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Introduction

Section 1: USPA

Section 2: BSRs

Section 3: Classification

Section 4: ISP

Section 5: General

Section 6: Advanced

Section 7: PRO

Section 8: Awards

Section 9: FAA Documents

Glossary & Appendices

 






 

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Section 9: FAA Documents

Section Summary

Important Reference Numbers

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) of the U.S. Department of Transportation has the responsibility for regulating airspace usage in the United States. Concerning skydiving activities, the FAA fulfills this responsibility by specifically regulating certain aspects of skydiving and by relying upon the self–regulation of the participants through the guidelines and recommendations published by USPA.

The FAA’s main responsibility is to provide for the safety of air traffic, as well as persons and property on the ground. The FAA does this by certificating pilots, mechanics, air traffic controllers and parachute riggers and by requiring approval data for aircraft and parachutes. The agency has the authority to impose fines and suspend or revoke certificates it has issued. In the case of a skydiving violation, the FAA can fine the pilot, rigger, and the jumpers, as well as suspend or revoke the certificates of pilots and riggers.

The FAA relies upon self-policing from within the skydiving community for most training and operational requirements.

who  needs  this  section?

  • jumpers studying for licenses and ratings
  • jumpers planning exhibition jumps or jumps off the regular DZ
  • parachute riggers and packers
  • jump pilots
  • drop zone management

 


9-1 Federal Aviation Regulations

SUBCHAPTER D—AIRMEN

PART 61—Certification: Pilots, Flight Instructors, and Ground Instructors

Sec. 61.1: Applicability and definitions copy link
  1. This part prescribes:
    1. The requirements for issuing pilot, flight instructor, and ground instructor certificates and ratings; the conditions under which those certificates and ratings are necessary; and the privileges and limitations of those certificates and ratings.
    2. The requirements for issuing pilot, flight instructor, and ground instructor authorizations; the conditions under which those authorizations are necessary; and the privileges and limitations of those authorizations.
    3. The requirements for issuing pilot, flight instructor, and ground instructor certificates and ratings for persons who have taken courses approved by the Administrator under other parts of this chapter.
Sec. 61.3: Requirement for certificates, ratings, and authorizations copy link
  1. Required pilot certificate for operating a civil aircraft of the United States. No person may serve as a required pilot flight crewmember of a civil aircraft of the United States, unless that person:
    1. Has in the person’s physical possession or readily accessible in the aircraft when exercising the privileges of that pilot certificate or authorization—
      1. A pilot certificate issued under this part and in accordance with § 61.19;
    2. Has a photo identification that is in that person’s physical possession or readily accessible in the aircraft when exercising the privileges of that pilot certificate or authorization.
  2. Medical certificate.
    1. A person may serve as a required pilot flight crewmember of an aircraft only if that person holds the appropriate medical certificate issued under part 67 of this chapter, or other documentation acceptable to the FAA, that is in that person’s physical possession or readily accessible in the aircraft.
  3. Inspection of certificate. Each person who holds an airman certificate, medical certificate, authorization or license required by this part must present it and their photo identification as described in paragraph (a)(2) of this section for inspection upon a request from:
    1. The Administrator;
    2. An authorized representative of the National Transportation Safety Board;
    3. Any Federal, State, or local law enforcement officer; or
    4. An authorized representative of the Transportation Security Administration.
Sec. 61.23: Medical certificates: Requirement and duration
  1. Operations requiring a medical certificate.
    1. Must hold at least a second class medical certificate when exercising:
      1. Privileges of a commercial pilot certificate;
  2. Duration of a medical certificate. Use the following table to determine duration for each class of medical certificate:
If you hold And on the date of examination for your most recent medical certificate you were And you are conducting an operation requiring Then your medical certificate expires, for that operation, at the end of the last day of the
(1) A first-class medical certificate (i) Under age 40 an airline transport pilot certificate for pilot-in-command privileges, or for second-in-command privileges in a flag or supplemental operation in part 121 requiring three or more pilots 12th month after the month of the date of examination shown on the medical certificate
(ii) Age 40 or older an airline transport pilot certificate for pilot-in-command privileges, for second-in-command privileges in a flag or supplemental operation in part 121 requiring three or more pilots, or for a pilot flightcrew member in part 121 operations who has reached his or her 60th birthday 6th month after the month of the date of examination shown on the medical certificate
(iii) Any age a commercial pilot certificate or an air traffic control tower operator certificate 12th month after the month of the date of examination shown on the medical certificate
(iv) Under age 40 a recreational pilot certificate, a private pilot certificate, a flight instructor certificate (when acting as pilot in command or a required pilot flight crewmember in operations other than glider or balloon), a student pilot certificate, or a sport pilot certificate (when not using a U.S. driver's license as medical qualification) 60th month after the month of the date of examination shown on the medical certificate
(v) Age 40 or older a recreational pilot certificate, a private pilot certificate, a flight instructor certificate (when acting as pilot in command or a required pilot flight crewmember in operations other than glider or balloon), a student pilot certificate, or a sport pilot certificate (when not using a U.S. driver's license as medical qualification) 24th month after the month of the date of examination shown on the medical certificate
(2) A second-class medical certificate (i) Any age an airline transport pilot certificate for second-in-command privileges (other than the operations specified in paragraph (d) (1) of this section), a commercial pilot certificate, or an air traffic control tower operator certificate 12th month after the month of the date of examination shown on the medical certificate
(ii) Under age 40 a recreational pilot certificate, a private pilot certificate, a flight instructor certificate (when acting as pilot in command or a required pilot flight crewmember in operations other than glider or balloon), a student pilot certificate, or a sport pilot certificate (when not using a U.S. driver's license as medical qualification) 60th month after the month of the date of examination shown on the medical certificate
(iii) Age 40 or older a recreational pilot certificate, a private pilot certificate, a flight instructor certificate (when acting as pilot in command or a required pilot flight crewmember in operations other than glider or balloon), a student pilot certificate, or a sport pilot certificate (when not using a U.S. driver's license as medical qualification) 24th month after the month of the date of examination shown on the medical certificate
(3) A third-class medical certificate (i) Under age 40 a recreational pilot certificate, a private pilot certificate, a flight instructor certificate (when acting as pilot in command or a required pilot flight crewmember in operations other than glider or balloon), a student pilot certificate, or a sport pilot certificate (when not using a U.S. driver's license as medical qualification) 60th month after the month of the date of examination shown on the medical certificate
(ii) Age 40 or older a recreational pilot certificate, a private pilot certificate, a flight instructor certificate (when acting as pilot in command or a required pilot flight crewmember in operations other than glider or balloon), a student pilot certificate, or a sport pilot certificate (when not using a U.S. driver's license as medical qualification) 24th month after the month of the date of examination shown on the medical certificate
Sec. 61.51: Pilot logbooks copy link
  1. Presentation of required documents.
    1. Persons must present their pilot certificate, medical certificate, logbook, or any other record required by this part for inspection upon a reasonable request by—
      1. The Administrator;
      2. An authorized representative from the National Transportation Safety Board; or
      3. Any Federal, State, or local law enforcement officer.
Sec. 61.56: Flight review copy link
  1. Except as provided in paragraphs (d), (e), and (g) of this section, no person may act as pilot in command of an aircraft unless, since the beginning of the 24th calendar month before the month in which that pilot acts as pilot in command, that person has—
    1. Accomplished a flight review given in an aircraft for which that pilot is rated by an authorized instructor and
    2. A logbook endorsed from an authorized instructor who gave the review certifying that the person has satisfactorily completed the review.
Sec. 61.57: Recent flight experience: Pilot in command copy link
  1. General experience.
    1. Except as provided in paragraph (e) of this section, no person may act as a pilot in command of an aircraft carrying passengers or of an aircraft certificated for more than one pilot flight crewmember unless that person has made at least three takeoffs and three landings within the preceding 90 days, and—
      1. The person acted as the sole manipulator of the flight controls; and
      2. The required takeoffs and landings were performed in an aircraft of the same category, class, and type (if a type rating is required), and, if the aircraft to be flown is an airplane with a tailwheel, the takeoffs and landings must have been made to a full stop in an airplane with a tailwheel.
Sec. 61.133: Commercial pilot privileges and limitations copy link
  1. Privileges —
    1. General. A person who holds a commercial pilot certificate may act as pilot in command of an aircraft—
      1. Carrying persons or property for compensation or hire, provided the person is qualified in accordance with this part and with the applicable parts of this chapter that apply to the operation; and
      2. For compensation or hire, provided the person is qualified in accordance with this part and with the applicable parts of this chapter that apply to the operation.

PART 65—Certification: Airmen Other Than Flight Crewmembers

Sec. 65.1: Applicability copy link

This part prescribes the requirements for issuing the following certificates and associated ratings and the general operating rules for the holders of those certificates and ratings:

  1. Air-traffic control-tower operators.
  2. Aircraft dispatchers.
  3. Mechanics.
  4. Repairmen.
  5. Parachute riggers.
Sec. 65.11: Application and issue copy link
  1. Application for a certificate and appropriate class rating, or for an additional rating, under this part must be made on a form and in a manner prescribed by the Administrator. Each person who applies for airmen certification services to be administered outside the United States or for any certificate or rating issued under this part must show evidence that the fee prescribed in appendix A of part 187 of this chapter has been paid.
  2. An applicant who meets the requirements of this part is entitled to an appropriate certificate and rating.
  3. Unless authorized by the Administrator, a person whose air traffic control tower operator, mechanic, or parachute rigger certificate is suspended may not apply for any rating to be added to that certificate during the period of suspension.
  4. Unless the order of revocation provides otherwise—
    1. A person whose air traffic control tower operator, aircraft dispatcher, or parachute rigger certificate is revoked may not apply for the same kind of certificate for 1 year after the date of revocation; and
    2. A person whose mechanic or repairman certificate is revoked may not apply for either of those kinds of certificates for 1 year after the date of revocation.
Sec. 65.12: Offenses involving alcohol or drugs copy link
  1. A conviction for the violation of any Federal or state statute relating to the growing, processing, manufacture, sale, disposition, possession, transportation, or importation of narcotic drugs, marihuana, or depressant or stimulant drugs or substances is grounds for—
    1. Denial of an application for any certificate or rating issued under this part for a period of up to 1 year after the date of final conviction; or
    2. Suspension or revocation of any certificate or rating issued under this part.
  2. The commission of an act prohibited by § 91.19(a) of this chapter is grounds for—
    1. Denial of an application for a certificate or rating issued under this part for a period of up to 1 year after the date of that act; or
    2. Suspension or revocation of any certificate or rating issued under this part.
Sec. 65.15: Duration of certificates copy link
  1. Except for repairman certificates, a certificate or rating issued under this part is effective until it is surrendered, suspended, or revoked.
  2. Unless it is sooner surrendered, suspended, or revoked, a repairman certificate is effective until the holder is relieved from the duties for which the holder was employed and certificated.
  3. The holder of a certificate issued under this part that is suspended, revoked, or no longer effective shall return it to the Administrator.
  4. Except for temporary certificates issued under § 65.13, the holder of a paper certificate issued under this part may not exercise the privileges of that certificate after March 31, 2013.
Sec. 65.16: Change of name: Replacement of lost or destroyed certificate copy link
  1. An application for a change of name on a certificate issued under this part must be accompanied by the applicant’s current certificate and the marriage license, court order, or other document verifying the change. The documents are returned to the applicant after inspection.
  2. An application for a replacement of a lost or destroyed certificate is made by letter to the Department of Transportation, Federal Aviation Administration, Airman Certification Branch, Post Office Box 25082, Oklahoma City, OK 73125. The letter must—
    1. Contain the name in which the certificate was issued, the permanent mailing address (including zip code), social security number (if any), and date and place of birth of the certificate holder, and any available information regarding the grade, number, and date of issue of the certificate, and the ratings on it; and
    2. Be accompanied by a check or money order for $2, payable to the Federal Aviation Administration.
  3. An application for a replacement of a lost or destroyed medical certificate is made by letter to the Department of Transportation, Federal Aviation Administration, Aerospace Medical Certification Division, Post Office Box 26200, Oklahoma City, OK 73125, accompanied by a check or money order for $2.00.
  4. A person whose certificate issued under this part or medical certificate, or both, has been lost may obtain a telegram from the FAA confirming that it was issued. The telegram may be carried as a certificate for a period not to exceed 60 days pending his receiving a duplicate certificate under paragraph (b) or (c) of this section, unless he has been notified that the certificate has been suspended or revoked. The request for such a telegram may be made by prepaid telegram, stating the date upon which a duplicate certificate was requested, or including the request for a duplicate and a money order for the necessary amount. The request for a telegraphic certificate should be sent to the office prescribed in paragraph (b) or (c) of this section, as appropriate. However, a request for both at the same time should be sent to the office prescribed in paragraph (b) of this section.
Sec. 65.17: Tests: General procedure copy link
  1. Tests prescribed by or under this part are given at times and places, and by persons, designated by the Administrator.
  2. The minimum passing grade for each test is 70 percent.
Sec. 65.18: Written tests: Cheating or other unauthorized conduct copy link
  1. Except as authorized by the Administrator, no person may—
    1. Copy, or intentionally remove, a written test under this part;
    2. Give to another, or receive from another, any part or copy of that test;
    3. Give help on that test to, or receive help on that test from, any person during the period that test is being given;
    4. Take any part of that test in behalf of another person;
    5. Use any material or aid during the period that test is being given; or
    6. Intentionally cause, assist, or participate in any act prohibited by this paragraph.
  2. No person who commits an act prohibited by paragraph (a) of this section is eligible for any airman or ground instructor certificate or rating under this chapter for a period of 1 year after the date of that act. In addition, the commission of that act is a basis for suspending or revoking any airman or ground instructor certificate or rating held by that person.
Sec. 65.19: Retesting after failure copy link

An applicant for a written, oral, or practical test for a certificate and rating, or for an additional rating under this part, may apply for retesting—

  1. After 30 days after the date the applicant failed the test; or
  2. Before the 30 days have expired if the applicant presents a signed statement from an airman holding the certificate and rating sought by the applicant, certifying that the airman has given the applicant additional instruction in each of the subjects failed and that the airman considers the applicant ready for retesting.
Sec. 65.20: Applications, certificates, logbooks, reports, and records: Falsification, reproduction, or alteration copy link
  1. No person may make or cause to be made—
    1. Any fraudulent or intentionally false statement on any application for a certificate or rating under this part;
    2. Any fraudulent or intentionally false entry in any logbook, record, or report that is required to be kept, made, or used, to show compliance with any requirement for any certificate or rating under this part;
    3. Any reproduction, for fraudulent purpose, of any certificate or rating under this part; or
    4. Any alteration of any certificate or rating under this part.
  2. The commission by any person of an act prohibited under paragraph (a) of this section is a basis for suspending or revoking any airman or ground instructor certificate or rating held by that person.
Sec. 65.21: Change of address copy link

Within 30 days after any change in his permanent mailing address, the holder of a certificate issued under this part shall notify the Department of Transportation, Federal Aviation Administration, Airman Certification Branch, Post Office Box 25082, Oklahoma City, OK 73125, in writing, of his new address.

Sec. 65.111: Certificate required copy link
  1. No person may pack, maintain, or alter any personnel-carrying parachute intended for emergency use in connection with civil aircraft of the United States (including the reserve parachute of a dual parachute system to be used for intentional parachute jumping) unless that person holds an appropriate current certificate and type rating issued under this subpart and complies with §§ 65.127 through 65.133.
  2. No person may pack any main parachute of a dual-parachute system to be used for intentional parachute jumping in connection with civil aircraft of the United States unless that person—
    1. Has an appropriate current certificate issued under this subpart;
    2. Is under the supervision of a current certificated parachute rigger;
    3. Is the person making the next parachute jump with that parachute in accordance with § 105.43(a) of this chapter; or
    4. Is the parachutist in command making the next parachute jump with that parachute in a tandem parachute operation conducted under § 105.45(b)(1) of this chapter.
  3. No person may maintain or alter any main parachute of a dual-parachute system to be used for intentional parachute jumping in connection with civil aircraft of the United States unless that person—
    1. Has an appropriate current certificate issued under this subpart; or
    2. Is under the supervision of a current certificated parachute rigger;
  4. Each person who holds a parachute rigger certificate shall present it for inspection upon the request of the Administrator or an authorized representative of the National Transportation Safety Board, or of any Federal, State, or local law enforcement officer.
  5. The following parachute rigger certificates are issued under this part:
    1. Senior parachute rigger.
    2. Master parachute rigger.
  6. Sections 65.127 through 65.133 do not apply to parachutes packed, maintained, or altered for the use of the armed forces.
Sec. 65.113: Eligibility requirements: General copy link
  1. To be eligible for a parachute rigger certificate, a person must—
    1. Be at least 18 years of age;
    2. Be able to read, write, speak, and understand the English language, or, in the case of a citizen of Puerto Rico, or a person who is employed outside of the United States by a U.S. air carrier, and who does not meet this requirement, be issued a certificate that is valid only in Puerto Rico or while he is employed outside of the United States by that air carrier, as the case may be; and
    3. Comply with the sections of this subpart that apply to the certificate and type rating he seeks.
  2. Except for a master parachute rigger certificate, a parachute rigger certificate that was issued before, and was valid on, October 31, 1962, is equal to a senior parachute rigger certificate, and may be exchanged for such a corresponding certificate.
Sec. 65.115 Senior parachute rigger certificate: Experience, knowledge, and skill requirements copy link

Except as provided in § 65.117, an applicant for a senior parachute rigger certificate must—

  1. Present evidence satisfactory to the Administrator that he has packed at least 20 parachutes of each type for which he seeks a rating, in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions and under the supervision of a certificated parachute rigger holding a rating for that type or a person holding an appropriate military rating;
  2. Pass a written test, with respect to parachutes in common use, on—
    1. Their construction, packing, and maintenance;
    2. The manufacturer’s instructions;
    3. The regulations of this subpart; and
  3. Pass an oral and practical test showing his ability to pack and maintain at least one type of parachute in common use, appropriate to the type rating he seeks.
Sec. 65.117: Military riggers or former military riggers: Special certification rule copy link

In place of the procedure in § 65.115, an applicant for a senior parachute rigger certificate is entitled to it if he passes a written test on the regulations of this subpart and presents satisfactory documentary evidence that he—

  1. Is a member or civilian employee of an Armed Force of the United States, is a civilian employee of a regular armed force of a foreign country, or has, within the 12 months before he applies, been honorably discharged or released from any status covered by this paragraph;
  2. Is serving, or has served within the 12 months before he applies, as a parachute rigger for such an Armed Force; and
  3. Has the experience required by § 65.115(a).
Sec. 65.119: Master parachute rigger certificate: Experience, knowledge, and skill requirements copy link

An applicant for a master parachute rigger certificate must meet the following requirements:

  1. Present evidence satisfactory to the Administrator that he has had at least 3 years of experience as a parachute rigger and has satisfactorily packed at least 100 parachutes of each of two types in common use, in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions—
    1. While a certificated and appropriately rated senior parachute rigger; or
    2. While under the supervision of a certificated and appropriately rated parachute rigger or a person holding appropriate military ratings.

An applicant may combine experience specified in paragraphs

  1. (1) and (2) of this section to meet the requirements of this paragraph.
  2. If the applicant is not the holder of a senior parachute rigger certificate, pass a written test, with respect to parachutes in common use, on—
    1. Their construction, packing, and maintenance;
    2. The manufacturer’s instructions; and
    3. The regulations of this subpart.
  3. Pass an oral and practical test showing his ability to pack and maintain two types of parachutes in common use, appropriate to the type ratings he seeks.
Sec. 65.121: Type ratings copy link
  1. The following type ratings are issued under this subpart:
    1. Seat
    2. Back
    3. Chest
    4. Lap
  2. The holder of a senior parachute rigger certificate who qualifies for a master parachute rigger certificate is entitled to have placed on his master parachute rigger certificate the ratings that were on his senior parachute rigger certificate.
Sec. 65.123: Additional type ratings: Requirements copy link

A certificated parachute rigger who applies for an additional type rating must—

  1. Present evidence satisfactory to the Administrator that he has packed at least 20 parachutes of the type for which he seeks a rating, in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions and under the supervision of a certificated parachute rigger holding a rating for that type or a person holding an appropriate military rating; and
  2. Pass a practical test, to the satisfaction of the Administrator, showing his ability to pack and maintain the type of parachute for which he seeks a rating.
Sec. 65.125: Certificates: Privileges copy link
  1. A certificated senior parachute rigger may—
    1. Pack or maintain (except for major repair) any type of parachute for which he is rated; and
    2. Supervise other persons in packing any type of parachute for which that person is rated in accordance with § 105.43(a) or § 105.45(b)(1) of this chapter.
  2. A certificated master parachute rigger may—
    1. Pack, maintain, or alter any type of parachute for which he is rated; and
    2. Supervise other persons in packing, maintaining, or altering any type of parachute for which the certificated parachute rigger is rated in accordance with § 105.43(a) or § 105.45(b)(1) of this chapter.
  3. A certificated parachute rigger need not comply with §§ 65.127 through 65.133 (relating to facilities, equipment, performance standards, records, recent experience, and seal) in packing, maintaining, or altering (if authorized) the main parachute of a dual parachute pack to be used for intentional jumping.
Sec. 65.127: Facilities and equipment copy link

No certificated parachute rigger may exercise the privileges of his certificate unless he has at least the following facilities and equipment available to him:

  1. A smooth top table at least three feet wide by 40 feet long
  2. Suitable housing that is adequately heated, lighted, and ventilated for drying and airing parachutes
  3. Enough packing tools and other equipment to pack and maintain the types of parachutes that he services
  4. Adequate housing facilities to perform his duties and to protect his tools and equipment
Sec. 65.129 Performance standards copy link

No certificated parachute rigger may—

  1. Pack, maintain, or alter any parachute unless he is rated for that type;
  2. Pack a parachute that is not safe for emergency use;
  3. Pack a parachute that has not been thoroughly dried and aired;
  4. Alter a parachute in a manner that is not specifically authorized by the Administrator or the manufacturer;
  5. Pack, maintain, or alter a parachute in any manner that deviates from procedures approved by the Administrator or the manufacturer of the parachute; or
  6. Exercise the privileges of his certificate and type rating unless he understands the current manufacturer’s instructions for the operation involved and has—
    1. Performed duties under his certificate for at least 90 days within the preceding 12 months; or
    2. Shown the Administrator that he is able to perform those duties.
Sec. 65.131: Records copy link
  1. Each certificated parachute rigger shall keep a record of the packing, maintenance, and alteration of parachutes performed or supervised by him. He shall keep in that record, with respect to each parachute worked on, a statement of—
    1. Its type and make;
    2. Its serial number;
    3. The name and address of its owner;
    4. The kind and extent of the work performed;
    5. The date when and place where the work was performed; and
    6. The results of any drop tests made with it.
  2. Each person who makes a record under paragraph (a) of this section shall keep it for at least 2 years after the date it is made.
  3. Each certificated parachute rigger who packs a parachute shall write, on the parachute packing record attached to the parachute, the date and place of the packing and a notation of any defects he finds on inspection. He shall sign that record with his name and the number of his certificate.
Sec. 65.133: Seal copy link

Each certificated parachute rigger must have a seal with an identifying mark prescribed by the Administrator, and a seal press. After packing a parachute he shall seal the pack with his seal in accordance with the manufacturer’s recommendation for that type of parachute.

SUBCHAPTER F—Air Traffic and General Operating Rules

PART 91—General Operating and Flight Rules

Sec. 91.1: Applicability copy link

Source: Docket No. 18334, 54 FR 34292, Aug. 18, 1989, unless otherwise noted.

  1. Except as provided in paragraphs (b) and (c) of this section and Secs. 91.701 and 91.703, this part prescribes rules governing the operation of aircraft (other than moored balloons, kites, unmanned rockets, and unmanned free balloons, which are governed by part 101 of this chapter, and ultralight vehicles operated in accordance with part 103 of this chapter) within the United States, including the waters within 3 nautical miles of the U.S. coast.
  2. Each person operating an aircraft in the airspace overlying the waters between 3 and 12 nautical miles from the coast of the United States shall comply with Secs. 91.1 through 91.21; Secs. 91.101 through 91.143; Secs. 91.151 through 91.159; Secs. 91.167 through 91.193; Sec. 91.203; Sec. 91.205; Secs. 91.209 through 91.217; Sec. 91.221; Secs. 91.303 through 91.319; Sec. 91.323; Sec. 91.605; Sec. 91.609; Secs. 91.703 through 91.715; and 91.903.
  3. This part applies to each person on board an aircraft being operated under this part, unless otherwise specified.
Sec. 91.3: Responsibility and authority of the pilot in command copy link
  1. The pilot in command of an aircraft is directly responsible for, and is the final authority as to, the operation of that aircraft.
  2. In an in-flight emergency requiring immediate action, the pilot in command may deviate from any rule of this part to the extent required to meet that emergency.
  3. Each pilot in command who deviates from a rule under paragraph (b) of this section shall, upon the request of the Administrator, send a written report of that deviation to the Administrator.
Sec. 91.5: Pilot in command of aircraft requiring more than one required pilot copy link

No person may operate an aircraft that is type certificated for more than one required pilot flight crewmember unless the pilot in command meets the requirements of Sec. 61.58 of this chapter.

Sec. 91.7: Civil aircraft airworthiness copy link
  1. No person may operate a civil aircraft unless it is in an airworthy condition.
  2. 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 unairworthy mechanical, electrical, or structural conditions occur.
Sec. 91.11: Prohibition on interference with crewmembers copy link

No person may assault, threaten, intimidate, or interfere with a crewmember in the performance of the crewmember’s duties aboard an aircraft being operated.

Sec. 91.13: Careless or reckless operation copy link
  1. Aircraft operations for the purpose of air navigation. No person may operate an aircraft in a careless or reckless manner so as to endanger the life or property of another.
  2. Aircraft operations other than for the purpose of air navigation. No person may operate an aircraft, other than for the purpose of air navigation, on any part of the surface of an airport used by aircraft for air commerce (including areas used by those aircraft for receiving or discharging persons or cargo), in a careless or reckless manner so as to endanger the life or property of another.
Sec. 91.15 Dropping objects copy link

No pilot in command of a civil aircraft may allow any object to be dropped from that aircraft in flight that creates a hazard to persons or property. However, this section does not prohibit the dropping of any object if reasonable precautions are taken to avoid injury or damage to persons or property.

Sec. 91.17: Alcohol or drugs copy link
  1. No person may act or attempt to act as a crewmember of a civil aircraft—
    1. Within 8 hours after the consumption of any alcoholic beverage;
    2. While under the influence of alcohol;
    3. While using any drug that affects the person’s faculties in any way contrary to safety; or
    4. While having .04 percent by weight or more alcohol in the blood.
  2. Except in an emergency, no pilot of a civil aircraft may allow a person who appears to be intoxicated or who demonstrates by manner or physical indications that the individual is under the influence of drugs (except a medical patient under proper care) to be carried in that aircraft.
  3. A crewmember shall do the following:
    1. On request of a law enforcement officer, submit to a test to indicate the percentage by weight of alcohol in the blood, when—
      1. The law enforcement officer is authorized under State or local law to conduct the test or to have the test conducted; and
      2. The law enforcement officer is requesting submission to the test to investigate a suspected violation of State or local law governing the same or substantially similar conduct prohibited by paragraph (a)(1), (a)(2), or (a)(4) of this section.
    2. Whenever the Administrator has a reasonable basis to believe that a person may have violated paragraph (a)(1), (a)(2), or (a)(4) of this section, that person shall, upon request by the Administrator, furnish the Administrator, or authorize any clinic, hospital, doctor, or other person to release to the Administrator, the results of each test taken within 4 hours after acting or attempting to act as a crewmember that indicates percentage by weight of alcohol in the blood.
  4. Whenever the Administrator has a reasonable basis to believe that a person may have violated paragraph (a)(3) of this section, that person shall, upon request by the Administrator, furnish the Administrator, or authorize any clinic, hospital, doctor, or other person to release to the Administrator, the results of each test taken within 4 hours after acting or attempting to act as a crewmember that indicates the presence of any drugs in the body.
  5. Any test information obtained by the Administrator under paragraph (c) or (d) of this section may be evaluated in determining a person’s qualifications for any airman certificate or possible violations of this chapter and may be used as evidence in any legal proceeding under section 602, 609, or 901 of the Federal Aviation Act of 1958.
Sec. 91.19: Carriage of narcotic drugs, marihuana, and depressant or stimulant drugs or substances copy link
  1. Except as provided in paragraph (b) of this section, no person may operate a civil aircraft within the United States with knowledge that narcotic drugs, marihuana, and depressant or stimulant drugs or substances as defined in Federal or State statutes are carried in the aircraft.
  2. Paragraph (a) of this section does not apply to any carriage of narcotic drugs, marihuana, and depressant or stimulant drugs or substances authorized by or under any Federal or State statute or by any Federal or State agency.
Sec. 91.101: Applicability copy link

Source: Docket No. 18334, 54 FR 34294, Aug. 18, 1989, unless otherwise noted.

This subpart prescribes flight rules governing the operation of aircraft within the United States and within 12 nautical miles from the coast of the United States.

Sec. 91.103 Preflight action copy link

Each pilot in command shall, before beginning a flight, become familiar with all available information concerning that flight. This information must include—

  1. For a flight under IFR or a flight not in the vicinity of an airport, weather reports and forecasts, fuel requirements, alternatives available if the planned flight cannot be completed, and any known traffic delays of which the pilot in command has been advised by ATC;
  2. For any flight, runway lengths at airports of intended use, and the following takeoff and landing distance information:
    1. For civil aircraft for which an approved Airplane or Rotorcraft Flight Manual containing takeoff and landing distance data is required, the takeoff and landing distance data contained therein; and
    2. For civil aircraft other than those specified in paragraph (b)(1) of this section, other reliable information appropriate to the aircraft, relating to aircraft performance under expected values of airport elevation and runway slope, aircraft gross weight, and wind and temperature.
Sec. 91.107: Use of safety belts, shoulder harnesses, and child restraint systems copy link
  1. Unless otherwise authorized by the Administrator—
    1. No pilot may take off a U.S.-registered civil aircraft (except a free balloon that incorporates a basket or gondola, or an airship type certificated before November 2, 1987) unless the pilot in command of that aircraft ensures that each person on board is briefed on how to fasten and unfasten that person’s safety belt and, if installed, shoulder harness.
    2. No pilot may cause to be moved on the surface, take off, or land a U.S.-registered civil aircraft (except a free balloon that incorporates a basket or gondola, or an airship type certificated before November 2, 1987) unless the pilot in command of that aircraft ensures that each person on board has been notified to fasten his or her safety belt and, if installed, his or her shoulder harness.
    3. Except as provided in this paragraph, each person on board a U.S.-registered civil aircraft (except a free balloon that incorporates a basket or gondola or an airship type certificated before November 2, 1987) must occupy an approved seat or berth with a safety belt and, if installed, shoulder harness, properly secured about him or her during movement on the surface, takeoff, and landing. For seaplane and float equipped rotorcraft operations during movement on the surface, the person pushing off the seaplane or rotorcraft from the dock and the person mooring the seaplane or rotorcraft at the dock are excepted from the preceding seating and safety belt requirements. Notwithstanding the preceding requirements of this paragraph, a person may:
      1. Be held by an adult who is occupying an approved seat or berth, provided that the person being held has not reached his or her second birthday and does not occupy or use any restraining device;
      2. Use the floor of the aircraft as a seat, provided that the person is on board for the purpose of engaging in sport parachuting;
Sec. 91.111: Operating near other aircraft copy link
  1. No person may operate an aircraft so close to another aircraft as to create a collision hazard.
  2. No person may operate an aircraft in formation flight except by arrangement with the pilot in command of each aircraft in the formation.
  3. No person may operate an aircraft, carrying passengers for hire, in formation flight.
Sec. 91.113: Right-of-way rules: Except water operations copy link
  1. Inapplicability. This section does not apply to the operation of an aircraft on water.
  2. General. When weather conditions permit, regardless of whether an operation is conducted under instrument flight rules or visual flight rules, vigilance shall be maintained by each person operating an aircraft so as to see and avoid other aircraft. When a rule of this section gives another aircraft the right-of-way, the pilot shall give way to that aircraft and may not pass over, under, or ahead of it unless well clear.
  3. In distress. An aircraft in distress has the right-of-way over all other air traffic.
  4. Converging. When aircraft of the same category are converging at approximately the same altitude (except head-on, or nearly so), the aircraft to the other’s right has the right-of-way. If the aircraft are of different categories—
    1. A balloon has the right-of-way over any other category of aircraft;
    2. A glider has the right-of-way over an airship, airplane, or rotorcraft; and
    3. An airship has the right-of-way over an airplane or rotorcraft. However, an aircraft towing or refueling other aircraft has the right-of-way over all other engine-driven aircraft.
  5. Approaching head-on. When aircraft are approaching each other head-on, or nearly so, each pilot of each aircraft shall alter course to the right.
  6. Overtaking. Each aircraft that is being overtaken has the right-of-way and each pilot of an overtaking aircraft shall alter course to the right to pass well clear.
  7. Landing. Aircraft, while on final approach to land or while landing, have the right-of-way over other aircraft in flight or operating on the surface, except that they shall not take advantage of this rule to force an aircraft off the runway surface which has already landed and is attempting to make way for an aircraft on final approach. When two or more aircraft are approaching an airport for the purpose of landing, the aircraft at the lower altitude has the right-of-way, but it shall not take advantage of this rule to cut in front of another which is on final approach to land or to overtake that aircraft.
Sec. 91.119: Minimum safe altitudes: General copy link

Except when necessary for takeoff or landing, no person may operate an aircraft below the following altitudes:

  1. Anywhere. An altitude allowing, if a power unit fails, an emergency landing without undue hazard to persons or property on the surface.
  2. Over congested areas. Over any congested area of a city, town, or settlement, or over any open air assembly of persons, an altitude of 1,000 feet above the highest obstacle within a horizontal radius of 2,000 feet of the aircraft.
  3. Over other than congested areas. An altitude of 500 feet above the surface, except over open water or sparsely populated areas. In those cases, the aircraft may not be operated closer than 500 feet to any person, vessel, vehicle, or structure.
  4. Helicopters. Helicopters may be operated at less than the minimums prescribed in paragraph (b) or (c) of this section if the operation is conducted without hazard to persons or property on the surface. In addition, each person operating a helicopter shall comply with any routes or altitudes specifically prescribed for helicopters by the Administrator.
Sec. 91.126: Operating on or in the vicinity of an airport in Class G airspace copy link
  1. General. Unless otherwise authorized or required, each person operating an aircraft on or in the vicinity of an airport in a Class G airspace area must comply with the requirements of this section.
  2. Direction of turns. When approaching to land at an airport without an operating control tower in Class G airspace—
    1. Each pilot of an airplane must make all turns of that airplane to the left unless the airport displays approved light signals or visual markings indicating that turns should be made to the right, in which case the pilot must make all turns to the right; and
    2. Each pilot of a helicopter must avoid the flow of fixed-wing aircraft.
  3. Flap settings. Except when necessary for training or certification, the pilot in command of a civil turbojet-powered aircraft must use, as a final flap setting, the minimum certificated landing flap setting set forth in the approved performance information in the Airplane Flight Manual for the applicable conditions. However, each pilot in command has the final authority and responsibility for the safe operation of the pilot’s airplane, and may use a different flap setting for that airplane if the pilot determines that it is necessary in the interest of safety.
  4. Communications with control towers. Unless otherwise authorized or required by ATC, no person may operate an aircraft to, from, through, or on an airport having an operational control tower unless two-way radio communications are maintained between that aircraft and the control tower. Communications must be established prior to 4 nautical miles from the airport, up to and including 2,500 feet AGL. However, if the aircraft radio fails in flight, the pilot in command may operate that aircraft and land if weather conditions are at or above basic VFR weather minimums, visual contact with the tower is maintained, and a clearance to land is received. If the aircraft radio fails while in flight under IFR, the pilot must comply with Sec. 91.185.
Sec. 91.127 Operating on or in the vicinity of an airport in Class E airspace copy link
  1. Unless otherwise required by part 93 of this chapter or unless otherwise authorized or required by the ATC facility having jurisdiction over the Class E airspace area, each person operating an aircraft on or in the vicinity of an airport in a Class E airspace area must comply with the requirements of Sec. 91.126.
  2. Departures. Each pilot of an aircraft must comply with any traffic patterns established for that airport in part 93 of this chapter.
  3. Communications with control towers. Unless otherwise authorized or required by ATC, no person may operate an aircraft to, from, through, or on an airport having an operational control tower unless two-way radio communications are maintained between that aircraft and the control tower. Communications must be established prior to 4 nautical miles from the airport, up to and including 2,500 feet AGL. However, if the aircraft radio fails in flight, the pilot in command may operate that aircraft and land if weather conditions are at or above basic VFR weather minimums, visual contact with the tower is maintained, and a clearance to land is received. If the aircraft radio fails while in flight under IFR, the pilot must comply with Sec. 91.185.
Sec. 91.151 Fuel requirements for flight in VFR conditions copy link
  1. No person may begin a flight in an airplane under VFR conditions unless (considering wind and forecast weather conditions) there is enough fuel to fly to the first point of intended landing and, assuming normal cruising speed—
    1. During the day, to fly after that for at least 30 minutes; or
    2. At night, to fly after that for at least 45 minutes.
  2. No person may begin a flight in a rotorcraft under VFR conditions unless (considering wind and forecast weather conditions) there is enough fuel to fly to the first point of intended landing and, assuming normal cruising speed, to fly after that for at least 20 minutes.
Sec. 91.155: Basic VFR weather minimums copy link
  1. Except as provided in paragraph (b) of this section and Sec. 91.157, no person may operate an aircraft under VFR when the flight visibility is less, or at a distance from clouds that is less, than that prescribed for the corresponding altitude and class of airspace in the following table:

  2. Class G Airspace. Notwithstanding the provisions of paragraph (a) of this section, the following operations may be conducted in Class G airspace below 1,200 feet above the surface:
    1. Helicopter. A helicopter may be operated clear of clouds if operated at a speed that allows the pilot adequate opportunity to see any air traffic or obstruction in time to avoid a collision.
    2. Airplane. When the visibility is less than 3 statute miles but not less than 1 statute mile during night hours, an airplane may be operated clear of clouds if operated in an airport traffic pattern within one-half mile of the runway.
  3. Except as provided in Sec. 91.157, no person may operate an aircraft beneath the ceiling under VFR within the lateral boundaries of controlled airspace designated to the surface for an airport when the ceiling is less than 1,000 feet.
  4. Except as provided in Sec. 91.157 of this part, no person may take off or land an aircraft, or enter the traffic pattern of an airport, under VFR, within the lateral boundaries of the surface areas of Class B, Class C, Class D, or Class E airspace designated for an airport—
    1. Unless ground visibility at that airport is at least 3 statute miles; or
    2. If ground visibility is not reported at that airport, unless flight visibility during landing or takeoff, or while operating in the traffic pattern is at least 3 statute miles.
  5. For the purpose of this section, an aircraft operating at the base altitude of a Class E airspace area is considered to be within the airspace directly below that area.
Sec. 91.211: Supplemental oxygen copy link
  1. General. No person may operate a civil aircraft of U.S. registry—
    1. At cabin pressure altitudes above 12,500 feet (MSL) up to and including 14,000 feet (MSL) unless the required minimum flight crew is provided with and uses supplemental oxygen for that part of the flight at those altitudes that is of more than 30 minutes duration;
    2. At cabin pressure altitudes above 14,000 feet (MSL) unless the required minimum flight crew is provided with and uses supplemental oxygen during the entire flight time at those altitudes; and
    3. At cabin pressure altitudes above 15,000 feet (MSL) unless each occupant of the aircraft is provided with supplemental oxygen.
Sec. 91.215: ATC transponder and altitude reporting equipment and use. copy link
  1. All airspace: U.S.-registered civil aircraft. For operations not conducted under part 121 or 135 of this chapter, ATC transponder equipment installed must meet the performance and environmental requirements of any class of TSO-C74b (Mode A) or any class of TSO-C74c (Mode A with altitude reporting capability) as appropriate, or the appropriate class of TSO-C112 (Mode S).
  2. All airspace. Unless otherwise authorized or directed by ATC, no person may operate an aircraft in the airspace described in paragraphs (b)(1) through (b)(5) of this section, unless that aircraft is equipped with an operable coded radar beacon transponder having either Mode 3/A 4096 code capability, replying to Mode 3/A interrogations with the code specified by ATC, or a Mode S capability, replying to Mode 3/A interrogations with the code specified by ATC and intermode and Mode S interrogations in accordance with the applicable provisions specified in TSO C-112, and that aircraft is equipped with automatic pressure altitude reporting equipment having a Mode C capability that automatically replies to Mode C interrogations by transmitting pressure altitude information in 100-foot increments. This requirement applies—
    1. All aircraft. In Class A, Class B, and Class C airspace areas;
    2. All aircraft. In all airspace within 30 nautical miles of an airport listed in appendix D, section 1 of this part from the surface upward to 10,000 feet MSL;
    3. Notwithstanding paragraph (b)(2) of this section, any aircraft which was not originally certificated with an engine-driven electrical system or which has not subsequently been certified with such a system installed, balloon or glider may conduct operations in the airspace within 30 nautical miles of an airport listed in appendix D, section 1 of this part provided such operations are conducted—
      1. Outside any Class A, Class B, or Class C airspace area; and
      2. Below the altitude of the ceiling of a Class B or Class C airspace area designated for an airport or 10,000 feet MSL, whichever is lower; and
    4. All aircraft in all airspace above the ceiling and within the lateral boundaries of a Class B or Class C airspace area designated for an airport upward to 10,000 feet MSL; and
    5. All aircraft except any aircraft which was not originally certificated with an engine-driven electrical system or which has not subsequently been certified with such a system installed, balloon, or glider—
      1. In all airspace of the 48 contiguous states and the District of Columbia at and above 10,000 feet MSL, excluding the airspace at and below 2,500 feet above the surface; and
      2. In the airspace from the surface to 10,000 feet MSL within a 10-nautical-mile radius of any airport listed in appendix D, section 2 of this part, excluding the airspace below 1,200 feet outside of the lateral boundaries of the surface area of the airspace designated for that airport.
  3. Transponder-on operation. While in the airspace as specified in paragraph (b) of this section or in all controlled airspace, each person operating an aircraft equipped with an operable ATC transponder maintained in accordance with §91.413 of this part shall operate the transponder, including Mode C equipment if installed, and shall reply on the appropriate code or as assigned by ATC, unless otherwise directed by ATC when transmitting would jeopardize the safe execution of air traffic control functions.
  4. ATC authorized deviations. Requests for ATC authorized deviations must be made to the ATC facility having jurisdiction over the concerned airspace within the time periods specified as follows:
    1. For operation of an aircraft with an operating transponder but without operating automatic pressure altitude reporting equipment having a Mode C capability, the request may be made at any time.
    2. For operation of an aircraft with an inoperative transponder to the airport of ultimate destination, including any intermediate stops, or to proceed to a place where suitable repairs can be made or both, the request may be made at any time.
    3. For operation of an aircraft that is not equipped with a transponder, the request must be made at least one hour before the proposed operation.
Sec. 91.223: Terrain awareness and warning system copy link
  1. Airplanes manufactured after March 29, 2002. Except as provided in paragraph (d) of this section, no person may operate a turbine-powered U.S.-registered airplane configured with six or more passenger seats, excluding any pilot seat, unless that airplane is equipped with an approved terrain awareness and warning system that as a minimum meets the requirements for Class B equipment in Technical Standard Order (TSO)–C151.
  2. Airplanes manufactured on or before March 29, 2002. Except as provided in paragraph (d) of this section, no person may operate a turbine-powered U.S.-registered airplane configured with six or more passenger seats, excluding any pilot seat, after March 29, 2005, unless that airplane is equipped with an approved terrain awareness and warning system that as a minimum meets the requirements for Class B equipment in Technical Standard Order (TSO)-C151. (Approved by the Office of Management and Budget under control number 2120-0631)
  3. Airplane Flight Manual. The Airplane Flight Manual shall contain appropriate procedures for—
    1. The use of the terrain awareness and warning system; and
    2. Proper flight crew reaction in response to the terrain awareness and warning system audio and visual warnings.
  4. Exceptions. Paragraphs (a) and (b) of this section do not apply to—
    1. Parachuting operations when conducted entirely within a 50 nautical mile radius of the airport from which such local flight operations began.
Sec. 91.225: Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) Out equipment and use copy link
  1. After January 1, 2020, and unless otherwise authorized by ATC, no person may operate an aircraft in Class A airspace unless the aircraft has equipment installed that—
    1. Meets the performance requirements in TSO-C166b, Extended Squitter Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) and Traffic Information Service-Broadcast (TIS-B) Equipment Operating on the Radio Frequency of 1090 Megahertz (MHz); and
    2. Meets the requirements of §91.227.
  2. After January 1, 2020, and unless otherwise authorized by ATC, no person may operate an aircraft below 18,000 feet MSL and in airspace described in paragraph (d) of this section unless the aircraft has equipment installed that—
    1. Meets the performance requirements in—
      1. TSO-C166b; or
      2. TSO-C154c, Universal Access Transceiver (UAT) Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) Equipment Operating on the Frequency of 978 MHz;
    2. Meets the requirements of §91.227.
  3. Operators with equipment installed with an approved deviation under §21.618 of this chapter also are in compliance with this section.
  4. After January 1, 2020, and unless otherwise authorized by ATC, no person may operate an aircraft in the following airspace unless the aircraft has equipment installed that meets the requirements in paragraph (b) of this section:
    1. Class B and Class C airspace areas;
    2. Except as provided for in paragraph (e) of this section, within 30 nautical miles of an airport listed in appendix D, section 1 to this part from the surface upward to 10,000 feet MSL;
    3. Above the ceiling and within the lateral boundaries of a Class B or Class C airspace area designated for an airport upward to 10,000 feet MSL;
    4. Except as provided in paragraph (e) of this section, Class E airspace within the 48 contiguous states and the District of Columbia at and above 10,000 feet MSL, excluding the airspace at and below 2,500 feet above the surface; and
    5. Class E airspace at and above 3,000 feet MSL over the Gulf of Mexico from the coastline of the United States out to 12 nautical miles.
  5. The requirements of paragraph (b) of this section do not apply to any aircraft that was not originally certificated with an electrical system, or that has not subsequently been certified with such a system installed, including balloons and gliders. These aircraft may conduct operations without ADS-B Out in the airspace specified in paragraphs (d)(2) and (d)(4) of this section. Operations authorized by this section must be conducted—
    1. Outside any Class B or Class C airspace area; and
    2. Below the altitude of the ceiling of a Class B or Class C airspace area designated for an airport, or 10,000 feet MSL, whichever is lower.
  6. Each person operating an aircraft equipped with ADS-B Out must operate this equipment in the transmit mode at all times unless—
    1. Otherwise authorized by the FAA when the aircraft is performing a sensitive government mission for national defense, homeland security, intelligence or law enforcement purposes and transmitting would compromise the operations security of the mission or pose a safety risk to the aircraft, crew, or people and property in the air or on the ground; or
    2. Otherwise directed by ATC when transmitting would jeopardize the safe execution of air traffic control functions.
  7. Requests for ATC authorized deviations from the requirements of this section must be made to the ATC facility having jurisdiction over the concerned airspace within the time periods specified as follows:
    1. For operation of an aircraft with an inoperative ADS-B Out, to the airport of ultimate destination, including any intermediate stops, or to proceed to a place where suitable repairs can be made or both, the request may be made at any time.
    2. For operation of an aircraft that is not equipped with ADS-B Out, the request must be made at least 1 hour before the proposed operation.
Sec. 91.307: Parachutes and parachuting copy link
  1. No pilot of a civil aircraft may allow a parachute that is available for emergency use to be carried in that aircraft unless it is an approved type and—
    1. If a chair type (canopy in back), it has been packed by a certificated and appropriately rated parachute rigger within the preceding 180 days; or
    2. If any other type, it has been packed by a certificated and rated parachute rigger—
      1. Within the preceding 180 days, if its canopy, shrouds, and harness are composed exclusively of nylon, rayon, or other similar synthetic fiber or materials that are substantially resistant to damage from mold, mildew, or other fungi and other rotting agents propagated in a moist environment; or
      2. Within the preceding 60 days, if any part of the parachute is composed of silk, pongee, or other natural fiber, or materials not specified in paragraph (a)(2)(i) of this section.
  2. Except in an emergency, no pilot in command may allow, and no person may conduct, a parachute operation from an aircraft within the United States except in accordance with part 105 of this chapter.
  3. Unless each occupant of the aircraft is wearing an approved parachute, no pilot of a civil aircraft carrying any person (other than a crewmember) may execute any intentional maneuver that exceeds—
    1. A bank of 60 degrees relative to the horizon; or
    2. A nose-up or nose-down attitude of 30 degrees relative to the horizon.
  4. Paragraph (c) of this section does not apply to—
    1. Flight tests for pilot certification or rating; or
    2. Spins and other flight maneuvers required by the regulations for any certificate or rating when given by—
      1. A certificated flight instructor; or
      2. An airline transport pilot instructing in accordance with Sec. 61.67 of this chapter.
  5. For the purposes of this section, approved parachute means—
    1. A parachute manufactured under a type certificate or a technical standard order (C-23 series); or
    2. A personnel-carrying military parachute identified by an NAF, AAF, or AN drawing number, an AAF order number, or any other military designation or specification number.
Sec. 91.403: General copy link
  1. The owner or operator of an aircraft is primarily responsible for maintaining that aircraft in an airworthy condition, including compliance with part 39 of this chapter.
  2. No person may perform maintenance, preventive maintenance, or alterations on an aircraft other than as prescribed in this subpart and other applicable regulations, including part 43 of this chapter.
  3. No person may operate an aircraft for which a manufacturer’s maintenance manual or instructions for continued airworthiness has been issued that contains an airworthiness limitations section unless the mandatory replacement times, inspection intervals, and related procedures specified in that section or alternative inspection intervals and related procedures set forth in an operations specification approved by the Administrator under part 121 or 135 of this chapter or in accordance with an inspection program approved under § 91.409(e) have been complied with.
Sec. 91.409: Inspections copy link
  1. Except as provided in paragraph (c) of this section, no person may operate an aircraft unless, within the preceding 12 calendar months, it has had—
    1. An annual inspection in accordance with part 43 of this chapter and has been approved for return to service by a person authorized by § 43.7 of this chapter; or
    2. An inspection for the issuance of an airworthiness certificate in accordance with part 21 of this chapter.

No inspection performed under paragraph (b) of this section may be substituted for any inspection required by this paragraph unless it is performed by a person authorized to perform annual inspections and is entered as an “annual” inspection in the required maintenance records.

  1. Except as provided in paragraph (c) of this section, no person may operate an aircraft carrying any person (other than a crewmember) for hire, and no person may give flight instruction for hire in an aircraft which that person provides, unless within the preceding 100 hours of time in service the aircraft has received an annual or 100-hour inspection and been approved for return to service in accordance with part 43 of this chapter or has received an inspection for the issuance of an airworthiness certificate in accordance with part 21 of this chapter. The 100-hour limitation may be exceeded by not more than 10 hours while en route to reach a place where the inspection can be done. The excess time used to reach a place where the inspection can be done must be included in computing the next 100 hours of time in service.
  2. Paragraphs (a) and (b) of this section do not apply to—
    1. An aircraft that carries a special flight permit, a current experimental certificate, or a light-sport or provisional airworthiness certificate;
    2. An aircraft inspected in accordance with an approved aircraft inspection program under part 125 or 135 of this chapter and so identified by the registration number in the operations specifications of the certificate holder having the approved inspection program;
    3. An aircraft subject to the requirements of paragraph (d) or (e) of this section; or
    4. Turbine-powered rotorcraft when the operator elects to inspect that rotorcraft in accordance with paragraph (e) of this section.
  3. Progressive inspection. Each registered owner or operator of an aircraft desiring to use a progressive inspection program must submit a written request to the responsible Flight Standards office, and shall provide—
    1. A certificated mechanic holding an inspection authorization, a certificated airframe repair station, or the manufacturer of the aircraft to supervise or conduct the progressive inspection;
    2. A current inspection procedures manual available and readily understandable to pilot and maintenance personnel containing, in detail—
      1. An explanation of the progressive inspection, including the continuity of inspection responsibility, the making of reports, and the keeping of records and technical reference material;
      2. An inspection schedule, specifying the intervals in hours or days when routine and detailed inspections will be performed and including instructions for exceeding an inspection interval by not more than 10 hours while en route and for changing an inspection interval because of service experience;
      3. Sample routine and detailed inspection forms and instructions for their use; and
      4. Sample reports and records and instructions for their use;
    3. Enough housing and equipment for necessary disassembly and proper inspection of the aircraft; and
    4. Appropriate current technical information for the aircraft.

The frequency and detail of the progressive inspection shall provide for the complete inspection of the aircraft within each 12 calendar months and be consistent with the manufacturer’s recommendations, field service experience, and the kind of operation in which the aircraft is engaged. The progressive inspection schedule must ensure that the aircraft, at all times, will be airworthy and will conform to all applicable FAA aircraft specifications, type certificate data sheets, airworthiness directives, and other approved data. If the progressive inspection is discontinued, the owner or operator shall immediately notify the responsible Flight Standards office, in writing, of the discontinuance.

  1. Large airplanes (to which part 125 is not applicable), turbojet multiengine airplanes, turbopropeller-powered multiengine airplanes, and turbine-powered rotorcraft. No person may operate a large airplane, turbojet multiengine airplane, turbopropeller-powered multiengine airplane, or turbine-powered rotorcraft unless the replacement times for life-limited parts specified in the aircraft specifications, type data sheets, or other documents approved by the Administrator are complied with and the airplane or turbine-powered rotorcraft, including the airframe, engines, propellers, rotors, appliances, survival equipment, and emergency equipment, is inspected in accordance with an inspection program selected under the provisions of paragraph (f) of this section, except that, the owner or operator of a turbine-powered rotorcraft may elect to use the inspection provisions of § 91.409(a), (b), (c), or (d) in lieu of an inspection option of § 91.409(f).
  2. Selection of inspection program under paragraph (e) of this section. The registered owner or operator of each airplane or turbine-powered rotorcraft described in paragraph (e) of this section must select, identify in the aircraft maintenance records, and use one of the following programs for the inspection of the aircraft:
    1. A continuous airworthiness inspection program that is part of a continuous airworthiness maintenance program currently in use by a person holding an air carrier operating certificate or an operating certificate issued under part 121 or 135 of this chapter and operating that make and model aircraft under part 121 of this chapter or operating that make and model under part 135 of this chapter and maintaining it under § 135.411(a)(2) of this chapter.
    2. An approved aircraft inspection program approved under § 135.419 of this chapter and currently in use by a person holding an operating certificate issued under part 135 of this chapter.
    3. A current inspection program recommended by the manufacturer.
    4. Any other inspection program established by the registered owner or operator of that airplane or turbine-powered rotorcraft and approved by the Administrator under paragraph (g) of this section. However, the Administrator may require revision of this inspection program in accordance with the provisions of § 91.415.

Each operator shall include in the selected program the name and address of the person responsible for scheduling the inspections required by the program and make a copy of that program available to the person performing inspections on the aircraft and, upon request, to the Administrator.

  1. Inspection program approved under paragraph (e) of this section. Each operator of an airplane or turbine-powered rotorcraft desiring to establish or change an approved inspection program under paragraph (f)(4) of this section must submit the program for approval to the responsible Flight Standards office. The program must be in writing and include at least the following information:
    1. Instructions and procedures for the conduct of inspections for the particular make and model airplane or turbine-powered rotorcraft, including necessary tests and checks. The instructions and procedures must set forth in detail the parts and areas of the airframe, engines, propellers, rotors, and appliances, including survival and emergency equipment required to be inspected.
    2. A schedule for performing the inspections that must be performed under the program expressed in terms of the time in service, calendar time, number of system operations, or any combination of these.
  2. Changes from one inspection program to another. When an operator changes from one inspection program under paragraph (f) of this section to another, the time in service, calendar times, or cycles of operation accumulated under the previous program must be applied in determining inspection due times under the new program.

PART 105—Parachute Operations

Sec. 105.1 Applicability copy link
  1. Except as provided in paragraphs (b) and (c) of this section, this part prescribes rules governing parachute operations conducted in the United States.
  2. This part does not apply to a parachute operation conducted—
    1. In response to an in-flight emergency, or
    2. To meet an emergency on the surface when it is conducted at the direction or with the approval of an agency of the United States, or of a State, Puerto Rico, the District of Columbia, or a possession of the United States, or an agency or political subdivision thereof.
  3. Sections 105.5, 105.9, 105.13, 105.15, 105.17, 105.19 through 105.23, 105.25(a)(1) and 105.27 of this part do not apply to a parachute operation conducted by a member of an Armed Force—
    1. Over or within a restricted area when that area is under the control of an Armed Force.
    2. During military operations in uncontrolled airspace.
Sec. 105.3 Definitions copy link

For the purposes of this part—

Approved parachute  means a parachute manufactured under a type certificate or a Technical Standard Order (C-23 series), or a personnel-carrying U.S. military parachute (other than a high altitude, high speed, or ejection type) identified by a Navy Air Facility, an Army Air Field, and Air Force-Navy drawing number, an Army Air Field order number, or any other military designation or specification number.

Automatic Activation Device  means a self-contained mechanical or electro-mechanical device that is attached to the interior of the reserve parachute container, which automatically initiates parachute deployment of the reserve parachute at a pre-set altitude, time, percentage of terminal velocity, or combination thereof.

Direct Supervision  means that a certificated rigger personally observes a non-certificated person packing a main parachute to the extent necessary to ensure that it is being done properly, and takes responsibility for that packing.

Drop Zone  means any pre-determined area upon which parachutists or objects land after making an intentional parachute jump or drop. The center-point target of a drop zone is expressed in nautical miles from the nearest VOR facility when 30 nautical miles or less; or from the nearest airport, town, or city depicted on the appropriate Coast and Geodetic Survey World Aeronautical Chart or Sectional Aeronautical Chart, when the nearest VOR facility is more than 30 nautical miles from the drop zone.

Foreign parachutist  means a parachutist who is neither a U.S. citizen or a resident alien and is participating in parachute operations within the United States using parachute equipment not manufactured in the United States.

Freefall  means the portion of a parachute jump or drop between aircraft exit and parachute deployment in which the parachute is activated manually by the parachutist at the parachutist’s discretion or automatically, or, in the case of an object, is activated automatically.

Main parachute  means a parachute worn as the primary parachute used or intended to be used in conjunction with a reserve parachute.

Object  means any item other than a person that descends to the surface from an aircraft in flight when a parachute is used or is intended to be used during all or part of the descent.

Parachute drop  means the descent of an object to the surface from an aircraft in flight when a parachute is used or intended to be used during all or part of that descent.

Parachute jump  means a parachute operation that involves the descent of one or more persons to the surface from an aircraft in flight when an aircraft is used or intended to be used during all or part of that descent.

*editor’s note: It is assumed that the FAA intended to say “… from an aircraft in flight when a parachute is used or intended to be used during all or part of that descent.”

Parachute operation  means the performance of all activity for the purpose of, or in support of, a parachute jump or a parachute drop. This parachute operation can involve, but is not limited to, the following persons: parachutist, parachutist in command and passenger in tandem parachute operations, drop zone or owner or operator, jump master, certificated parachute rigger, or pilot.

Parachutist  means a person who intends to exit an aircraft while in flight using a single-harness, dual parachute system to descend to the surface.

Parachutist in command  means the person responsible for the operation and safety of a tandem parachute operation.

Passenger parachutist  means a person who boards an aircraft, acting as other than the parachutist in command of a tandem parachute operation, with the intent of exiting [sic] the aircraft while in-flight using the forward harness of a dual harness tandem parachute system to descend to the surface.

Pilot chute  means a small parachute used to initiate and/or accelerate deployment of a main or reserve parachute.

Ram-air parachute  means a parachute with a canopy consisting of an upper and lower surface that is inflated by ram air entering through specially designed openings in the front of the canopy to form a gliding airfoil.

Reserve parachute  means an approved parachute worn for emergency use to be activated only upon failure of the main parachute or in any other emergency where use of the main parachute is impractical or use of the main parachute would increase risk.

Single-harness, dual parachute system  means the combination of a main parachute, approved reserve parachute, and approved single-person harness and dual-parachute container. This parachute system may have an operational automatic activation device installed.

Tandem parachute operation  means a parachute operation in which more than one person simultaneously uses the same tandem parachute system while descending to the surface from an aircraft in flight.

Tandem parachute system  means the combination of a main parachute, approved reserve parachute, and approved harness and dual parachute container, and a separate approved forward harness for a passenger parachutist. This parachute system must have an operational automatic activation device installed.

 

Sec. 105.5 General copy link

No person may conduct a parachute operation, and no pilot in command of an aircraft may allow a parachute operation to be conducted from an aircraft, if that operation creates a hazard to air traffic or to persons or property on the surface.

Sec. 105.7 Use of alcohol and drugs copy link

No person may conduct a parachute operation, and no pilot in command of an aircraft may allow a person to conduct a parachute operation from that aircraft, if that person is or appears to be under the influence of—

  1. Alcohol, or
  2. Any drug that affects that person’s faculties in any way contrary to safety.
Sec. 105.9 Inspections copy link

The Administrator may inspect any parachute operation to which this part applies (including inspections at the site where the parachute operation is being conducted) to determine compliance with the regulations of this part.

Sec. 105.13 Radio equipment and use requirements copy link
  1. Except when otherwise authorized by air traffic control—
    1. No person may conduct a parachute operation, and no pilot in command of an aircraft may allow a parachute operation to be conducted from that aircraft, in or into controlled airspace unless, during that flight—
      1. The aircraft is equipped with a functioning two-way radio communication system appropriate to the air traffic control facilities being used; and
      2. Radio communications have been established between the aircraft and the air traffic control facility having jurisdiction over the affected airspace of the first intended exit altitude at least 5 minutes before the parachute operation begins. The pilot in command must establish radio communications to receive information regarding air traffic activity in the vicinity of the parachute operation.
    2. The pilot in command of an aircraft used for any parachute operation in or into controlled airspace must, during each flight—
      1. Continuously monitor the appropriate frequency of the aircraft’s radio communications system from the time radio communications are first established between the aircraft and air traffic control, until the pilot advises air traffic control that the parachute operation has ended for that flight.
      2. Advise air traffic control when the last parachutist or object leaves the aircraft.
  2. Parachute operations must be aborted if, prior to receipt of a required air traffic control authorization, or during any parachute operation in or into controlled airspace, the required radio communications system is or becomes inoperative.
Sec. 105.15 Information required and notice of cancellation or postponement of a parachute operation copy link
  1. Each person requesting an authorization under Secs. 105.21(b) and 105.25(a)(2) of this part and each person submitting a notification under Sec. 105.25(a)(3) of this part must provide the following information (on an individual or group basis):
    1. The date and time the parachute operation will begin.
    2. The radius of the drop zone around the target expressed in nautical miles.
    3. The location of the center of the drop zone in relation to—
      1. The nearest VOR facility in terms of the VOR radial on which it is located and its distance in nautical miles from the VOR facility when that facility is 30 nautical miles or less from the drop zone target; or
      2. The nearest airport, town, or city depicted on the appropriate Coast and Geodetic Survey World Aeronautical Chart or Sectional Aeronautical Chart, when the nearest VOR facility is more than 30 nautical miles from the drop zone target.
    4. Each altitude above mean sea level at which the aircraft will be operated when parachutists or objects exit the aircraft.
    5. The duration of the intended parachute operation.
    6. The name, address, and telephone number of the person who requests the authorization or gives notice of the parachute operation.
    7. The registration number of the aircraft to be used.
    8. The name of the air traffic control facility with jurisdiction of the airspace at the first intended exit altitude to be used for the parachute operation.
  2. Each holder of a certificate of authorization issued under Secs. 105.21(b) and 105.25(b) of this part must present that certificate for inspection upon the request of the Administrator or any Federal, State, or local official.
  3. Each person requesting an authorization under Secs. 105.21(b) and 105.25(a)(2) of this part and each person submitting a notice under Sec. 105.25(a)(3) of this part must promptly notify the air traffic control facility having jurisdiction over the affected airspace if the proposed or scheduled parachute operation is canceled or postponed.
Sec. 105.17 Flight visibility and clearance from cloud requirements copy link

No person may conduct a parachute operation, and no pilot in command of an aircraft may allow a parachute operation to be conducted from that aircraft—

  1. Into or through a cloud, or
  2. When the flight visibility or the distance from any cloud is less than that prescribed in the following table:

Sec. 105.19 Parachute operations between sunset and sunrise copy link
  1. No person may conduct a parachute operation, and no pilot in command of an aircraft may allow a person to conduct a parachute operation from an aircraft between sunset and sunrise, unless the person or object descending from the aircraft displays a light that is visible for at least 3 statute miles.
  2. The light required by paragraph (a) of this section must be displayed from the time that the person or object is under a properly functioning open parachute until that person or object reaches the surface.
Sec. 105.21 Parachute operations over or into a congested area or an open-air assembly of persons
  1. No person may conduct a parachute operation, and no pilot in command of an aircraft may allow a parachute operation to be conducted from that aircraft, over or into a congested area of a city, town, or settlement, or an open-air assembly of persons unless a certificate of authorization for that parachute operation has been issued under this section. However, a parachutist may drift over a congested area or an open-air assembly of persons with a fully deployed and properly functioning parachute if that parachutist is at a sufficient altitude to avoid creating a hazard to persons or property on the surface.
  2. An application for a certificate of authorization issued under this section must—
    1. Be made in the form and manner prescribed by the Administrator, and
    2. Contain the information required in Sec. 105.15(a) of this part.
  3. Each holder of, and each person named as a participant in a certificate of authorization issued under this section must comply with all requirements contained in the certificate of authorization.
  4. Each holder of a certificate of authorization issued under this section must present that certificate for inspection upon the request of the Administrator, or any Federal, State, or local official.
Sec. 105.23 Parachute operations over or onto airports copy link

No person may conduct a parachute operation, and no pilot in command of an aircraft may allow a parachute operation to be conducted from that aircraft, over or onto any airport unless—

  1. For airports with an operating control tower:
    1. Prior approval has been obtained from the management of the airport to conduct parachute operations over or on that airport.
    2. Approval has been obtained from the control tower to conduct parachute operations over or onto that airport.
    3. Two-way radio communications are maintained between the pilot of the aircraft involved in the parachute operation and the control tower of the airport over or onto which the parachute operation is being conducted.
  2. For airports without an operating control tower, prior approval has been obtained from the management of the airport to conduct parachute operations over or on that airport.
  3. A parachutist may drift over that airport with a fully deployed and properly functioning parachute if the parachutist is at least 2,000 feet above that airport’s traffic pattern, and avoids creating a hazard to air traffic or to persons and property on the ground.
Sec. 105.25 Parachute operations in designated airspace copy link
  1. No person may conduct a parachute operation, and no pilot in command of an aircraft may allow a parachute operation to be conducted from that aircraft—
    1. Over or within a restricted area or prohibited area unless the controlling agency of the area concerned has authorized that parachute operation;
    2. Within or into a Class A, B, C, D airspace area without, or in violation of the requirements of, an air traffic control authorization issued under this section;
    3. Except as provided in paragraph (c) and (d) of this section, within or into Class E or G airspace area unless the air traffic control facility having jurisdiction over the airspace at the first intended exit altitude is notified of the parachute operation no earlier than 24 hours before or no later than 1 hour before the parachute operation begins.
  2. Each request for a parachute operation authorization or notification required under this section must be submitted to the air traffic control facility having jurisdiction over the airspace at the first intended exit altitude and must include the information prescribed by Sec. 105.15(a) of this part.
  3. For the purposes of paragraph (a)(3) of this section, air traffic control facilities may accept a written notification from an organization that conducts parachute operations and lists the scheduled series of parachute operations to be conducted over a stated period of time not longer than 12 calendar months. The notification must contain the information prescribed by Sec. 105.15(a) of this part, identify the responsible persons associated with that parachute operation, and be submitted at least 15 days, but not more than 30 days, before the parachute operation begins. The FAA may revoke the acceptance of the notification for any failure of the organization conducting the parachute operations to comply with its requirements.
  4. Paragraph (a)(3) of this section does not apply to a parachute operation conducted by a member of an Armed Force within a restricted area that extends upward from the surface when that area is under the control of an Armed Force.
Sec. 105.41 Applicability copy link

This subpart prescribed rules governing parachute equipment used in civil parachute operations.

Sec. 105.43 Use of single-harness, dual-parachute systems copy link

No person may conduct a parachute operation using a single-harness, dual-parachute system, and no pilot in command of an aircraft may allow any person to conduct a parachute operation from that aircraft using a single-harness, dual-parachute system, unless that system has at least one main parachute, one approved reserve parachute, and one approved single person harness and container that are packed as follows:

  1. The main parachute must have been packed within 180 days before the date of its use by a certificated parachute rigger, the person making the next jump with that parachute, or a non-certificated person under the direct supervision of a certificated parachute rigger.
  2. The reserve parachute must have been packed by a certificated parachute rigger—
    1. Within 180 days before the date of its use, if its canopy, shroud, and harness are composed exclusively of nylon, rayon, or similar synthetic fiber or material that is substantially resistant to damage from mold, mildew, and other fungi, and other rotting agents propagated in a moist environment; or
    2. Within 60 days before the date of its use, if it is composed of any amount of silk, pongee, or other natural fiber, or material not specified in paragraph (b)(1) of this section.
  3. If installed, the automatic activation device must be maintained in accordance with manufacturer instructions for that automatic activation device.
Sec. 105.45 Use of tandem parachute systems copy link
  1. No person may conduct a parachute operation using a tandem parachute system, and no pilot in command of an aircraft may allow any person to conduct a parachute operation from that aircraft using a tandem parachute system, unless—
    1. One of the parachutists using the tandem parachute system is the parachutist in command, and meets the following requirements:
      1. Has a minimum of 3 years of experience in parachuting, and must provide documentation that the parachutist—
      2. Has completed a minimum of 500 freefall parachute jumps using a ram-air parachute, and
      3. Holds a master parachute license issued by an organization recognized by the FAA, and
      4. Has successfully completed a tandem instructor course given by the manufacturer of the tandem parachute system used in the parachute operation or a course acceptable to the Administrator.
      5. Has been certified by the appropriate parachute manufacturer or tandem course provider as being properly trained on the use of the specific tandem parachute system to be used.
    2. The person acting as parachutist in command:
      1. Has briefed the passenger parachutist before boarding the aircraft. The briefing must include the procedures to be used in case of an emergency with the aircraft or after exiting the aircraft, while preparing to exit and exiting the aircraft, freefall, operating the parachute after freefall, landing approach, and landing.
      2. Uses the harness position prescribed by the manufacturer of the tandem parachute equipment.
  2. No person may make a parachute jump with a tandem parachute system unless—
    1. The main parachute has been packed by a certificated parachute rigger, the parachutist in command making the next jump with that parachute, or a person under the direct supervision of a certificated parachute rigger.
    2. The reserve parachute has been packed by a certificated parachute rigger in accordance with Sec. 105.43(b) of this part.
    3. The tandem parachute system contains an operational automatic activation device for the reserve parachute, approved by the manufacturer of that tandem parachute system. The device must—
      1. Have been maintained in accordance with manufacturer instructions, and
      2. Be armed during each tandem parachute operation.
    4. The passenger parachutist is provided with a manual main parachute activation device and instructed on the use of that device, if required by the owner/operator.
    5. The main parachute is equipped with a single-point release system.
    6. The reserve parachute meets Technical Standard Order C23 specifications.
Sec. 105.47 Use of static lines copy link
  1. Except as provided in paragraph (c) of this section, no person may conduct a parachute operation using a static line attached to the aircraft and the main parachute unless an assist device, described and attached as follows, is used to aid the pilot chute in performing its function, or, if no pilot chute is used, to aid in the direct deployment of the main parachute canopy. The assist device must—
    1. Be long enough to allow the main parachute container to open before a load is placed on the device.
    2. Have a static load strength of—
      1. At least 28 pounds but not more than 160 pounds if it is used to aid the pilot chute in performing its function; or
      2. At least 56 pounds but not more than 320 pounds if it is used to aid in the direct deployment of the main parachute canopy; and
    3. Be attached as follows:
      1. At one end, to the static line above the static-line pins or, if static-line pins are not used, above the static-line ties to the parachute cone.
      2. At the other end, to the pilot chute apex, bridle cord, or bridle loop, or, if no pilot chute is used, to the main parachute canopy.
  2. No person may attach an assist device required by paragraph (a) of this section to any main parachute unless that person is a certificated parachute rigger or that person makes the next parachute jump with that parachute.
  3. An assist device is not required for parachute operations using direct-deployed, ram-air parachutes.
Sec. 105.49 Foreign parachutists and equipment copy link
  1. No person may conduct a parachute operation, and no pilot in command of an aircraft may allow a parachute operation to be conducted from that aircraft with an unapproved foreign parachute system unless—
    1. The parachute system is worn by a foreign parachutist who is the owner of that system.
    2. The parachute system is of a single-harness dual parachute type.
    3. The parachute system meets the civil aviation authority requirements of the foreign parachutist’s country.
    4. All foreign non-approved parachutes deployed by a foreign parachutist during a parachute operation conducted under this section shall be packed as follows—
      1. The main parachute must be packed by the foreign parachutist making the next parachute jump with that parachute, a certificated parachute rigger, or any other person acceptable to the Administrator.
      2. The reserve parachute must be packed in accordance with the foreign parachutist’s civil aviation authority requirements, by a certificated parachute rigger, or any other person acceptable to the Administrator.
SUBCHAPTER G—Air Carriers and Operators for Compensation or Hire: Certification and Operations

PART 119—Certification: Air Carriers and Commercial Operators

Sec. 119.1 Applicability copy link
  1. This part applies to each person operating or intending to operate civil aircraft—
    1. As an air carrier or commercial operator, or both, in air commerce; or
    2. When common carriage is not involved, in operations of U.S.-registered civil airplanes with a seat configuration of 20 or more passengers, or a maximum payload capacity of 6,000 pounds or more.
  2. This part prescribes—
    1. The types of air operator certificates issued by the Federal Aviation Administration, including air carrier certificates and operating certificates;
  3. Except for operations when common carriage is not involved conducted with airplanes having a passenger-seat configuration of 20 seats or more, excluding any required crewmember seat, or a payload capacity of 6,000 pounds or more, this part does not apply to—
    1. Nonstop flights conducted within a 25-statute-mile radius of the airport of takeoff carrying persons or objects for the purpose of conducting intentional parachute operations.


9-2: Advisory Circulars

Note: The following advisory circular has not been updated by the FAA to reflect changes in Part 105.
AC 90-66A—Recommended Standard Traffic Patterns and Practices for Aeronautical Operations at Airports without Operating Control Towers copy link

Department of Transportation—Federal Aviation Administration. 8/26/93 • Initiated by: ATP-230

  1. Purpose This advisory circular (AC) calls attention to regulatory requirements and recommended procedures for aeronautical operations at airports without operating control towers. It recommends traffic patterns and operational procedures for aircraft, lighter than air, glider, parachute, rotorcraft, and ultralight vehicle operations where such use is not in conflict with existing procedures in effect at those airports.
  2. Cancellation AC 90-66, Recommended Standard Traffic Patterns for Airplane Operations at Uncontrolled Airports, dated February 27, 1975, is canceled.
  3. Principal changes This AC has been updated to reflect current procedures at airports without operating control towers. Principal changes include: adding on “Other Traffic Pattern” section, amending appendix charts to remain consistent with the Airman’s Information Manual (AIM), expanding the “Related Reading Material” section from “airplane” to “aeronautical” operations, adding definition and references to Common Traffic Advisory Frequency (CTAF), acknowledging straight-in approaches are not prohibited but may be operationally advantageous, and adding a paragraph on wake turbulence.
  4. Definitions
    1. Airports Without Operating Control Towers. Airports without control towers or an airport with a control tower which is not operating. These airports are commonly referred to as nontowered, uncontrolled, or part-time towered airports.
    2. Common Traffic Advisory Frequency (CTAF). A frequency designed for the purpose of carrying out airport advisory practices while operating to or from an airport without an operating control tower. The CTAF may be a UNICOM, MULTICOM, flight service station, or tower frequency and is identified in appropriate aeronautical publications.
  5. Related reading material
    1. Airport/Facility Directory (AFD).
    2. Airman’s Information Manual (AIM).
    3. Fly Neighborly Guide, Helicopter Association International.
    4. Aviation USA, Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA).
    5. State aviation publications.
    6. Various pilot guides.
    7. Pilot Operations at Nontowered Airports, AOPA Air Safety Foundation pamphlet.
    8. Guidelines for the Operation of Ultralight Vehicles at Existing Airports, United States Ultralight Association.
    9. Facts for Pilots, United States Parachute Association.
    10. The latest addition of the following ACs also contain information applicable to operations at airports without operating control towers:
      1. AC 90-23, Aircraft Wake Turbulence.
      2. AC 90-42, Traffic Advisory Practices at Airports Without Operating Control Towers.
      3. AC 90-48, Pilot’s Role in Collision Avoidance.
      4. AC 91-32, Safety In and Around Helicopters.
      5. AC 103-6, Ultralight Vehicle Operations - Airports, Air Traffic Control, and Weather.
      6. AC 105-2, Sport Parachute Jumping.
  6. Background and scope
    1. Regulatory provisions relating to traffic patterns are found in Parts 91, 93, and 97 of the Federal Aviation Regulations (FAR). The airport traffic patterns contained in Part 93 relate primarily to those airports where there is a need for unique traffic pattern procedures not provided for in Part 91. Part 97 addresses instrument approach procedures. At airports without operating control towers, Part 91 requires only that pilots of airplanes approaching to land make all turns to the left unless light signals or visual markings indicate that turns should be made to the right.
    2. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) believes that observance of a standard traffic pattern and the use of CTAF procedures as detailed in AC 90-42 will improve the safety and efficiency of aeronautical operations at airports without operating control towers.
  7. General operating practices
    1. Use of standard traffic patterns for all aircraft and CTAF procedures by radio equipped aircraft are recommended at all airports without operating control towers. However, it is recognized that other traffic patterns may already be in common use at some airports or that special circumstances or conditions exist that may prevent use of the standard traffic pattern.
    2. The use of any traffic pattern procedure does not alter the responsibility of each pilot to see and avoid other aircraft. Pilots are encouraged to participate in “Operation Lights On,” which is a voluntary pilot safety program described in the AIM designed to enhance the “see and avoid” requirement.
    3. As part of the preflight familiarization with all available information concerning a flight, each pilot should review all appropriate publications (AFD, AIM, Notices to Airmen (NOTAM), etc.), for pertinent information on current traffic patterns at the departure and arrival airports.
    4. It is recommended that pilots utilize visual indicators, such as the segmented circle, wind direction indicator, landing direction indicator, and traffic pattern indicators which provide traffic pattern information.
    5. The FAA encourages pilots to use the standard traffic pattern. However, for those pilots who choose to execute a straight-in approach, maneuvering for and execution of the approach should be completed so as not to disrupt the flow of arriving and departing traffic. Therefore, pilots operating in the traffic pattern should be alert at all times to aircraft executing straight-in approaches.
    6. Pilots who wish to conduct instrument approaches should be particularly alert for other aircraft in the pattern so as to avoid interrupting the flow of traffic. Position reports on the CTAF should include distance and direction from the airport, as well as the pilot’s intentions upon completion of the approach.
    7. Pilots of inbound nonradio equipped aircraft should determine the runway in use prior to entering the traffic pattern by observing the landing direction indicator or by other means. Pilots should be aware that procedures at airports without operating control towers generally do not require the use of two-way radios; therefore, pilots should be especially vigilant for other aircraft while operating in the traffic pattern.
    8. Wake turbulence is generated by all aircraft. Therefore, pilots should expect to encounter turbulence while operating in a traffic pattern and in proximity to other aircraft. Aircraft components and equipment can be damaged by wake turbulence. In flight, avoid the area below and behind the aircraft generating turbulence especially at low altitude where even a momentary wake encounter can be hazardous. All operators should be aware of the potential adverse effects that their wake, rotor or propeller turbulence has on light aircraft and ultralight vehicles.
  8. Recommended standard traffic pattern Airport owners and operators, in coordination with the FAA, are responsible for establishing traffic patterns. However, the FAA encourages airport owners and operators to establish traffic patterns as recommended in this AC. Further, left traffic patterns should be established except where obstacles, terrain, and noise sensitive areas dictate otherwise. Appendix 1 contains diagrams for recommended standard traffic patterns.
    1. Prior to entering the traffic pattern at an airport without an operating control tower, aircraft should avoid the flow of traffic until established on the entry leg. For example, wind and landing direction indicators can be checked while at an altitude above the traffic pattern. When the proper traffic pattern direction has been determined, the pilot should then proceed to a point well clear of the pattern before descending to the pattern altitude.
    2. Arriving aircraft should be at the appropriate traffic pattern altitude before entering the traffic pattern. Entry to the downwind leg should be at a 45 degree angle abeam the midpoint of the runway.
    3. It is recommended that airplanes observe a 1,000-foot above ground level (AGL) traffic pattern altitude. Large and turbine powered airplanes should enter the traffic pattern at an altitude of 1,500 feet AGL or 500 feet above the established pattern altitude. A pilot may vary the size of the traffic pattern depending on the aircraft’s performance characteristics.
    4. The traffic pattern altitude should be maintained until the aircraft is at least abeam the approach end of the landing runway on the downwind leg.
    5. The base leg turn should commence when the aircraft is at a point approximately 45 degrees relative bearing from the runway threshold.
    6. Landing and takeoff should be accomplished on the operating runway most nearly aligned into the wind. However, if a secondary runway is used, pilots using the secondary runway should avoid the flow of traffic to the runway most nearly aligned into the wind.
    7. Airplanes on takeoff should continue straight ahead until beyond the departure end of the runway. Aircraft executing a go-around maneuver should continue straight ahead, beyond the departure end of the runway, with the pilot maintaining awareness of other traffic so as not to conflict with those established in the pattern. In cases where a go-around was caused by an aircraft on the runway, maneuvering parallel to the runway may be required to maintain visual contact with the conflicting aircraft.
    8. Airplanes remaining in the traffic pattern should not commence a turn to the crosswind leg until beyond the departure end of the runway and within 300 feet below traffic pattern altitude, with the pilot ensuring that the turn to downwind leg will be made at the traffic pattern altitude.
    9. When departing the traffic pattern, airplanes should continue straight out or exit with a 45-degree left turn (right turn for right traffic pattern) beyond the departure end of the runway after reaching pattern altitude. Pilots need to be aware of any traffic entering the traffic pattern prior to commencing a turn.
    10. Airplanes should not be operated in the traffic pattern at an indicated airspeed of more than 200 knots (230 mph).
    11. Throughout the traffic pattern, right of way rules apply as stated in FAR Part 91.113. Any aircraft in distress has the right of way over all other aircraft. In addition, when converging aircraft are of different categories, a balloon has the right of way over any other category of aircraft; a glider has the right of way over an airship, airplane, or rotorcraft; and an airship has the right of way over an airplane or rotorcraft.
  9. Other traffic patterns Airport operators routinely establish local procedures for the operation of gliders, parachutists, lighter than air aircraft, helicopters, and ultralight vehicles. Appendices 2 and 3 illustrate these operations as they relate to recommended standard traffic patterns.
    1. Rotorcraft.
      1. In the case of a helicopter approaching to land, the pilot must avoid the flow of fixed wing aircraft and land on a marked helipad or suitable clear area. Pilots should be aware that at some airports, the only suitable landing area is the runway.
      2. All pilots should be aware that rotorcraft may fly slower and approach at steeper angles than airplanes. Air taxi is the preferred method for helicopter ground movements which enables the pilot to proceed at an optimum airspeed, minimize downwash effect, and conserve fuel. However, flight over aircraft, vehicles, and personnel should be avoided.
      3. In the case of a gyrocopter approaching to land, the pilot should avoid the flow of fixed wing aircraft until turning final for the active runway.
      4. A helicopter operating in the traffic pattern may fly a pattern similar to the airplane pattern at a lower altitude (500 AGL) and closer to the airport. This pattern may be on the opposite side of the runway with turns in the opposite direction if local policy permits.
      5. Both classes of rotorcraft can be expected to practice power off landing (autorotation) which will involve a very steep angle of approach and high rate of descent (1,500 - 2,000 feet/minute).
    2. Gliders.
      1. A glider, including the tow aircraft during towing operations, has the right of way over powered aircraft.
      2. If the same runway is used by both airplanes and gliders, the glider traffic pattern will be inside the pattern of engine driven aircraft. If a “Glider Operating Area” is established to one side of a powered aircraft runway, the glider pattern will normally be on the side of the airport closest to the “Glider Operating Area.” This will allow gliders to fly the same direction traffic pattern as powered aircraft in one wind condition and necessitate a separate opposing direction traffic pattern in the opposite wind condition. (See examples in Appendix 2, Glider Operations).
      3. Typically, glider traffic patterns have entry points (initial points) from 600 to 1,000 feet AGL.
    3. Ultralight Vehicles.
      1. In accordance with FAR Part 103, ultralight vehicles are required to yield the right of way to all aircraft.
      2. Ultralight vehicles should fly the rectangular pattern as described in Appendix 2. Pattern altitude should be 500 feet below and inside the standard pattern altitude established for the airport. An ultralight pattern with its own dedicated landing area will typically have a lower traffic pattern parallel to the standard pattern with turns in the opposite direction.
      3. All pilots should be aware that ultralights will fly significantly slower than airplanes. In addition, ultralights may also exhibit very steep takeoff and approach angles. Turns may be executed near the end of the runway in order to clear the area expediently.
    4. Lighter Than Air Aircraft.
      1. A balloon has the right of way over any other category of aircraft and does not follow a standard traffic pattern.
      2. Due to limited maneuverability, airships do not normally fly a standard traffic pattern. However, if a standard traffic pattern is flown, it will be at an airspeed below most other aircraft.
    5. Parachute Operations.
      1. All activities are normally conducted under a NOTAM noting the location, altitudes, and time or duration of jump operations. The Airport/Facility Directory lists airports where permanent drop zones are located.
      2. Jumpers normally exit the aircraft either above, or well upwind of, the airport and at altitudes well above traffic pattern altitude. Parachutes are normally deployed between 2,000 feet and 5,000 feet AGL and can be expected to be below 3,000 feet AGL within 2 miles of the airport.
      3. Pilots of jump aircraft are required by Part 105 to establish two-way radio communications with the air traffic control facility or Flight Service Station which has jurisdiction over the affected airspace prior to jump operations for the purpose of receiving information in the aircraft about known air traffic in the vicinity. In addition, when jump aircraft are operating at or in the vicinity of an airport, pilots are also encouraged to provide advisory information on the CTAF, i.e., “Chambersburg traffic, jumpers away over Chambersburg.”
      4. When a drop zone has been established on an airport, parachutists are expected to land within the drop zone. At airports that have not established drop zones, parachutists should avoid landing on runways, taxiways, aprons, and their associated safety areas. Pilots and parachutists should both be aware of the limited flight performance of parachutes and take steps to avoid any potential conflicts between aircraft and parachute operations.
      5. Appendix 3 diagrams operations conducted by parachutists.

Harold W. Becker
Acting Director, Air Traffic
Rules and Procedures Service

AC 105-2E— Sport Parachuting copy link

Department of Transportation—Federal Aviation Administration. 12/4/13 • Initiated by: AFS-800

  1. Purpose. This advisory circular (AC) provides suggestions to improve sport parachuting safety and disseminates information to assist all parties associated with sport parachuting to be conducted in compliance with Title 14 of the Code of Federal Regulations (14 CFR) part 105. It also contains information for jumpers and riggers on parachuting equipment, on-airport parachuting operations, jump pilot training, aircraft maintenance programs, parachute rigging, and procedures for Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) authorization for flight operations with a removed or modified door.
  2. Cancellation. This AC cancels AC 105-2D, Sport Parachuting, dated May 18, 2011.
  3. Related 14 cfr parts and publications. The FAA’s primary responsibility with respect to skydiving is the protection of air traffic and persons and property on the ground. Part 105 was developed to accomplish this task.
    1. Title 14 CFR. This paragraph describes the 14 CFR parts that are of interest to skydivers, parachute riggers, and jump aircraft pilots. They may be downloaded from the FAA’s website at: http://www.faa.gov/regulations_policies/faa_regulations/. Since the Federal regulations and other publications may be amended at any time, all FAA regulations, ACs, and other documents are also available for download from the FAA’s website for continued compliance with current requirements.
      1. Part 65, Certification: Airmen Other Than Flight Crewmembers. Subpart F concerns parachute riggers, their eligibility requirements, privileges, and performance standards.
      2. Part 91, General Operating and Flight Rules. Parachute operators and jump pilots must comply with all applicable sections of part 91.
      3. Part 105, Parachute Operations. This part is especially important to parachutists, parachute riggers, and the pilots who fly parachutists, since it contains regulations governing intentional parachute jumping.
      4. Part 119, Certification. Air Carriers and Commercial Operators (§ 119.1(e)(6)). Pilots who conduct parachute operations within a 25 statute mile (sm) radius of the airport of departure may conduct them as commercial operations under part 91.
    2. Technical Standard Order (TSO)-C23, Personnel Parachutes Assemblies. The TSO-C23 series contains the minimum performance standards for parachute assemblies and components. Manufacturers design and test new parachutes to the most current TSO standards, although they may continue to produce parachutes approved under earlier TSO standards. The most current TSO-C23 document may be obtained from the FAA Web site: faa.gov/regulations_policies/faa_regulations/.
    3. Parachuting Symbols on Charts, Electronic Navigation Equipment, and Related Publications. Having parachuting symbols on aeronautical charts, electronic navigation equipment, and related publications helps alert pilots to the location of parachuting Drop Zones (DZ) and the need for extra caution in those areas. The FAA Aeronautical Information Services (AJV-5) collects, stores, and distributes static parachute jumping activities (PAJA) data for use in FAA publications, charts, and navigation databases.
      1. Operators conducting parachute operations should report any additions, deletions, or changes to static PAJA data to the FAA air traffic control (ATC) facility with jurisdiction over the affected airspace. Operators should submit changes as outlined in part 105, § 105.15.
      2. ATC facilities that have jurisdiction over the affected airspace should report any additions, deletions, or changes to static PAJA data to AJV-5. At a minimum, include location; distance and radial from the nearest very high frequency omni-directional range (VOR); maximum altitude; DZ radius; day/time of use; and the ATC frequency. Submit static PAJA changes to the Aeronautical Data, National Flight Data Center (NFDC) website at: faa.gov/air_traffic/flight_info/aeronav/Aero_Data/.
  4. Background
    1. Parachuting as an FAA-Recognized Aeronautical Activity. Sport parachuting (skydiving) continues to increase in popularity and is an FAA-recognized aeronautical activity even though parachutists are not certificated airmen. As an FAA-recognized aeronautical activity, regulations require airports that have received FAA funding to accommodate this activity unless the FAA determines that compatibility issues prohibit parachuting operations at a particular airport. FAA Order 5190.6, FAA Airport Compliance Manual, has more information regarding airport obligations.
    2. Training, Licensing, and Instructor Rating. Sport parachuting has certain inherent risks for all participants. The FAA encourages sport parachutists to complete formal training courses offered by nationally recognized organizations or organizations that have equivalent training programs. The United States Parachute Association (USPA) is an FAA-accepted, nationally recognized skydiving organization that licenses skydivers in the United States. Many local skydiving clubs, schools, and drop zone operators (DZO) require documentation of experience and competency before using their equipment and/or parachuting facilities. This documentation usually consists of a logbook with endorsements and/or a skydiving license issued by a nationally recognized organization.
    3. Parachute Equipment. Parachuting as a sport depends on equipment manufacturers, materials suppliers, parachute riggers, government and military agencies, and other industry professionals. The Parachute Industry Association (PIA) is an international trade association that brings all of these interests together for the purpose of advancing the technology and safety of parachutes and parachuting activities. The PIA creates, publishes, and maintains materials, technical, and certification standards relating to parachutes, accessible on their web site: http://www.pia.com.
  5. Skydiver safety
    1. Basic Safety Requirements (BSR). The USPA developed basic safety requirements and information for skydiving activities. These requirements and information are for training, checking equipment, and conducting a wide variety of sport parachuting activities. While not approved by the FAA, the BSRs are considered industry best practices and are widely accepted for use by individuals and parachute centers. The BSRs may be obtained from: The United States Parachute Association, 5401 Southpoint Centre Boulevard, Fredericksburg, VA 22407. The association’s phone number is (540) 604-9740 and the USPA Web site is http://www.uspa.org. The FAA encourages skydivers to use facilities that conduct their operations in accordance with the USPA BSRs or other similar skydiving association best practices.
    2. Medical Certificates. While the regulations do not require an FAA medical certification, the FAA urges prospective skydivers to receive a physical examination prior to their first jump and on a periodic basis thereafter. The skydiver should inform the physician of the purpose of the examination.
    3. Training Methods. The skydiving industry has developed various methods of first-jump instruction. The FAA recommends that beginning skydivers seek instruction from instructors that have met the qualifications set forth by a nationally recognized parachuting organization.
    4. Safety Devices and Equipment
      1. Deployment Assist Device. Section 105.47 requires that all persons making a parachute jump with a static line attached to the aircraft and main parachute use an assist device to aid the pilot chute in performing its function. An assist device is also required if no pilot chute is used in direct deployment of a round, main parachute canopy. The regulations do not require an assist device for direct deployment of a ram-air main parachute canopy.
      2. Automatic Activation Device (AAD). An AAD is a self-contained mechanical or electromechanical device attached to the parachute container that automatically releases the parachute closing system when it meets specific parameters, such as exceeding a specific vertical velocity and being at or below a specific altitude. Parachutists may attach this device to the main, reserve, or both. However, it is normally only attached to the reserve. An AAD does not physically open the parachute container or deploy the canopy, but rather initiates the container opening by pulling the ripcord pin or by cutting the container closing loop, allowing the canopy to deploy in a similar manner as when pulling the ripcord manually.
        1. The FAA requires that all tandem parachutes have an AAD installed on the reserve parachute. Many skydiving schools and clubs follow USPA BSRs and require the use of an AAD for all unlicensed skydivers.
        2. The FAA has not established minimum operational performance standards (MOPS) or a TSO for AADs. Therefore, the FAA recommends that anyone using an AAD review manufacturer’s reports conforming to the PIA Technical Standard TS-120, AAD Design and Testing Report Format, and independent third-party reports attesting to the AAD’s performance standard in order to make an educated decision prior to the use of any particular make or model AAD. The FAA recommends that jumpers using AADs to satisfy the requirements set forth in part 105 purchase them from manufacturers who provide such reports. Each parachute manufacturer approves the installation of the AAD on their equipment.
        3. Users of AADs should be aware of the device’s level of reliability and its operating limitations, be knowledgeable about the various parameters of the device, and be trained on the specific use and setting for the particular AAD. Users should be well informed about the use of the AAD and have access to the manufacturer’s instructions.
        4. Users should understand that AADs are strictly backup devices and are not intended to replace training or timely manual execution of emergency procedures. AADs may or may not initiate reserve parachute deployment at a sufficient altitude, depending upon various combinations of circumstances.
        5. Jumpers should make a pre-jump check using the manufacturer’s recommended procedures for proper setting, arming, and operational status verification to ensure the proper functioning of the AAD. This pre-jump check is usually made prior to boarding the aircraft to ensure that it is set at the proper altitude and under current weather conditions to aid in accuracy. This is especially important when using an AAD that has selectable or adjustable activation settings, or when the intended landing area is at an elevation different from that of the departure airfield.
        6. AADs may have selectable or adjustable altitude activation settings. Some AADs are preset for the intended type of operation (e.g., Tandem or Student), while others may be user-selectable. The model, version, and settings, must be appropriate for the particular type of equipment and jump. Different manufacturers may have different arming altitudes, as well as different activation altitudes and vertical speeds for the similar settings.
        7. Since body position and other factors may cause a delay in the actual parachute opening altitude, the devices should only be used as a backup to manually deploying the reserve parachute. When the situation requires the use of the reserve parachute, the jumper should always manually pull the reserve ripcord using the established procedures for reserve deployment before ever reaching AAD activation altitude. The procedures for deployment of the reserve parachute are usually the same whether an AAD is installed or not.
        8. AAD malfunctions and activations should be reported to the AAD and container manufacturers, as well as to the USPA.
    5. Weather. Strong or gusty winds can be dangerous, especially to student jumpers. In addition, skydivers and pilots should ensure adequate ceiling and visibility to maintain the required weather minimums.
    6. Parachute Landing Areas. The FAA recommends that areas used as parachute landing areas remain unobstructed, with sufficient minimum radial distances to the nearest hazard. The guidelines in the USPA’s BSRs can be used in determining if the landing area is adequate.
    7. Water Safety Equipment. Flotation gear should be worn whenever the intended exit point or landing point of a skydiver is within 1 mile of an open body of water.
    8. Advanced Parachuting. Many of the safety suggestions presented in this AC are intended primarily for the student parachutist, who should make all jumps in a controlled training environment. Individual experience and judgment dictate what additional training should be obtained before undertaking more advanced parachuting activities. All parachutists should acquire experience and training before using unfamiliar or high-performance equipment.
    9. Pre-Jump Equipment Checks. The parachute system user has primarily responsibility for the airworthiness of his equipment at the time of use. Prior to each jump, the user should inspect his equipment for serviceability, including at least general condition, AAD serviceability (see subparagraph 5d(2)), pilot chute bridle routing, main and reserve pin seating, and Reserve Static Line (RSL) routing and connection.
  6. Parachute operations onto airports
    1. Stipulations for Landing at or Flying Over an Airport. Most parachute operations take place at airports, including having the parachute landing area located on the airport property. Section 105.23 requires approval from airport management prior to skydiving onto any airport. However, § 105.23(c) allows a parachutist to drift over an airport with an open parachute without airport management approval as long as the parachutist remains at least 2,000 feet above that airport’s traffic pattern. Airport traffic patterns are generally 1,000 to 1,500 feet above ground level (AGL).
    2. Additional Aviation Activities. A large number of airports that accommodate parachute operations also have different kinds of aviation activities taking place simultaneously, including flight training, glider and helicopter operations, emergency medical services, sightseeing operations, and aerobatic practice over or in the immediate vicinity of the airport. Many airports accommodate a large volume of transient traffic during skydiving operations.
    3. Shared Facility Airports. The FAA recommends that shared facility airports have operating procedures so that each activity can operate safely by knowing the procedures for each of the other activities. Representatives of each type of activity can operate more effectively by knowing the procedures for each of the other activities. Representatives of each type of airport user group should develop procedures specific to their activity and share these procedures with other user groups. Airport management must ensure that airport policies and procedures are kept current, which can be accomplished via regularly scheduled meetings with all airport user groups.
      1. Traffic Patterns. With a minimum parachute opening altitude of 2,000 feet AGL (most parachutists open much higher), parachutes are nearly always open 800 feet or more above the traffic pattern altitude for any airport. Parachutes descend relatively slowly and are easy for pilots to acquire visually. Parachutists and pilots have a shared responsibility to see and avoid each other. Refer to the current edition of AC 90-66, Recommended Standard Traffic Patterns and Practices for Aeronautical Operations at Airports without Operating Control Towers, for information on traffic patterns and parachute operations.
      2. Parachute Landings on Airports. Airports may designate suitable parachute landing areas. While skydivers attempt to land in such areas, at times there may be inadvertent landings in other grass or hard-surfaced areas. This could include landings on runways, taxiways, and other hard-surfaced areas. Areas such as runways, taxiways, clearways, and Obstacle Free Zones (OFZ) are not prohibited areas but should not be designated as a primary landing area and should be vacated as soon as practical. Flying a parachute over runways at low altitudes should be avoided where possible. The FAA recommends that airport management work with parachute operators to develop standard operating procedures (SOP) for activities conducted by parachutists. Airports that receive or have received Federal funding or grant assurances may have additional requirements or restrictions to parachute landing areas. For additional information, see the current editions of FAA Order 5190.6, FAA Airport Compliance Manual, AC 150/5190-7, Minimum Standards for Commercial Aeronautical Activities; and AC 150/5300-13, Airport Design. 7
  7. Jump aircraft maintenance and jump pilots Whenever flights are offered for compensation or hire, the flight is considered a commercial operation under part 91, and Federal regulations require:
    1. Aircraft Inspections. The operator must ensure the aircraft is maintained in accordance with part 91, § 91.409 as applicable:
      1. Section 91.409(a) and (b), annual and 100-hour inspection programs;
      2. Section 91.409(d), progressive inspection program;
      3. Section 91.409(f)(3), manufacturer’s inspection program; or
      4. Section 91.409(f)(4), approved inspection program.
    2. Aircraft Inspection Quality Assurance (QA). Aircraft operated commercially under part 91 must be inspected by a person authorized to perform inspections under a 100-hour/annual program or an FAA-approved progressive inspection program consistent with the requirements for part 91 operations. Operators must maintain aircraft operated under 14 CFR part 125 or 135 under an FAA-approved maintenance program. The FAA recommends the use of an aircraft status sheet for QA.
    3. Additional Information on Acceptable Maintenance Programs. Anyone conducting parachuting operations should contact his or her local FAA Flight Standards District Office (FSDO) for additional information on acceptable maintenance programs. Reviewing aircraft maintenance records can be simplified by the use of an aircraft status sheet (see Figure 1, FAA Aircraft Status Inspection List Example).
  8. Pilot responsibilities. The pilot in command (PIC) must adhere to all regulations applicable to the operation conducted. This includes, but is not limited to, the following:
    1. Pilot Certification, Experience, and Operating Requirements. The PIC is responsible for meeting the certification, proficiency, operating, and experience requirements of, but not limited to, 14 CFR parts 61, 91, and 105. Pilots conducting flight operations for compensation or hire are required to possess a Commercial Pilot Certificate with the appropriate ratings for the aircraft being flown and must have a current Class 2 medical certificate or equivalent.
    2. Jump Pilot Training. For those DZOs and parachuting operations that do not have a nationally recommended jump pilot training program, the FAA recommends that pilots flying aircraft for the purpose of sport parachuting have appropriate initial and recurrent training. The training program should include testing to ensure a high level of competence in the jump aircraft being flown. The training should include at least the following:
      1. Ground Training.
        1. Preflight inspection specific to jump aircraft and modifications.
        2. Aircraft limitations.
        3. Weight and Balance (W&B).
          1. Takeoff computations.
          2. Weight shift in flight procedures for exiting jumpers.
          3. Landing configuration.
        4. Low-speed operations for jump runs.
          1. Maneuvering at minimum speed.
          2. Opening and closing jump door, if applicable.
          3. Stall recognition and recovery.
        5. Emergency procedures.
          1. Standard aircraft emergencies.
          2. Emergencies caused by jump activities.
          3. Bailout procedures.
        6. Aircraft airworthiness determination.
          1. Maintenance requirements and procedures.
          2. Aircraft Status Inspection List (Figure 1).
          3. Minimum equipment list (MEL), if applicable.
          4. Logging maintenance discrepancies.
        7. Parachute packing in compliance with § 105.43.
        8. Drop zone surface and airspace familiarization.
        9. Descent Procedures.
          1. Aircraft best-glide speed for engine failure.
          2. AAD activation considerations with skydivers onboard.
      2. Flight Training.
        1. Takeoffs and landings with representative loads.
        2. Center of gravity (CG) shift with jumper exit.
        3. Stall-spin prevention and recovery.
        4. Configuration for jump run and jumper exit including procedures for tail strike avoidance
        5. Skydive aircraft formation flying (if applicable), in accordance with USPA Formation Flying 101 guidance.
    3. W&B Procedures. The PIC is solely responsible for assuring that the aircraft being flown is properly loaded and operated so that it stays within gross weight and CG limitations. The PIC should obtain additional aircraft station position information (loading schedule) for future W&B computations. The PIC is also responsible for reviewing these records and the flight manual to gain familiarity with an aircraft’s W&B procedures and flight characteristics.
    4. Computing W&B. The PIC must include the following factors:
      1. The maximum allowable gross weight and the CG limitations.
      2. The currently configured empty weight and CG location.
      3. The weight and CG location prior to each flight.
      4. The weight and location of jumpers during each phase of the flight in order to ensure that the aircraft stays within CG limits. The PIC must remain aware of CG shifts and their effects on aircraft controllability and stability as jumpers move into position for exiting the aircraft and as they exit.
    5. Operational Requirements. The PIC is solely responsible for the operational requirements of parts 91 and 105, including compliance with the special operating limitations and placards required for flight with the door open or removed. The PIC is also responsible for ensuring that each occupant has been briefed on operation of his or her restraint system, procedures for ensuring aircraft W&B stays within limits while jumpers exit, and procedures to avoid tail strikes.
    6. Suitable Placards. Placards should be located in the aircraft to help the pilot inform jumpers of the maximum approved loading and weight distribution. These placards should be located where anyone boarding the aircraft can see them. They should also clearly show the maximum approved seating capacity and the load distribution.
    7. Seatbelts and Approved Loading. Section 91.107(a)(3)(ii) permits persons aboard an aircraft for the purpose of participating in sport parachuting activities to use the floor of the aircraft for a seat. However, among jump aircraft there are a wide variety of seats, benches, troop seats, and floor seating arrangements. In all cases, each person must have access to an installation-approved seatbelt. See Appendix 3, Seats and Restart Systems, for additional information describing seat and restraint system configurations. The maximum number of skydivers is determined by that aircraft’s W&B limitations, as long as there is a seatbelt or restraint for each skydiver. The approved number of skydivers that each aircraft can carry for parachute operations will most commonly be found on FAA Form 337, Major Repair and Alteration (Airframe, Powerplant, Propeller, or Appliance), used for field approvals, or an aircraft Supplemental Type Certificate (STC).
    8. Oxygen. Pilots must use oxygen when flying above 14,000 feet mean sea level (MSL). Operators must provide oxygen to occupants when the jump plane is above 15,000 feet MSL. Above 25,000 feet MSL, occupants should use pressure-demand oxygen systems. High-altitude jumps should be made only after becoming familiar with the problems and hazards created by low temperatures, lack of oxygen, and the various types of oxygen equipment. Jumpers should not attempt high-altitude jumps without an adequate supply of breathing oxygen (refer to § 91.211). Also, pilots must use oxygen while flying between 12,500 to 14,000 feet MSL for a duration of over 30 minutes.
    9. Altitude Reporting. Pilots report altitudes in feet above MSL.
  9. Parachute operations in designated airspace. Section 105.25 contains information on the ATC authorization and notification process (see Appendix 1, Table of Location of Jump Authorization or Notification).
    1. Parachute Operations Restrictions. No person may conduct a parachute operation, and no PIC of an aircraft may allow a parachute operation to be conducted from that aircraft:
      1. Over or within a restricted or prohibited area, unless the controlling agency of the area concerned has authorized that parachute operation;
      2. Within or into a Class A, B, C, or D airspace area without, or in violation of the requirements of, an ATC authorization issued under § 105.25; or
      3. Within or into a Class E or G airspace area (except as provided in subparagraphs 9c and 9d), unless the ATC facility that has jurisdiction over the airspace at the first intended exit altitude receives notification of the parachute operation no earlier than 24 hours before and no later than 1 hour before the parachute operation begins.
    2. Request for a Parachute Operation Authorization or Notification. Submit each request for a parachute operation authorization or notification required under this section to the ATC facility that has jurisdiction over the airspace at the first intended exit altitude and include the information prescribed by § 105.15(a).
    3. Notification of Parachute Operations. For the purposes of subparagraph 9a(3), ATC facilities may accept a written notification from an organization that conducts parachute operations and lists the scheduled series of parachute operations over a period of time not longer than 12 calendar-months. The notification must contain the information prescribed by § 105.15(a) (see Appendix 1).
    4. Armed Force. Subparagraph 9a(3) does not apply to a parachute operation conducted by a member of a Department of Defense (DOD) armed force within a restricted area that extends upward from the surface when that area is under the control of the DOD armed force.
  10. Jumps over and into congested areas and open-air assemblies of persons
    1. Off-Airport Jumps. A skydiver may make parachute jumps away from the usual on-airport parachute school, club, or center location, as long as landowner permission is obtained for the off-airport location.
    2. Certificate of Authorization (COA). Section 105.21(a) requires an FAA COA in order to conduct a parachute operation over or into a congested area of a city, town, or settlement, or an open-air assembly of persons. The responsible person of the proposed jump must obtain this COA from the FAA FSDO that has jurisdiction over the site where the jump is proposed by submitting an application, FAA Form 7711-2, Certificate of Waiver or Authorization Application. A copy of FAA Form 7711-2 and information on filling out this form can be obtained from the local FSDO or downloaded from http://www.faa.gov. An application for a COA should be submitted at least 10 working days in advance of the intended jump date to allow time for processing. Approval or denial of the application must be completed within 5 working days of receipt by the FSDO.
  11. Authorization and notificationrequirements for parachute operations. Whether regulations require verbal or written authorization or a COA (FAA Form 7711-1, Certificate of Waiver or Authorization) for a parachute operation depends upon the type of airspace involved and the area where the parachutist intends to land. The airspace and landing area will determine the requirements. Parachutists and pilots can use Appendix 1 to determine what authorization or notification requirements are necessary for various types of jumps. The FAA recommends that anyone establishing a permanent drop zone or a temporary jump site contact the ATC facilities nearest the site as early as possible. ATC personnel are in the best position to provide information on arrival and departure routes, airspace classifications, and other airspace operations that may affect the safe and efficient flow of a parachuting operation. If you are uncertain of the requirements after looking at Appendix 1, contact your local FSDO and/or ATC facility for additional information.
  12. Exhibition jumps at off-airport locations
    1. Parachute Landing Areas. The FAA requires the following size areas when issuing a COA for parachuting operations conducted over or into a congested area or an open air assembly of persons.
      1. Open Field. An open area, no less than 500,000 square feet (e.g., approximately 710 feet by 710 feet, or dimensions with a sum total that equals or exceeds 500,000 square feet) that will accommodate landing no closer than 100 feet from spectators. Allows a jumper to drift over the spectators with sufficient altitude (250 feet) so as to not create a hazard to persons or property on the ground.
      2. Level I. An open area that will accommodate a landing area no smaller than 250,000 square feet (e.g., approximately 500 feet by 500 feet, or dimensions with a sum total that equals or exceeds 250,000 square feet) and which will accommodate landing no closer than 50 feet from spectators. Allows a jumper to pass over the spectators no lower than 250 feet, including the canopy and all external paraphernalia. Many open field athletic areas and airport operational areas constitute Level I landing areas.
      3. Level II. An open area that will accommodate a rectangular, square, oval, or round-shaped landing area of approximately 5,000 square feet for no more than four jumpers, with at least 50 feet in width. Also accommodates an additional 800 square feet minimum for each additional jumper over four for any jumper landing within 30 seconds of the last of any four jumpers. This permits jumpers to land no closer than 15 feet from spectators and to pass over the spectators no lower than 50 feet including the canopy and all external paraphernalia.
      4. Stadium. A level II landing area smaller than 450 feet in length by 240 feet in width and bounded on two sides or more by bleachers, walls, or buildings in excess of 50 feet high.
      5. Other Landing Area Considerations.
        1. A landing area that exceeds the maximum dimensions of a Level I landing area, that permits a parachutist to drift over a congested area or open air assembly with a fully deployed and properly functioning parachute (if the parachutist is at sufficient altitude to avoid creating a hazard to persons and property on the ground) and that has no other safety concerns would likely not require a COA as required by § 105.21.
        2. Any parachute jumping demonstration planned in conjunction with a public aviation event will require a COA with appropriate special provisions as required by § 105.21, even if the landing area exceeds the maximum dimensions for a Level I area. A parachute jumping demonstration planned in conjunction with a public aviation event is one that takes place any time after the first spectator arrives for the event that day.
      6. Tandem Jump Demonstrations. Only tandem instructors, rated by the USPA or authorized by the FAA General Aviation and Commercial Division (AFS-800), Federal Aviation Administration, Flight Standards Service, 800 Independence Avenue, SW, Washington, DC 20591 may conduct tandem demonstrations. Tandem jumps may be authorized as follows:
        1. Tandem jumps into open field and Level I landing areas do not require any previous jump experience for the passenger.
        2. Tandem jumps into Level II areas require the passenger to have a USPA category D license with a Professional Exhibition Rating (PRO)
      7. Alternate Landings Areas. Regardless of the parachutists’ experience, “runoffs” or escape areas must be identified.
      8. Intentional Cutaway. Cutaways may not be performed if the cutaway equipment will drift into the spectator area.
    2. Qualification and Currency Requirements. In addition to landing area size requirements, the FAA also imposes qualification and currency requirements. The FAA recognizes and accepts USPA licenses and ratings found in the parachutist’s license and recent experience requirements that are established in the current edition of FAA Order 8900.1, Flight Standards Information Management System (FSIMS), Volume 3, Chapter 6, Section 1, Issue a Certificate of Waiver or Authorization for an Aviation Event, located at http://fsims.faa.gov. In accordance with Order 8900.1, parachutists and instructors who are not members of the USPA and who wish to participate in a demonstration or exhibition jump over or into a congested area must present satisfactory evidence of the experience, knowledge, and skill equivalent to that required by the USPA and must have a letter of approval from AFS-800.
  13. Parachute equipment rules
    1. Parachute. Title 14 CFR part 1, § 1.1 defines a parachute as a device used, or intended to be used, to retard the fall of a body or object through the air. For the purposes of this AC, a parachute assembly normally, but not exclusively, consists of the following major components: a canopy, a deployment device, a pilot chute and/or drogue, risers, a stowage container, a harness, and an actuation device (ripcord). There are, of course, some lesser parts associated with these major components such as connector links, bridles, and hardware. The term “pack,” when used in this AC, refers to the complete harness-container system, including the main parachute container, plus the reserve parachute and associated components. Except for an RSL (if installed), it does not include the main canopy, main risers, or components that depart with the main canopy if it is jettisoned. If a container is designed to be easily disconnected from its harness (for storage or transport, for example), the term “pack” refers to the container/canopy assembly by itself, without the harness.
    2. Parachute Harness. Section 105.43 requires a solo parachutist making an intentional jump wearing a single-harness dual-pack parachute to have at least one main parachute and one approved reserve parachute. For tandem jumps, the parachute system defined in § 105.3 includes a main parachute, a reserve parachute, a harness and dual parachute container, an AAD, and a forward harness for a passenger parachutist. For both solo and tandem parachutists, the harnesses (including the forward harness of a tandem system) and reserve parachute packs must be approved types, but the main parachutes do not need approval. The following are examples of approved parachutes as defined in § 105.3:
      1. Parachutes Manufactured under TSO-C23. This TSO prescribes the minimum performance and QA standards for personnel parachutes that are carried aboard civil aircraft or by skydivers for emergency use, including reserve parachutes used for intentional jumps. The manufacturer must meet these standards before labeling its parachute or components as complying with the TSO.
      2. Demilitarized or Military Surplus Parachutes. Military personnel-carrying parachutes (other than high-altitude, high-speed, or ejection kinds) identified by military drawing number, military order number, or any other military designation or specification. These parachutes are often referred to as demilitarized or military surplus parachutes.
    3. Assembly of Major Components. The assembly or mating of approved parachute components from different manufacturers may be made by a certificated, appropriately rated parachute rigger in accordance with the parachute manufacturer’s instructions and without further authorization by the manufacturer or the FAA. Specifically, when various parachute components are interchanged, the parachute rigger should follow the canopy manufacturer’s instructions as well as the parachute container manufacturer’s instructions. However, the container manufacturer’s instructions take precedence when there is a conflict between the two.
      1. Assembled parachute components must be compatible. Each component of the resulting assembly must function properly and may not interfere with the operation of the other components. For example:
        1. Do not install a canopy of lesser or greater pack volume than the intended design criteria for the specific size of container, since it could adversely affect the proper functioning of the entire parachute assembly.
        2. A TSO’d canopy may be assembled with a demilitarized harness, or vice versa, as long as the assembled components comply with the safety standard of the original design.
        3. In cases where a main canopy that is already mounted on risers is assembled to an existing harness/container system, ensure that the completed assembly functions correctly. Refer to the manufacturer’s instructions to see if and how the RSL (if installed) may be deactivated when equipment configuration does not permit its use.
      2. Any questions about the operation of the assembly should be resolved by actual tests by the rigger to make certain the parachute is safe for emergency use.
      3. For a single-harness parachute system, the strength of the harness must always be equal to or greater than the maximum force generated by the canopy during certification tests. The rigger who assembles the system should record these limits in a place accessible to the user when he or she dons the assembly. Some manufacturers may also specify minimum weights or speeds for safe operation.
        1. The maximum operating weight and maximum pack opening speed of components manufactured under TSO-C23c, TSO-C23d, and TSO-C23f are marked on the components themselves.
        2. In the case where either the harness or canopy of a single-harness system is certified under TSO-C23b and the manufacturer has not specified operating limits, derive the maximum pack opening speed for that component from the strength test table in the National Aerospace Standards Specification (NAS)-804, Parachutes.
          1. For the maximum operating weight of the TSO-C23b component, use the highest weight in the table less than or equal to the maximum operating weight of the other component and use the corresponding speed in the table as the maximum pack opening speed of the TSO-C23b component.
          2. For the maximum pack opening speed of the TSO-C23b component, use the highest speed in the table less than or equal to the maximum pack opening speed of the other component and use the corresponding weight in the table as the maximum operating weight of the TSO-C23b component.
      4. For tandem systems, there may be additional limits for each harness.
    4. AAD Installation. The FAA accepts the installation (addition of pockets, channels, guides, etc., required for the AAD assemblage in the parachute container) of each make/model AAD as part of the paperwork that is submitted by the parachute manufacturer during the TSO approval for parachute harness/container systems. The TSO approval by the FAA and the AAD approval by the manufacturer (mentioned, for example, in § 105.43(b)) are for the installation only, and are based on AAD operation not interfering with normal function of the parachute. A retrofit installation, or installation of a make or model AAD other than those specifically authorized for use by the parachute manufacturer for a particular TSO or Military Specifications (MIL-SPEC)-approved parachute, constitutes an alteration to that parachute (see paragraph 16). Manufacturer and retrofit installation are done in consultation and agreement with the AAD manufacturer, and in accordance with established test procedures such as PIA Technical Standard (TS)-112, Harness/Container - AAD Installation Test Protocol.
    5. Instructions for Maintenance, Repair, or Alteration of Specific Parachutes. These instructions may be available by contacting manufacturers. Many manufacturers provide their manuals online through their websites. The PIA website, http://www.pia.com, provides a good starting point for searches. When such instructions are not available, The Parachute Manual, Volumes I and II (Dan Poynter, 1991) and FAA-H-8083-17, Parachute Rigger Handbook, set out commonly accepted repair practices. The Parachute Manual and The Parachute Rigger Handbook can be purchased from commercial booksellers; The Parachute Rigger Handbook is also available for download at: faa.gov/regulations_policies/handbooks_manuals/aviation/.
    6. Parachutist’s Handling of Equipment. The user of a parachute system may perform simple assembly and disassembly operations necessary for transportation, handling, or storage between periods of use if the parachute’s design simplifies such assembly and disassembly without the use of complex operations.
    7. Removal of Pilot Chute. A certificated senior or master parachute rigger may remove the pilot chute from a front-mounted (e.g., chest-type) reserve parachute if the canopy does not use a diaper, bag, or other deployment device. When complete, the parachute must have the plain marking, “PILOT CHUTE REMOVED.” This kind of parachute can be used for intentional jumping only.
    8. Extra Equipment. The FAA does not consider the attachment of an instrument panel, knife sheath, or other material to the exterior of the parachute assembly an alteration. If attaching any extra equipment, take care not to impair the functional design of the system.
  14. Parachute packing
    1. Reserve Parachutes.
      1. A certificated and appropriately rated parachute rigger must pack the reserve parachute.
      2. Visiting foreign parachutists jumping parachute systems that the FAA has not approved must have their reserve parachutes packed by someone acceptable to the foreign parachutist’s Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) or by a FAA-certificated rigger.
      3. The certificated and appropriately rated parachute rigger must pack the reserve parachute within 180 days before the date of use if the parachute system is made of materials substantially resistant to mold, mildew, or other rotting agents, or within 60 days of the date of use otherwise.
      4. A parachute user must ensure that an AAD is maintained in accordance with the AAD manufacturer’s instructions and service requirements. When a rigger packs a reserve parachute, the rigger is only certifying that it meets all safety requirements on the day it is packed; therefore, riggers should note any maintenance or battery replacement due date(s) on the packing data card so that users are able to determine AAD airworthiness and ensure conformance to the regulations. AADs are to be installed in accordance with the harness/container manufacturer’s instructions.
      5. Only the rigger who did the packing, and whose seal is removed to permit scheduled or unscheduled maintenance or repairs to the reserve container, may open, reclose, and reseal it (e.g., AAD service or closing loop adjustment) within the 180-day or 60-day period in subparagraph 14a(3).
    2. Main Parachutes. Main parachutes must be packed within 180 days before the date of use and be packed by any certificated parachute rigger or a person working under the direct supervision of a certificated parachute rigger. The person making the next jump (including a tandem parachutist in command, but not the passenger parachutist) may also pack the main parachute.
  15. Parachute repairs
    1. Major Repair. A major repair, as defined in § 1.1, is a repair that, if improperly done, might appreciably affect airworthiness.
    2. Minor Repair. A minor repair is a repair other than a major repair.
    3. Major or Minor Repair Determination. When there is a question about whether a particular repair is major or minor, follow the manufacturer’s instructions. In the absence of the manufacturer’s instructions, riggers should use the FAA’s Parachute Rigger Handbook (FAA-H-8083-17) and Poynter’s Parachute Manual Volume I and II as guides. If the procedure calls for a master rigger, it should be considered a major repair. If the procedure allows for a senior rigger, it should be considered a minor repair.
      1. The same kind of repair may be classed as major or minor depending on size or proximity to key structural components. For example, a basic patch may be a minor repair if it is small and away from seams, but may be a major repair if it is large or adjacent to a seam.
      2. The same kind of repair may be classed as major or minor depending on whether it is done to an approved or unapproved component. For example, replacement of a suspension line on a reserve canopy is usually a major repair, while replacement of a suspension line on a main canopy is generally considered a minor repair (even if the identical technique is required for both replacements).
      3. If an operation results in an approved configuration, the operation is considered a repair. For example, if a parachute system is approved with and without an RSL, then removing or replacing RSL components is a repair that may be major or minor depending on whether, if improperly done, it might appreciably affect airworthiness. Similarly, resizing a harness, when the original design permits a range of sizes, is a repair when the resized harness remains within the permitted range.
      4. Only an appropriately rated master rigger or a manufacturer of approved parachute components may make major repairs. The manufacturer may designate certain repairs to be done only by the manufacturer or the manufacturer’s designee.
  16. Parachute alterations
    1. Configuration. Alterations are changes to a parachute system configuration that the manufacturer or the manufacturer’s supervising FAA Aircraft Certification Office (ACO) has not approved. Examples include removing a deployment device from a reserve canopy, adding harness fittings to permit attaching an additional canopy, using nonstandard repair materials or techniques, or installation of a specific make/model AAD when the manufacturer has not authorized such changes. Changes that result in an approved configuration are considered repairs (see paragraph 15).
    2. Approval. An alteration to an approved parachute system must be done in accordance with approved manuals and specifications and only by those with specific authorization to perform that alteration. Specific approval is not needed for the method of altering a non-TSO’d main parachute canopy. A person seeking authorization to alter an approved parachute system should proceed as follows:
      1. A person qualified to alter a parachute (as listed below) should contact his or her local FAA FSDO inspector to discuss the proposed alteration. The applicant should be prepared to show the inspector the nature of the alteration by using a sample assembly, sketch, or drawing and be prepared to discuss the nature of the tests necessary for showing that the altered parachute meets all applicable requirements.
      2. The inspector will review the proposal with the applicant and a plan of action will be agreed upon.
      3. The applicant will then prepare an application, in the format of a letter, addressed to the local FSDO. Attach all pertinent data. The data should include:
        • A clear description of the alteration;
        • Drawings, sketches, or photographs, if necessary;
        • Information such as thread size, stitch, pattern, materials used, and location of altered components; and
        • Some means of identifying the altered parachute (model and serial number).
      4. The FSDO aviation safety inspector (ASI) may send an alteration to the ACO for review if the ASI is not experienced in parachute alterations. When satisfied, the inspector will indicate approval by date stamping, signing, and placing the FSDO identification stamp on the letter of application.
      5. Only a certificated and appropriately rated master parachute rigger, a current manufacturer of approved parachute systems or components, or any other manufacturer the Administrator considers competent may perform alterations to approved parachutes.
  17. Materials used for repairs to tso-approved components
    1. Material Quality. Materials used for repairs to TSO-approved components including, but not limited to, fabric, suspension line, tape, webbing, thread, and hardware, must meet the same specifications, requirements, and certifications of the original materials used by the manufacturer.
    2. Parachute Fittings. Hardware may be reconditioned and reused, as long as it complies with subparagraph 17a. However, the plating or replating of load-carrying parachute fittings may cause hydrogen embrittlement and subsequent failure under stress unless the plating is done properly. Chrome- or nickel-plated harness adjustment hardware may also have a smoother finish than the original and may permit slippage.

John Barbagallo
Director, Flight Standards Service

Appendix 2. Operation of Aircraft with Door Removed or Modified for Parachuting Operations copy link

  1. Operating limitations revision. The previous revision, Advisory Circular (AC) 105-2D, Sport Parachuting, Appendix 2, provided a list of aircraft that have Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)-approved door open or removal procedure authorization with operating limitations. That list did not include all the aircraft currently used in skydiving operations. Instead of continuing with the use of that list, contact your local Flight Standards District Office (FSDO) for information on getting an authorization to operate your aircraft with the door removed and/or a door modified to open/close in flight. Aircraft that have approved procedure and operating limitations in their FAA-approved Aircraft Flight Manual (AFM) or a FAA-approved Supplemental Type Certificate (STC) may operate in accordance with those documents.
  2. Operation with modified or removed door. Any aircraft type, utility/normal category model that has had FAA-approved data used for skydiving operations or door removal can be considered.
    1. Required Data. It is the responsibility of the applicant to supply the FAA aviation safety inspector (ASI) with any data necessary to have his or her aircraft approved to operate with a door removed or a door modified to open/close in flight during jump operations. If the aircraft is altered and operated in accordance with an STC, no other limitations are required.
    2. Approved Data. Many aircraft have jump door and/or restraint systems approved by type certificate (TC), STC, or field approval. Aircraft that have not been FAA-approved by TC, STC, or field approval must have the required data to address the alteration from a Designated Engineering Representative (DER), Organization Designation Authority (ODA), or other FAA-approved data. This data will allow the owner/operator the ability to apply for a field approval or one-time STC for that aircraft.
  3. Previously Approved Field Approvals. Applicants can present a previously FAA-approved field approval for jump door, handles, step, and skydiver restraint systems as data for the field approval process if the FAA-approved data are for the same aircraft make, model, and series (M/M/S).
  4. Field Approval Process. Applicants need to follow the latest guidance found in FAA Order 8900.1, Flight Standards Information Management System (FSIMS), Volume 4, Chapter 9, Selected Field Approvals, for a field approval process. This guidance can be found at http://fsims.faa.gov. Any changes to the flight manual require FAA and Aircraft Certification Office (ACO) approval. Applicants must include placards and skydiver restraint systems in the continued airworthiness instructions covering the repair of placards, restraint system components, steps, handles, jump doors, etc. Installation, removal, and inspection of installed equipment will be entered in the aircraft maintenance records, including the inspection checklist for the installation and operational check of restraint systems.

Appendix 3. Seats and Restraint Systems copy link

  1. Seating configuration and restraint System Safety. Not all seating and restraint system configurations used in jump aircraft provide the same level of safety in the event of an emergency landing. This appendix provides general information concerning the relative safety of commonly used seating configurations and restraint systems. These safety assessments are based on available research data and in-service experience.
  2. General information
    1. Quick Release Track Fittings. Single stud quick release track fittings have been shown to release from the track at dynamic loads much lower than their rated strength. Dual stud quick release fittings did not exhibit this behavior in dynamic tests. Therefore, dual stud quick release fittings of the type shown in Figure 2, Dual Stud Quick Release Track Fitting, provide a much more reliable restraint anchorage than single stud fittings.
    2. Lap Belts. Lap belts are only effective if there is a solid support surface behind the occupant, such as a seat back, aircraft sidewall, or bulkhead. Otherwise, a tether restraint that attaches to the parachute harness provides more effective restraint.
    3. Restraint for Aft-Facing Parachutists. Research has shown that to restrain aft-facing parachutists, the most effective point to attach a tether restraint to a parachute harness is at the junction of the leg straps, main lift web, and the horizontal back strap. Figure 3, Tether Restraint Usage, illustrates this attachment method, in which the tether loop encircles the junction by passing between the main lift web and the horizontal back strap, and between the upper leg strap and the lower leg strap. One way to achieve this is to route the tether loop under the upper leg strap, then under the main lift web before latching the loop, as depicted in Figure 4, Pass Tether Loop Under Upper Leg Strap, Figure 5, Pass Tether Loop Under Main Lift Web, and Figure 6, Latch Tether Loop Around Parachute Harness. Since these two components of the harness are easily accessible by the wearer, this attachment method should not be prone to misuse. It also provides more effective restraint than attaching at other points on the parachute harness since the restraining force is applied near the seated occupant’s center of gravity (CG).
    4. Restraint Belts or Tethers. Past experience and testing have shown the validity of attaching a restraint belt(s) or tether(s) to the parachute harness as part of the overall integrated restraint system. However, most manufactures have not tested their parachute harness configurations to see if they can accept the load vectors that would be experienced during the actual use of this type of restraint configuration. Because of this, any parachute harness that has been subjected to actual use as part of an integrated restraint system must be removed from service and inspected by the manufacturer or a parachute rigger designated by the manufacturer to determine the continued airworthiness of the parachute harness. If the inspection shows that the harness is Airworthy, it may be returned to service.
  3. Specific seating/restraint configurations
    1. Side-Facing. Conventional side-facing bench seats employing dual point lap belts are a superior means of carrying parachutists in aircraft large enough to accommodate them. They offer the advantages of being simple to use and can be designed to provide significant vertical energy absorption.
    2. Rear-Facing Floor Seating.
      1. Restraints are more effective if attached to the floor instead of the sidewall. Only use sidewall attachments if floor attach points are not available.
      2. Effectiveness is increased if overall tether length is kept as short as possible and the tether attachment to the aircraft is aft of the harness attachment point.
      3. Single point, single tether restraints are not recommended.
      4. Dual point, dual tether restraints offer superior restraint compared to single point, single tether restraints. This restraint method consists of two straps, each connecting the parachute harness to the aircraft floor on both sides of the parachutist as shown in Figures 7, Tether Restraint Attachment To Floor For Rear-Facing Floor Seats, Figure 8, Dual Point, Dual Tether Restraint Configuration For Rear-Facing Floor Seats, and Figure 9, Dual Point, Dual Tether Restraint Attachment To Floor For Rear-Facing Straddle.
    3. Rear-Facing on Straddle Bench.
      1. Straddle benches can offer more occupant crash protection than floor seating since they can be designed to provide significant vertical energy absorption.
      2. As with floor seating, restraints are more effective if attached to the floor instead of the sidewall.
      3. Restraint effectiveness is improved if the tether strap is attached to the floor such that it is at an approximately 45 degree angle, as shown in Figure 9.
      4. Single point, single tether restraints are not very effective.
      5. Dual point, dual tether restraints offer superior restraint compared to single point, single tether restraints





9-3: Air Traffic Bulletins

Air Traffic Bulletins are published by FAA Headquarters quarterly or as needed to brief air traffic controllers on specific issues. These two bulletins addressed skydiving issues.

Parachute Jumping
/*TEF/ Portions of this article have been used with the permission of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Ames Research Center, which has been involved in data collection of parachute jumping incidents through the Aviation Safety Reporting System. We gratefully acknowledge its efforts in increasing the aviation community’s awareness of this subject.

As spring approaches and temperatures moderate we can count on the annual increase of parachute jumping activities. We would like to take this time to remind facilities and controllers of their responsibilities when it comes to parachute jumping operations.

Order 7110.65, Chapter 9, Parachute Jumping, details the specific responsibilities of controllers, and we encourage you to review this section. Experience has shown that most of the questions concerning a controller’s responsibility for parachute jumping activities relate to Class E airspace. Coincidentally, most parachute jumping activity occurs in Class E airspace, and that is where we would like to address these operations.

Class E airspace is that airspace which “flows” around and over Classes B, C, D, and G airspace and has a ceiling of 18,000 feet MSL. Because most jump activities take place in Class E airspace, the majority of problems occurring with these operations are taking place there. Several additional clarifications on Air Traffic Control responsibilities in Class E airspace are important.

Controllers are not authorized to impose restrictions (for example, to deny or approve a jump) on parachute operations in Class E airspace, as they are authorized to do in Class A, B, C, or D airspace.

Controllers are required to give traffic advisories to jump aircraft before the jump, and to issue advisories to all known aircraft that will transit the Class E airspace within which the jump operations will occur. When time or the number of aircraft make individual transmissions impractical, advisories to nonparticipating aircraft may be broadcast on appropriate frequencies.

The point of these clarifications is to emphasize the special need in Class E airspace jump operations for both pilots and controllers to plan ahead, communicate clearly, and utilize extra vigilance in areas where jump zones are close to airways or approach corridors.

—December 1995

Parachute Operations

/*TERF/ It has come to our attention that there may be some confusion among controllers regarding the regulations and procedures for the conduct of parachute operations. In 2001, title 14, Code of Federal Regulations (14 CFR), part 105, was amended and may be the cause of some of the confusion. Therefore, we would like to provide the following information and remind controllers of their responsibilities to aircraft conducting parachute operations. Regulations addressing parachute operations are contained in, 14 CFR, part 105. Additional procedures and guidance can be found in Federal Aviation Administration Order (FAAO) 7110.65, Air Traffic Control, chapter 9, and FAAO 7210.3, Facility Operation and Administration, chapter 18.

1. Why is a letter of notification received by air traffic facilities on a yearly basis from local parachute operators?

In accordance with 14 CFR, section 105.25(a)(3), prior to conducting parachute operations within Class E or Class G airspace, persons must notify the air traffic control (ATC) facility having jurisdiction over the airspace at the first intended exit altitude. Notice may be provided via telephone and must be given no earlier than 24 hours before and no later than 1 hour before the parachute operation begins. However, 14 CFR, section 105.25(c), provides for air traffic facilities to accept written notification from skydiving centers and clubs on an ongoing basis, over a stated period of time, not to exceed 12 calendar months. Written notification of parachute jump operations is not required within Class E and Class G airspace areas. However, in areas where jumps take place on a regular basis, a letter that contains information about the parachute operations is helpful and is preferred over a phone call. Please note that this is not a change from the prior rule. However, more facilities have received letters recently as the United States Parachute Association has encouraged its members to write. Providing air traffic facilities with information regarding the drop zones, dates, times of jumps, aircraft registration number, and pilot names helps reduce phone calls and frequency congestion and contributes to the safety of aircraft operating when parachute operations are being conducted.

2. In Class A, B, C and D airspace areas, what authorization do parachute operators need and who issues the authorization?

In accordance with 14 CFR, section 105.25(a)(1) and (2), no person may conduct a parachute operation and no pilot in command of an aircraft may allow a parachute operation to be conducted from that aircraft unless an air traffic control authorization has been issued. The parachute operator must provide the information specified in 14 CFR, section 105.15(a), that includes drop zone location, times of jumps, aircraft registration number, name and address of pilot, and intended exit altitude. The ATC facility (terminal or en route center) having jurisdiction over the airspace containing the first intended exit altitude is responsible for issuing the authorization. In most cases, since parachute operations descend through numerous altitudes, as well as air traffic facility boundaries and sectors, it is incumbent on the ATC facility that issues the authorization to coordinate with other facilities that may be impacted by this operation.

3. How has the role of flight service stations (FSS) changed since 14 CFR, part 105, was amended?

The FSS’s vital role of providing weather briefings and issuing Notices to Airmen of parachute operations remains current. Prior to the automation of FSSs, most FSS facilities were located at airports and had an active role in providing airport advisories. Previously, 14 CFR, part 105, contained a provision that required parachute operators to contact the nearest ATC facility or FSS at least 5 minutes prior to the jump for the sole purpose of obtaining traffic advisories. Since most FSSs are no longer located at airports, the rule has been amended. 14 CFR, section 105.13(a)(1)(ii), now states that communications must be established between the jump aircraft and the ATC facility having jurisdiction over the affected airspace of the intended exit altitude. In other words, the pilot of the jump aircraft will be in communication with and receive traffic advisories from the ATC facility that is responsible for and has real-time information about other air traffic in the area.

4. When is a certificate of authorization required and who issues it?

In accordance with 14 CFR, section 105.21(a), a certificate of authorization is required when conducting parachute operations over or into a congested area of a city, town, or settlement, or an open-air assembly of persons. The person conducting the parachute operation must apply to the local Flight Standards District Office for the certificate of authorization. This certificate addresses the safety aspects of the operation for persons and property on the ground and does not replace the ATC clearance or authorization needed for operations within Class A, B, C, or D airspace.

5. Are air traffic controllers required to issue traffic advisories to jump aircraft?

Yes. FAAO 7110.65, Air Traffic Control, paragraph 9-8-4, requires that controllers issue traffic advisories to the jump aircraft before the jump. Controllers must issue advisories to all known aircraft that will transit the airspace when the jump operations will be conducted.

6. Are air traffic controllers required to separate jump aircraft that operate within a Class E airspace area?

No. Traffic advisories shall be provided, but ATC is not required to separate visual flight rules aircraft within Class E airspace. However, in accordance with FAAO 7110.65, Air Traffic Control, paragraph 9-8-4, ATC may assist pilots of non-participating aircraft that request help in avoiding the jump airspace. In addition, if there is other traffic in the jump area, ATC does not authorize or deny jump operations due to traffic. The jump pilot shall be issued traffic advisories. The jump pilot and jumpers will make a decision on whether or not to allow the jumpers to leave the aircraft. 14 CFR, section 105.5, clearly places the burden on the jump pilot and parachutist by stating that no person may conduct a parachute operation and no pilot in command of an aircraft may allow a parachute operation to be conducted from an aircraft, if that operation creates a hazard to air traffic or to persons or property on the ground. (ATO-R System Ops)

—July 2004