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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 3. Flight Operations

Note: This chapter applies to all NASA-piloted aircraft.

3.1 Operations

3.1.1 Flight Authorization Centers' Chiefs of Flight Operations shall establish procedures to ensure that all flights of NASA aircraft are properly approved and documented, allowing for all contingencies such as deployed aircraft and aircraft ferry approvals. [209] Emergency lifesaving, humanitarian operations, and Homeland Security missions, as pre-approved by the Center Director, may be carried out in any NASA aircraft. The circumstances shall be documented and reported to the Assistant Administrator for the OSI via the Director of AMD within 30 days of action. [210]

3.2 Flight Planning

3.2.1 Fuel Planning and Monitoring Fuel Planning: Considering weather forecasts and any known en route delays, the minimum amount of useable fuel required at takeoff shall be sufficient to do the following:

a. Complete the flight to the destination airport.

b. Fly from that airport to the alternate airport, if required.

c. Fly after that for 45 minutes at normal cruising speed or, for helicopters, fly after that for 30 minutes at normal cruising speed. [211] Fuel Planning Deviations shall be authorized in writing by the Center Chief of Flight Operations to enable Mission accomplishment. [212] Refueling with Personnel On Board. An aircraft shall not be refueled when personnel are embarking, on board, or disembarking unless it is properly attended by qualified personnel ready to initiate and direct an evacuation of the aircraft by the most practical and expeditious means available. [213]

a. When refueling with personnel embarking, on board, or disembarking, two-way communications shall be maintained by the aircraft's intercommunication system or other suitable means between the ground crew supervising the refueling and the qualified personnel on board the aircraft. [214]

3.2.2 Weather Planning. Prior to takeoff, the PIC shall receive a thorough weather briefing concerning current weather and forecasts for the proposed route, destination, and alternate destination. [215] Departure Weather. Weather minimums for takeoffs shall be not less than landing minimums unless a takeoff alternate is available. [216] A takeoff may be made when the weather is below landing minimums but not less than 1/8-mile visibility or Runway Visual Range (RVR) of 800 feet and provided a suitable departure alternate is available within 30-minutes flight time with an engine inoperative or 1 hour for 4-engine aircraft.

a. When mission necessity and urgency dictates, the Chief of Flight Operations may authorize a takeoff below these minimums. This authority may not be delegated. The weather reported at the departure alternate shall be above landing minimums and forecast to remain so for at least 2 hours after takeoff, per the following:

(1) Precision Approach available: 200-foot ceiling and 1/2-statute mile (SM) visibility added to the published Precision Approach minimums.

(2) Non-Precision Approach (only) available: 300-foot ceiling and 1-SM visibility added to the published Non-Precision Approach minimums. [217] En Route Weather. Airborne weather, weather-capable radar, or weather radar information shall be operative for any flight into areas where current weather reports or forecasts indicate that thunderstorms may reasonably be expected and flight under daylight visual meteorological conditions is not possible. [218] Destination Weather. The PIC of a flight may file for a destination that forecasts prevailing visibility equal to or greater than published landing minimums appropriate to the aircraft equipment, but not less than 1/2-mile or an RVR of 1,800 feet for time of arrival. Also:

a. If the destination weather is reported and forecast to be less than a 2,000-foot ceiling or less than 3-mile visibility from 1 hour before until 1 hour after the estimated time of arrival (ETA), an alternate airport shall be listed on the flight plan. [219]

b. Airport weather minimums shall meet or exceed the requirements of FAR Part 91. 220]

c. Aircraft equipped and certified for CAT II approach as well as the assigned aircrew is CAT II qualified and current may utilize CAT II minimums.

3.2.3 International Operations: Flightcrews operating aircraft in international airspace shall be familiar with the relationship between State Regulations and the ICAO Rules of the Air. [221] Centers shall have a training program to provide familiarization with international procedures. [222] Prior to operating in international airspace, flightcrew members shall complete international procedures training. [223] Diplomatic Clearance: NASA pilots shall secure diplomatic clearance approval prior to entry into the airspace of a foreign country, except for brief use of foreign airspace adjoining the United States, as directed by air traffic control (ATC). [224] Due Regard. Those operations not conducted following ICAO flight procedures are conducted under the "due regard" or "operational prerogative of state aircraft," and aircraft shall satisfy one or more of the following conditions:

a. Be operated in visual meteorological conditions (VMC).

b. Be operated within radar surveillance and radio communications of a surface or airborne (AWACS or HAWKEYE) radar facility.

c. Be equipped with airborne radar that is sufficient to provide separation between themselves, aircraft they may be controlling, and other aircraft.

d. Be operated outside controlled airspace. [225]

e. The conditions listed above shall be followed in order to provide a level of safety equivalent to that normally given by ICAO air traffic control agencies and to fulfill U.S. obligations under Article 3 of the Chicago Convention. [226] All flightcrews conducting international, reduced vertical separation minimum (RVSM), minimum navigation performance specifications (MNPS), random area navigation (RNAV), or required navigation performance (RNP) shall complete (as appropriate to the operation) airspace operations training and be authorized by the Chief of Flight Operations to operate in such airspace in accordance with international requirements. [227] The Chief of Flight Operations shall establish a process to review the rules for flights operating outside U.S. airspace in accordance with the latest, most current ICAO and foreign nation rules. [228] Thereafter, the information will be disseminated to the flightcrews operating in the foreign region. While conducting operations in foreign countries or international airspace, all NASA flights will be conducted as State Aircraft. Diplomatic clearance will be coordinated with Office of Interagency and International Relations (OIIR) as appropriate for overflights or entry into foreign countries. Center Flight Operations shall utilize DOD 4500.54-M (DoD Foreign Clearance Guide) and DoD Flight Information Publications for proper international operations coordination. [229] The PIC of any NASA aircraft entering a foreign country or returning to the United States shall be responsible for the custody and care of disembarking crewmembers and crewmembers from the time they leave the aircraft until they are accepted for examination for entry into the country's immigration or Customs checkpoint. [230] The Center Director shall be responsible for identifying and complying with all national and local environmental laws and requirements for the proper handling and disposal of international garbage on NASA aircraft. [231] Each Center will have a documented procedure for handling international garbage on NASA aircraft. In accordance with 7 CFR Subtitle B, Chapter III, the Animal Health Protection Act (AHPA) and the Plant Protection Act, and 9 CFR Chapter I, the United States Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has the authority to regulate the handling and movement of certain foreign waste products to prevent the spread of foreign plant pests and livestock or poultry diseases. This waste is typically referred to as "regulated garbage." Violations to either of these two laws are potentially punishable by both prison time and fines.

3.2.4 Stabilized Approach

a. All NASA aircraft operations shall establish applicable stabilized-approach criteria suited to their particular flight operation. [232]

b. In the absence of flight manual or aircraft directive guidance, for a straight-in approach a stabilized approach shall be established by 1,000 feet above airport elevation in instrument meteorological conditions (IMC) and by 500 feet above airport elevation in visual meteorological conditions (VMC). [233]

c. In the event that a stabilized approach is not established by the altitudes required in paragraph 3.2.4 b, a missed approach shall be executed. [234]

3.2.5 Fatigue Management. Centers shall have a Fatigue Management Plan and a mitigation process to address risks associated with flightcrew and maintenance crew fatigue. [235] Centers shall establish and implement a fatigue management system containing the following elements to ensure that personnel involved in the operation and maintenance of aircraft do not carry out their duties when fatigued:

a. Fatigue management procedures.

b. Appropriate training and education regarding preventive and operational fatigue countermeasures.

c. Flight and duty time limitations.

d. Fatigue reporting system.

e. System for monitoring flightcrew fatigue.

f. An evaluation process that assesses the effectiveness of the fatigue management system. [236] If deviations from the flight and/or duty time limitations are permitted, the system shall include provisions to:

a. Assess the associated risks and apply the appropriate mitigation to maintain an acceptable level of risk for that operation.

b. Identify the management person who is authorized to approve the deviation.

c. Record the deviations, the risk assessment, and related mitigation. [237] Deviations shall be made only with the express approval of all personnel involved. [238]

3.3 TCAS and TAWS Systems

3.3.1 All manned NASA aircraft shall be configured with FAA-approved Traffic Alert and Collision Avoidance System (TCAS) and Terrain Awareness and Warning System (TAWS) for the specific type model aircraft to mitigate midair collisions and controlled flight into terrain. Alternative FAA-approved systems such as ADS-B in/out or other FAA-approved emerging technologies are also acceptable. [239]

3.3.2 For NASA manned aircraft without an available TCAS/TAWS solution, all NASA flight operations shall develop a TCAS/TAWS Risk Management Plan in accordance with NPR 8000.4 and update it annually. [240]

3.3.3 The order of preference for risk controls is:

a. Engineering (design, material, or substitution).

b. Administrative (signage/notices, standard operating procedures (SOP), training, or limiting exposure).

3.3.4 All manned NASA aircraft contracted through commercial vendors shall be configured with FAA-approved TCAS and TAWS systems for the specific type of model aircraft to mitigate midair collisions and controlled flight into terrain. [241]

3.3.5 All flight deck crew members of large or turbojet aircraft shall communicate through a boom or throat microphones below the transition level/altitude. [242]

3.3.6 Cockpit Voice Recorder (CVR), Digital Video Recorder (DVR) and Flight Data Recorder (FDR). If installed and operative, the CVR and FDR shall be turned on during the entire flight. [243]

3.3.7 Should an incident occur, the CVR and FDR power shall be removed and appropriate circuit breakers pulled following completion of the after-shutdown checklist. [244]

3.4 Electronic Publications

3.4.1 Center crews will follow FAA guidance regarding use of Electronic Flight Bags (EFB)/Electronics Chart Displays (ECD).

a. Center crews are authorized to use EFB/ECD in lieu of paper publications for all phases of flight in accordance with written Center authorized procedures.

b. A secondary or backup source of aeronautical information necessary for the flight will be available. If the secondary or backup information is an additional EFB/ECD, there shall be one more EFB on board the aircraft than the number of pilots. [245]

3.5 Oxygen Requirements

3.5.1 Unpressurized Aircraft. Oxygen shall be used at all altitudes above 10,000 feet above mean sea level (MSL). [246] Aircrew should be aware of the physiological degradation of high altitude flight. Exception: When no oxygen equipment is available, an unpressurized aircraft may ascend to 12,000 feet MSL provided it does not remain above 10,000 feet MSL for more than 3 hours.

3.5.2 Pressurized Aircraft. For NASA aircraft, if cabin pressure altitude is maintained at 10,000 feet or less, the following will apply:

a. Oxygen masks shall be ready for immediate use when above flight level (FL) 180. [247]

b. Above FL 250, one pilot at the controls shall either use oxygen or have an approved quick-donning mask with instant intercommunication system (ICS) capability properly adjusted and positioned for use within 5 seconds. [248]

c. When above FL 350, when one pilot leaves his flight control position, the other pilot shall use oxygen. [249]

d. When above FL 410, it is recommended that one pilot at the controls use oxygen.

e. Aircraft with oxygen equipment available but unable to pressurize will not exceed FL 180 unless a comprehensive briefing by competent aviation medical authority is obtained immediately prior to the flight. This is to reacquaint crewmembers with the hazards associated with high altitude flight, such as decompression sickness, hypoxia, etc., and to ensure adherence to preparatory measures, such as prebreathing.

3.5.3 If any occupant of a NASA aircraft or NASA contracted aircraft exhibits symptoms of either hypoxia or decompression sickness, the pilot will follow loss of cabin pressurization procedures specific to the aircraft flight operations manual. This includes loss of cabin pressure if cabin altitude exceeds 18,000 feet MSL even if asymptomatic. Upon landing, the affected personnel will be given a medical evaluation by a competent medical authority and will not fly until after having been evaluated and cleared.

3.6 Personnel Authorized to Operate NASA Aircraft

3.6.1 Only designated NASA pilots specifically authorized by the Center Chief of Flight Operations shall be allowed to manipulate the flight controls of a NASA aircraft and only in performance of NASA missions. [250] Authorized exceptions: an approved NASA Astronaut Training and proficiency program or a single flight for prospective pilot hires in the aircraft type expected to pilot. Approved candidates in the NASA astronaut training program and a single flight of a prospective NASA employee pilot in aircraft type also may be authorized. Only pilots designated in type, or in training for designation in type, crewmembers, or maintenance personnel designated in writing by the Center Chief of Flight Operations as being qualified to perform taxiing operations, shall taxi a fixed-wing (F/W) aircraft. [251] Only pilots designated in type, or in training for designation in type, shall taxi a rotary-wing (R/W) aircraft. [252]

3.6.2 Instructor pilots shall be selected by the Center's Chief of Flight Operations from highly qualified PICs who have demonstrated the skill, maturity, and temperament to perform instructor duties. [253] Instructor pilots will conduct all pilot flight checks unless the Center designates flight examiners for that purpose.

3.6.3 Flight Examiner Pilots/Flight Examiner Maintenance Technicians. Centers may designate highly qualified instructor pilots (IPs) and flight maintenance technicians as flight examiners to fulfill Center evaluation requirements.

3.7 Crew Complement

3.7.1 General. All personnel scheduled as primary flightcrew members on NASA aircraft shall be trained and qualified in accordance with this chapter. [254]

3.7.2 Crew assignment, including identification of a PIC, shall be designated in writing for each flight. [255]

3.7.3 Basic Crew. No aircraft shall be operated with less than the minimum basic crew specified by the Center. [256]

3.7.4 No NASA aircraft may use the services of any person as a pilot on an airplane engaged in NASA operations if that person has reached the first day of the month of his or her 65th birthday.

3.7.5 Pilot in Command of NASA Aircraft The PIC of a NASA aircraft shall be a designated NASA pilot. [257] Designated NASA pilots are those who perform piloting duties as a part of their official position description, fulfill NASA contract requirements, or fly in accordance with an interagency agreement, such as a military pilot on loan to NASA. Center's Chief of Flight Operations, with the concurrence of the Center Director, may designate as a PIC, on a temporary basis, individuals possessing required aeronautical qualifications to support NASA's requirements. The PIC of a NASA aircraft is responsible, at all times, for the safe operation of the aircraft and the safety of its occupants and is the final authority as to whether a flight will occur. The PIC is the final authority as to whether a flight will be delayed or diverted for reasons of weather, aircraft conditions, or other safety-related considerations. The PIC shall refuse to carry any person, or accept any aircrew for duty, who appear to be intoxicated or under the influence of alcohol or drugs. [258] The PIC of a NASA aircraft shall ensure that the crew is briefed on the mission plan, safety procedures, and emergency information, including emergency egress. [259] Center Chiefs of Flight Operations shall have a written process to train, designate, and document individuals authorized to pilot Functional Check Flight operations. [260] All NASA PICs shall be trained on the operating rules and procedures of the FAA FARs and the ICAO Rules of the Air when operating in international airspace. [261] The duties and responsibilities of the PIC shall be specified in the Center's policy, in accordance with this NPR. [262] The PIC will direct the duties of the SIC. In the event of PIC incapacitation, the pilot flying as second-in-command (SIC) on a NASA aircraft shall assume PIC duties. [263] The PIC shall ensure that each occupant of a NASA aircraft in motion occupies an aircraft seat and wears a properly fastened safety belt or Center-approved personnel retention system unless otherwise directed by the PIC. [264] Where installed and appropriate, both a safety belt and shoulder harness shall be worn. [265]

3.8 Flightcrew Qualifications, Proficiency, and Currency

3.8.1 Center directives shall establish separate aircrew qualification and currency requirements for unique aircraft (e.g., project, military, or experimental) in which the aircrew cannot meet the following requirements. [266]

3.8.2 Flightcrew Qualifications. NASA flightcrews shall be qualified in accordance with written standards set forth in Center-developed competency criteria, including flying skills, airmanship, stabilized approach, runway excursions, autopilot/automation procedures, and upset recovery. [267] Prior to assigning personnel to flightcrew duties on NASA flights, the requirements contained in this chapter shall be met. [268] Records of qualification and flight evaluation are required and shall be maintained in aircrew training records in accordance with NPR 1441.1. [269] A review of pilot and crew qualifications shall be made prior to flight assignment to ensure that prerequisites for the intended mission are met. [270] The Center's Chief of Flight Operations shall designate in writing the crewmembers for aircraft that are under the Center's purview. [271] NASA flightcrews will be medically certified using NASA medical qualifications, per Chapter 7 of this NPR. Flight Engineers shall possess an FAA Flight Engineer Certificate appropriate for the aircraft category or equivalent military certification. [272]

a. Centers with one-of-a-kind NASA aircraft may develop a documented local certification equivalent. [273]

b. Centers shall develop alternate training programs to satisfy this requirement should commercial training sources or personnel not be available for the requisite training. [274]

3.8.3 Qualified non-crewmembers (QNC) shall be authorized by the Chief of Flight Operations to participate in flight operations to support mission requirements. [275] Qualified non-crewmembers shall be trained and will maintain qualifications (in accordance with local Center policies and procedures), which will include, at a minimum, cabin emergency egress procedures and medical clearances. [276] Qualified non-crewmembers are not passengers. Their presence on a flight is in direct support of, or associated with, the flight or mission that the flight is supporting. Examples of qualified non-crewmembers include, but are not limited to, media representatives observing the mission, scientists conducting in-flight experiments, and mission managers supporting the mission or flight on the ground. Media Representatives. The Center shall establish policies for qualifying media representatives for flight. [277]

3.8.4 Pilot Proficiency. A comprehensive pilot proficiency program is critical to flight safety for pilots flying research and program support missions. Such programs are specific to the assigned missions and reflect an in-depth evaluation of pilot proficiency and capability. Elements of pilot proficiency programs include the following: Center Flight Operations shall develop sufficient proficiency requirements or flight time/sortie requirements on flightcrews to meet mission needs. [278] Private pilot time shall not be recorded in NAMIS or utilized to meet any proficiency requirements. [279] Each Center shall develop a written flightcrew training plan incorporating pilot competency, emergency procedures, abnormal procedures, high altitude training, and the upgrade process which, at a minimum, meets the following requirements:

a. Annual night flying requirements.

b. Landings in category (fixed-wing/rotorcraft).

c. Six instrument approaches under actual or simulated conditions within 6 calendar months.

d. Completing 100 hours of flight time per year (fiscal or calendar year to be determined by Center policy) in any NASA manned aircraft or flight simulator approved by the Center's Chief of Flight Operations or 80 hours of flight time and 100 sorties if all are flown in the same model, design, and series of aircraft or flight simulator. [280] Lapse in Proficiency. Crewmembers overdue the annual flight time requirement shall not be assigned as PIC or SIC. [281]

a. The Center's Chief of Flight Operations shall document the method to regain qualification in the flightcrew training plan and notify the Assistant Administrator for the OSI, via HQ AMD, of this action in a letter from the Center's Director. [282] At a minimum, it will include a dedicated training flight or training in a simulator and a formal flight evaluation by an IP prior to further mission assignments.

b. The Center's Chief of Flight Operations shall establish requalification procedures for pilots not meeting any of the remaining requirements above. [283]

3.8.5 Minimum Currency Requirements All flightcrew currency documentation shall be recorded in the NASA standard application, NASA Aircraft Management Information System (NAMIS). [284]

a. Pilots with current qualifications in a NASA aircraft that is also FAA-certified for Passenger Transportation use, but that is infrequently used for that purpose, may perform the duties of PIC and SIC on that aircraft if they meet the stated currency.

b. Total pilot/copilot hours may include simulator hours.

c. Instrument hours, approaches, and landings (including night landings) may be accomplished in an approved visual, motion simulator. Approaches should be evenly balanced between precision and nonprecision.

d. Private pilot time shall not be recorded in NASA information systems or utilized to meet any of the above currency requirements. [285]

Table 3-1 Minimum Currency Requirements for Pilots

Minimum Currency Requirements for All Pilots in the Preceding
90 Days
All Types In Type
Flight Hours 25
Takeoffs and Landings (Total) 6 3
Takeoffs and Landings (night) 3 1
Approaches 6 3

e. The following apply to pilots overdue for the recent experience provisions of Table 3-1:

(1) Increased Minimums. A pilot at the controls who does not meet the 90-day total hour requirements but is otherwise current shall increase all instrument approach minimums by 200 feet and one half mile visibility (or the Runway Visual Range equivalent). [286] In no case may the resulting minimums be less than a 400-foot ceiling and 1-mile visibility.

(2) Step-Down Qualifications. PICs who are otherwise current but fail to meet the requirements outlined in Table 3-1 may revert to SIC status (if they are current in their respective positions) until the recent-experience provisions for aircraft commander are satisfied.

(3) When an extended period of aircraft non-availability (e.g., PDM, up/downloads, or no funding) causes all Center pilots of a particular type aircraft to lapse in-type currency or proficiency minimums, Center Chiefs of Flight Operations may develop procedures, in accordance with Section, without requiring notification of the Assistant Administrator for the OSI. Multiple Currency. At the discretion of the Chief Pilot, pilots flying multiple types of aircraft who have met the all-types requirements may satisfy the in-type currency requirement by flying a training flight with a flight instructor. This training flight shall include a minimum of two instrument approaches, three takeoffs, and three landings. [287]

3.9 Flightcrew and Maintenance Technician Training

3.9.1 Aircraft Initial Training. Each primary crewmember shall complete an approved formal course of instruction in the type aircraft to be flown, including a study of the systems and procedures applicable to the individual's crew position. [288] The term "formal course" is defined as one that is provided by a manufacturer, a commercial activity specializing in pilot training (14 C.F.R Part 142), or other entity approved by the Center's Chief of Flight Operations.

3.9.2 Simulations. Annual flight simulator training in each aircraft category (fixed-wing/rotorcraft) is required, if available. If there is no specific simulator for the aircraft type, a simulator of the same category aircraft should be used. Realistic, mission-oriented scenarios may be used to complement the annual proficiency and instrument check requirements.

3.9.3 Survival Training. Each primary crewmember shall receive basic survival training on a one-time basis. [289] Additional survival training shall be required by appropriate Center management for those crewmembers engaged in frequent over-water or remote-area flights. [290] Training received prior to NASA employment, such as military survival training courses, may be credited for this requirement. Newly assigned personnel with no previous survival training shall complete this requirement within 12 months of being assigned to flightcrew duties. [291] Pilots shall not be assigned as PICs until this requirement has been met. This requirement does not apply to UAS/Small Unmanned Aircraft System (sUAS) crews. [292]

3.9.4 Physiological Training. Prior to initial designation, primary crewmembers shall receive instruction in the physiological aspects of high-altitude flight, including altitude chamber indoctrination or recognized equivalent training (i.e., Reduced Oxygen Breathing Device training). [293] Altitude chamber training received prior to initial designation meets this requirement. Refresher training academics shall be accomplished every 5 years. [294] Refresher altitude chamber training is optional for primary crewmembers not conducting pressure suit operations.

3.9.5 Emergency Egress Training. Prior to initial designation and annually thereafter, each crewmember shall receive emergency egress training on each type of aircraft assigned. [295] Training shall include instructions on the location and operation of normal and emergency exits and cabin emergency equipment, such as fire extinguishers and life vests. [296]

3.9.6 In-Flight Technicians shall attend refresher training that addresses changes to aircraft systems, test equipment, or critical troubleshooting and repair techniques every 24 months. [297]

3.9.7 Crew Resource Management and Training. All NASA aircrew personnel shall, at least once per calendar year, attend a crew resource management course of at least 4 hours (instruction per year) in duration. [298]

3.9.8 Maintenance Resource Management and Training. All NASA maintenance and quality assurance personnel shall, at least once biennially, attend a maintenance resource management course of at least 4 hours' (instruction per year) duration. [299]

3.9.9 Overdue Training. With the exception of systems and simulator training, which have a 2-month grace period, refresher flight training will be considered overdue if not completed by the end of the month in which it is due.

3.10 Evaluation and Exam

3.10.1 Evaluations. The intent of the NASA flightcrew evaluation program is to objectively evaluate aircrew performance and, thereby, measure the effectiveness of the training program. Designated IPs shall administer all flight checks. [300] An IP shall be designated for all flights in which instruction or evaluation is planned. [301]

3.10.2 Documentation. Flight checks conducted by a NASA IP shall be recorded on NASA Form 1615 or Center equivalent, reviewed by the Center's Chief of Flight Operations, and filed in the individual's training file. [302] All items indicated on the Form 1615 or Center equivalent will be evaluated during the flight checks. Flight instructors are urged to include meaningful remarks and recommendations on the check ride form. This will aid in focusing future training.

3.10.3 Flight proficiency shall be evaluated at least annually by a NASA or NASA-designated pilot, who is an instructor or examiner pilot, in the aircraft used for the evaluation. [303] When available, a suitable simulator, or its equivalent, may be used for this purpose at the discretion of the Center's Chief of Flight Operations. Evaluations conducted by 14 C.F.R Part 142 also may be used to satisfy pilot annual evaluations, at the discretion of the Center's Chief of Flight Operations.

3.10.4 Pilot Instrument Evaluations. Instrument flying proficiency shall be evaluated at least annually using professional aeronautical standards such as FAA Instrument Practical Test Standards. [304] The instrument evaluation may be combined with the annual proficiency evaluation or completed separately. The instrument proficiency check may be accomplished in a simulator approved by the Center's Chief of Flight Operations.

3.10.5 Tests. Written tests shall be administered and reviewed annually by a check pilot to ensure current pilot knowledge of air traffic control procedures, aircraft systems, and normal and emergency operating procedures, Agency and local instructions, and other pertinent regulations and procedures. [305] Centers may use military organizations who conduct "instrument schools" and FAA Part 142 Certificated Flight Schools for the above ATC procedural testing.

3.10.6 Reviews. Pilot annual flight evaluations shall be reviewed by the Center's Chief of Flight Operations as part of a comprehensive review of all flight-related aspects of the assigned pilot under review. These aspects include, but are not limited to, mishap and close call reports, observed behavior reflecting CRM principles, and management counseling necessitated by concerning in-flight and work behaviors. [306]

3.11 Flightcrew Documentation Requirements

3.11.1 Designation Document. Each crewmember shall be designated, in writing, to the respective crew position, and required training be completed and documented in the individual's training file. [307]

3.11.2 Training File. A training file shall be maintained for each flightcrew member and contain all documentation pertaining to crew qualification and training. [308] The documents may be retained by the crewmember upon termination of the crewmember's assignment. At a minimum, the file will contain the following documentation:

a. Copies of certificates of professional and medical qualifications (e.g., copies of pilot's, flight engineer's, or mechanic's licenses and a copy of the letter designating the individual to the current crew position).

b. A list of ground training accomplishments (including simulator training) indicating dates, location, and amount of training. A record of refresher training shall be maintained for the past 2 calendar years. [309]

c. A list of flight training accomplishments and flight evaluations for the past 2 calendar years.

3.11.3 All flightcrew currency documentation shall be recorded in NAMIS. [310]

3.11.4 NASA UAS pilot flight time shall be kept separate from NASA manned flight time, by type, in NAMIS. [311]

3.11.5 Each Center shall establish a means to document that flight critical information has been passed to all flightcrews. [312] Records pertaining to NASA's flight activities shall include, at a minimum, the following:

a. Approval of mission.

b. Name and functions of all on board.

c. Purpose of the flight.

d. Routing (route of flight) or flight events and takeoff/landing times. [313]

3.12 Flight Readiness Reviews and Mission Readiness Reviews

3.12.1 There are two categories of readiness reviews that shall be applied to both piloted aircraft and UAS. These readiness reviews may be referred to as flight readiness reviews or operational readiness reviews and mission readiness reviews where the purpose is to ensure that hazards associated with aircraft performance, mission profile, research, payloads, and other operational limitations are identified and that risks are adequately managed to enhance the likelihood of mission and program success for all aircraft missions or operations and to minimize the risks to persons or property. [314]

a. For CAS, the reviews shall also include the terms of the contract and the capabilities of the contractor. [315]

b. NASA Centers shall have written Flight Readiness Review (FRR)/Operations Readiness Review (ORR) and Mission Readiness Review (MRR) processes. [316] FRR/ORR shall focus on the flight operational safety aspects of a specific aircraft flight, mission, or campaign. [317] MRR shall focus on mission operational safety using multiple aircraft and multiple activities to ensure mission success. [318]

3.12.2 Chief of Flight Operations from one of the participating NASA Centers shall ensure a MRR is conducted when multiple aircraft operations are to be conducted. [319]

3.12.3 Prior to conducting an FRR/ORR, each individual aircraft involved in the flight or campaign shall have an approved Certificate of Airworthiness or Statement of Airworthiness. [320]

3.12.4 The Chair of the Center Airworthiness Process Program or a representative shall attend all readiness reviews. [321] Personnel who should attend these reviews include the Safety and Mission Assurance Office, the mission manager and/or Principal Investigator, the Range Safety personnel, the Flight Operations personnel, the ASO, and, in the case of UAS operations, the UAS operator.

3.12.5 A supervisory Flight Operations pilot or other Flight Operations supervisory personnel shall chair and approve the FRR/ORR flight authorization. [322]

3.12.6 An FRR/ORR reviews the operational requirements for a specific aircraft flight or campaign. The review should address 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. [323] Areas of consideration shall include:

a. Science mission requirements.

b. Flight operations procedures.

c. Operational Go/No-Go criteria.

d. Pilot qualifications, flight operations training, and flight manuals.

e. UAS operations requirements.

f. Aircraft configuration.

g. Aircraft maintenance.

h. Science payload and operations.

i. Payload combination.

j. Status of reviews.

k. Special weather conditions.

l. Science functional flight test plan.

m. Mishap Preparedness Contingency Plan (MPCP). [324]

3.12.7 An MRR reviews the mission interoperability of multiple aircraft from multiple activities to ensure mission success for a specific flight event or campaign. Activities may be different at different Centers, other Federal agencies, military services, commercial vendors, or non-NASA aircraft. Prior to conducting an MRR, each aircraft involved in the flight or campaign shall have an approved FRR/ORR. [325] The program/project management of the flight/campaign event shall assign an individual who has authorization to proceed with the flight program to chair and make the MRR evaluation. [326] The focus of this review is to ensure that the Principal Investigators and the flightcrews or UAS operators have made the coordination and arrangements required to maximize operational safety and ensure mission success. Information required for a MRR include the following:

a. Airspace management, including aircraft separation/coordination.

b. Checklists.

c. Communication plan, including inter-Center/interagency communication/coordination.

d. Deployment.

e. Flight experiment and science flight requirements, including test conditions and science coordination requirements.

f. Flight operations procedures, including maneuvers and nonstandard operation.

g. Ground operations procedures dealing with hazardous systems.

h. Inspection criteria.

i. Liability coverage.

j. Logistics.

k. Mission control operations, including mission rules and flight limitations.

l. Organizational and functional chart, including roles and responsibilities.

m. Payload status.

n. Program/Project Mishap Preparedness and Contingency Plan.

o. Public affairs/outreach.

p. Required instrumentation.

q. Safety and mission assurance, including actions to be taken in the event of in-flight malfunctions or emergency conditions associated with the aircraft modifications or nonstandard operations.

r. Schedule timeline. [327]

3.12.8 Centers, Component Facilities, and contractors that do not have an aircraft operations department and operate NASA aircraft/UAS shall coordinate with an alternate NASA Center aircraft operations department for FRR/ORR and MRR services and support. [328]

3.13 Tobacco

3.13.1 Tobacco Products. The use of any tobacco products onboard NASA aircraft is prohibited.

3.13.2 Lighters. The use of lighters onboard NASA aircraft is prohibited.

3.13.3 Electronic Cigarettes. The use of electronic, simulated smoking materials (e.g., cigarettes, pipes, or cigars) onboard NASA aircraft is prohibited.

3.14 Drugs and Alcohol

3.14.1 Limitations/Federal Law. In many circumstances, it is a violation of Federal law to act or attempt to act as an aircrew member while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Flight personnel shall comply with applicable Federal laws governing drug and alcohol use by aircrew members. See 14 CFR 91.17. [329]

3.14.2 As detailed in NPR 3792.1, NASA's Plan for A Drug Free Workplace, the use of any drug by flight personnel is prohibited unless specifically approved by a NASA Flight Surgeon (FS) or FAA Aviation Medical Examiner (AME). No person may attempt to act as an aircrew member of or commence any Crew Duty Day assignment to a NASA aircraft:

a. Within 8 hours after the consumption of any alcoholic beverage.

b. While under the influence or residual effects of alcohol, defined as having residual .04 percent by weight or more alcohol in the blood.

c. While using any drug (e.g., illicit, prescription, or over-the-counter) that affects his/her facilities in any way contrary to safety when not approved in writing by a NASA FS or an FAA AME.

3.14.3 Consuming Alcohol On Duty. Aircrew are prohibited from consuming alcohol from any source (including food and medicines) after reporting for duty. This policy includes periods when aircrew may be assigned to be "on call' for flight duty.

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