top of page



There are several requirements that need to be met before every flight in accordance with federal aviation regulations. Aircraft documentation must be present on the aircraft, specific inspections must be met, and certain avionics equipment must be aboard & operational to ensure safety.



Documents include: ARROWED

  • Airworthiness certificate IAW 91.203 (a) (1) - A non expiring certificate that must be within view for all passengers

  • Registration IAW 91.203 (a) (2) - Expires every 3 years; expiration date is on certificate 

  • Radio Station License IAW 47 CFR 87.18 - Pilot certification if traveling outside the U.S.

  • Operating Handbook  IAW 91.1 (b) - Pilot operating handbook (POH)

  • Weight & Balance - Calculations of CG & Weight Limits

  • External Data Plate IAW 45.11 (a)- Metal plate on the outside of airplane 

  • Deviation Card on Compass IAW 23.1542 Card with amount in degrees to correct for compass error 

Where to find airworthiness certificate and registration for your aircraft:


Preventative Maintenance 

A certified pilot (at least a private pilot) can conduct preventive maintenance on simple or minor preservation operations and the replacement of small standard parts not involving complex assembly operations. A list of qualifying preventative maintenance can be found in FAR 43 Appendix A (c)



Inspections include: AV1ATES

  • Annual -  A thorough inspection of the airframe and powerplant signed off by a mechanic with an Inspector authorization (IA). The annual can supersede the 100hr inspection. This inspection must be adhered to every 12 calendar months for everyone. IAW 91.409 (a)

  • VOR - A calibration test for the VOR Instrument to ensure that is working accurately. It must be within ∓4° of a selected bearing upon test. This inspection is to occur every 30 days and complied with if flying IFR.  IAW 91.171

  • 100 hr - A thorough inspection of the airframe and powerplant. The main difference between this inspection and the annual is this does not require being signed off by an IA. This inspection must be adhered to every 100hrs of engine operation for aircraft used for hire. IAW 91.409 (b)

  • Altimeter & Static Pressure System - An inspection that complies with Appendix E & F in part 43 of the FAR. This inspection must be adhered to every 24 calendar months and complied with if flying IFR. IAW 91.411 (a)

  • Transponder - An inspection testing the transponder aboard the aircraft. This inspection is to occur every 24 calendar months for everyone operating in airspace requiring transponder usage. IAW 91.413

  • ELT - An inspection examining proper installation, battery corrosion, senor tests, and signal test. When it is used for more than one cumulative hour or more than 50% of its battery life is used, it must be replaced or recharged. This inspection must be adhered to every 12 calendar months for everyone. IAW 91.207 (c) & (d)



Equipment list include: ATOMATOFLAMES FLAPS IAW 91.205 (b)

  • Anti-Collision Lights                    Airplanes Certificated After 1996

  • Tachometer                                  All airplanes

  • Oil Pressure Gauge                     With Air-Cooled Engine 

  • Manifold Pressure Gauge          With Altitude Engines

  • Airspeed Indicator                      All airplanes

  • Temperature Gauge                   With Liquid-Cooled Engines

  • Oil Temperature Gauge             With Air-Cooled Engines

  • Fuel Gauge                                   All Airplanes

  • Landing Gear Position Lights    With Retractable Landing Gear

  • Altimeter                                      All Airplanes

  • Magnetic Compass                     All Airplanes

  • ELT                                                 All Airplanes

  • Safety Belts                                  All Airplanes


Night VFR - All day VFR plus: FLAPS IAW 91.205 (c)

  • Fuses (Extra Set of Fuses)          All Airplanes 

  • Landing Light                              Flights for Hire

  • Anti-Collision Lights                   Airplanes Certificated After 1971

  • Position Lights                            All Airplanes

  • Source of Electricity                   All Airplanes


Tab out and highlight key words in 91.205 (b) & (c) in the FAR


Airworthiness Directives

Before each flight, check the airplane maintenance log to ensure the inspections have been conducted and are not expired. 

Ensure all Airworthiness Directives (AD) have been complied with along with Form 337 and review the form(s) if any.

Airworthiness Directives (AD) - are legally enforceable regulations issued to correct an unsafe condition in the aircraft, engine, propeller, or appliances. In other words, a recall on a part.

Example of an AD: Click Here

Form 337 - are major repairs or alterations done to the airframe, powerplant, propeller, or appliance of an aircraft. Major Alterations & Repairs can be found in FAR 43 Appendix A (a) & (b)

Example of Form 337: Click Here


Click here to download and print the Airworthiness Checklist.

However, if an aircraft that cannot currently meet applicable airworthiness requirements but is capable of safe flight, then a special flight permit may be issued IAW 21.197

It can be issued if:

  • The aircraft is flying to a base where repairs, alterations, or maintenance are to be performed, or to a point of storage.

  • Evacuating aircraft from areas of impending danger

  • And a special flight permit may also be issued to authorize the operation of an aircraft at a weight in excess of its maximum certificated takeoff weight for flight beyond the normal range over water, or over land areas where adequate landing facilities or appropriate fuel is not available.

Contact the local Flight Service Directives Office (FSDO) for organizing a special flight permit application.



Inoperative Equipment:

If during the preflight there is inoperative equipment discovered, then a specific protocol is to be followed. 

FAR 91.213(d) allows pilots to fly an aircraft with inoperative equipment provided it is not required or on a minimum equipment list (MEL). 

Some operators of aircraft, based on the kind of operation or size and type of aircraft are required to have a Minimum Equipment List (MEL) in order to operate the aircraft with inoperative instruments or equipment. However, operators of the following types of aircraft may operate without an MEL:

  • Non Turbine-powered small airplanes (12,500 pounds or less maximum certificated takeoff weight) for which a Master Minimum Equipment List (MMEL) has been developed.

  • Non Turbine-powered airplanes for which an MMEL has not been developed.

However, the inoperative instruments and equipment can not be:

  • Part of the equipment listed above IAW 91.205 (ATOMATOFLAMES & FLAPS)

  • Indicated as required on the aircraft’s MEL, if applicable

  • Indicated as required on the aircraft’s Kinds of Operations Equipment List (KOEL) for the kind of flight operation being conducted, if applicable

  • Required to be operational by an Airworthiness Directive (AD)


(AC on MEL & KOEL)

If the pilot determines that the flight can be conducted safely with inoperative equipment, then the inoperative instruments and equipment must be removed from the aircraft and logged in the maintenance log or deactivated and placarded “Inoperative” IAW and the flight can proceed. 

bottom of page