBN, RVSM, ETOPS…).

It is important to ensure that when customizing an MEL, it is never less restrictive than the MMEL.

What about nonessential equipment that cater to passenger convenience and entertainment? These are part of an Operator’s NEF Program instead.

NEF Explained

Nonessential Equipment and Furnishings Program (NEF): It is part of the MEL, but may be kept as a separate document. It outlines the steps operators may use to determine if a damaged, inoperative or missing item can be deemed as nonessential and therefore deferred.

If you have the LOA that allows you to use your MEL, or MMEL as an MEL for U.S. Part 91 operators, you may use an NEF Program to defer items deemed nonessential.

However, if you don’t have an NEF program, all inoperative, nonessential items need to be fixed before takeoff.

U.S. registered aircraft operating under Part 91 can obtain authorization to use the MMEL as an MEL, although it’s highly suggested that operators use this for domestic operations only.

MMEL as MEL (U.S. Registered, Part 91 Only)

If you want to use an MMEL as an MEL, there are however other documents you must have onboard in addition to the MMEL – refer to the MEL Guide for more information.

When using an MMEL as an MEL crews only have generic information available to them. Not all items included in the MMEL will be applicable to their specific aircraft or type of operation. It is important that crews be able to determine which deferrals are applicable to them.

  • A number of items in the MMEL will not indicate a specific number installed or number required. Crews will need to know which equipment is installed, how many units are installed, and the minimum number required based on applicable regulations and operational limitations.
  • The MMEL and M&O procedures will contain generic procedure statements. Crews will need separate guidance on where specific procedures can be found.
  • The MMEL will contain generic regulatory statements. Crews will need to know which regulations apply to each item and have copies of those regulations available to them in the aircraft.

Due to the generic nature of the MMEL, crews must be careful when selecting the appropriate deferral item. Some of the things they will want to consider are:

  • Modifications, Service Bulletins, STCs, etc.
  • Part numbers
  • Serial number ranges
  • Variant restrictions
  • Operating types
  • Installations of other equipment
  • Quantity of equipment installed

Creating an MEL that meets regulations and then keeping it up to date is very time consuming. Contact our team for advice and support. And don’t forget to download your complimentary MEL Guide:

Get Your Free MEL Guide

Data Link and RNP-4 LOAs: What You Need to Know

Clear communication between aircraft and Air Traffic Control (ATC) is especially important when conducting operations over oceanic airspace. To ensure safe passage, the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) released regulatory guidelines mandating that crews flying over much of the North Atlantic (NAT) must have Letters of Authorization for Data Link and RNP-4 by January 30, 2020. With these regulations already in effect, we want to make sure you have all the information you need to obtain your LOAs and keep your operations running smoothly.

What Are RNP-4 and Data Link and Why Do You Need Them?

The only way to permit more aircraft in a high-use airspace is to lower the separation standards between them. ICAO has mandated RNP-4 and Data Link to keep up with the growing air traffic in the NAT. This equipment helps to ensure efficient communication and minimum navigation performance allowing the distance between traffic to be reduced.

  • RNP-4: More accurate navigation equipment, which is certified in accordance with ICAO’s “Require Navigation Performance” specifications, ensures that aircraft can fly accurately to a centerline.  The lower the RNP value, the more accurate the equipment.  This is especially important in oceanic or remote airspace where control centers are not available. In a highly trafficked airspace such as the NAT, it is critical that as many aircraft be certified with the most precise navigation equipment possible.
  • Data Link: Navigation is only part of the equation; ATC still requires position reporting information from aircraft to properly track and control flights.  Relying on pure voice communications for those position reports would be impractical as traffic expands — enter Data Link.  By automating position reports with Automatic Dependent Surveillance — Contract (ADS-C) and Controller Pilot Data Link Communications (CPDLC) technology, ATC can ensure that critical position information is transmitted quickly and reliably.

What Should I Do Before Applying for These LOAs?

  1. Make sure you have completed any necessary upgrades to your aircraft. Check your Airplane Flight Manual and consult with your maintenance team to ensure the aircraft is actually capable of both RNP-4 and Data Link. This is typically outlined in the “limitations” section of the AFM.  If a Service Bulletin / Change or STC is required, schedule those installations as soon as you can.  It might be possible for the FAA to begin reviewing an LOA request while maintenance is still in progress, but it is definitely impossible to get an LOA for something your aircraft can’t currently do.
  2. Review your current RNP LOA, if any. Your flight department may or may not have an LOA for oceanic RNP operations already.  Check if the FAA has already issued you a paragraph B036 LOA, and if so, check whether it lists “RNP-4.”  Most non-NAT oceanic operations only require RNP-10, and for many years that was the only authorization given. It’s possible that you might only have RNP-10 even if your aircraft was capable of RNP-4 when you first applied for LOAs. 
  3. Make sure your pilots’ training is up to date. For Part 91 operators, training requirements are a bit more relaxed than for the rest of the aviation world. This means you can take some liberties with training schedules and deadlines. However, to ensure that pilots are familiar with current procedures in the NAT, the FAA will likely hold you to a 24-month currency for your international / RNP training, if not even less.  If your training is older than 24 months, it is recommended that you schedule a recurrent course ASAP.
  4. Contact a flight planning service to obtain a sample flight plan. For both the RNP-4 and Data Link LOAs, the FAA will require that you provide a complete sample flight plan.  Note that this sample should reflect both a full crew plan (i.e., the computer printout, including the fuel block, waypoints, ETPs, etc.) and the one-page ICAO flight plan.  The FAA may check your plan for any number of potential issues, including compliance with fuel requirements, the equipment codes used, or even just that you’ve selected an appropriate destination alternate.  So, it is important to choose a flight planning vendor that you trust to provide an accurate and suitable plan. Check out our top tips and tricks for ensuring your flight plan is ready in our Flight Planning Codes Demystified article.

LOA Applications Now Will Yield Cost Savings in the Long Run

While LOA applications may seem like a lot of work, shirking them can have real-world consequences. There are significant financial penalties for being caught flying without required LOAs and the alternative — flying around, above, or below the airspaces with these mandates — isn’t much better. You may be forced to fly hours out of the way, incurring unnecessary additional fuel costs and delays.

The applications can be a process, but the time and cost of applying for these LOA applications does not compare to the price of flying an additional four or five hours, or the fine for avoiding them altogether.

Once approved, your LOAs likely won’t need to be considered again until the FAA releases new regulations and guidelines. But if there ever is a reason to resubmit an LOA application, subscribing to our manual revision service can help you stay on top of such changes. When we hear about new regulations that could affect operators’ LOAs, we can push news out to our subscribers, detailing what those changes are and what actions departments will have to take. What LOAs look like now is not what they looked like five years ago, and most likely not what they will look like five years in the future, so it is best to have the tools to react quickly.

Contact us for any LOA support, and check out our free LOA Guide for more information.

LOAs: what they are, who they’re for, and how to get them

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on September 25th, 2017. It has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.

You have probably heard about Letters of Authorization (LOA). But do you know what they are or if they apply to you?

If you are a Part 91 operator, chances are you have heard about Letters of Authorization (LOAs). There is also a good chance that you’re not entirely certain what they do or if they even apply to you.

What are LOAs?

An LOA is a formal approval issued by the FAA to Part 91 operators. With an LOA, an operator can engage in a specific flight activity that requires authorization. For example, if you want to fly in Reduced Vertical Separation Minimum (RVSM) airspace, then you must have an RVSM LOA. But if you have no plans of using RVSM airspace, then you don’t need the LOA.

Each of the following types of operation require FAA authorization and thus its own LOA:

  • Reduced Vertical Separation Minimum (RVSM)
  • Required Navigation Performance (RNP) -10/4
  • North Atlantic High Level Airspace (NAT HLA)
  • Area Navigation (B-RNAV / RNAV-5 and P-RNAV / RNAV-1)*
  • Data Link Communications (ADS-C / CPDLC)

*Although an LOA is not required for domestic US operations, foreign countries may require authorization (i.e., an LOA) prior to conducting these operations in their airspace.

(Automatic Dependent Surveillance – Broadcast (ADS-B) Out operations formerly needed an LOA. However, in late 2018 the FAA removed this requirement and is not issuing any LOAs for ADS-B Out operations. NOTE: ADS-B In operations does still require an LOA. Get more information here).

Who Needs an LOA?

The FAA issues LOAs to the aircraft’s operator. According to the FAA, an operator is the entity having operational control of the aircraft for a particular flight. Operational control is defined as having the ‘exercise of authority over initiating, conducting or terminating a flight’ (14 CFR Part 1.1).

It is important to note that:

  • The operator is not necessarily the manager or owner of the aircraft.
  • For the LOA to be in effect, the operator named on the LOA must be the same as the operator who has operational control of a flight.
  • If multiple operators operate the same aircraft, then separate LOAs for each operator are required.

How to Apply

Applying for an LOA typically means:

  • Preparing the required operations procedures (either as a standalone manual or appendix to existing manual)
  • Completing an application to the FAA, including a cover letter and any available FAA checklists, forms or job aids
  • Gathering all supporting documentation required by the FAA (copies of AFM pages, training certificates, etc.)
  • Submitting the application to the FAA

It is essential that you carefully follow all FAA instructions and include all necessary documents. Failure to do so could delay your application or be grounds for denial – so always double-check everything before submitting!

In our next post, we’ll separate LOA fact from fiction.

AviationManuals can assist you with obtaining your LOAs. To learn more, contact us today.

EFVS: The what and why of Enhanced Flight Vision System

There is no doubt that when you can enhance what pilots can see on approach, especially in inclement weather conditions, you can greatly reduce the risk of accidents or incidents.

In 2017, the FAA introduced an enhanced flight vision system (EFVS) rule. This helped increase the use of vision system technologies, which aim to assist safer landings by virtually eliminating low-visibility conditions.

EFVS explained

But what exactly is EFVS? Enhanced Flight Vision System is an aircraft system that uses a type of heads-up display and imaging sensors to present information to the pilot, such as aircraft information, flight symbology combined with an electronic real-time sensor image of the forward external scene.

In essence, EFVS provides the pilot with a second pair of highly-enhanced eyes. The EFVS, installed on most midsize and large business jets, will show the pilot artificially displayed elements on top of real-world views, such as the horizon and runway – not unlike a video game.

Pioneered by NASA in the late nineties, and then further developed by business jet and avionics manufacturers, EFVS is becoming increasingly widespread which will hopefully drive down pricing allowing the benefits of this technology to find its way into more aircraft. Now, military requirements are driving further EFVS innovations, which in time should then become standard on general and commercial aircraft as well.


What are the benefits of EFVS?

The technology allows pilots to land safely at airports even in limited visibility due to haze, smog, smoke, fog, or simply darkness. This can help minimize delays and prevent aircraft from being rerouted. Most importantly, it greatly reduces the likelihood of runway incidents and potentially accidents.


EFVS Operations

There are two types of EFVS:

  • EFVS Operations to 100 feet above TDZE

In this case, EFVS is only activated when descending below Decision Altitude/ Decision Height (DA/DH) to 100 feet above the Touchdown Zone (TDZE). From 100 feet onwards to the TDZE, you must use natural vision.

  • EFVS Operations to Touchdown and Rollout

Alternatively, EFVS from Operations to Touchdown and Rollout allows you to activate EFVS from descent below DA/DH, until the plane reaches normal taxi speed.


Do I need an LOA for EFVS?

While a Letter of Authorization (LOA) for EFVS is not required within the United States, it is often mandatory when flying internationally, especially in the EU.

To make sure that you can use all of your EFVS capabilities when flying abroad, apply for the LOA so you’re covered.


We can help

To make things easy, we can help prepare all the required LOA documentation you’ll need to present to the FAA. Part-135 Operators should bear in mind that they also need to send the FAA an evaluation plan.

Our new EFVS Operations Manual makes the entire process even simpler. We cover procedures for EFVS to 100 feet above TDZE, as well as touchdown and rollout.

Have questions? Contact our experts.