Aircraft Owner Responsibilities

 The registered owner of an aircraft is responsible for certain items such as:

• Having a current Airworthiness Certificate and Certificate of Aircraft Registration in the aircraft.
• Maintaining the aircraft in an airworthy condition including compliance with all applicable Airworthiness Directives.
• Assuring that maintenance is properly recorded.
• Keeping abreast of current regulations concerning the operation and maintenance of the aircraft.
• Notifying the FAA Civil Aviation Registry immediately of any change of permanent mailing address, or of the sale or export of the aircraft, or of the loss of U.S. citizenship.
An aircraft must be inspected in accordance with an annual inspection program or with one of the inspection programs outlined in 14 CFR section 91.409, in order to maintain a current Airworthiness Certificate.

Certificate of Aircraft Registration

 Before an aircraft can be legally flown, it must be registered with the FAA Civil Aviation Registry and have within it a Certificate of Aircraft Registration issued to the owner as evidence of the registration. [Figure 2-13]

Figure 2-13.—AC Form 8050-3, Certificate of Aircraft Registration.
The Certificate of Aircraft Registration will expire when:

• The aircraft is registered under the laws of a foreign country.
• The registration of the aircraft is canceled at the written request of the holder of the certificate.
• The aircraft is totally destroyed or scrapped.
• The ownership of the aircraft is transferred.
• The holder of the certificate loses United States citizenship.
• Thirty days have elapsed since the death of the holder of the certificate.

 When the aircraft is destroyed, scrapped, or sold, the previous owner must notify the FAA by filling in the back of the Certificate of Aircraft Registration, and mailing it to the FAA Civil Aviation Registry.

 A dealer’s aircraft registration certificate is another form of registration certificate, but it is valid only for required flight tests by the manufacturer or in flights that are necessary for the sale of the aircraft by the manufacturer or a dealer. It must be removed by the dealer when the aircraft is sold.

 The FAA does not issue any certificate of ownership or endorse any information with respect to ownership on a Certificate of Aircraft Registration.

NOTE: For any additional information concerning the Aircraft Registration Application or the Aircraft Bill of Sale, contact the nearest Flight Standards District Office (FSDO).

Airworthiness Certificate
An Airworthiness Certificate is issued by the FAA only after the aircraft has been inspected and it is found that it meets the requirements of Title 14 of the Code Federal Regulations (14 CFR) and is in a condition for safe operation. Under any circumstances, the aircraft must meet the requirements of the original type certificate. The certificate must be displayed in the aircraft so that it is legible to passengers or crew whenever the aircraft is operated. The Airworthiness Certificate may be transferred with the aircraft except when it is sold to a foreign purchaser.
Figure 2-14.—FAA Form 8100-2, Standard Airworthiness Certificate.
The Standard Airworthiness Certificate, is issued for aircraft type certificated in the normal, utility, acrobatic, and transport categories or for manned free balloons. An explanation of each item in the certificate follows: [Figure 2-14]

  Item 1. Nationality—The “N” indicates the aircraft is of United States registry. Registration Marks—the number, in this case 12345, is the registration number assigned to the aircraft.

  Item 2—Indicates the make and model of the aircraft.

  Item 3—Indicates the serial number assigned to the aircraft, as noted on the aircraft data plate.

  Item 4—Indicates that the aircraft, in this case, must be operated in accordance with the limitations specified for the
“NORMAL” category.

  Item 5—Indicates the aircraft has been found to conform to its type certificate and is considered in condition for safe operation at the time of inspection and issuance of the certificate. Any exemptions from the applicable airworthiness standards are briefly noted here and the exemption number given. The word “NONE” is entered if no exemption exists.

  Item 6—Indicates the Airworthiness Certificate is in effect indefinitely if the aircraft is maintained in accordance with 14 CFR parts 21, 43, and 91 and the aircraft is registered in the United States. Also included are the date the certificate was issued and the signature and office identification of the FAA representative.

 The Special Airworthiness Certificate is issued for all aircraft certificated in other than the Standard classifications (Experimental, Restricted, Limited, and Provisional).

 In purchasing an aircraft classed as other than Standard, it is suggested that the local FSDO be contacted for an explanation of the pertinent airworthiness requirements and the limitations of such a certificate.

 In summary, the FAA initially determines that the aircraft is in a condition for safe operation and conforms to type design, then issues an Airworthiness Certificate. A Standard Airworthiness Certificate remains in effect as long as the aircraft receives the required maintenance and is properly registered in the United States. Flight safety relies in part on the condition of the aircraft, which may be determined on inspection by mechanics, approved repair stations, or manufacturers who meet specific requirements of 14 CFR part 43.

Aircraft Maintenance

 Maintenance means the inspection, overhaul, and repair of aircraft, including the replacement of parts. A PROPERLY MAINTAINED AIRCRAFT IS A SAFE AIRCRAFT.

 The purpose of maintenance is to ensure that the aircraft is kept to an acceptable standard of airworthiness throughout its operational life.

Although maintenance requirements will vary for different types of aircraft, experience shows that most aircraft will need some type of preventive maintenance every 25 hours of flying time or less, and minor maintenance at least every 100 hours. This is influenced by the kind of operation, climatic conditions, storage facilities, age, and construction of the aircraft. Most manufacturers supply service information which should be used in maintaining the aircraft.

 14 CFR part 91 places primary responsibility on the owner or operator for maintaining an aircraft in an airworthy condition. Certain inspections must be performed on the aircraft and the owner must maintain the airworthiness of the aircraft during the time between required inspections by having any unsafe defects corrected.

 Title 14 of the Code of Federal Regulations (14 CFR) requires the inspection of all civil aircraft at specific intervals for the purpose of determining the overall condition. The interval depends generally upon the type of operations in which the aircraft is engaged. Some aircraft need to be inspected at least once each 12 calendar months, while inspection is required for others after each 100 hours of operation. In other instances, an aircraft may be inspected in accordance with an inspection system set up to provide for total inspection of the aircraft on the basis of time, time in service, number of system operations, or any combination of these.

Annual Inspection

 A reciprocating-powered single-engine aircraft flown for pleasure is required to be inspected at least annually by a certificated airframe and powerplant mechanic holding an Inspection Authorization, or by a certificated repair station that is appropriately rated, or by the manufacturer of the aircraft. The aircraft may not be operated unless the annual inspection has been performed within the preceding 12 calendar months. A period of 12 calendar months extends from any day of any month to the last day of the same month the following year. However, an aircraft with the annual inspection overdue may be operated under a special flight permit for the purpose of flying the aircraft to a location where the annual inspection can be performed.

100-Hour Inspection

 A reciprocating-powered single-engine aircraft used to carry passengers or for flight instruction for hire must be inspected within each 100 hours of time in service by a certificated airframe and powerplant mechanic, a certificated repair station that is appropriately rated, or the aircraft manufacturer. An annual inspection is acceptable as a 100-hour inspection, but the reverse is not true.

Other Inspection Programs

 The annual and 100-hour inspection requirements do not apply to large airplanes, turbojet or turbo-propeller-powered multiengine airplanes, or to airplanes for which the owner or operator complies with the progressive inspection requirements. Details of these requirements may be determined by reference to 14 CFR parts 43 and 91 and by inquiry at a local FSDO.

Preflight Inspection

 The preflight inspection of the airplane is one of the pilot’s most important duties. A number of serious airplane accidents have been traced directly to poor preflight inspection practices. The preflight inspection should be a thorough and systematic means by which the pilot determines that the airplane is ready for safe flight.

 Most Aircraft Flight Manuals or Pilot’s Operating Handbooks contain a section devoted to a systematic method of performing a preflight inspection that should be used by the pilot for guidance.

Preventive Maintenance

 Simple or minor preservation operations and the replacement of small standard parts, not involving complex assembly operations, are considered preventive maintenance. A certificated pilot may perform preventive maintenance on any aircraft, owned or operated by the pilot, that is not used in air carrier service. Typical preventive maintenance operations are contained in 14 CFR part 43 which also contains other rules to be followed in the maintenance of aircraft.

Repairs and Alterations

 Except as noted under “Preventive Maintenance,” all repairs and alterations are classed as either major or minor. Major repairs or alterations must be approved for return to service by an appropriately rated certificated repair station, an airframe and powerplant mechanic holding an Inspection Authorization, or a representative of the Administrator. Minor repairs and alterations may be approved for return to service by a certificated airframe and powerplant mechanic or an appropriately certificated repair station.

Deferred Repair

 Within certain guidelines, the pilot in command may defer repairs to nonessential inoperative instruments, and/or equipment while continuing to operate an aircraft (refer to 14 CFR section 91.213).

 If the determination is made, for the aircraft without a minimum equipment list (MEL), that instruments or equipment can have repairs deferred, the operative instrument or item of equipment must be deactivated or removed.

 When inoperative instruments or items of equipment are removed, a certificated and appropriately rated maintenance person shall perform that task. The cockpit control of the affected device shall be placarded and the discrepancy recorded in the aircraft’s maintenance records in accordance with 14 CFR section 43.9.

 If instruments or items of equipment are deactivated and the deactivation involves maintenance, it must be accomplished and recorded in accordance with 14 CFR part 43. Deactivated instruments or equipment must be placarded “inoperative.”

Special Flight Permits

 A special flight permit is an authorization to operate an aircraft that may not currently meet applicable airworthiness requirements, but is safe for a specific flight. Before the permit is issued, an FAA inspector may personally inspect the aircraft or require it to be inspected by a certificated airframe and powerplant mechanic or repair station to determine its safety for the intended flight. The inspection must be recorded in the aircraft records.

 The special flight permit is issued to allow the aircraft to be flown to a base where repairs, alterations, or maintenance can be performed; for delivering or exporting the aircraft; or for evacuating an aircraft from an area of impending danger. A special flight permit may be issued to allow the operation of an overweight aircraft for flight beyond its normal range over water or land areas where adequate landing facilities or fuel is not available.

 If a special flight permit is needed, assistance and the necessary forms may be obtained from the local FSDO or Designated Airworthiness Representative (DAR).

Airworthiness Directives

 A primary safety function of the FAA is to require correction of unsafe conditions found in an aircraft, aircraft engine, propeller, or appliance when such conditions exist and are likely to exist or develop in other products of the same design. The unsafe condition may exist because of a design defect, maintenance, or other causes. 14 CFR part 39, Airworthiness Directives (AD’s), defines the authority and responsibility of the Administrator for requiring the necessary corrective action. The AD’s are the media used to notify aircraft owners and other interested persons of unsafe conditions and to prescribe the conditions under which the product may continue to be operated.

 Airworthiness directives may be divided into two categories: (1) those of an emergency nature requiring immediate compliance upon receipt, and (2) those of a less urgent nature requiring compliance within a relatively longer period of time.

 Airworthiness directives are regulatory and must be complied with, unless specific exemption is granted. It is the aircraft owner or operator’s responsibility to assure compliance with all pertinent AD’s. This includes those AD’s that require recurrent or continuing action. For example, an AD may require a repetitive inspection each 50 hours of operation, meaning the particular inspection shall be accomplished and recorded every 50 hours of time in service.

 14 CFR requires that a record be maintained that shows the current status of applicable AD’s, including the method of compliance, and the signature and certificate number of the repair station or mechanic who performed the work. For ready reference, many aircraft owners have a chronological listing of the pertinent AD’s in their logbooks.

 The Summary of Airworthiness Directives contains all the valid AD’s previously published. The Summary is divided into two areas. The small aircraft and rotorcraft books contain all AD’s applicable to small aircraft, i.e., 12,500 pounds or less maximum certificated takeoff weight and AD’s applicable to all helicopters. The large aircraft books contain all AD’s applicable to large aircraft—those over 12,500 pounds. The Summary of Airworthiness Directives is sold and distributed by the Superintendent of Documents for the FAA in Oklahoma City and is available in paper copy, microfiche, or electronic format. For further information on how to order AD’s and the current price, contact:

  U.S. Department of Transportation
  Federal Aviation Administration
  Airworthiness Programs Branch, AFS-610
  P.O. Box 26460
  Oklahoma City, OK 73125
  Telephone Number: (405) 954-4103
  Fax: (405) 954-4104