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Ops Manual Question  
User currently offlinesmartt1982 From United Kingdom, joined Nov 2007, 225 posts, RR: 0
Posted (2 years 9 months 1 week 4 days 3 hours ago) and read 2706 times:
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My understanding was that you are to follow your company ops manual to the letter as it is the bible of everything you do whilst operating for your company and that if you follow it you will stay safe and legal.

I have been told recently that the country were the company operates is the authority that approves things like the ops manual but all they are checking for is that it looks reasonable. Example I was given was that the company could put in their manual that every Tuesday at midday an aircraft should fly upside down, of course probably never happen but apparently could be put in the manual. Another example is that the ops manual just satisfies your internal company rules and that you as a pic need to make you are not breaking any laws into the different countries you operate into and that if you (dispite whatever company manual says) do it's down to you and you alone as pic. The advice I was given was that not to take the ops manual as gospel if legally you should be doing something else eg noise procedures etc. It was explained to me that you are stuck between the company rules and the laws like a hammer and a chisel and you need to weigh this into your decision making ie if you break your company rules you maybe out of a job but you still have a license but if you break the law you won't have a license.

I am aware that there is quite a few seasoned airline guys who look at this forum and I am always eager to hear opinions and views on this from guys who have been in the industry for a few years

Also on a quick note related to said ops manual. We fly Boeing which is American but we are a European operator and towards the start of the manual it states the FAA has issued a type 2 letter of acceptance (equivalent to EASA LOA type 2) to smiths aerospace. This recognises compliance of FMCS and database with AC 20-153 and RTCA/DO-200A
. Anyone explain to me what that means and we need an FAA approval to operate the fmc?


Many thanks

8 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offline474218 From United States of America, joined Oct 2005, 6340 posts, RR: 9
Reply 1, posted (2 years 9 months 1 week 4 days 1 hour ago) and read 2684 times:

Quoting smartt1982 (Thread starter):
I have been told recently that the country were the company operates is the authority that approves things like the ops manual but all they are checking for is that it looks reasonable.

The operation manual (flight manual) is developed by the OEM and approved by their reguatory agency. The operator can not change or add things to the operating manual.


User currently offlineB737200 From Malta, joined Feb 2005, 224 posts, RR: 2
Reply 2, posted (2 years 9 months 1 week 3 days 23 hours ago) and read 2661 times:

Quoting smartt1982 (Thread starter):
Also on a quick note related to said ops manual. We fly Boeing which is American but we are a European operator and towards the start of the manual it states the FAA has issued a type 2 letter of acceptance (equivalent to EASA LOA type 2) to smiths aerospace. This recognises compliance of FMCS and database with AC 20-153 and RTCA/DO-200A
. Anyone explain to me what that means and we need an FAA approval to operate the fmc?

Firstly I am no expert so by no means is what I am saying gospel.

What I think happens is that the FAA accepts the FMCS and issues the paperwork for it. EASA then sees the FAA issued acceptance and deems it to be satisfactory and so basically says "that's good for us too." However since you are an EU operator you need that acceptance on behalf of EASA. It would be possible in theory that the FAA accepts something but EASA does not, hence it becomes illegal for a European operator.

I may be wrong though, maybe someone can discredit or confirm what I've said.



Lady Guinness is ready to fly...
User currently offlineSlamClick From United States of America, joined Nov 2003, 10062 posts, RR: 68
Reply 3, posted (2 years 9 months 1 week 3 days 17 hours ago) and read 2602 times:

As the o/p is posting from the UK I suppose the most relevant answers would be rooted in the regulations applicable there.

From the point of view of US air carrier rules (FAR 121) I'd have to say...

Quoting 474218 (Reply 1):
The operation manual (flight manual) is developed by the OEM and approved by their reguatory agency.

...is incorrect. The Operations Manual describes non-aircraft-specific issues. That is, the general manner in which operations will be conducted by all fleet types. It is written by the airline and approved by the Administrator in the person of the FAA office holding the airline's certificate. Everywhere I have ever had inside knowledge the company would on startup and at some interval, have a group under the supervision of an attorney conduct a compliance check on the Ops Manual for each and every paragraph of FAR Part 121 and its appendices.

The Pilot Handbook or [type] Aircraft Operating Manual is specific to an airplane make/model e.g. B-737 or A-320 and is compliant with a manufacturer's manual and is judged as compliant with same by the office holding the air carrier's certificate. I've never seen an airline, large or small use the manufacturer's manual for any transport category airplane. (Cessna 402 yes - B-737 no) Their manuals, frankly are not optimized for flight crew use. In fact an airline may have considerable latitude in deviating from manufacturers' procedures provided the company's version gets validated by their FAA inspectors.

For the o/p: I once had a discussion rather like that with the D/O at a smaller airline. Theoretically if the Ops Manual said the pilot uniform called for blue socks and a pilot wore black socks it might constitute a violation of the regulations that require pilot compliance with company policies/procedures. As a practical matter the FAA would only get involved it there was a safety issue.



Happiness is not seeing another trite Ste. Maarten photo all week long.
User currently offline474218 From United States of America, joined Oct 2005, 6340 posts, RR: 9
Reply 4, posted (2 years 9 months 1 week 3 days 16 hours ago) and read 2579 times:

Quoting SlamClick (Reply 3):
...is incorrect.



Not so!!

Example of "Pilots Operating Handbook and FAA Approved Airplane Flight Manual". There is document similar to this produced by the OEM for every aircraft.

http://www.pilotlist.org/manuels/cirrus/mdvSR20eng.pdf


User currently offlineMir From United States of America, joined Jan 2004, 21126 posts, RR: 56
Reply 5, posted (2 years 9 months 1 week 3 days 15 hours ago) and read 2570 times:

Quoting 474218 (Reply 4):
Example of "Pilots Operating Handbook and FAA Approved Airplane Flight Manual". There is document similar to this produced by the OEM for every aircraft.

Those are different from the Operations Manual. In our airplane we carry both an Airplane Flight Manual (operating instructions for the airplane) and an Operations Manual (company operating policies and procedures).

-Mir



7 billion, one nation, imagination...it's a beautiful day
User currently offlineSlamClick From United States of America, joined Nov 2003, 10062 posts, RR: 68
Reply 6, posted (2 years 9 months 1 week 3 days 12 hours ago) and read 2538 times:

Quoting 474218 (Reply 4):
Not so!!

For your information a...

Quoting smartt1982 (Thread starter):
company ops manual

...is the document prescribed by FAR 121.133, 121.135 and 121.137. Take a look at these regs and come on back. It does NOT refer to the pilot handbook.

P.S. I've been living by these regulations since Najeeb Halaby was the Administrator and by these specific documents since Alexander Butterfield was.



Happiness is not seeing another trite Ste. Maarten photo all week long.
User currently offlinezeke From Hong Kong, joined Dec 2006, 8646 posts, RR: 75
Reply 7, posted (2 years 9 months 1 week 3 days 7 hours ago) and read 2480 times:

Quoting smartt1982 (Thread starter):
My understanding was that you are to follow your company ops manual to the letter as it is the bible of everything you do whilst operating for your company and that if you follow it you will stay safe and legal.

No, and they normally have a disclaimer to that effect.

Quoting smartt1982 (Thread starter):

I have been told recently that the country were the company operates is the authority that approves things like the ops manual but all they are checking for is that it looks reasonable.

The authority does not "approve" the manuals, they "accept" them, it is up to the company to update the manuals so the changing rules are incorporated. They will approve the operator, and in the manuals it will say the approved method for updating the manuals, and who is responsible for them.

Quoting smartt1982 (Thread starter):
Another example is that the ops manual just satisfies your internal company rules and that you as a pic need to make you are not breaking any laws into the different countries you operate into and that if you (dispite whatever company manual says) do it's down to you and you alone as pic.

That is correct, best example is follow NOTAMs. That information can be very fluid, ops manuals can take some time to disseminate changes.

Quoting smartt1982 (Thread starter):
Anyone explain to me what that means and we need an FAA approval to operate the fmc?

I would think that the aircraft may have had a type acceptance rather than a type approval. The UK type acceptance rides onto of the FAA type certificate, or supplemental type certificate.

Quoting 474218 (Reply 1):

The operation manual (flight manual) is developed by the OEM and approved by their reguatory agency.

What he is talking about is the EUOPS manual, which is like your ops spec in the US. It defines things like SOP, fuel policy etc.



We are addicted to our thoughts. We cannot change anything if we cannot change our thinking – Santosh Kalwar
User currently offlinefxra From United States of America, joined Jul 1999, 700 posts, RR: 2
Reply 8, posted (2 years 9 months 1 week 16 hours ago) and read 2323 times:

Reference Ops Manuals: ,depending on the airline i was working with were known as the Flight Operations Manual, Basic Operations Manual, or General Operations Manual, and generally described the way the air carrier would operate. Ours have incorporated information from the Ops Specs, the FARs, and other published regulatory documents. Usually some where in there is a disclaimer that deviation from the described procedures can be accomplished if required by the state you're operating in (not state as in Nebraska but as in Germany). The ICAO states that when operating in a country, their rules shall govern how you operate. The FAR's state that when operating outside the US, you will observe US regulations unless the country you're operating in has more stringent procedures. Jeppesen in it's Text Denver/Frankfurt has a page that describes local deviations from standard ICAO procedures, and a PIC should be familiar with such before entering the countries airspace. (Ie China using Meters vs US using feet).

Depending on the size of the airline, the Ops manuals can be broken up to address a specific function or group. The smaller carriers had a very non specific manual, leaving a lot of leeway for crews and personal to operate, mandating of course no FAR violation and safe operations. The larger airlines I've worked by get so specific to come close to shooting themselves int he foot (requiring a specific number of bottles of water per crew member on a flight!). Of course, there's a reason the procedures are put in the manuals, somebody did something stupid and now we have to spell out that you can or cannot not have less than 3 bottles of water per crewmember for every 2 hours of flight.

Reference the Aircraft Operating Manuals:, these are plane specific and come from the manufacturer. As stated above, and are generally suited for an engineer to read more than an operations person. Again, the smaller carriers I worked for usually just put the AFM in full on the planes for the crew to reference. Not user friendly at all. The larger carriers have gone through the AFM and pulled out the most relevant info and condensed it for crews. The AFM then becomes the domain of subject matter experts and performance engineers. I can think maybe of 2 times in a year I've needed, as a dispatcher or being asked by flight crews, to reference something that's only found in the boeing or airbus manual.

As far as manual approval, FAA has determined that European aircraft certification meets or exceeds their requirements, thus the airworthiness certificate is accepted by the FAA for an Airbus, though sometimes they may ask for something specific to be done. And vice versa with the EASA with a Boeing plane.

Quoting SlamClick (Reply 3):
Everywhere I have ever had inside knowledge the company would on startup and at some interval, have a group under the supervision of an attorney conduct a compliance check on the Ops Manual for each and every paragraph of FAR Part 121 and its appendices.

Of course, Lawyers always leave enough room for some grey area interpretation so that you can hang yourself with the idea that "and" really means "or" and that was the true intent reqardless of the what the actual plain language say.



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