Avionics News May 2017 - 15
The regulation covering inoperable equipment is
14 CFR § 91.213: inoperative instruments and equipment.
Paragraph § 91.213 (a) sets the foundation for this
"Except as provided in paragraph (d) of this
section, no person may takeoff an aircraft with
inoperative instruments or equipment installed
unless the following conditions are met:
(1) An approved minimum equipment list exists
for that aircraft.
(2) The aircraft has within it a letter of authorization, issued by the FAA Flight Standards
district office having jurisdiction over the area
in which the operator is located, authorizing
operation of the aircraft under the minimum
equipment list. The letter of authorization may
be obtained by written request of the airworthiness certificate holder. The minimum equipment
list and the letter of authorization constitute a
supplemental type certificate for the aircraft.
(3) The approved minimum equipment list must:
(i) Be prepared in accordance with the limitations specified in paragraph (b) of this section.
(ii) Provide for the operation of the aircraft with
the instruments and equipment in an inoperable
(4) The aircraft records available to the pilot
must include an entry describing the inoperable
instruments and equipment.
(5) The aircraft is operated under all applicable
conditions and limitations contained in the minimum equipment list and the letter authorizing
the use of the list."
What is the exception contained "in paragraph (d)
of this section?"
Paragraph (d) states:
"(d) Except for operations conducted in accordance with paragraph (a) or (c) of this section,
a person may takeoff an aircraft in operations
conducted under this part with inoperative
instruments and equipment without an approved
minimum equipment list provided."
When we look at the regulations, "a person may
takeoff an aircraft in operations conducted under this
part with inoperative instruments and equipment without an approved minimum equipment list provided
..." There are four provisions that must be met to
operate with inoperable instruments and no MEL.
Where did the inspector go wrong? He inadvertently confused a master minimum equipment list, or
MMEL, with an aircraft-specific, approved minimum
equipment list, or MEL, as 91.213 references. During
his presentation, he regularly referenced the FAA's
Flight Standards Information Management System
page on master minimum equipment list.
AC 91-67 defines an MMEL as:
An MMEL contains a list of items of equipment and instruments that may be inoperative
on a specific type of aircraft (e.g., BE-200,
Beechcraft model 200). It is also the basis for
the development of an individual operator's
The AC further defines an MEL as:
The MEL is the specific inoperative equipment
document for a particular make and model aircraft by serial and registration numbers (e.g.,
BE-200, N12345). A FAR Part 91 MEL consists
of the MMEL for a particular type aircraft, the
MMEL's preamble, the procedures document,
and an LOA. The FAA considers the MEL as an
STC. As such, the MEL permits operation of the
aircraft under specified conditions with certain
While researching the presentation, the inspector
simply confused the foundation of the MMEL with
the regulatory guidance on the "approved" MEL.
Chapter 1 of AC 91-67 discusses 2. MEL versus
FAR 6 91.213(d).
Although the FAA amended FAR Part 91 to provide relief to operators under the IMEL concept,
some operators may find it less burdensome or
less complicated to operate under the provisions
of FAR 5 91.213(d).
Finally, in the AC, the FAA states:
If the FAA has not authorized operating with an
MEL for an operator's specific aircraft, the operator may apply for an MEL. However, the operator
can always elect to operate without an MEL under
the provisions of FAR 6 91.213(d).
(1) FAR 5 91.213(d) requires only those instruments
listed in FAR 5 9 1.213(d)(2) to be operative.
(2) The operator can operate the aircraft with
those instruments and equipment not listed in
FAR 6 91.213(d)(2) inoperative.
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