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Airworthiness Certificate

Introduction:

  • A standard airworthiness certificate is the Federal Aviation Administration's (FAA's) official authorization allowing for the operation of type certificated aircraft in the following categories:
    • Normal
    • Utility
    • Aerobatic
    • Commuter
    • Transport
    • Manned Free Balloons
    • Special Classes
Standard Airworthiness Certificate
Figure 1: Standard Airworthiness Certificate

Standard Airworthiness Certificate:

  • Standard airworthiness certificates remains valid as long as:
    • The aircraft meets its approved type design
    • It is in a condition for safe operation and maintenance
    • Airworthiness directives (ADs) are complied with
    • Preventative maintenance and alterations are performed in accordance with 14 CFR parts 21, 43, and 91
    • Required inspections are completed as necessary
    • Aircraft contains the instruments and equipment necessary for operations being practices
  • The owner or operator is responsible for maintaining the aircraft in airworthiness condition
    • Responsibility to determine airworthiness rests with the pilot-in-command who shall not operate a civil aircraft unless it is airworthy and shall discontinue the flight when un-airworthy mechanical, electrical, or structural conditions occur
  • Standard airworthiness certificates are transferable upon sale under FAR part 21.179, assuming the above is true
  • The airworthiness certificate (FAA form 8100-2) must be visible to the occupants of the aircraft [Figure 1]

Special Airworthiness Certificate:

  • The FAA special airworthiness certificate is an FAA authorization to operate an aircraft in the US airspace in one or more of the following categories:
    • Primary
    • Restricted
    • Special Airworthiness Certificate
      Figure 2: Special Airworthiness Certificate
    • Multiple
    • Limited
    • Light-Sport
    • Experimental
    • Special Flight Permit
    • Provisional
  • Special airworthiness certificate (FAA Form 8130-7) must be visible to the occupants of the aircraft [Figure 2]

Conclusion:

  • No person may operate a civil aircraft unless it is in an airworthy condition
  • The pilot in command of a civil aircraft is responsible for determining whether that aircraft is in condition for safe flight
    • The pilot in command shall discontinue the flight when un-airworthy mechanical, electrical, or structural conditions occur
  • According to part 91.403 of the federal aviation regulations, the owner or operator of an aircraft is primarily responsible for maintaining that aircraft in an airworthy condition, including compliance with part 39
  • The FAA may issue an applicant an airworthiness certificate when:
    • Registered owner or operator/agent registers aircraft
    • Applicant submits application (PDF) to the local FAA office
    • FAA determines the aircraft is eligible and in a condition for safe operation
  • Your local FAA Flight Standard District Office can provide direct guidance and information in order to obtain an airworthiness certificate
  • It is best to contact your local FAA office for direct guidance immediately after you register your aircraft

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