Chapter 12. Publications, Forms, & Records

Overview — Title 14 of the Code of Federal Regulations (14 CFR)

Figure 12-1 reflects the changes in aviation related regulations, which have occurred during the time frame indicated in the left column. Just as aircraft continue to evolve with ever improving technology, so do the regulations, publications, forms, and records required to design, build, and maintain them.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) regulations that govern today’s aircraft are found in Title 14 of the Code of Federal Regulations (14 CFR). [Figure 12-2] There are 68 regulations organized into three volumes under Title 14, Aeronautics and Space. A fourth volume deals with the Department of Transportation, and the fifth volume is focused on NASA.

These 68 regulations can be separated into the following three categories:

  • Administrative
  • Airworthiness Certification
  • Airworthiness Operation

Since 1958, these rules have typically been referred to as “FARs," short for Federal Aviation Regulations. However, another set of regulations (Title 48) is titled Federal Acquisitions Regulations," and this has led to confusion with the use of the acronym “FAR." Therefore, the FAA began to refer to specific regulations by the term “14 CFR part XX." Most regulations and the sections within are odd numbered because the FAA realized in 1958 when the Civil Aeronautics Regulations were recodified into the Federal Aviation Regulations, that it would be necessary to add regulations later.

Over the years, the FAA has sometimes seen the need to issue Special Federal Aviation Regulations (SFAR).

[Figure 12-3] These are frequently focused very specifically on a unique situation, and are usually given a limited length of time for effectiveness. Note that the SFAR number is purely a sequential number and has no relevance to the regulation it is addressing or attached to.

The remainder of this text focuses only on those regulations relative to airworthiness certification. There are 20 of these listed in Figure 12-4, and they are shown graphically in Figure 12-5, along with five additional regulations that will not be addressed in this chapter. (Part 31 — Airworthiness Standards, Manned Free Balloons; Part 34 — Fuel Venting and Exhaust Emission Requirements for Turbine Engine Powered Airplanes; Part 36 — Noise Standards: Aircraft Type and Airworthiness Certification; Part 61 — Certification: Pilots, Flight Instructors, and Ground Instructors; and Part 63 — Certification of Flight Crew Members Other Than Pilots.) A significant benefit of this chart is the visual effect showing the interaction of the regulation with other regulations and the placement of the regulation relative to its impact on airworthiness. It is fundamentally important that the definition of the term “airworthy" be clearly understood.

Only recently did the FAA actually define the term “airworthy" in a regulation. (Refer to the 14 CFR part 3 excerpt following this paragraph.) Prior to this definition in part 3, the term could be implied from reading part 21, section (§) 21.183. The term was defined in other non-regulatory FAA publications, and could also be implied from the text found in block 5 of FAA Form 8100-2, Standard Airworthiness Certificate. This certificate is required to be visibly placed on board each civil aircraft. (Refer to “Forms" presented later in this chapter.)

Part 3 General Requirements

Sec. 3.5 Statements about products, parts, appliances and materials.

(a) Definitions. The following terms will have the stated meanings when used in this section:

Airworthy means the aircraft conforms to its type design and is in a condition for safe operation.

Product means an aircraft, aircraft engine, or aircraft propeller.

There are three primary regulations that govern the airworthiness of an aircraft. The “Big Three" are:

  • 14 CFR Part 21 — Certification Procedures for Products and Parts
  • 14 CFR Part 43 — Maintenance, Preventive Maintenance, Rebuilding, and Alterations
  • 14 CFR Part 91 — General Operating and Flight Rules

Note that the chart in Figure 12-5 shows most of the other airworthiness certification regulations link to one of these regulations. Note also the solid line located in the center of the chart. This line represents the separation between an aircraft or aircraft parts obtaining Original Airworthiness (left side of the line) and Recurrent Airworthiness (right side of the line).

Although the history section that opens this chapter discusses “The FAA" as if it was a single unit, it is important to understand that there are various subgroups within the FAA, which have differing responsibilities of oversight in the aviation industry. These may vary by organizational chart or geographic location.

The maintenance technician will interact mostly with FAA personnel from the Flight Standard Service (AFS) but may also have some interaction with FAA personnel from the Aircraft Certification Service (AIR).

Since regulations change over the years, it should be noted that not every aircraft currently flying meets the current design regulations as printed this year. When regulations are revised, they are printed in the Federal Register and released with an “Amendment number" that ties them to the regulation being revised. Aircraft are required to meet only the specifications in force at the time the aircraft is built. (Note: The preceding statement does not apply to the mandatory requirements imposed by Airworthiness Directives (AD), which usually have a compliance date included in the text of the AD note.)

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