VFR Airworthiness Requirements

Updated: Apr 20

Airworthiness Requirements Lesson by wifiCFI

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Aircraft Documents

Required Aircraft Documents Include: (ARROW)

  • External Data Plate (FAR 45.11)

  • Airworthiness Certificate (FAR 91.203)

  • Registration Certificate (FAR 91.203)

  • Radio Station License (Outside US)

  • Operating Handbook (AFM or POH) (FAR 91.9)

  • Weight and Balance (Official from POH)

  • Compass Deviation Card (FAR 23.1547)

External Data Plate (FAR 45.11)

  • Must be a fireproof plate.

  • Must be in a place where it is not likely to be destroyed or lost in an aircraft accident.

  • Must be on the rear most entrance door or fuselage near the tail surface.

  • Contains the aircraft’s serial number.


Airworthiness Certificate (FAR 91.203)

  • Must contain the aircraft’s serial number.

  • Does not expire as long as the aircraft is maintained in an airworthy condition.

  • Must be in view for all passengers and crew.


Registration Certificate (FAR 91.203)

  • Identifies the owner of the aircraft.

  • Typically valid for 3 years.


Radio Station License

  • Only required on international flights.

  • Issued by the FCC.


Operating Handbook (AFM or POH) (FAR 91.9)

  • Must be on the aircraft for any flight operations.

  • Must be current and FAA approved.

  • Cannot be missing pages.


Official Weight and Balance

  • Typically found in the POH.

  • Must be current.

  • Weight and Balance sheets may change with changes in equipment.

  • Make sure you have a copy of the most current weight and balance.

  • Make sure it does not say “superseded” on it.


Compass Deviation Card

  • Must be legible.

  • Must be placed near or on the aircraft’s magnetic compass.


Required Aircraft Inspections Include (AV1ATES)

  • Annual Inspection (FAR 91.409)

  • VOR Check* (FAR 91.171)

  • 100 HR Inspection (FAR 91.409)

  • Altimeter* (FAR 91.411)

  • Transponder (FAR 91.413)

  • ELT Functional and Battery Check (FAR 91.207(c)(d))

  • Static/Encoder* (FAR 91.411)

*Required for IFR operations only

Annual Inspection (FAR 91.409)

  • Required every 12 calendar months for all aircraft.

  • Must be signed off by an IA mechanic.

  • Can replace a 100 HR Inspection.

  • Cannot be overflown.

  • Example: If an aircraft had it’s last Annual Inspection February 26, 2017, when is the next Annual Inspection due?

  • Answer:

  • The last day of February 2018

VOR Inspection (FAR 91.171)

  • Only required for IFR operations.

  • Can be signed off by a pilot.

The pilot must note:

  • Their signature

  • The location of the VOR Check

  • Amount of error

  • Date of VOR Check

Due every 30 days for IFR flying

Types of VOR Checks Include:

  • VOT (VOR Test Facilities)

  • Ground Checks

  • Airborne Checks

  • Dual VOR Checks