Inoperative Equipment: The Full Story

What happens when you find a piece of equipment that is inoperative, what are the steps to handle it legally?  In this course we'll explore something that many pilot need to know, but have likely not been taught the full truth!

In this course you will learn:

The Regulations

The Scenario

You arrive at airplane and discover something isn't working.  We know that we need to deal with inoperative equipment to be safe and legal for flying, but what exactly does the FAA require?

In this course we will learn the 4 steps in determining whether an non-MEL aircraft is legal to fly with a piece of inoperative equipment.

 

Inoperative Instruments or Equipment (non-MEL)

The regulations state 4 steps that you must check when you find a piece of equipment that's not working on a non-MEL aircraft (14 CFR 91.213(d)).

•2) The inoperative instruments and equipment are not—

•(i) Part of the VFR-day type certification instruments and equipment prescribed in the applicable airworthiness regulations under which the aircraft was type certificated;

•(ii) Indicated as required on the aircraft’s equipment list, or on the Kinds of Operations Equipment List for the kind of flight operation being conducted;

•(iii) Required by §91.205 or any other rule of this part for the specific kind of flight operation being conducted; or

•(iv) Required to be operational by an airworthiness directive

14 CFR 91.213(d)(2) - The Plan

Let's take a look at each of these options individually to make sure we fully understand them.  We'll look at parts ii - iv first because they're likely the most familiar, and then we'll look at part i because it's the mystery step!

What the Regs Mean

Equipment List in the POH - 91.213(d)(2)(ii)

•2) The inoperative instruments and equipment are not—

•(i) Part of the VFR-day type certification instruments and equipment prescribed in the applicable airworthiness regulations under which the aircraft was type certificated;

•(ii) Indicated as required on the aircraft’s equipment list, or on the Kinds of Operations Equipment List for the kind of flight operation being conducted;

•How do you check these? Is it the equipment list in the POH?

  • Yes, it's normally found in Section 6 of the POH.  Look at the beginning of the equipment list for details.  Cessna manuals normally label equipment as either S = Standard (not required), O = Optional (not required), or R = Required by airworthiness regulations.

•Part (ii) definitely is straightforward, but why does (i) seem to duplicate it?

•Let's come back to (i) in a minute...

Rules and Conditions of Flight - 91.213(d)(2)(iii)

We must consider the conditions of flight to see if a piece of equipment is 

•(iii) Required by §91.205 or any other rule of this part for the specific kind of flight operation being conducted; or

•This is regulatory check on required equipment for:

•Day VFR (ATOMATOFLAMES)

•Night VFR (FLAPS)

•IFR (GRABCARD)

Airworthiness Directives - 91.213(d)(2)(iv)

•(iv) Required to be operational by an airworthiness directive

•Verify that there aren't any ADs that require a piece of equipment

•Check the FAA website by looking up the make and model of your aircraft

http://www.airweb.faa.gov/Regulatory_and_Guidance_Library/rgAD.nsf/MainFrame?OpenFrameSet

•Try it out

Something Unexpected - 91.213(d)(2)(i)

You'll recall that we've already checked the airplane's equipment list in the POH.    But there is another step in which we check if the inoperative equipment is on a list.  Check out what 91.213(d)(i) says:

Is the inoperative equipment "indicated as required on the aircraft’s (i) Part of the VFR-day type certification instruments and equipment prescribed in the applicable airworthiness regulations under which the aircraft was type certificated?"

So what does this one mean if it's not the equipment list in the POH?  To find this we have to look at Advisory Circular AC 91-67:

  • "Next the pilot checks the airworthiness regulation under which the aircraft was certificated to determineif the number 2 ADF is part of the VFR day type certificate (FAR 91.213(d)(2)(i)). (These requirements are summarized in a TCDS, copies of which are available at FSDO’s or from qualified maintenance personnel.) If the number 2 ADF is required as part of the VFRday type certification, the aircraft is not airworthy.  The operator must have the number 2 ADF replaced or repaired before operating the aircraft. In this example the number 2 ADF is not required by type certification."

What is a TCDS?  It is a Type Certificate Data Sheet (TCDS) in which the VFR day type certification standards are summarized.  You can find them online at the website listed below.  You can look up your airplane by make and model (likely 

http://rgl.faa.gov/Regulatory_and_Guidance_Library/rgMakeModel.nsf/Frameset?OpenPage

•It is explained in AC 91-67 Ch 2

https://www.faasafety.gov/files/gslac/courses/content/25/176/AC%2091-67%20Chap1-2.pdf

Using a TCDS

•Look for the section "Data Pertinent to [your model]] and see if any additional items are required under equipment

•For example, Stall Warning indicators are required for Cessna 172 models 172 through 172Q

•They must not have been originally required in the POH equipment list

Quick Review Activity: Match the appropriate step in the inoperative equipment process with the correct resource

  • Check the VFR day type certifications under which the airplane was certified
    FAA Type Certificate Data Sheet (TCDS) website
  • See if the component is required on the aircraft equipment list
    Pilot's Operating Handbook (POH)
  • Is it required under 91.205(d)?
    Mnemonics like ATOMATO FLAMES, FLAPS, and GRABCARD
  • Check for applicable airworthiness directives
    FAA Aircraft website for ADs

Final Airworthiness Evaluation

•As the pilot in command, can you certify that you don't feel the inoperative equipment won't be needed for safety of flight?

•If not, just be sure to properly have the inoperative equipment properly deactivated and placarded, and you'll be ready for flight!

Practice Scenario

Practice Scenario Introduction

•Now let's work through a sample scenario together

•We are preflighting a Cessna 182T and discover that the  is missing

•Let's work through the 4 steps

Practice Step 1: TCDS

•Is the equipment required by the 182T's TCDS?

•Check here (look for the Equipment section for the Cessna 182T starting on page 35):

http://rgl.faa.gov/Regulatory_and_Guidance_Library/rgMakeModel.nsf/0/fae5dd92c6210c7286257ebd006029c5/$FILE/3A13_Rev_72.pdf  

Was the avionics fan required by the 182's TCDS?

  • Yes
  • No

Practice Step 2: POH

•Is it required by the equipment list in the POH?

•Check here (the equipment list starts on page 6-19):

http://www.painefieldcap.org/aircraft/N632CP/C182T%20POH%20(OCR).pdf  

 

Was the avionics far required by the 182's Equipment List?

  • Yes.
  • No.

Practice Step 3: AD

•Is it requires by an AD?

•Check here:

https://www.faa.gov/regulations_policies/airworthiness_directives/search/?q=Piper+pa44-180

Was the avionics fan required by an AD for the 182T?

  • Yes.
  • No.

Practice Step 4: Type of Operation

•Is it required by the type of operation (91.205)?

Check here:

http://rgl.faa.gov/Regulatory_and_Guidance_Library/rgFar.nsf/FARSBySectLookup/91.205

Was the avionics fan required as part of the Type of Operation under 91.205?

  • Yes.
  • No.

Assessment Scenario

Scenario Set Up

•Now try this one on your own:

•Your getting ready to fly a Cessna 152 and find that the stall warning indicator is inoperative.  Is it airworthy and safe for flight?

Here are your resources:

Cessna 152 Type Certificate Data Sheet (see page 13 for the equipment section): 

Cessna 152 POH (see page 6-15 for the equipment list):  

Cessna 152 AD search results:

14 CFR 91.205:

Self Graded Scenario Answer

Self grade your progress with the answer below:

•The Cessna 150 is not airworthy because the TCDS requires the stall warning indicator to be operational

•Of course, you may also have made th determination as PIC that it wouldn't be safe for flight anyway

Did you successfully determine whether the stall warning horn was required for flight?

  • Yes.
  • No.

Based on your experience in this practice scenario, explain what you learned.

Review and Conclusion

Wrapping it up

•So pic you find a piece of equipment that is inoperative, be sure to check the following steps to determine if it is airworthy:

•The aircraft's TCDS

•The equipment list in the POH

•Any applicable ADs

•The type of operation you'll be flying under 91.205

•Don't forget to properly placard and deactivate the equipment and fly safely!