Business Aviation Insider - January/February 2014 (PREVIEW) - (Page 6)
prepared pilots Will Ace Any ramp check
time permits, the inspector will check placards, fire extinguishers,
briefing cards, seat belts, galleys and baggage areas for proper
tie-downs and restraints.
The FAA order lists exterior items to check, such as static port
obstructions, corrosion, oil and hydraulic leaks, low tire pressure,
missing static wicks, as well as dents, cracks and other damage.
Inspectors may check if the aircraft identification plate is secured
to the fuselage exterior.
Similar to FAA inspections, the 42 nations that are members of
the European Community (EC) conduct a ramp check known as
the Safety Assessment of Foreign Aircraft, or SAFA inspection,
which includes a 54-item checklist.
Ramp checks are just one of dozens of tasks FAA inspectors
perform each day. Most of the time, inspectors are performing
other critical functions, such as approving minimum equipment
lists (MELs), revising manuals and training course outlines for flight
schools; writing investigative reports for pilot deviations and accidents; or chasing down a complaint about a low-flying aircraft.
Still, ramp checks do occur, and operators need to be prepared.
So what can a pilot expect from a typical ramp check? At
minimum, an inspection of the aircraft's registration, airworthiness certificate and maintenance logbook will occur. For a pilot
who just landed to pick up passengers, an inspector cannot
detain a flight or disrupt an operator, according to FAA order
8900.1 Vol. 6 Chapter 2, Section 4 - unless there is an immediate and dire safety issue. Because an inspector must take care
not to delay a flight, he or she may only have enough time to
check the pilot's certificates and perhaps inquire about any
deferred maintenance items.
Inspectors are looking for repetitive maintenance problems that
may show a trend, which is a red flag. Operators should expect
an MEL scenario, in which the inspector gives the flightcrew a
hypothetical but realistic mechanical scenario, such as a cracked
window or stuck dump valve. You'll be expected to demonstrate
how to rectify the given malfunction as specified in the MEL. If
6 | Business Aviation Insider
"For a pilot who just landed to pick up passengers,
an inspector cannot detain a flight or disrupt an
operator...unless there is an immediate and dire
While SAFA became mandatory in 2004, only about 3 percent
of the aircraft flying in the EC are checked. Some nations select
randomly, some target aircraft based on a nation's safety record,
or inspectors simply pick an aircraft they suspect has defects.
"It was very routine," explained Darrell Anderson, a Honeywell
pilot who had a SAFA inspection at Luton Airport in England.
"While we were fueling, the inspectors approached us and
requested a check. They were very courteous and pretty much
stuck to the checklist."
Another Honeywell pilot, jeff Bender, had a similar experience
during a SAFA check in the Czech Republic. "There were two
inspectors. They went through their checklist. They were thorough,
but very courteous." ✣
FoR MoRe INFoRMatIoN
Find EASA SAFA resources at www.easa.eu.int. NBAA's website also has a
sample SAFA report form and checklist at www.nbaa.org/safa.
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Business Aviation Insider - January/February 2014 (PREVIEW)
Business Aviation Insider - January/February 2014
Tips & Tools
Ask the OSG
Regulatory Hot Topics
Business Aviation in 2014: Framing Up the Year to Come
Out With the Old, in With the New: Three Policy Trends That Could Change How You Fly
In a Still-Recovering Aircraft Market, Refurbishment Takes Off
Midwest Manufacturers ‘Taking Care of Business’ With King Air
Special Section: Corporate Helicopters
Business Aviation Insider - January/February 2014 (PREVIEW)
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