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NPR 7900.3D
Effective Date: May 01, 2017
Expiration Date: May 01, 2024
Printable Format (PDF)

Subject: Aircraft Operations Management

Responsible Office: Office of Safety and Mission Assurance

| TOC | ChangeHistory | Preface | Chapter1 | Chapter2 | Chapter3 | Chapter4 | Chapter5 | Chapter6 | Chapter7 | Chapter8 | Chapter9 | Chapter10 | Chapter11 | Chapter12 | Chapter13 | AppendixA | AppendixB | AppendixC | AppendixD | AppendixE | AppendixF | AppendixG | AppendixH | AppendixI | ALL |

Chapter 2. Airworthiness and Maintenance

2.1 Purpose

2.1.1 This chapter establishes requirements to ensure the airworthiness and maintenance of NASA aircraft and UAS that use aerodynamic lift for flight, operate in the Earth's atmosphere where aeronautical flight can occur, and are used to perform NASA missions.

2.2 Airworthiness General Requirements

2.2.1 Airworthiness reviews shall be conducted for all aircraft modifications. [69] These processes are to review flight operations and identify hazards to minimize risks to persons and property and to enhance the likelihood of mission and program success. Formal review requirements will be appropriate for the types of modifications incorporated, the specific mission or project requirements, and the operational risks involved.

2.2.2 The airworthiness review process may include several levels of review. Each Center shall clearly identify the appropriate airworthiness review process for experimental, research, and operational configurations and nonstandard ground or flight operations for all aircraft contracted or operated by the Center. [70]

2.2.3 In addition to being certified as airworthy through a Center airworthiness process, all NASA aircraft shall be cleared through separate flight readiness reviews as described in section 3.12. [71]

2.2.4 Centers and Component Facilities that do not have an aircraft operations department and desire to conduct NASA-conducted or NASA-sponsored operations (aircraft/UAS/CAS) shall coordinate with AMD and the IAOP for support from another NASA Center aircraft operations department with a standard airworthiness review process. [72]

2.3 Airworthiness Certification Requirements

2.3.1 NASA aircraft shall be operated in an airworthy condition as certified by a formal NASA Center airworthiness review process, under the authority of a NASA Center Director, in accordance with Federal public use aircraft laws and regulations. [73] All NASA-owned aircraft performing a public use operation shall possess and maintain a NASA Certificate of Airworthiness (Appendix G) approved by the Center Director. This includes loaned and bailed aircraft to NASA. [74] All NASA commercial aircraft services (CAS) aircraft shall possess and maintain a NASA Certificate of Airworthiness (Appendix G) or Statement of Airworthiness issued by a Center and endorsed/signed by the Center Director in accordance with Chapter 10. [75] For all CAS aircraft, the statement shall define the duration of applicability, as well as any limitations to that statement. [76]

a. A NASA Statement of Airworthiness is valid only when conducting a NASA mission. If a CAS aircraft is altered outside of its FAA type certificate or not maintained under an FAA-accepted maintenance program during its operations for NASA, the NASA contract shall require the responsibility of the CAS owner to conduct a conformity inspection, which is required to ensure the aircraft meets all civil regulations prior to operating that aircraft as a civil aircraft. [77]

b. The CAS owner of an aircraft that has performed a public aircraft operation for NASA may not return the aircraft to service in civil operations without demonstrating that the aircraft meets all the criteria as prescribed by FAA regulations to hold its airworthiness certificate. For more information, the CAS owner should contact their local Flight Standards District Office. All NASA-owned aircraft used for passenger transportation purposes shall operate in Civil Aircraft status and possess a Standard FAA Certificate of Airworthiness. [78]

a. If CAS aircraft are operated for NASA under a FAA Operating Certificate for passenger or cargo transportation, the aircraft shall be operated within the limitations imposed by the FAA Operating Certificate (with the exception of scheduled airline passenger transportation). [79]

b. Aircraft that have been modified from the FAA-approved configuration shall not be used for passenger transportation purposes. [80] When NASA aircraft are transferred between Centers, a new NASA Certificate of Airworthiness approved by the receiving Center Director shall be obtained prior to commencing flight. [81] If aircraft are used for a multi-Center mission, roles and responsibilities for airworthiness mission operational control and mishap response shall be established in writing. [82] If an aircraft is registered internationally and the operations are being conducted internationally, whether modified or flown in a certified condition, an airworthiness and onsite flight readiness and safety review shall be conducted. Exception: An on-site review is not required for passenger operations if the aircraft is not modified and is being operated in compliance with recognized International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) scheduled passenger standards. [83] All NASA UAS, whether NASA-owned, -sponsored or, -contracted, shall receive an airworthiness review per this chapter. [84] For all NASA aircraft bailed or loaned outside of NASA, the aircraft certificate of airworthiness shall be removed and suspended. [85]

2.4 Airworthiness Roles and Responsibilities

2.4.1 The Chief, Office of Safety and Mission Assurance (OSMA) formulates NASA safety policy and provides independent oversight of NASA aviation safety and safety procedures or guidelines.

2.4.2 Aircraft Management Division (AMD) shall establish airworthiness policy and requirements and provide support and oversight of airworthiness process. [86]

2.4.3 Center Directors shall establish airworthiness and configuration control review processes and procedures for overall engineering oversight to identify and review engineering analysis and limitations, to manage hazards and risks associated with flight programs, to ensure safe flight operations, to manage and thoroughly document aircraft configurations, and to ensure that flight objectives satisfy programmatic requirements. [87] Center Directors shall ensure that these review processes and procedures are incorporated into the contracts of those who operate, maintain, and provide support for NASA aircraft as well as contracted aircraft used for NASA missions, with the exception of scheduled airline passenger transportation. [88] Center Directors shall establish configuration control procedures to ensure that the configuration of each NASA aircraft is fully documented and reviewed. [89] Center Directors shall establish a minimum equipment list (MEL) for all non-test-related equipment for all aircraft operations. Waivers to a MEL may be granted by the Chief of Flight Operations but may not be delegated to a lower office/position. [90] Center Engineering Technical Authority governs the approval processes conducted to certify an aircraft operating for NASA as airworthy. He/she is responsible for and ensures that all engineering analysis is performed using appropriate technical standards and that engineering rationale is properly documented and reviewed prior to airworthiness review packages' being submitted to the Center's Airworthiness Board for approval. The Center Engineering Technical Authority shall ensure all engineering documentation, reports, and analysis for aircraft airworthiness complies with this NPR, is readily accessible, is archived for the life of the aircraft while owned or operated by NASA, and is properly reviewed based on sound engineering rationale through design reviews, which are scalable based on scope and magnitude of the engineering effort. [91]

2.4.4 Program/Project Managers shall ensure Airworthiness Review Board and Center Engineering Technical Authority are made aware of missions and operations requiring airworthiness review early in the development phase of the Program/Project and provide all requisite documentation, analysis, resources, and presentations to support the review processes. [92]

2.4.5 The Center Airworthiness Review Board is responsible for reviewing and approving a recommendation to the Center Director for all NASA aircraft and to the Chief of Flight Operations for all CAS aircraft as airworthy in accordance with this NPR and NPR 7120 airworthiness and engineering requirements for all NASA missions.

2.5 Airworthiness Review Board Membership

2.5.1 Each Center Director is responsible for establishing a list of senior managers and/or senior engineers who are responsible for conducting the airworthiness reviews and approving projects or missions for flight, including appointing personnel responsible for managing and executing the Center airworthiness function and maintaining records of airworthiness approvals. The Airworthiness Review Board (ARB) Chair shall be independent of flight operations and Project Management and the assignment documented in writing. [93] All reviews shall include, at a minimum, representatives from safety, flight operations, and engineering, and documentation for what constitutes a quorum for the ARB. [94] The flight operations representative shall be a pilot who is ether a qualified ASO or Test Pilot who is a graduate of a formal Test Pilot School. [95]

2.5.2 The Center airworthiness review board may be broken down into several subpanels to facilitate the overall review process. For instance, separate reviews of technical issues and safety hazards may facilitate a detailed review of specific aspects of the project or mission by discipline experts, who then advise the overarching Center review board. Any cockpit or cabin modifications that might interfere with aircrew egress shall be reviewed by a subpanel, including aircrew and life support personnel. [96]

2.6 Airworthiness Review Process

2.6.1 All aircraft conducting NASA or NASA-sponsored operations shall be evaluated and approved by a NASA Center Airworthiness Board. [97] Test-related equipment will be handled through the flight test planning process. If test equipment remains on the aircraft for non-test-related missions, then such equipment shall be addressed in the aircraft documentation. [98] The airworthiness review process is an engineering and safety analyses process to determine that an aviation system or its component parts meets minimum design criteria, standards, and configuration for the conduct of safe flight operations. Airworthiness also reviews the operations of NASA aircraft when those operations are nonstandard for that aircraft type, places the aircraft into a more hazardous environment than normal, or involves experimental internal or external payloads, configurations, or noncertified external stores, including the dropping of uncertified stores, which may affect the airworthiness of the aircraft. An airworthiness review and signed Airworthiness Certificate or Statement are required prior to an aircraft commencing its first or subsequent flights. An Airworthiness Certificate or Statement is valid only for the specific configurations, flight envelopes, duration, locations, and operations specified in the approval. Any change to the specified configuration or flight operation requires issuance of a separate or amended Airworthiness Certificate or Statement. Examples of configuration and envelope changes requiring airworthiness review include, but are not limited to:

a. Structural and material changes that alter the basic aircraft design configuration.

b. Modification of the exterior contour or mold line of the aircraft to an experimental configuration (e.g., addition/removal of wing fence, ventral fin, vortex generator, air induction system, auxiliary inlets, and nonstandard antenna configurations or locations).

c. Modification to the flight control system, including software revisions to nonstandard configurations.

d. A new or modified propulsion system or its control system, including software revisions, that is nonstandard for the aircraft.

e. Modification of the displays or annunciation affecting critical information presented to the aircrew (e.g., situational awareness, aircraft control, or air vehicle launch) or avionics/electronics that interface with aircraft and/or are nonstandard.

f. Modification of any subsystem interfacing with and affecting flight or propulsion systems (e.g., mission computer, navigation, and warning and caution systems) that are nonstandard.

g. Modification of the aircrew life support systems to nonstandard configurations.

h. Evaluation of crosswind landing or wet runway landing limits, emergency procedures, structural or flight control limits, wind envelopes, or helicopter external lift, cargo hook system, or tow limits that are outside the normal limits for the aircraft.

i. Flight test instrumentation that interfaces with normal aircraft systems or that may affect the operation of those systems.

j. Intentional operation in a degraded mode for test purposes (e.g., simulation of partial loss or malfunction of flight control system, engine, and avionics).

k. Dropping of uncertified stores or objects.

l. Any other modifications, payloads, or operations that are nonstandard according to established flight manuals, procedures, or FAA certification requirements (if operated under an FAA airworthiness certificate). The following aircraft modifications require airworthiness review but may not require a change to the airworthiness certification:

a. Airworthiness Directives commonly issued by FAA.

b. Maintenance Advisories, which are issued by multiple sources, such as the U.S. Navy, the U.S. Air Force, and manufacturers.

c. One Time Inspections (OTI), which may be issued by multiple sources.

d. Service Bulletins/Service Instructions (SB/SI), which may be issued by manufacturers.

e. Service Information Letters, which may be issued by multiple sources.

f. Time Compliance Technical Orders (TCTO), issued by the U.S. Air Force.

g. Technical Orders (TO).

h. Technical Directives (TD), issued by the U.S. Navy.

i. Power Plant Bulletins/Power Plant Changes (PPB/PPC).

j. Supplemental Type Certificates (STC) issued by the FAA. Modifications to aircraft, such as avionics upgrades, that meet FAA certification requirements, according to applicable FAA regulations, may be handled through a configuration control process.

2.6.2 The Center ARB reviews project or mission hazards, aircraft modifications, project processes, and procedures related to safety and mission assurance. In addition, the process approves appropriate risk mitigation procedures/techniques and provides oversight for all planned operations. The review shall include the engineering rationale, substantiation documentation, and risk mitigations in an airworthiness review board package. [99]

2.6.3 Airworthiness approval for flight may be for an entire test or research program or be restricted to a certain number of flights or missions and require additional review once defined project or mission goals are achieved.

2.6.4 The airworthiness process shall be continual throughout the course of a project. [100] The Center Director should establish periodic reviews to review project progress subsequent to defined project events (including successes or failures) or at other points in the project to review the overall airworthiness of the aircraft for the intended mission, as well as the progress of the project.

2.6.5 All aircraft modifications and/or configuration changes that require airworthiness review board approval shall go through an appropriate level of design reviews. [101] The design review schedule should be based on the scope and magnitude of the modification effort. The objectives of the design review process are to provide NASA the assurances necessary that a satisfactory approach has been taken to minimize and manage risk and to achieve productive flight operations. The reviews need to communicate project management and engineering approaches, demonstrate ability to meet requirements, establish current project status, and above all, indicate the project's overall attitude toward safety.

a. Design review documentation shall be presented to the Center Engineering Technical Authority for review and approval and can be in conjunction with NPR 7120.5/NPR 7120.8 reviews if coordinated by the Program/Project Manager. [102]

b. Results of the review shall be documented and action items or Review Item Discrepancies (RIDs) tracked using a closed-loop system. [103]

c. Design review results and action item status shall be presented to the Airworthiness Review Board during approval request. [104]

2.6.6 Prior to award of any CAS contract or other written agreement, the flight operations office at the NASA Center that manages the contract shall follow the requirements in Chapter 10. [105]

a. The review shall be conducted in the initial planning stage and results of this review incorporated into the contractor selection process. [106]

b. If the contract is expected to provide long-term, continuous support (greater than 1 year), the aviation program shall be subject to the IAOP review process. [107]

2.7 Airworthiness Documentation and Records

2.7.1 Airworthiness request and approval requirements shall be documented in Center-level procedures. [108] The following are typical of the information required for an airworthiness review board to review in order to approve an aircraft modification or flight operation for a specific aircraft configuration:

a. A description of the aircraft modifications, including aircraft configuration, loads, flight envelope, aircraft weight and balance data, reference to applicable mechanical and electrical design documents, reference to applicable software version description documents, and a listing of associated computer software configuration. The airworthiness review board reviews each of these items as applicable for the specific aircraft or subsystems under review.

b. Applicable engineering analyses describe design criteria, aircraft loads and safety limits, external pod loads, electrical or mechanical system vibrations, aero-elastic vibrations (flutter), aero-servo-elastic effects, thermal loads, electrical system loads, impact of software, and other abnormal environmental conditions and their effects on aircraft performance, stability, and control or aircraft systems operation. The results of tests conducted to verify the engineering analyses also shall be considered. [109]

c. A description of the required flight operations, including operating procedures, test conditions, maneuvers, required instrumentation, mission control operations, mission rules and flight limitations, nonstandard operation or inspection criteria, and associated checklists. Actions to be taken in the event of in-flight malfunctions or emergency conditions associated with the aircraft modifications or nonstandard operations also shall be described. [110]

2.7.2 Each Center shall establish the content of the airworthiness review based on the aircraft mission, complexity of the modifications, and the inherent hazards associated with the operation. [111]

2.7.3 Requirements for design, documentation, and workmanship shall be established and meet or exceed standard aerospace industry practices for flight hardware if there are no NASA engineering standards in place for the following requirements:

a. Engineering substantiation documentation and drawings.

b. Material conformity for materials used in primary and secondary structures, whose failure could result in loss of or damage to the aircraft or injury to or loss of personnel based on experience gained through past or current testing.

c. Electrical design requirements to include electromagnetic interference.

d. Avionics requirements, including a review of all system vulnerabilities.

e. Structural load and stability requirements. [112]

2.7.4 Hazard Analysis shall be provided, identifying real or potential conditions that could cause injury, illness, or death to the personnel; damage to or loss of a system, equipment, or property; or damage to the environment. [113] This will include a safety hazard analysis of systems and operations, including risk assessment and risk reduction actions and the methodology used to reduce the risks to acceptable levels (e.g., design, safety devices, warnings, procedure, training, or other methods). The following supporting documentation shall be included in an Airworthiness Review:

a. All design review documentation, results, RIDs/action items, and associated status.

b. Weight and balance.

c. Traceability to closed work packages associated with modification.

d. Status of any review or audit findings affecting the modification or flight. If applicable, include any mitigations put in place to address issues.

e. Minimum equipment list (MEL).

f. Associated waivers and deviations.

g. Product verification results.

h. QA results and issues.

i. Maintenance results and issues. [114]

2.7.5 Airworthiness approval is based on the results of Center-approved engineering and safety analyses. The final approval shall contain a description of the configuration of the aircraft, operating instructions and procedures, operating limitations and restrictions, and specific maneuvers or operations for which the aircraft is cleared. [115] A NASA Certificate of Airworthiness (Appendix G) or Statement of Airworthiness shall be issued prior to flight. [116]

2.8 Maintenance Program

2.8.1 The objective of an effective maintenance program is to ensure that assigned aircraft are serviceable (safe and operable) and properly configured to meet mission requirements in the most cost-effective manner. This is accomplished by performing maintenance, inspection, repair, overhaul, modification, preservation, testing, and condition or performance analyses. Emphasis is placed on processes that reduce the risk of a maintenance failure and the associated impact on operations. The Chief of Flight Operations is responsible for maintaining the airworthiness of aircraft assigned to the Center. The airworthiness of the aircraft includes airframes, engines, propellers, rotors, appliances, and parts. All maintenance and inspections shall be performed in accordance with this chapter and the applicable manufacturer and military manuals as appropriate. [117]

2.8.2 The Center's Chief of Maintenance is the focal point for all Center aircraft maintenance activities and will ensure that discrepancies between required inspections are corrected to maintain continued airworthiness. Any deviations from the procedures in the maintenance program shall conform to an airworthiness review and be substantiated by a risk analysis. [118]

2.8.3 NASA aircraft shall be maintained in accordance with an established and documented Center maintenance program, using standards of quality in workmanship, materials, and support equipment that will ensure airworthiness of aircraft for safety of flight. [119] All NASA aircraft shall be maintained in a condition for safe operation and meet their respective type designs or properly altered condition. [120] It is essential that the continued airworthiness of NASA aircraft be consistent with the terms of the Airworthiness Certificate. A maintenance program shall meet FAA regulations for any passenger-seating capacity for an aircraft that is used for passenger transportation. [121] Documentation is an essential part of maintenance with the objective of providing timely, accurate, and complete information to the Chief of Flight Operations. Use of the NASA standard maintenance application, NASA Aircraft Management Information System (NAMIS) is mandatory.

2.8.4 Depot-Level Maintenance or Major Aircraft Modifications Conducted External to a NASA Facility Center Flight Operations shall maintain continuous onsite oversight of vendors and facilities performing aircraft depot-level maintenance or major aircraft modifications to ensure quality of workmanship, adherence to NASA standards, schedule, and cost control. [122] This oversight function shall be performed only by NASA employees or contractors that are independent of the vendor facility to reduce any conflict of interest and incorporate the requirement of NPR 8735.2. [123] The oversight requirements address various functions to be performed to ensure compliance to the requirements. This oversight is provided in addition to, not as a substitute for, the maintenance organization's responsibilities. Individuals assigned onsite contractor's facility responsibilities shall have expertise and experience in aircraft maintenance and airworthiness standards and requirements. [124] For maintenance performed external to NASA facilities, the Chief of Maintenance shall ensure that:

a. The person(s) performing the maintenance, preventive maintenance, or alteration is properly certificated and qualified to perform the assigned function. [125]

b. The work performed is done in accordance with the NASA-approved continuous airworthiness maintenance program or Federal Aviation Regulations (FAR). [126]

c. A record is made in NAMIS or the aircraft log book, where applicable, of the description of work performed, the date, certificate number, and type of certificate held by the person performing the work. Maintenance and inspection records will, at a minimum, contain a complete description of the maintenance/repair/inspection accomplished and will include technical manual and paragraph information references. [127]

2.8.5 The NASA process for a continuous airworthiness maintenance program is a compilation of the individual maintenance and inspection functions. These specifications prescribe the scope of the program, including limitations, and the reference manuals and other technical data as supplements to these specifications. The following are the basic elements of a continuous airworthiness maintenance program:

a. Aircraft Inspection: This element deals with the routine inspections, servicing, and tests performed on the aircraft at prescribed intervals. It includes detailed instructions and standards (or references thereto) by work forms, job cards, and similar documents, which also serve to control the activity and to record and account for the tasks that comprise this element.

b. Scheduled Maintenance: This element concerns maintenance tasks performed at prescribed intervals. Some are accomplished concurrently with inspection tasks that are part of the inspection element and may be included on the same form. Other tasks are accomplished independently. The scheduled tasks include replacement of life-limited items, components requiring replacement for periodic overhaul, nondestructive inspections, checks or tests for on-condition items, lubrications, and similar activities.

c. Unscheduled Maintenance: This element provides procedures, instructions, and standards for accomplishing maintenance tasks generated by the inspection and scheduled maintenance elements, pilot reports, failure analyses, or other indications of a need for maintenance.

d. Engine, Propeller, and Component Repair and Overhaul: This element concerns shop operations, which, although they encompass scheduled and unscheduled tasks, are remote from maintenance performed to the aircraft as a unit. Appropriate life-limited parts replacement requirements are included in this element.

e. Structural Inspection Program/Airframe Overhaul: This element concerns the structural inspections identified as the C and D check level by the manufacturer, airframe major overhaul, major corrosion inspections, Programmed Depot Maintenance (PDM), and Scheduled Depot Level Maintenance (SDLM) or similar inspections. In addition to structural inspection, major airframe overhaul programs require extensive maintenance scheduling.

f. Required Inspection Items: This element concerns maintenance work items, which, if improperly done or for which improper parts are used, could endanger the safe operation of the aircraft. Required inspection items appear in all elements of the operator's continuous airworthiness maintenance program. For maintenance conducted by any contractor, NPR 8735.2 provides the requirements for selection and assignment of Government Mandatory Inspection Points (GMIPs) and lists the sources of information that shall be evaluated during the GMIP definition process. [128]

2.8.6 Each Center shall develop written maintenance procedures and practices in a Center's maintenance manual that supports the aircraft-specific (manufacturer, NASA, or DoD) maintenance programs and ensures that information and technical data appropriate to the work performed are used. [129] While this maintenance program may be completed by contractor maintenance, the contractor is required to follow the Center maintenance manual whose accuracy and currency shall be the responsibility of the Chief of Maintenance. [130] Maintenance procedures shall ensure that no person or organization performs maintenance on NASA aircraft unless the person is an authorized employee of NASA or has been authorized to perform the work under the terms of a written maintenance agreement or other form of authorization specified in the Center's operations manual or maintenance manual. [131] The maintenance manual also shall address how the flightcrew will obtain maintenance services when away from the Center. [132] The Center's maintenance manual serves to define the continuous airworthiness maintenance program and to provide procedures and instructions for its use. A comprehensive maintenance plan will be detailed in the Center's maintenance manual and include a list of specific maintenance processes. At a minimum, the Center's maintenance manual shall include:

a. A description of how aircraft records and associated documentation for assigned aircraft and components are maintained. [133]

(1) Aircraft records and documentation shall be maintained electronically in NAMIS. [134]

(2) Temporary use of paper records and documentation is authorized when necessary to meet mission requirements such as a remote campaign or during a power failure.

(3) NAMIS electronic records and documentation shall be promptly updated and used as the primary source of aircraft documentation. [135]

b. Maintenance of aircraft records and associated documentation is essential to ensure the airworthiness of aircraft. Aircraft records and documentation provide a history of maintenance, operation, and configuration control of aircraft. Persons signing entries on serviceable parts tags and all documentation in NAMIS for work performed on aircraft, systems, and components shall:

(1) Be authorized in accordance with NASA requirements and applicable FARs and have satisfactorily completed maintenance training or possess the equivalent current experience on the applicable type appliance, aircraft, engine, or propeller. The equivalent experience will be documented on the individual's training record, which is filed in the maintenance organization.

(2) Understand and have knowledge of FARs and the applicable types of maintenance or overhaul manuals and follow the applicable procedures set forth in this manual.

(3) Meet Center-defined certification processes. [136]

c. A documented aircraft release procedure that ensures that all maintenance release authorities are designated in writing and that ensures a maintenance release authorization has been completed following maintenance. [137]

(1) Additionally, there shall be a documented aircraft release process for aircraft that are deployed from the Center. [138] If required, the Chief of Maintenance will designate the maintenance release authority in writing for aircraft deployed from the Center.

d. The process to ensure that persons with maintenance release authority have at least 6 months' experience during the preceding 24 months in the inspection, servicing, or maintenance of an aircraft or system or maintenance control duty in accordance with Center maintenance procedures. [139]

e. Written ground handling procedures that may be accomplished only by qualified ground handling personnel to perform fire guard, application of external electrical power, towing, engine run, and taxi operations that document aircraft-specific training and designate those qualified in writing. [140]

f. A documented Metrology and Calibration (METCAL) program that establishes policy, responsibilities, and requirements to ensure that calibrated and tested tools/special equipment performance is compared to referenced calibration standards (CALSTDs) of known and sufficiently greater accuracy. [141] Calibration ensures that only currently calibrated and tested tools/special equipment operating within established tolerance limits are used to perform maintenance on an aircraft.

g. A documented foreign object damage (FOD) control program that addresses the periodicity and inspection criteria and effectively reduces the risk of FOD both during maintenance and flight operations. [142] The FOD Prevention Program establishes policy, responsibilities, and requirements to prevent damage to aircraft, engines, ground support equipment (GSE), and other aeronautical equipment and provides uniform FOD reporting procedures.

(1) All flight operations personnel and employees shall be constantly on lookout for material that could be ingested into engines, struck by propeller blades, and/or blown by the exhaust of engines or propellers, causing injury to personnel or damage to aircraft. [143]

(2) Maintenance personnel shall be assigned to perform a general inspection of hangar and ramp areas for FOD on a weekly basis at a minimum. [144]

h. A documented tool control program (TCP) that ensures the accuracy of tool inventories at specific intervals, contains a lost tool process, and prohibits aircraft from flying until all tools used on an aircraft have been accounted for. [145] The TCP establishes policy and responsibilities for implementing, maintaining, controlling, storing, replacing, and inventorying common hand tools. The TCP is applicable to all NASA activities performing or supporting aircraft maintenance. The primary objectives of the TCP are enhancing safety by eliminating accidents and equipment damage attributed to uncontrolled tools and minimizing tool replacement costs. An effective TCP is the responsibility of all maintenance personnel and all levels of the organization. The TCP shall:

(1) Apply to all commercial and Government activities performing contract maintenance, production, or other support functions on NASA aircraft. [146]

(2) Provide instant inventory capability. [147]

i. A documented process to ensure that all GSE used on aircraft are safe and operable. [148]

(1) GSE shall be maintained per written requirements that document how to identify and remove equipment that is unserviceable. [149]

(2) GSE includes all equipment used to make an aeronautical system or end item operational in its intended environment.

(3) GSE shall be maintained and documented under an aviation maintenance system or other NASA-approved system. [150]

j. Maintenance procedures and technical standards for Aviation Survival Equipment (including life support and ejection seats) for the equipment being flown that are an integrated function of aircraft maintenance. [151]

(1) If the Center maintains explosive devices (propellant actuated devices (PADs)/cartridge-actuated devices (CADs)), the Center maintenance manual shall document the program for personnel training and qualifications. [152]

(2) All tools shall be accounted for after the repack and inspection of each item. For example, parachutes and floatation equipment, since these items cannot be functionally checked prior to use. [153]

k. A documented confined space program that defines all aircraft confined spaces and ensures safety in these spaces prior to entry per NPR 8715.3. [154] The objective of the Aircraft Confined Space Program is to ensure that a safe environment is maintained when working on aircraft fuel cells, tanks, and service areas.

l. A documented program that ensures that aircraft maintenance complies with Center Electromagnetic Interference (EMI)/Electrostatic Discharge (ESD) programs. [155] The EMI/ESD control program establishes policy, responsibilities, and requirements for EMI prevention and reporting and the handling, transportation, storage, and maintenance of ESD-sensitive devices/components. Improper handling, transportation, and storage techniques can cause electrostatic-sensitive devices and components to fail. The insidious nature of ESD-induced failures requires ESD control protection measures to be integral parts of aviation maintenance and supply disciplines. All solid state electronic components and assemblies containing such components are considered ESD-sensitive items, unless otherwise directed by higher authority. These items include printed circuit board assemblies, line replaceable units (LRUs), individual components, and integrated circuits.

m. A Fuel Surveillance Program that ensures that fuel is free of contaminants prior to fuel entering any Center aircraft. [156] The Fuel Surveillance Program establishes policy, responsibilities, and requirements for implementing procedures to maintain aircraft and engine fuel systems' purity. The Fuel Surveillance Program applies to all NASA aircraft, engines, and test cells to include outside vendor-supplied fuel.

n. A documented program that ensures aircraft maintenance is conducted in compliance with the Center Hazardous Material Program and the Protection of the Environment Act, 40 CFR Part 260, Part 261, Part 262, Part 263, Part 264, and Part 265. [157]

(1) The program shall include use, disposal, and both long-term and worksite storage of hazardous materials. [158]

(2) All chemicals, paints, and oils shall be stored in approved chemical lockers at the end of each shift. [159]

o. An oil analysis program, per original equipment manufacturer (OEM) and/or DoD maintenance instructions, to identify mechanical breakdown precursors that exist prior to catastrophic failure. [160]

(1) The program shall be specific to the type of engine installed and provide trend analysis, immediate feedback, and recommended actions to the Center's Chief of Maintenance. [161]

p. A documented Weight and Balance (W&B) Program for each aircraft in compliance with any existing Center program, to include the procedure used to ensure that the weight and balance of an aircraft is maintained, current, and properly documented. [162] The W&B Program provides the means to ensure that aircraft weight and center of gravity remain within established limits. The program will establish and maintain a master file for each aircraft's weight and balance, schedule aircraft for periodic weighing, and provide procedures for the accountability of basic empty weight and balance during the period between weighing.

q. A configuration control process (CCP) established to determine applicability and ensure compliance with Product Improvement Publications (PIP), which are defined as airworthiness directives, technical orders, service and safety bulletins, or other pertinent requirements, including those from FAA, DoD, or OEMs. [163] The CCP:

(1) Will allow for documentation of alternate procedures or inspections if they are substituted.

(2) Shall provide a complete audit trail of decisions and design modifications. [164]

(3) Includes three basic elements: configuration identification, configuration control, and configuration status accounting.

r. An Aviation Material Management process to ensure that aircraft and aircraft parts are qualified for flight and properly documented per Center procedures. [165]

s. General housekeeping procedures to ensure that aviation facilities are maintained by NASA standards for hangars, shops, and ramps. [166] Housekeeping procedures shall ensure:

(1) All electrical equipment connections are at least 18 in. above the hangar floor when aircraft are in a hangar with fuel onboard. [167]

(2) No cell phone usage is allowed within 5 feet of any fuel vent and aircraft engines. [168]

(3) To maintain situational awareness, electronic devices with ear buds or headphones are not allowed while working on/near aircraft on the flight line or in hangars. [169] Effective and timely communications and situational awareness can be critical during aircraft maintenance. Situational awareness is a term used to describe a person's awareness of their surroundings, the meaning of these surroundings, a prediction of what these surroundings will mean in the future, and then using this information to act. Changing conditions within the maintenance areas can cause numerous hazards which are compounded if communication across all staff directly involved in operational aircraft maintenance is found wanting. Wearing ear buds or headphones listening to music or other non-maintenance related content can make operators unaware of potential dangers.

(a) Supervisors shall make a concerted effort to ensure that all maintenance personnel maintain a reasonable situational awareness during maintenance conduct. [170]

t. A documented aircraft component inspection program to determine the serviceability, authenticity, traceability, and airworthiness of parts, components, accessories, and assemblies by subjecting them to inspections, tests, or operational checks. [171] This program will ensure that aviation parts are properly tagged, documented, and segregated from non-aircraft parts.

(1) Organizations providing maintenance support to the Center shall have a procurement program to prevent the purchase of unapproved parts and material in type certificated products. [172]

(2) The Center-approved parts program shall include, at a minimum, methods to establish qualified suppliers who are authorized to manufacture or distribute parts they supply and criteria to identify and screen potential unapproved parts suppliers. [173]

u. Detailed description of the procedure used to ensure that any maintenance tasks required by the maintenance schedule/program, an airworthiness directive, or any task required for the rectification of a defect is completed within the time constraints specified in maintenance procedures. [174]

v. Description of a fatigue management system for maintenance personnel, whose provisions are also required in all maintenance agreements to ensure that maintenance personnel do not carry out maintenance work when they are fatigued. This includes procedures to manage the risks associated with maintenance personnel working alone. [175]

w. A continuing structural integrity program, an aging aircraft program, a condition monitoring program, and reliability program descriptions for aircraft systems, components, and power plants. [176] Explosives-laden aircraft shall be parked in designated aircraft parking areas that meet airfield criteria and afford appropriate quantity distance criteria to eliminate hazards to personnel and resources per NASA STD 8719.12, paragraph 5.15.13. [177] NASA Aircraft Livery will be in accordance with the NASA Graphics Standards Manual (current version of NHB 1430).

2.8.7 Training A documented training program shall be defined in the Center's maintenance manual that ensures that maintenance personnel, Maintenance Inspectors (MI), and Quality Assurance (QA) personnel are trained and qualified prior to being assigned. [178] In addition to a description of the maintenance training and required competencies of the maintenance staff, the program shall document the Center-defined recurrent and proficiency training requirements to ensure that maintenance personnel, MI, and QA personnel attend refresher training that addresses changes to aircraft systems, test equipment, or critical troubleshooting and repair techniques at least every 24 months. 179] All maintenance personnel that are qualified to perform servicing, inspections, and functional tests shall have completed the required training program, which will be documented in their individual training records. [180] The training program shall include all Center safety program training requirements, including training on fire protection equipment, medical stations, and hazardous materials. [181] Within the training program, all required support functions shall be addressed. These include computer training, logistics training, and operator training for facilities and ground support equipment such as hoists, tow tractors, and lifts. [182] Qualification records shall be kept up to date by the Chief of Maintenance or Center Training Officer to reflect both resident and onsite training. [183]

2.8.8 NASA Aircraft Management Information System (NAMIS) NAMIS consists of separate but integrated modules. NAMIS seven modules include:

a. Aircraft Maintenance System.

b. Aircraft Logistics System.

c. Work Card System.

d. NAMIS Web Reporting System.

e. Aircraft/Aircrew Records.

f. Flight Crew Currency System.

g. Flight Scheduling Application. NAMIS shall be utilized to track servicing, inspections, and METCAL compliance. [184] The following NAMIS modules are mandatory for active NASA-owned or -bailed aircraft: Flight Records/Currency, Flight Data Capture, Aircraft Maintenance, Flight Scheduling Application (FSA), and Aircraft Logistics' Spares Inventory. NAMIS can be used to track demands (i.e., requisitions) and shall be used to track receipts and issues, regardless of how or by whom the item was requisitioned. [185]

2.8.9 Quality Program It is critical to flight safety that quality program requirements are integrated into the comprehensive aircraft maintenance program.

a. Each NASA Center that is responsible for the maintenance of NASA aircraft shall ensure that the quality program requirements are planned, implemented, maintained, and integrated into every aspect of aircraft maintenance and that only fully qualified personnel are assigned quality program responsibilities. [186]

b. The focus of the quality program is providing a structured system that defines the control features that will demonstrate through objective evidence that the requirements have been met.

c. The Center shall operate a program to provide for analysis and surveillance of its continuous airworthiness maintenance program, including work performed according to Center requirements by a non-NASA entity. [187] The Flight Operations Office has the clear responsibility for and management of all aircraft. This is an operations and maintenance senior line management role with the cradle-to-grave authority and responsibility to manage the resources necessary to conduct safe, effective, and efficient operations in accordance with NASA directives, guidance, and other applicable Federal regulations. Fundamental engineering and quality principles mandate that responsibility for achieving safety and quality lie only with one organization--the line organization (the organization doing the work)--and that nothing should be allowed to impair that responsibility. Line organizations have the responsibility to achieve safety and quality. The Flight Operations Office is responsible for establishing and ensuring the adequacy and effectiveness of the maintenance program and should include Mandatory Inspection Points (MIPs) and the Government Mandatory Inspection Points (GMIPs) where appropriate. An independent organization, such as Safety and Mission Assurance (SMA), may be assigned the responsibility for additional verification points such as the GMIPs required by NPR 8735.2. GMIPs are incorporated as hold points on work documents to require an additional independent person to verify proper accomplishment of work steps where required and/or appropriate. Special skills and experience not normally possessed by maintenance personnel are required for of a staff of trained QA personnel for analysis of data and supervision of QA. Only fully qualified personnel are assigned as QA inspectors. Maintenance personnel assigned to QA are assigned as a collateral duty with limited authority, as determined by the QA Chief. Each Center shall develop a documented quality program (i.e., appropriate policies, procedures, and practices) that covers all aspects of maintenance, material acceptance, documentation review, maintenance instruction applicability, and currency that fits within the scope of the Center's quality management system (QMS). [188] QA shall ensure that aircraft configuration and components have been properly maintained and that all requirements have been properly documented. [189]

a. In addition to the data analysis that falls under QA's responsibilities, effective, risk-based Quality Control should also include and incorporate trend analysis and investigation of recurring discrepancies, high-failure-rate components, and high-usage materials.

b. The data can be used to identify underlying causes for poor quality, prevent issues prior to failure, and improve efficiency and effectiveness of QA resources. The terms inspection, QA, audit, and surveillance have separate and distinct meanings and should be used accordingly

a. Inspection is the examination/testing of supplies (including raw materials, documents, data, components, and assemblies) and services to determine if they conform to technical requirements. Inspection/testing are inline product control activities. Product control are those actions that provide a means to control and measure the characteristics of an item or process to the established requirements. Typically, these are in-process activities that focus primarily on defect identification before product release. Inspection for acceptance shall be performed by qualified persons other than those who performed or directly supervised the work being inspected. [190]

b. Monitoring, surveillance, and analysis of data provides confidence that maintenance processes can be performed satisfactorily and products conform to the established technical requirements. QA supports top and line management through independent surveillance activities and audits. Typically, these are activities observing or outside the process to focus on process improvement and defect prevention.

c. Audit, as it applies to quality assurance, is a periodic or special review and evaluation of details, plans, policies, procedures, products, directives, and records. Audits verify that performance criteria are met and determine the effectiveness of the process/program.

d. Surveillance or monitoring programs use product or process surveillance based on an effective audit program and an objective statistical history. Sampling and surveillance verifications shall be used independently, or in combination, to accomplish the verification function of the quality program processes. [191]

Note: Independent surveillance and audits should be conducted at the appropriate frequency to ensure processes comply with requirements and to determine the health of the program. The surveillance and audit process continually enforces the requirements, ensuring that complacency has not been introduced, that safety and quality requirements are not becoming secondary to operational commitments, and that schedules and budgets are not driving safety and quality below mandated thresholds. The surveillance and audit activities are critical in fending off complacency and ensuring accountability. QA responsibilities shall be performed to:

a. Establish qualification requirements for QA personnel and collateral duty personnel. [192]

(1) Centers shall maintain a list of all personnel qualified and authorized to conduct inspections. [193]

b. Provide a continuous training program in techniques and procedures pertaining to aircraft maintenance quality program, per paragraph 2.6.4, and the conduct of inspections. [194]

c. Ensure that established standard procedures are observed for conducting scheduled and unscheduled inspections, ground tests, and bench check of components, including engines. [195]

d. Ensure that the configuration of aircraft and components is correct and all essential modifications have been incorporated. [196]

e. Ensure that an inspection is conducted on all equipment parts, and materials received for use, returned for repair, or held awaiting repair to verify satisfactory material condition, identification, packaging, preservation, and configuration and, when applicable, that shelf-life limits are not exceeded. [197]

f. Ensure that check pilots and aircrew are briefed before post-maintenance functional check flights (FCF) so that the purpose and objectives of the flight are clearly understood. After completion of the FCF, debrief the check pilots, aircrew, maintenance control representative, and applicable work center representatives to determine compliance with objectives outlined on the FCF checklist and clarify noted discrepancies. [198]

g. Review all incoming technical publications and directives to determine their applicability to Center-maintained aircraft. [199]

h. Conduct Parts and Hardware Certification of all items procured. All incoming serviceable aircraft material, parts, or components will be placed in a secured area and inspected by a QA inspector or designee, who will ensure that the part or material is in good condition and conforms to specifications and standards and that certification paperwork or data is correct for applicability and acceptance requirements. [200]

i. Ensure that personnel are trained in the Government-Industry Data Exchange Program (GIDEP) and FAA Suspected Unapproved Parts (SUP) Program and coordinate all actions with the Center's GIDEP office, HQ AMD, and the Inspector General (IG), as appropriate. [201]

j. Monitor weight and balance of all Center aircraft, in accordance with Center guidelines. [202]

k. Validate all work orders (excluding minor aircraft write-ups/gripes) and oversee the installation of all work orders on aircraft. [203]

l. Assist the ASO in the impounding of Center aircraft involved in a mishap or when directed by ASO. [204]

m. Monitor maintenance using a program to develop trend analysis of processes. This program analyzes all reports of findings and/or actions taken during aircraft and component maintenance. [205] Maintenance Inspection Requirements

a. Mechanic and QA signatures are required for the following maintenance actions: down discrepancy and special preflight--FCF, special configuration, Required Inspection Items, GMIPs, and special flight purpose.

b. Mechanic and QA signatures are required for all back shop repairs.

2.8.10 Technical Publications Library The Technical Publications Library provides a central source of up-to-date information for use by all personnel in performing their work and is the source of reference information to facilitate personnel training and individual improvement. The Technical Publications Library's function includes: determining which technical manuals are required to support maintenance of aircraft, their major components, and ground support equipment in the NASA inventory; receipt and distribution control of these manuals; and responsibility for ensuring manual updating throughout the maintenance organization.

a. All manuals shall be maintained in accordance with the original manufacturers' updates or revisions (or DoD updates or revisions for DoD aircraft) as modified with NASA- or FAA-approved data. [206]

b. Centers shall maintain documentation to confirm that periodic revision status audits of the technical library have been conducted. [207]

c. Exceptions to this policy, including additional changes to documents, shall be approved by the Chief of Flight Operations. [208] For remote sites, the Technical Publications Librarian is responsible for the distribution of manuals and inspections of remote libraries.

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