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.,

Dispatch system.

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. The FAA

proposed that affected commuters comply with the requirements of

§ 121.575 and since no comments were received on this issue, the

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

category airplanes.

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

movement restrictions.

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.