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Getting back to the water heater and after reading the ICA for that particular installation, required special tooling for opening up the control panel face, special instructions and cautions on draining water from unit and circuit breaker sequence when removing power, schematics on the system, an IPC list of parts, time limitations on components, and inspection requirements on a six- and twelve-month inspection schedule. The monitor and the emergency lighting also required the ICAs to correctly remove and repair the discrepancies without causing damage to the units themselves, to the aircraft and the safety of the technician(s). And let’s not forget the legal sign of certifying all work was accomplished using approved data. You should check -

Your example raises a couple of additional points on the subject of ICA, mandatory vs non-mandatory.

Many times, a MFG ICA procedure will call for the use of a specific piece of test equipment (Make/model). However, 14CFR part 43.13(a) allows for the use of acceptable equivalent test equipment/apparatus. This portion of this rule is especially helpful when a particular test must be performed on many different models of aircraft (ie FAR 91.411 and 91.413 altimeter/transponder certifications). This is yet another example of how ICA (except 43.16 AWL section) are not mandatory, and the regulations give maintenance providers options. Were it not for this provision in the rules, one would have to have every make/model of airdata test set, every make model of torque wrench, every make model of multimeter, every make model of push-pull scale, perform maintenance of different aircraft.

I would caveat this with the fact that a determination of equivalency MUST be positively made by the person performing the maintenance. As an example; I am unaware of too many repair stations that have a both a Laversab and a Barfield airdata box. Most pick one or the other. Whenever they run across a procedure that requires the use of the specific model that they do not have, a determination of equivalency is made.

One more important point to make............As a mechanic, one cannot exercise his/her privileges unless they UNDERSTAND the current instructions from the manufacturer for the specific operation concerned (Ref 14 CFR part 65.81). A similar requirement exists for repairmen in 65.103. This is a very important rule in my opinion because even though MFG ICA are not made per se, mandatory by this rule, an understanding of them is. With this understanding, one can make an educated determination on what procedures (whether ICA, or "other" acceptable procedures) must legally be followed to approve the aircraft for return to service.

Your water heater example supports the fact that in most cases, MFG ICA are the only practical option for performing specific maintenance................however, since this thread deals with the legal aspect of ICA application, you example still does not make MFG ICA compliance mandatory by law.

Doug Hereford

P.S. I clicked the link that you provided, but it did not mention ICA anywhere that I could find.??????

Stache - the program running the site does not allow attachemnts to comments but if you email me the file I will try and add it to the original post and then we can add a URL in the comment to open the PDF

[email protected]

To clarify, there is no requirement that all work be accomplished using "approved data"

Manufacturer's maintenance manuals are not approved data with the exception of SOMEt that may contain an FAA Approved Airworthiness Limitations section. That section only is approved data.

14CFR part 43.13(a) allows for the use of acceptable equivalent test. However, this can be a catch-22. How does a mechanic prove a tool is equivalent to the manufacture’s tooling and how did the mechanic document his equivalent tool meets this requirement.

I have been involved in FAA investigations where a company had tooling they said was equivalent for rigging. When in fact when we laid their equivalent tool side by side their tool was one inch shorter, meaning each aircraft rigged was one inch off. Next came how did they determine their tool was equivalent.

One way is to have a data file for each equivalent tool that shows the manufactures tool specifications and design and your equivalent tool and how you determine your tool was equivalent (fit, form, function). Without a data file if something happens like I explained above it could be an issue. Keep in mind this is for SPECIAL TOOLS not common tools or equipment like a mulimeter, torque wrench, etc.

Most manuals will provide a list of required tools and provide some releif for equivalent tools/equipment. The mechanic just has to be able to explain or show how they determinded it was equivlent and that is by a data file.

Your point is well taken on having documentation to support equivalency. Personally, I do this every time. It is not required however. The burden of proof is on the FAA.

In your rigging example, documentation would not have helped I don't imagine. The tooling was obviously not equivalent even if their documentation said it was.

Also, the regulations don't specify what a "SPECIAL TOOL" is. If the MFG calls for the use of a Fluke 77 multi-meter, and you have a Snap On, you had better verify equivalency in my opinion. I have seen cases where specific P/N tape is called out to see if paint pulls for corrosion inspection. If the mechanic wanted to use a different tape, he/she better put themselves in position to confirm equivalency

Point is, this provision of the regs. is properly used all of the time. It is another example of when MFG ICA are not mandatory.

Doug Hereford

Update to the saga. I hope Stache requested a legal opinion from the Counsel' office regarding the ICA confusion, but here is a somewhat related development released today.

I'm a new Chief Inspector at a startup repair station. I have been thrown into the position rather abruptly and am scrambling to ensure two primary objectives, legal compliance and safety. I do not believe the two are directly related, but that is a different discussion. I have a situation that I am trying to get my head around prior to a conversation with my PMI tomorrow. Up to last week, I had been under the same understanding that ICAs are not mandatory unless they have a life limit section. It's clear in the Regs, as has been well documented and substantiated in this "Saga".

Here is the situation. The operator of a 172S self-disclosed "overflying" an AMSAFE restraint system inflator expiration in its ICA. I am not clear on the FAA's response in regard to whether or not it was illegal, but since they self-disclosed, I am under the understanding that someone believes it is and the local FSDO isn't disagreeing.

The AMSAFE system is an STC that was incorporated into the type design and installed at manufacture. Therefore, the documentation for it was absorbed into the Cessna type design documentation, meaning there is no indication of the STC installation in the logs other than a section in the POH describing the system and it has an STC number in it. The ICA for it was included in the AMM. All this according to Cessna tech-reps.

Chapter 5 "Time Limits/Maintenance Checks" has the AMSAFE inflators in it with time limits. Chapter 4 "Airworthiness Limitations" has only one item, the oil pressure switch. I am in the middle of compiling a list of all recommended and mandatory maintenance items for this aircraft so I can have the discussion with the operator and make intelligent decisions on what to do and when. Unless this had come up, I would not have put the inflators on the "must do" category. I wouldn't have even known it was an STC unless AMSAFE was having trouble providing replacement inflators forcing operators to either revert to a normal restraint system, or install a new system all together.

The local FSDO is reported as saying that the system becomes inoperative when the inflators expire. This leads me to three alternate conclusions.

1. ALL ICAs are mandatory and I would have been screwed since I had no way of knowing an STC was incorporated into the type design and the ICA into the AMM, unless I had read the POH.

2. The operator should not have self-disclosed since they did nothing illegal.

3. All components with an expiration date are mandatory replacement items regardless of where the life limit is specified, and perhaps AMSAFE and then Cessna should have put it under chapter 4 to help a brother out, but didn't for some reason.

A pertinent though perhaps not directly related issue to all this is that AMSAFE put out an initial Service Bulletin extending the life from 7 years to 10. That SB had FAA approval. AMSAFE put out a second SB extending it from 10 to 12 years. The Approval section states, "This Service Bulletin contains no modification information that revises the approved configuration and therefore does not require FAA or other regulatory agency approval." The operator is telling me that the local FSDO disagrees with this and is strongly recommending they do not use this SB. We are not, and we are limiting it to the 10-year life limit.

Bob P. Please understand that I am here to learn what I can. I been aided a lot from the discussion. Please try to refrain from calling into question my intelligence, experience, credentials or anatomy. It makes it a lot harder for me to listen to what you have to say, even though you have good things to say. I respect your position and can see how you would interpret 43.16 as you did. That interpretation crossed my mind as I was trying to argue in my head the ALL ICAs are mandatory position. I cannot in the end see it that way given the rest of the regulations surrounding this and some of the other posts. I would be happy to enforce all ICAs, since that translates to more work on the floor for my techs. I cannot in good conscience charge a customer for work they do not feel is needed on their aircraft or that the regulations do not require. I will push for and seek to ensure they understand why it would be good to do it, but in the end it is their responsibility as the operator.

Please do weigh in on this. I do not know if I have described the somewhat complicated situation clearly. I also acknowledge that I do not have direct information from the FSDO, it is all second hand. I will try to report back my findings after my conversation with the PMI.

I think you may have bigger issue. I am not familiar with the Cessna situation, but I am very familiar with what I think might be an identical situation related to the Cirrus SR-22.

Cirrus built a number of SR-22 aircraft with the Tornado Alley turbo STC modification (SR-22 are by type design, naturally aspirated aircraft). This mod. included two airframe alterations and an engine alteration. Cirrus claims to have incorporated these "STC's" during manufacture................The only problem is that they cannot do this (Cirrus currently produces an SR-22T in addition to the SR-22).

For the same reason that you cited, no one would ever know that the aircraft has been altered. No 337's because it was done during production. I suspect that Cessna may have done this same thing.

The only way that I know of that either Cessna or Cirrus could have done this properly would have been to build and certify each aircraft, and then (post C of A) alter the aircraft IAW part 43....................or legitimately incorporate the modifications into their relevant Type designs, and get production approvals for the new designs.

I questioned the Cirrus MIDO on this very subject................They told me that while they agreed with me, the inspector that approved Cirrus doing this was no longer with the FAA, and Cirrus was no longer producing the Tornado Alley SR-22s.

Another example of the FAA leaving us part 43 guys high and dry.

For your situation, the FSDO is likely clueless.

I would recommend treating the aircraft like any other one you inspect where an undocumented major alteration has been performed.
1. Gain access to the relevant alteration data (approved).
2. Inspect the aircraft for conformity to the alteration.
3. Disposition the alteration in the required manor. (337 and mx record entry).
4. Address ICA relative to the alteration.

If this ICA contains an airworthiness limitations section, the FAR 43.16 items contained within that section become required of the operator (REF 91.403). All other STC ICA are not mandatory.

Doug Hereford


Thank you for your response! It sounds like the exact situation I am facing, and I am grateful you have some experience with this. Type design approval regulations are not my bread and butter so I don't have much experience with them.

I did not speak with my PMI today, I left a detailed message and haven't heard back from him. Hopefully he's doing leg work on this and isn't just dodging my calls.

I am glad he didn't, because I want to understand what you told me prior to the call. I'm about to launch into some research into design approvals to get some ammo on Cessna not being permitted to do what they said they did. If you have the time, could you point me in the right direction? I need complete clarity on the issue and something in writing, so I can go to my superiors and the operator with this. The situation is a touch more sticky than me making a unilateral call. Being new to this company I have not yet gained implicit respect.

I very much like your proposed solution, it clarifies things very well. As soon as I understand what went wrong and when, and can explain it from the regs, I can propose that as a solution. Right now there are too many questions surrounding it. Additionally I will need to get on the same page as the FSDO. Relations are great right now and I want to keep them that way.

Thanks again. I'll keep posting what I learn and at the same time, try not to take this thread off it's initial topic.

Ok, I think I figured it out.

Production under a Type Certificate (TC) requires conformity to the TC.

21.130 “Each holder or licensee of a type certificate who manufactures a product under this subpart must provide, in a form and manner acceptable to the FAA, a statement that the product for which the type certificate has been issued conforms to its type certificate and is in a condition for safe operation.”

A TC requires conformity to the Type Design (TD)

21.53 “Each applicant must provide, in a form and manner acceptable to the FAA, a statement that each aircraft engine or propeller presented for type certification conforms to its type design.”

A type certificate has to exist in order for application for an STC to even be possible.

(a) If a person holds the TC for a product and alters that product by introducing a major change in type design that does not require an application for a new TC under §21.19, that person must either apply to the appropriate aircraft certification office for an STC or apply to amend the original type certificate under subpart D of this part.

(b) If a person does not hold the TC for a product and alters that product by introducing a major change in type design that does not require an application for a new TC under §21.19, that person must apply to the appropriate aircraft certification office for an STC.

(c) The application for an STC must be made in the form and manner prescribed by the FAA.

So it is impossible to produce a product under a TC while incorporating and STC. Therefore an STC cannot be implemented at manufacture, unless it was done post issuance of the Airworthiness Certificate as a major alteration under 43, which there are no records of.

Please correct me if I am missing anything, or my logic is faulty.

Going back to the original discussion, 21.50 (b) -> 23.1529 -> 23G, 25.1529 ->25H, etc. makes it clear that an ICA is nothing more than the maintenance manual.

21.50(b) reads “The holder of a design approval, including either the type certificate or supplemental type certificate for an aircraft, aircraft engine, or propeller for which application was made after January 28, 1981, must furnish at least one set of complete Instructions for Continued Airworthiness to the owner of each type aircraft, aircraft engine, or propeller upon its delivery, or upon issuance of the first standard airworthiness certificate for the affected aircraft, whichever occurs later….”

So you need to have an ICA for a TC or an STC, the regulations for the creation of an ICA seem to start here, and if you follow it through to 23G, 25H they do not distinguish between ICAs for TCs or ICAs for STCs.


21.31 The type design consists of—
(c) The Airworthiness Limitations section of the Instructions for Continued Airworthiness as required by parts 23, 25, 26, 27, 29, 31, 33 and 35 of this subchapter, or as otherwise required by the FAA; and as specified in the applicable airworthiness criteria for special classes of aircraft defined in §21.17(b); […]

The type design does not contain the ICA, only the Airworthiness Limitations Section of ICA. This is where the AWL becomes mandatory, because it is approved with the TD. The rest of the ICA is not.

A TC and STC are both design approvals of a TD which includes the AWL of the ICA and not the ICA as a whole. Nowhere, that I can find, in 21 Subpart D or E, any requirements for an ICA for STCs, much less where it is approved. The only requirement I can find is 21.50 and its associated regulation references.

Unless there is something I am missing, I have little doubt that ICAs for both STCs and TCs are not universally mandatory, only the AWL sections of them are because they are approved.

Again, please correct me if I am wrong or my logic is faulty. Please do so by showing me the applicable regs and how you are interpreting them.

Thanks again!

Manufacturers install STCs all the time in the production line. I'm quite familiar with the SR-22 Tornado Alley issue you talked about. Look at almost any airplane with an autopilot from the manufacturer, they are almost all installed per an STC.

You are correct that they won't have a 337 since the 337 is a maintenance document and when installed as part of production it is done under the Production Certificate in Part 21, not maintenance under Part 43.

All that said, if they do their paperwork correctly, the STCs installed at production will show up on the 8130-6 Application for Airworthiness in section III (b). That's why it is important to have a copy of the FAA file, so you have a copy of this form. It should also be indicated on the Equipment list. When I issue an airworthiness certificate, I usually list all STCs that are installed as part of my entry, or have the mechanic that completed the inspection prior to certificate issuance do an STC listing. I also make them have a copy of the STC and the installation instructions, ICAs, and Flight Manual Supplements or they don't get a Certificate.

A couple of points. There are some semantics here, but STC's are not incorporated at the factory during production, they are simply factory options.

Manufacturers often offer these options which if installed post production would be an STC.

It sounds like the Manufacturer and the MIDO are at fault here by not ensuring that the Airworthiness Limitations section of the Maintenance Manual was revised to reflect incorporation of the AmSafe system.

I must back up. I should not have said that "Cirrus can't do this". There is evidence that MFG are allowed to do this legally. In my opinion, it is a very poor route to take. As I said, it leaves us field inspectors in a bad spot, as possibly evidenced by this latest thread. Essentially what you get is Type Design defined on a bar napkin.

In my Cirrus example, Cirrus clearly notates in the aircraft records that they installed STCs, and they date the notation prior to aircraft C of A. This is ridiculous.

It is great that you have all those requirements of an AW cert applicant however, which of those documents is a permanent aircraft record? As an inspector performing an aircraft inspection, I honestly do not care about an application for airworthiness. I always confirm AFM supplements, but I only know to look for them when I find alteration documentation. A list of STCs is also nice, but it doesn't even meet the definition of a legal mx record, and is therefore not required to be there, especially if completed pre C of A. Even if it were required, it would have to fall under the category of expiring records for the owner.

The only permanent record I know of for a major alteration is the form 337. I am very well aware that is it not used in the part 21 world.

I believe that when PC holders are allowed to use the PLR process, mandatory ICA (AWL sections) can go unnoticed by operators and part 43 inspectors, possibly creating the scenario that Thandie may have, as if Type Design is not mysterious enough to us in the field. I think that the FAA should be very picky about who is granted this privilege. Any STCs that contain an AWL section should be excluded from this option in my opinion.

Doug Hereford

Couple of more points:
There are airworthiness limitations associated with the SR22 Tornado Alley alterations.................One will not find them in the Cirrus MM ch. 4.............Horrible!

I personally think that the PLR process causes the PC holder to violate 21.146(c), but I like Thandie am no expert in part 21.

You know as well as I do that just because something is done all the time does not make it correct.

I think you are on the right track with your understanding of ICA's authority. I stand on my recommendation that you treat the seat belt situation like any other undocumented major alteration. I can assure you that any Tornado Alley Cirrus out there that I have inspected will have had this done. In my 337s, block 8 will provide specific reference to the relevant ICA (AWL sections) for the STCs.

The contorted way that the FAA justifies mfgs doing this is contained in FAA order 8120.22, ch. 3 sect. 4 pg 3-13 thru 3-18 option 2 (There will be many on this discussion who will be quick to point out that FAA orders are not regulatory............which is also correct). It basically gives PC holders the option to add STCs to their Production Limitation Record (PLR is ref. 21.142). Once they do this, they (mfg) apparently have free reign to alter their products. As I said above, I think causes PC holders to violate 21.146(c), and more importantly, causes an omission of critical Type Design permanent records for the part 43 world.
The counter argument to this would probably say that this is allowed for in 21.132. I disagree.

I am no lawyer, just someone who is sufficiently baffled by the concept of Type Design as it is. I don't like systems that further mystify the concept.

Doug Hereford

Couldn't agree more with most of what you said. If a PC holder chooses to incorporate an STC at production, they also have a responsibility to include those STCs on the 8130-6, and to include all the ICAs related to the STC with the rest of the documents at delivery, ref21.50. Likewise the flight manual supplement needs to be included in the flight manual. On the Tornado Alley/Cirrus issue, I made a complaint to the MIDO and the 800-fly safe number. Seems the Air raft avert side of FAA could care less. They couldn't understand why I made such a big deal about it.

This problem isn't limited to Cirrus either. I was picking up a brand new King Air 350 a couple years ago from Beech. It actually took 3 days for the Beech QA guys to figure what STCs were installed, what ICAs and Flight Manual Supplements we were supposed to get. They were really pissed off when I told them I also wanted all the STC drawings and the STC certificate. I really feel bad for a clueless pilot picking up his new airplane. He has no idea what to ask for or what the manufacturer has to give him.


I had a couple of more thoughts that relate specifically to ICA, and the mandatory vs. non-mandatory nature of them.
On your 172S, I think that the FSDO may be wrong about the seat belt system becoming merely "inoperative" when an inflator has expired.

If that inflator is required to be replaced after it expires, and that requirement is contained in the FAA approved AWL section of the STC ICA, then every time the aircraft is operated past the expiration date, the operator is violating 91.403(c). This would be an example of when ICA are "mandatory".

If that same inflator replacement (or overhaul, etc..........) requirement were contained within the relevant ICA, but outside of the FAA approved AWL section, then the replacement would NOT be mandatory (no violation of 91.403).

In either case, because it is a part 91 rule, mechanics are not required to do anything.

I would be willing to bet that there are airworthiness limitations for not only the inflators, but the controller (EMA) as well. When those parts are replaced (for whatever reason), that replacement is considered maintenance. 43.13(b) requires a person to use data to perform that maintenance. It gives three sources for that data. No single source is mandatory. In this specific case, I think you will find that the replacement procedure (method, technique, or practice) contained in the ICA will also call for a functional check of the system using a piece of test equipment. 43.13(b) requires the person performing the work to use that equipment, or its acceptable equivalent.

All that said, none of the above ICA are mandatory in this scenario. However as a practical matter.....................where else is one going to find acceptable methods, techniques and practices for replacement of the parts then the "current" ICA? Answer, any previous revision of the ICA, so long as it is acceptable.

Where is one going to find equivalent test equipment? Probably no where, but theoretically, one could. This is an example of why ICA are not mandatory, but usually required form a PRACTICAL perspective.

To back up..........43.16 does require of a mechanic, that we perform the specifically referenced maintenance tasks IAW the AWL section, so................If that replacement calls for a specific method, technique, or practice, it must be used. This is only for compliance with the airworthiness limitation section though. Back to it is the mandatory part of ICA.

One other point on AWL section. The regulation is specific about what requirements within this section are mandatory (replacement times, inspection intervals, and related procedures). So if in the case of the seat belts, the AWL section had a requirement that the work only be performed by AM Safe, this statement is not mandatory (even though it is contained within the AWL section).

I would say that the operator should be very careful. I would recommend that he/she not operate the aircraft again until this can be sorted out.

Doug Hereford

Some finer points, if we are performing an INSPECTION on an AIRCRAFT with a STANDARD Airworthiness Certificate, the Terms and Conditions of that Certificate state that to be in effect all Maintenance (Inspections fall under Maintenance), Preventive Maintenance, and Alterations are to be performed in accordance with Parts 21, 43, and 91. Even though 91 is an operations rule, the Terms and Conditions of the certificate drag it into the maintenance arena. For the aircraft to be airworthy, it would have to have all the Airworthiness Limitations complied with.

It's been about 8 years since I worked on a 172S, but as I recall there are inspections and life limits identified in the Airworthiness Limitations Section of the ICA for the AmSafe airbag belts.


I don't think anyone has ever tried to disagree what the airworthiness certificate says.

My copy of the the C172S mm ch. 4 says nothing about AmSafe. Thandie also indicated that in the beginning of this latest discussion.

And why would it...............the system was installed through the back door. As far as any permanent records are concerned, the aircraft does not have the system installed. This has been my point, and beef with the PLR process all along. Even if Cessna revised the AWL section, there should be an AD issued as well to mandate compliance with the revision. Good luck with that one too. Thanks again FAA.

Doug Hereford

But it is in the ICA for the AmSafe STC which the manufacturer HAS to provide to the owner on delivery per 21.50. Likewise the manufacturer has to include the STC number on the 8130-6 (although they don't many times), and has to include the STC in the Equipment List ref 23.29(b), and there is a Flight Manual Supplement for it that would be inserted in the Flight Manual. Even if they don't have it in the log book, there are sufficient places for the information to be found. Mind you I'm not defending them, but as mechanics we have to do our due diligence. Once we find an STC is installed, then we need to ask the owner for the data if it wasn't presented. If he doesn't have it, he gets to go buy it again! It is the OWNERS responsibility to maintain the ICAs for every alteration on his aircraft. If he doesn't have it he either pays for it or he walks away with an Unairworthy airplane! Every mechanic should be aware that items installed that aren't part of the TC will not show up in the manufacturers manual. Every mechanic should also be aware that manufacturers install STCs during production under Part 21 and as such there will be no 337. I figured that out about 40 years ago.


You da man!

Doug Hereford

David, you are 100% right on your statement. As an A&P or IAs when we perform the 100-hour or annual inspection we are preforming a conformity inspection to ensure the aircraft meets its type design. Meeting type design is half of what makes an aircraft airworthy as stated on the airworthiness certificate and Part 91 makes the owner/operator responsible for the airworthiness of the aircraft NOT the mechanic. However, at the time of inspections we mechanics have a responsibility to bring conformity issues to the owners/operators attention and it is their responsibility to have it corrected.

David and Doug,

Thank you for this dialogue. I have learned a great deal and appreciate you guys taking the time.

On further investigation per your instructions David, yes the STC is listed not on the OEL, but the first W&B and Installed Equipment form put in the POH by Cessna at manufacture. I hadn't thought to look there. It is listed as an STC along with other items like cup holders and other misc equipment installed for this configuration.

I spoke with Cessna again yesterday and the tech rep seemed knowledgable on the subject. He told me that as listed it is an STC and not part of the original TD. I have obtained a copy of the STC and its ICA. The ICA has an AWL where the EMA and inflators are listed with life limits. Cessna's manual as I indicated in an earlier post places these items in Chapter 5, NOT chapter 4. I am inclined to play it safe and adhere to the STC ICA AWL, though Cessna said it was a "grey" area and the Cessna tech rep said that Cessna will say it's ICA is the governing document. He said it's really up to my PMI on which one needs to be adhered to. That's fair, I understand that laws are imperfect and interpretation is necessary, but since AMESAFE is the holder of the STC and is therefore the holder of the modified TD which includes the AWL, I am left to conclude that AMESAFE's ICA is not only the safer choice, but the legal one.

Lessons I learned or confirmed:

1. STCs can be installed at production.
2. ICAs as a whole are not mandatory
3. AWLs for all ICAs both manuals and STC ICAs are part of the TD and are for that reason mandatory.
4. Part of my job is not only to look through the records of the aircraft, but also the POH supplements and records of WB from the OEL to present in order to identify STCs installed at production. Something that now seems obvious, but for some reason never crossed my mind.

Thanks again guys!

Another point, the attached legal opinion indicates that not ALL airworthiness limitation in manufacturer's manuals are mandatory.

Some are at the discretion of the owner/operator.

Great catch. For aircraft that require an inspection program, that inspection program is "Current" as of the time the registered owner selects it. Once ownership changes, a new program is selected, so the 91.409(F)(3) program would be "Current" as of the date it is selected.
If the aircraft only gets annuals and 100 hour inspections, the maintenance pubs are current as of the date shown on the airworthiness certificate. (same goes for Flight Manuals). It is the owners option to use a newer version of the pubs, but I suspect once you upgrade, then you can't go back. No LOI on that yet!

Here is the dilemma, the owner has a program that dates back several revisions. He brings it to a Repair Station that is required to update their manuals and they have the latest revision. That new revision doesn't match with the inspection program for the aircraft, how do you do the inspection, and how do you sign it off?

It is the owners responsibility to provide the program and the manuals if that program is based on an earlier revision of the manuals.


True, the Chief Counsel's opinion clearly defining the meaning of "current" in regard to 91.409 inspection programs has been out for awhile now. The opinion I posted expanded that same definition to the Airworthiness Limitations section of ALL documents.

This gives the owner/operator more flexibility in determining the applicability of maintenance documentation. Particularly relevant is the Beech revision to the AWL section of the King Air 90 MM section 04-00-00. Wing bolt life has been extended to 20 years. In this case, the owner/operator would almost always opt to comply with this time and still have the option of using an earlier revision of the AWL if the retirement times are more "friendly".

As always, due diligence and prudent decision making should be applied.

There is no dilemma in the scenario you describe, the owner/operator should be maintaining the currency of the 91.409 inspection program that he/she has chosen. If the repair station has issue with doing maintenance/inspections as directed by the customer, find another facility.

I notice the original "ICA's are always mandatory" crowd have gone silent. Hmmmmmmmm.

I agree, No dilemma on the inspection program.

As for the "after added" AWL section..............I blame the FAA again. Hey FAA....................DO NOT APPROVE these "after added" documents, unless you do so concomitantly to an airworthiness directive that mandates compliance with the newly issued/revised AWL section document!!!!!!!!!!

In the case of the C90, unless I am wrong, the ORIGINAL issue of airworthiness limitations document for the C90 was 2012 or 2013 which according to chief counsel opinion, would make NONE of them the TC well predated them.

I personally do not agree. 91.403 does not specify when AWL sections are mandatory just that, they are. It does not specify which AWL are mandatory either. So I have to believe that incorporated STC AWL sections would also be required (as Thandie noted earlier).
In any case, it is reasonable to assume that operators would want to take advantage of any relief afforded by a revision to the AWL such as wing bolt life limit extension. As a mx provider, after reminding my customer of the language in 91.403, I would recommend just that.

With "after added AWL sections", like the part 21 PLR process, the FAA has put us in the field directly under the bus. Shame on you guys.

Seems like there were some FAA personnel in the "ICA are always mandatory" corner. Please chime in from the cheap seats!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Doug Hereford

I like the part of the chief counsel's opinion where they state that it would have been more appropriate for Cessna to call out their requirements in a different (non-approved portion) of their MM. My question is, why did the appropriate branch of the FAA not REQUIRE them to do this.

"Dear Cessna, We are not going to approve your new/newly revised AWL section for the 210. Please incorporate your new requirements in another portion of your MM hint 5".

I agree with the chief counsel that it would have been "more appropriate". Very legally well put. The rest of the FAA should have said...........................we will not APPROVE this garbage because it is contrary to regulation. Don't do it again!. If there is an "unsafe condition"................the airworthiness directive process is what will be used so that there is NO field ambiguity.

Stache? Pasch? Supporting Cast? Buehler? Buehler? Anyone?

Stache, n14ky,
Airworthiness certificates, by themselves have no regulatory authority. The statement in block 6 of the standard airworthiness certificate related to what makes it "effective" is meaningless without supporting regulatory language...................which exists in part 21, 43, and 91 as the form does accurately notate. It is after all just an FAA form.

In my opinion, for practical purposes it is a public service announcement.

Doug Hereford

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