AviationManuals’ procedural insights helped reduce letter of authorization process wait times from months to days
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.
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:
For an overview of all LOAs and when you need them, take a look at our LOA Guide.
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:
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!
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.
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.
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.
List the navigation and communication equipment and capabilities of your aircraft.
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.
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:
Equal Time Point (ETP)
Fuel Block: This is a detailed breakdown of fuel usage.
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.
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.
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:
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:
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.
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.
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.
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:
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
*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).
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:
Applying for an LOA typically means:
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.
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.
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.
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.
There are two types of EFVS:
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.
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.
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.
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.