VI.A.13. Subpart T - Flight Operations
Operational control. Sections 121.533 and 121.535 require each
domestic and flag operation to be responsible for operational control
and specify the responsibilities for aircraft dispatchers and pilots
for each flight release. No comments were received on these sections
and the final rule is adopted as proposed; however, related comments
on dispatch system requirements are discussed in Section V.F.,
Admission to flight deck. Section 121.547 specifies who may be
admitted to the flight deck of a passenger-carrying airplane. The
part 121 section is similar to § 135.75 but provides for additional
types of persons who may be admitted. FAA proposed that affected
commuters comply with part 121. No comments were received concerning
this section and the final rule is adopted as proposed.
Flying equipment. Section 121.549(b) requires that each
crewmember shall, on each flight, have readily available for his or
her use, a flashlight that is in good working order. This is a new
requirement for 10- to 30-passenger seat airplanes for co-pilots that
was not specifically discussed in Notice No. 95-5. No comments were
received and the final rule remains as proposed.
Emergency procedures. Parts 121 and 135 require that, when the
certificate holder or PIC knows of conditions that are a hazard to
safe operations, the operation must be restricted or suspended until
the hazardous conditions are corrected. For a discussion of this
issue, see "Emergency Operations (Proposed §§ 119.57 and 119.58)"
later in this preamble.
Briefing passengers before takeoff. The FAA proposed to amend
§ 121.571(a) to bring over from § 135.117 requirements for additional
passenger information for airplanes with no flight attendant. This
additional information includes instructions on location of survival
equipment, normal and emergency use of oxygen equipment for flights
above 12,000 MSL, location and operation of fire extinguishers, and
placement of seat backs in an upright position for takeoffs and
landings. The FAA proposed that the affected commuters otherwise
comply with the part 121 rules on passenger information. The printed
cards would need to be revised or supplemented to provide information
on flotation cushions or other required flotation devices once these
devices are installed.
A small change was proposed for § 121.571(a)(3) to allow a flight
crewmember (instead of a flight attendant) to provide an individual
briefing of a person who may need assistance in the event of an
emergency, in cases where an airplane does not have a flight
Comments: AACA disagrees with the FAA's cost estimate for the
required passenger information cards and briefings. The commenter
states that the FAA's cost estimate appears to be low. Alaskan air
carriers would need to devise a more comprehensive information system
due to the many nationalities and native languages in Alaska. Many
local passengers are not native speakers of English or are not fluent
in its comprehension. Briefing cards must be painstakingly translated
into many Alaskan Native languages at great expense. Some air
carriers have also had to translate into Japanese, Korean, and Russian
for tourists from the Pacific Rim nations. Based on experience, the
commenter states that the FAA's assumption of a 3-year life expectancy
for information cards is high and that information cards normally last
less than a year due to wear and theft. The commenter also estimates
costs of $26,000 for Alaskan commuter air carriers in the first year
and $4,224 each year thereafter to meet the requirement.
FAA Response: While the FAA recognizes the benefits of
translating passenger information on briefing information, this has
never been a requirement but an option undertaken by the operator to
improve service and safety.
The 3-year life expectancy of briefing cards is based on past
experience. There is nothing unique to Alaska that would warrant a
deteriorated state sooner than within 3 years.
Part 135 10- to 19-seat airplane briefing card requirements are
being incorporated into part 121. New cards need not be revised
immediately and normal wear cycles prevail so that this rule would not
impose additional costs.
Oxygen for medical use by passengers. Section 121.574 provides
that a certificate holder may allow a passenger to carry and operate
equipment for dispensing oxygen if, among other requirements, the
equipment is furnished by the certificate holder. The proposal would
require affected certificate holders to comply with § 121.574.
Under current § 135.91, the certificate holder may allow a
passenger to carry and operate equipment for dispensing oxygen
provided certain requirements are met. Section 135.91(d) contains a
provision for permitting a noncomplying oxygen bottle provided by
medical emergency service personnel to be carried on board the
airplane under certain circumstances; this provision was not proposed
to be carried forward into part 121.
Comments: AACA states that many medevac operations take place on
board scheduled and on-demand flights. Without aviation oxygen
available at village health clinics, the flexibility of § 135.91(d)
would be lost if it is not carried forward into part 121. AACA
recommends allowing a noncomplying oxygen bottle on aircraft operating
solely within the State of Alaska. To prohibit this will mean medevac
costs will increase and patient transports will have to be done on
board charter flights that can originate from a hub point where
medical oxygen and stretcher units can be installed on the airplane.
FAA Response: The FAA does not find it necessary to move the
language of § 135.91 to § 121.574. The FAA has issued exemptions on
this requirement to part 121 certificate holders operating in Alaska.
Alcoholic beverages. Sections 121.575 and 135.121 contain
requirements controlling the serving and consumption of alcoholic
beverages on the airplane. The requirements are similar except
for three minor additional requirements in § 121.575.
proposed that affected commuters comply with the requirements
§ 121.575 and since no comments were received on this
final rule is adopted as proposed.
Retention of items of mass. Section 121.576 requires that
certificate holders must provide and use a means to prevent each item
of galley equipment and each serving cart, when not in use, and each
item of crew baggage, which is carried in the crew or passenger
compartment, from becoming a hazard. Section 121.577 prohibits a
certificate holder from moving an airplane on the surface or taking
off unless such items are secure. Sections 135.87 and 135.122 require
certificate holders to ensure that such items are secure before
takeoff. The FAA proposed that the affected commuters comply with §
121.577, which is substantively the same as § 135.122. No comments
were received on this issue and the final rule is adopted as proposed.
Cabin ozone concentration. Section 121.578 sets maximum levels
of ozone concentration inside the cabins of transport category
airplanes operating above 27,000 feet. The affected commuters do not
generally operate at these altitudes. The FAA believes that these
rules should apply whenever the altitudes are exceeded. The FAA
proposed to amend § 121.578(b) to delete the reference to transport
Comments: Commuter Air Technology states that it does not
operate above 25,000 feet. The commenter asks if operation in part
135 now requires ozone monitors and if part 91 flights of 10 or more
passengers operated above 27,000 require ozone monitors.
FAA Response: For operations at or below 27,000 feet the ozone
requirements do not apply. The answer to both questions of the
commenter is no. Part 91 and part 135 do not have ozone provisions.
The final rule is the same as proposed.
Minimum altitudes for use of autopilot. Sections 121.579 and
135.93 establish minimum altitudes for use of autopilots. The two
sections are similar; however, part 135 does not specify weather
requirements for an approach. In a recent NPRM proposing to revise
the minimum altitude for use of an autopilot (59 FR 63868, December 9,
1994), which is under consideration, the minimum altitude for
autopilot use corresponds to that designated in the type design of the
autopilot and stated in the Airplane Flight Manual (AFM). If the rule
is adopted as proposed, the AFM would establish guidance that would be
edited and approved in the air carrier's operations specifications.
Comments: Commuter Air Technology comments that it has aircraft
without autopilots and questions how the rule would affect those
AACA states that an NPRM published on December 9, 1994, will
require the AFM to establish guidance that would be edited and
approved in the affected air carrier's operations specifications.
FAA Response: If the airplane does not have an autopilot,
§ 121.579 does not apply.
Section 135.93 is similar to § 121.579; however, there are
differences that would necessitate manual and training changes
regarding the use of the autopilot.
The above mentioned proposal includes the recommendations of the
Aviation Rulemaking Advisory Committee (ARAC). The FAA has proposed
in that rulemaking that instead of the 500 ft. minimum stated in the
regulations, the autopilot could be engaged at whatever the airplane
flight manual says it is capable of (200 ft., 100 ft., etc.).
Comments were favorable. If adopted, the results of that separate
rule will apply to the affected commuters.
Observer's seat. Section 121.581 requires a certificate holder
to make available a seat on the flight deck of each airplane for use
by the Administrator while conducting routine inspections. Comparable
§ 135.75 requires, for inspections, a forward observer's seat on the
flight deck or a forward passenger seat with headset or speaker.
Because airplanes in the 10- to 30-seat range may not have an
observer's seat on the flight deck, the FAA proposed to move the
option of providing a forward passenger seat into part 121 and require
compliance with part 121 for affected commuter operators. No comments
were received regarding this issue and the final rule is adopted as
Authority to refuse transportation. Section 121.586 prohibits a
certificate holder from refusing transportation to a passenger on the
basis that the passenger will need the assistance of another person to
move quickly to an exit in the event of an emergency unless the
certificate holder has established procedures for the carriage of such
passengers and the passenger either fails to comply or cannot be
carried in accordance with the procedures.
Comments: Commuter Air Technology states that their aircraft has
no place for a wheelchair and that the seat opposite the main cabin
door has increased pitch which normally accommodates individuals with
FAA Response: In response to the specific comment, if a
certificate holder has no room on board an airplane to handle a
wheelchair as carry-on baggage, the wheelchair may be checked as cargo
The Air Carrier Access Act is implemented in 14 CFR part 382.
Aircraft accessibility requirements found in § 382.21 generally exempt
aircraft operated under part 121 with fewer than 30 passengers and
aircraft operated under part 135. The rule requires that these
aircraft comply "to the extent not inconsistent with structural,
weight and balance, operational and interior configuration
The FAA anticipates that affected commuters will establish
procedures in accordance with § 121.586. These procedures must be
developed in accordance with § 382.21. Since operators under parts
121 and 135 are already in compliance with § 382.21, this rulemaking
poses no new requirements other than establishing procedures for the
carriage of passengers who may need special assistance in an
Carry-on baggage The FAA proposed that the affected commuters
comply with the § 121.589 carry-on baggage rule. This would require
the preparation and approval of a carry-on baggage program.
Comments: Commuter Air Technology states that its aircraft have
no carry-on baggage storage other than for a standard briefcase under
the seat. According to the commenter, carry-on baggage is removed
from passengers and placed in the pod upon entry. The interior is
also placarded to require adequate securing of any interior cargo.
AACA is concerned about the cost of a baggage scanning program.
FAA Response: Even if the aircraft allows only limited carry-on
baggage, the certificate holder must still have a carry-on baggage
program that complies with § 121.589. Interior cargo must be secured
in accordance with § 121.285. (See discussion of § 121.285, Carriage
of cargo in passenger compartments in this notice.) The final rule
revises references in accordance with other changes in this
rulemaking. Although affected operators must develop a program for
their approved manuals, compliance will not result in any significant
substantive operational burden.
Use of certificated airports. For a discussion of the issue of
airports certificated under part 139, see Section V.H., Airports.