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

Post-Pandemic Planning Part 2: The Most Important Things You Should Be Doing with Your Manuals

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?

Catch Up on Paperwork

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.

  • If you don’t have an Operations Manual yet, it’s time to get one. Whether you’re an FBO, drone operator, or flight department, an Operations Manual supports your organization by standardizing your guidelines, making it that much easier for new and existing employees to perform their duties in line with the way you do  things. Without this internal guide, you may be vulnerable to safety or efficiency issues. Keep in mind that an Operations Manual is a lot less daunting than most people realize – it should simply reflect the complexity of your organization.
  • Ensure you have the right documents in place to make it easier to stay in compliance with your LOAs.  For most LOAs, operators are required to continually ensure their crews have been trained on, have knowledge of, and/or have access to applicable procedures. Having a manual that contains the relevant procedures and is continually kept up to date is the easiest way to demonstrate compliance and avoid findings or even potential fines.

For global operations, this means getting an International Operations and Procedures Manual .

You may also need to consider an Enhanced Flight Vision Systems manual, Part NCC Compliance solutions, or an MEL.

Check When Your Manuals Were Last Issued

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.

Audit Your Flight Plans

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.

Work on Your Letters of Authorization

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.

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.

Do I Need an LOA for ADS-B Out?

Countries can set their own requirements for authorizations for ADS-B Out operations. A few years ago, the FAA discontinued the ADS-B Out LOA (A153) and no longer issues 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 authorization. In essence, Notice 8900.491 is provided by the FAA to summarize why it no longer provides authorizations for ADS-B Out.  It is important to note that an LOA is still required for most ADS-B In operations.

Setting the scene

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 never required an LOA to use ADS-B Out in the United States, they previously 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.

What has changed for the ADS-B Out LOA and what should I do?

The FAA decommissioned OpSpecs/MSpecs/LOAs A153 and A353, also known as the ADS-B Out LOA in 2019. No action was required then (nor is required now) on the part of US operators. 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 for any reason, 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.

If you have any further questions, don’t hesitate to contact us. If you want to know more about our FAA LOA Support Services, you can find more information here.

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.

You Don’t Need an LOA for RNAV… Unless You Do!

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.

First the good news…

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.

You can’t go wrong with an LOA

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.