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.


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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!

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 expected to be available early next year 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

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

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.

10 Facts About Letters of Authorization (LOAs)

Just because you have one or two LOAs stored in your aircraft doesn’t mean you understand them. AviationManuals gets to the facts.

Although LOAs are a common requirement for Part 91 operators, there remains considerable confusion as to the details.

To clear the air, let’s look at some LOA facts.

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

  1. An LOA is tied to the aircraft and operator, not the documentation.
    Whenever an aircraft is sold or the operator changes, you must apply for a new LOA. If, however, the only change is to the documentation supporting the LOA (i.e., training certificates or operations manuals), then you do not need to apply for a new LOA.
  2. LOAs do not expire.
    Yes, way back when Reduced Vertical Separation Minimum (RVSM) was a new thing, LOAs came with an expiration date. However, this is no longer the case except in rare circumstances. Therefore, you do not need to renew LOAs on a regular basis.
  3. Get it. Store it.
    LOAs are typically ‘one-and-done’. Once you have it, stick it in your aircraft and leave it well enough alone. There’s rarely – if ever – a need to follow up with your Flight Standards District Office (FSDO). In fact, there’s only two reasons to speak to an FSDO about an existing LOA: to add an authorization (such as a new aircraft or capabilities) or to revise its information.
  4. The FAA has authority to pull an LOA.
    The FAA does have the authority to revoke an LOA. However, it is unusual for them to exercise this authority. For example, if you report an incident to the FAA, they could place a hold on an LOA while reviewing your records.
  5. Only an operator (or their authorized representative) and the FAA have the authority to withdraw an LOA.
    In other words, unless specifically authorized to do so, a third party cannot request that your LOA be withdrawn.
  6. Part 91 operators don’t need to have IOMs regularly reviewed by the FAA.
    Part 135 operators must have all changes to the IOM submitted as they happen.
    Although the FAA doesn’t require Part 91 operators to update IOMs, they do expect you to stay current on changing procedures. Therefore, it is highly recommended that you invest in an update service.
  7. You do not have to notify the FAA when you switch manual vendors.
    You can change your vendor to your heart’s content without ever giving notice to the FAA. That being said, it’s always a good idea to inform your Principal Operations Inspector (POI) about any changes.
  8. RVSM maintenance programs are no longer required.
    The days of the RVSM maintenance program are gone, so you can stop maintaining them.
  9. If you’re worried about losing an LOA when switching manuals, consider starting your manual as an additional IOM.
    While the additional IOM is being reviewed, keep your current manual as is. Once you get the ok from the FAA, cancel the old service. This eliminates any ‘gap’ that could be misconstrued as being non-compliant with your LOA. Even though you would never actually be non-compliant, this strategy gives you an additional layer of support.
  10.   If you do run into trouble, seek the advice of an experienced, responsive vendor like AviationManuals.

To learn more about how AviationManuals can help, contact us today.