Due to the complexity of flight regulations and ever-evolving aviation technology, it is challenging to keep up with information surrounding aviation manuals and handbooks. While some standards exist in formatting and layout, a strong background in understanding these materials is essential. Whether you need assistance developing customized professional aviation manuals for your aircraft or have questions about compliance, this article will give you a great introduction.
Flight Manuals Explained
In general, aviation manuals are helpful reference books that present specific information about one particular aircraft. These handbooks can also relate to specific operations or components of a unique plane. Flight manuals contain essential facts, measured data, and detailed instructions that a pilot needs to operate a particular aircraft. It’s a best practice to keep these manuals on hand for safety and easy reference, and some of these documents are required by the FAA, as well.
FAA Manual Classifications
Airplane flight manuals. An airplane flight manual, or AFM, is a document produced by the aircraft manufacturer and must be approved by the FAA. This handbook holds the information and instructions required to operate each aircraft safely and with care. Each pilot must comply with the AFM assigned to a particular make and model of aircraft. The AFM details both the operating procedures and limitations of that aircraft. Title 14 of the Code of Federal Regulations requires that pilots fully comply with the approved flight manuals’ operational regulations.
The following sections must appear in the AFM:
- Preliminary Pages. Detail the serial number, registration information, and other data unique to each individual aircraft.
- General. Describes the airframe and powerplant.
- Limitations. Covers operational limits, instrument markings, basic placards, and clor-coding. Limitations areas include flight, weight and loading distribution, and airspeed.
- Emergency Procedures. Describes the checklist of actions needed during critical situations such as engine failure and fire.
- Normal Procedures. Starts with airspeeds for normal operations and goes on to list details for preflight inspection, taxiing, and more.
- Performance. Includes all the knowledge required by the aircraft certification regulations and any further performance data the manufacturer considers important to the pilot’s expertise to operate the plane safely.
- Weight and Balance/Equipment List. Features all the information required by the FAA to determine the weight and balance of an aircraft such as sample weight and balance problems as observed by the manufacturer.
- Systems Description. Targeted descriptions of all aircraft systems.
- Handling, Service, and Maintenance. A full list of maintenance and inspections suggested by the manufacturer.
- Supplements. Additional safety information pertaining to equipment such as autopilots, navigation systems, and air-conditioning.
- Safety tips. An optional section with details that enhance operation safety, often related to topics such as fuel conservation, psychological factors, and cold weather operations.
Custom Aviation Manuals
Customized professional aviation manuals can be developed with specific operations in mind. Custom manuals are built to fit the needs of each unique operational situation. Owners and operators of Part 135 aircraft commonly find themselves in need of custom aviation manuals due to the industry’s strict operational and legal aspects. However, Part 91 and 133 certifications also require custom handbooks and documentation.
Types of custom aviation manuals include:
- Part 135 General Operations Manual. The GOM must contain operational guidance for flight, ground, and management personnel.
- Compliance Statements. To ensure that the applicant or operator adequately addresses applicable regulations to the application’s proposed operation during the certification process.
- Part 135 General Maintenance Manuals. Include the Letter of Request to the FSDO, Company Organization structure, General Policies, and Maintenance Procedures, among other sections.
- Training Manuals. Help fulfill the requirements of maintaining an approved training program as a 14 CFR Part 135 operator.
- Minimum Equipment Lists. Required for Part 135 and Part 91 operations.
- International Operations. Required for aircraft operations outside the US in order to meet all FAA and ICAO regulations.
- Safety Manuals. Can include documents related to the Twelve-Five Standard Security Program, Helicopter SMS, and more.
As your partner in aviation compliance, Black River Aerospace implements an expert team of professionals that will support your administrative tasks, enabling you to concentrate on the core of your business. We tailor our offerings to your distinct needs. Please contact Black River Aerospace today for a comprehensive list of services.