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!
An increasing number of countries are beginning to ease COVID-19 restrictions. While we will be feeling the aftermath of this global health crisis for quite some time, all industries, including aviation, should prepare for when lockdowns lift. Make the most of this time to prepare your operation for the bounce-back.
In the first part of this series, we encouraged you to use this time to close the gaps in your emergency response plan. It’s important to have the necessary tools in place to handle future emergencies, but without updated manuals, your whole enterprise may be at a disadvantage. The second part of this post-pandemic series is centered on updating your operations manuals. In-house reviews, such as updating your manuals, conducting internal audits, and checking your LOAs should be on your annual to do list anyway, so why not take the opportunity during this down time and get a head start?
If you are operating without a digital toolkit, it can be a headache to manage required paperwork. So now is a great time to catch up on all those documents you were previously too busy to complete, finish the manuals you were already working on, and get started on some new ones that have been on your to do list for far too long.
For global operations, this means getting an International Operations and Procedures Manual .
When was the last time your manuals were reissued? Since regulations, procedures, and best practices are constantly changing and being revised, it’s essential to make sure your manuals are up to date and you are being notified of important changes. Documentation should be updated on an ongoing constant basis, but certainly at the very least annually.
For example, new regulations became effective just earlier this year requiring RNP-4 and Data Link Letters of Authorization to fly in certain transoceanic airspaces. Have your manuals been updated with this newest guidance?
What about the latest expansions to National Security Sensitive Locations and LAANC for Drones? Both of these were updated with new locations in late 2019.
Flight plans are an essential part of your operation, but the FAA is increasingly finding flight plans have not been filled out correctly. On top of needing them for every flight, your organization must also provide a sample flight plan to obtain certain LOAs. When submitting an LOA application, the FAA will review flight plan codes, specifically in items 10 and 18. Having correct flight plans is critical to ensure uninterrupted flights and smooth LOA applications.
Find out more on how to evaluate your operation with an Internal Audit Program to ensure a culture of continual improvement. For organizations looking to audit their current flight plans, the International Operations and Procedures Manual is a great place to start to review applicable codes and requirements.
Applying for LOAs can be a lengthy process – don’t wait until you need one to apply for it. During COVID-19 the FAA and inspectors are still reviewing applications and issuing authorizations. Since it can take several weeks, or even months, to be granted an LOA, start your application before operations are back to full speed.
When applying for an LOA, you’ll need paperwork such as a cover letter, documentation of proper operations procedures, and copies of AFM pages and training certificates, to name a few. Luckily, after these applications are approved, LOAs do not usually expire. This means that unless there are significant operational changes, you will not have to go through this application process for the aircraft again.
The first step is to understand what your organization needs: not every flight department needs every LOA. If you are unsure what to apply for and how, download our free LOA Guide for clear guidance.
Feel free to contact us with any questions –we’re always ready to help.
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.
Countries can set their own requirements for authorizations for ADS-B Out operations. The FAA has decided to discontinue the ADS-B Out LOA (A153) and will no longer be issuing authorizations to US operators. However, we recommend that US operators carry a copy of Notice 8900.491 to show to foreign inspectors if they are requested to provide their authorization. In essence, Notice 8900.491 is provided by the FAA to summarize why it is no longer providing authorizations for ADS-B Out. It is important to note that an LOA is still required for ADS-B In operations.
Back in 2010, the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) determined that operators needed to request operational approval for Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) Out from their Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). While the FAA had not required an LOA to use ADS-B Out in the United States, they had issued OpSpec/MSpec/LOA A153 or A353 to satisfy foreign CAAs that did require authorization.
However, in September 2015, ICAO Member States adopted new guidance that gradually phased out operator authorization requirements to use ADS-B Out. As stated in Notice 8900.491, “continuous monitoring of equipment performance has proven to be the most effective means of oversight.” By overseeing the data of ADS-B Out, the FAA and other CAAs can identify aircraft performance. Any aircraft with a negative safety impact on Air Traffic Control could be restricted from flying in airspace requiring ADS-B Out. Additionally, with rising demand in OpSpecs, MSpecs, and LOAs, the FAA has become understandably stretched. Removing the need for any LOA can help minimize the burden placed on both regulators and operators.
In short, the FAA has decommissioned OpSpecs/MSpecs/LOA A153 and A353, also known as the ADS-B OutLOA. By June 30, 2019, the FAA will have reached out to operators currently holding these OpSpecs/MSpecs/LOAs to inform them that it is no longer necessary. However, it’s strongly advised to carry a copy of Notice 8900.491 on the aircraft. If any foreign inspectors or officials ask about the LOA, operators can show the Notice explaining why the FAA is no longer issuing an authorization.
Different airspace will have different regulations, so be sure to research equipage requirements when planning your overseas journey anyway – especially in regard to the ADS-B Out mandate. No further action should be needed from pilots and operators as we understand it.
For operators carrying our International Operations and Procedures Manual, no immediate revisions are needed, but we will be covering this in our next International Operations and Procedures Manual Revision Service update, so keep an eye out.
We want to again emphasize that all of this applies only to ADS-B Out. ADS-B In continues to require an LOA.
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.
To learn more about how AviationManuals can help, contact us today.
Part 91 operators aren’t required to obtain a Letter of Authorization (LOA) for RNAV or GPS-based ILS procedures (also called RNP APCH). So why does the FAA offer such an LOA – what’s the point? AviationManuals explains.
In the US, RNAV procedures are commonplace. That’s because the FAA’s Wide Area Augmentation System (WAAS) – a Satellite Based Augmentation System (SBAS) that augments GPS to improve its accuracy, integrity and availability – has been helping pilots land at small and regional airports around the country for years. Because of this history, Part 91 operators do not need a Letter of Authorization (LOA) to use RNP APCH procedures within the US.
Outside the US, however, it’s a different story.
As SBAS is so effective at opening up small and regional airports to general and business aviation traffic, many other regions are now building their own SBAS systems. For example, Europe’s EGNOS system is already fully operational and capable of augmenting both GPS and Galileo signals.
For international operators, the good news is your WAAS-capable avionics is most likely fully compatible with many of these other systems, so you can already take advantage of these new satellite-based procedures.
The not so good news, however, is that in order to do so, you first have to show that you are authorized to fly RNAV procedures.
This is because unlike in the US, in Europe, for example, these procedures are a relatively new concept that require not only that an aircraft have the corresponding airworthiness approval, but also that the pilots have the appropriate training, checking standards and operational procedures in place.
Although in Europe, EASA is working to amend some of these regulations, as a general rule, all operators are required to follow the necessary operational procedures. CAT operators must therefore amend their operational manual accordingly as part of their air operator approval. But don’t worry, there’s no additional training required. All you need to do is to get an LOA C052 from the FAA, which shows that your aircraft is capable of SBAS-augmented approaches.
If you frequently conduct international operations, it’s probably a good idea to add this authorization to your LOAs. On the one hand, this covers you in any country that does require specific authorization for RNAV procedures, such as Hong Kong. On the other hand, even where such authorization isn’t required, a country, such as the UK, may require you to have a valid state authorization in order to use MDA as a DA/DH with the approach. The MDA as DA/DH authorization is given under LOA C073, and a prerequisite for this is – you guessed it – the C052.
AviationManuals is able to assist you in obtaining both a C052 and C073 authorization. The overall process is simple and affordable and dovetails easily with your existing International Operations Manual. Contact us today for a quote.