• Certification Overview
  • Part 91 Certification
  • Part 135 Certification
  • Part 135 Single Pilot Certification
  • Part 145 Certification



FAA Certifications-Working with the FAA, Working with ACCG


Part 91, 91K, 135 Single Pilot and 135 Full Certifications

This area describes the various certifications and the FAA process related to that certification. The Overview Page ( here) describes information that applies to all the certifications. Select the appropriate tab above for more information about your certification project.

See the information below and make sure that you can complete all that will be required by the FAA for your certification. In most cases these items are required without exception. Air Carrier Compliance Group will provide the necessary documents and guide you throughout your inspections even after your certification is complete; however, you will be closely monitored for about a year to see if you are complying with everything you said you would do in your manuals. You must become thoroughly familiar with all your manuals and the related regulations to do this. Compliance will ensure a good standing relationship with your FAA Certification Team, but most importantly you will fly safe!


ACCG Services; Summary of Events

As mentioned many times throughout the site, you must become thoroughly familiar with the applicable Federal Aviation Regulations and your manuals.

We have worked out a process of interaction during manual development that helps you understand both the regulations and your manuals.

A typical scenario: After we input the information for your air charter company into the statement of compliance (the first of the large documents), it will be sent to you for review followed by necessary or desired changes. Then that copy is sent to the FAA for their initial review. Should the FAA request changes, and they usually do, the process is reversed so that you remain in the information loop.

We do the MANUAL work for you !

All certification projects include manuals that are custom made to your operational needs.





FAA Part 135 Certification Guide

This information was originally authored by the FAA.

This guide is intended to present, in a logical sequence, the steps which you must go through in obtaining your FAR part 135 Air Carrier Operating Certificate.

The complexity of the process depends primarily on the complexity of your proposed operation, and ranges from a simple single pilot operation using a single engine airplane or helicopter under VFR to a complex charter operation employing many pilots and operating numerous turbine powered aircraft. Scheduled Commuter operations or those involving aircraft of more than nineteen passenger seats are considered beyond the scope of this guide.

The FAA classifies operators into 4 classes, depending on its complexity.


These classes are:

  1. Single Pilot Operator. An operator using only one pilot. This is typically an owner-pilot operation using a single engine airplane or helicopter under VFR. It could also include a single pilot operation using a light twin under IFR with an approved autopilot in place of a second pilot.
  2. Single Pilot-in-Command Operator. An operator that uses only a single crew for an aircraft requiring two pilots. Only one pilot may be pilot in command. Any other pilots, up to a maximum of three, must be only second-in-command.
  3. Basic Operator. A Basic Operator is one that has a fairly simple operation without multiple bases of operation or other complicating factors and employs five pilots or less, and operates five aircraft or less.
  4. Standard Operator. Any operator that employs more than five pilots or conducts operations of a complex nature involving more than one aircraft base or pilot domicile.
The Certification Process

Regardless of the complexity of your operation, the step by step process toward obtaining your certificate is essentially the same. It involves gaining a clear understanding of what you must do, submission of documents to the FAA for review and approval, training your personnel, having your facilities, record keeping system, and aircraft inspected by the FAA, having pilots complete competency checks by the FAA, and finally, receiving your certificate.

The First Step - Pre-application Statement of Intent

The first formal action that you will take is submitting to the FAA a Pre-application Statement of Intent. It uses FAA form 8400-6, and is a broad and general description of your proposed operation. It identifies your key personnel and contact telephone numbers, and describes in a general way the complexity of your operation.

This Pre-application Statement of Intent is what gets the machinery in motion toward certification. Upon receiving it, the FAA Flight Standards District Office will assign which inspectors will be your Principal Inspectors. There will be a Principal Operations Inspector, a Principal Airworthiness Inspector, and a Principal Avionics Inspector. Generally, any one of the three Inspectors could be your primary contact person at the FAA during the certification process. The Principal Operations Inspector will be responsible for your manual, training program, and pilots. The Principal Airworthiness Inspector will be your contact person for matters relating to the aircraft, airworthiness and maintenance programs, and the Principal Avionics Inspector will be the person who makes sure that requirements relating to the installation and maintenance of aircraft avionics equipment are dealt with.

Pre-application Meeting

After the FAA District Office receives your Pre-application Statement of Intent, You will be contacted and an appointment made for a meeting at the FAA District Office. It will be at this meeting that details of your operation will be discussed, specific requirements decided upon, and a timetable for certification steps established. All your key management personnel, including the Chief Executive Officer, Director of Operations, Chief Pilot, and Director of Maintenance should plan on attending this meeting. Depending on the complexity of your operation, further meetings with appropriate members of your management team may be required to deal with specific matters.

Preparation of Documents

Once the requirements for your particular operation have been established, you will be preparing various documents, manuals, and establishing management systems as required for your individual situation. You will be preparing your Letter of Compliance. During this period, you and your management personnel will have frequent contact with the Principal Inspectors to iron out the details and obtain approval and acceptance of specific requirements. Training programs must be approved, manuals reviewed and accepted, and various aircraft maintenance programs and procedures must be approved. The contents of your Operations Specifications will be finalized. You must also submit registration documents and proof of insurance to the Department of Transportation in Washington.

Preparation for Certification

After your training program has received initial approval, you will be training your pilots in accordance with this program. If you have company check airmen, they will be observed by the FAA while conducting initial checks of other pilots. If you do not have company check airmen, the FAA will conduct the competency checks after the training has been completed.

During this period, you will be making the initial training records for your company personnel, bringing your aircraft up to standards including re-weighing of aircraft if required, and ensuring that all provisions of your maintenance program have been complied with.

Formal Application

Once all systems are in place and all documents have been approved or accepted, and after your aircraft meet all requirements and your pilots have been trained and checked, you are ready to make formal application for certification. This is done on FAA form 8000-6, and is your statement that you meet all requirements to hold an Air Carrier Operating Certificate.

Final Inspection

After receipt of your application form, the FAA district office will schedule a final inspection. This inspection will cover your record keeping systems, a physical inspection of your aircraft and its records, and will ensure that all systems and methods of compliance are actually in place. During this time, the FAA will be preparing your Operations Specifications, and upon successful completion of the inspection, these Operations Specifications and your Operating Certificate will be given to you.

Other Requirements

Following are some of the requirements for certification which may merit special attention. It is by no means a complete list.

Letter of Compliance

During the preparation for certification, you will be asked to compose a Letter of Compliance. This is a document that serves to create a common understanding between you and the FAA that you have the ability and mechanisms in place to conduct an operation in full compliance with all the appropriate regulations. It serves to ensure that you are aware of and have considered each portion and part of the regulation as it applies to your particular operation. This document is a list of each regulation, starting with FAR 135.1 and continuing to the end. Each regulation is listed together with your company's individual method of meeting the requirement of that regulation. It is up to you and you only to establish the means and method to address each requirement. A sample Letter of Compliance, appropriate to a typical Basic Operator is included as Appendix A at the end of this guide.

General Operations Manual

Unless you are a single pilot or single pilot-in-command operator, you must develop an operations manual for your use in telling your employees what procedures must be followed by them in conducting the company's operations. This manual may contain any policy or procedure guidance that you wish, but MUST contain detailed procedures for a number of specific areas which are set forth in FAR 135. The required subjects are given in FAR 135.23, 135.79, 135.123, 135.173 and 135.175.

Flight Locating Procedures

You are required to establish procedures to ensure that if a flight becomes overdue, timely notification is given to search and rescue authorities so that a search for the overdue aircraft can begin as soon as possible. While filing of a FAA Flight Plan will accomplish this in many cases, there are still some circumstances where the filing or closing of a flight plan may not be practical. These procedures must be written and must be explicit. The name or position of the person responsible for flight progress monitoring, the method that the pilot uses in notifying this person of the flight's progress, and the exact steps for the designated person to take should a flight become overdue must be given. Note that this procedure must ensure the same level of safety and timeliness that would be achieved if a FAA flight plan was filed. It must provide for the same information to be recorded as a FAA flight plan as specified in FAR 91.83. This procedure may be contained in the operations manual, but if your company is not required to have a manual, this procedure must still be written and furnished to the FAA district office for review and acceptance. A sample written Flight Locating procedure is included as Appendix D. Management Personnel.

FAR 135.37 requires that each certificate holder have a Director of Operations, a Chief Pilot, and a Director of Maintenance. FAR 135.39 gives the required qualifications for these persons. If you are a single pilot operator, you are not required to have these personnel. A Single Pilot-in-Command and a Basic Operator may combine these positions into two and in some circumstances, one position, but the person designated as holding the combined positions must meet all the requirements for all of the positions. The main requirement, in addition to holding the required certificates, is that the person must have three years experience as pilot-in-command IN FAR 135 OPERATIONS in the case of Director of Operations and Chief Pilot, and three years experience as a mechanic maintaining the same category and class of aircraft in the case of Director of Maintenance. While the regulations allow for the FAA to approve a deviation from these requirements, this deviation is usually approved only if the person comes quite close to meeting the requirements AND has significant other pertinent experience.

Persons Having Operational Control

FAR 135.77 requires that each certificate holder exercise Operational Control of each flight. This means that the company itself, not individual pilots, customers, or others, must actively make the necessary decisions regarding dispatch of flights, compliance with regulations, etc. You may designate whatever company personnel you wish to exercise this operational control, but their names must be specifically listed in the operations manual.

Hazardous Materials

All certificate holders, whether or not they have a pilot training program, and whether or not they elect to transport hazardous materials, must have a written hazardous material training program. This program may be fairly simple for a single pilot operator who does not carry hazardous materials. limited simply to a program dealing with how to recognize hazardous materials should they be presented by a customer for shipment. For a operator who decides to offer the service of carriage of these materials, the training program must include all of the subjects listed in FAR 135.333. This written training program will be evaluated by the FAA Regional Office hazardous materials specialist who is assigned to the Air Transportation Security division.

I'm ready, How do I get started?

Provided you have an airplane, a pilot, and a basic plan of your air transportation service, your ready to get started on your paperwork.

Enlisting ACCG to assist you with your certification requires a simple form about your company and down payment for us to get started. You can get Customer Order Forms here; Email or give us a call (561-373-5962) today!



Part 91 Subpart K Certifications for Fractional Operators


Certification Preparation

The more you are prepared for your part 91 certification that easier it will be to complete. Below is must have resources, reviewing it now will save a lot of time during the FAA application process.


Part 91 Reference Documents for Certifications
Title Description
FAA Inspectors Handbook Information the FAA inspectors use as a guide during certifications. Keep in mind that it is the OPERATORS responsibility to maintain compliance with the Federal Aviation Regulations.
14 CFR Part 91 Copy of the 14 CFR Part 91 Subpart K of the Federal Aviation Regulations. It may appear to be written in code but its really straight forward. This is your list, the most important list, that you need for compliance.
Advisory Circulars Be sure to review the latest Advisory Circulars at that are related to Part 91k certification and running fractional airline.

ACCG Creates Your Manuals & Gets FAA Approval ASAP!

Certifications, manuals, forms and more; call 561-373-5962 or email for a quote.

ACCG Suggested Reading

  • Review the appropriate sections of the Inspectors Handbook regarding new certifications. The Inspectors perform many other duties, and quite often have completed few new certifications. Your knowledge of the procedures will help.
  • Remember the actual procedures will vary from FSDO to FSDO and from Inspector to Inspector.
  • We have found that most inspectors follow the procedures outlined in the Inspectors Handbook, while some use the Gate System. The important thing is to learn how your inspector wants things done, and then do it that way. We have found that it rarely pays off arguing with the inspector.
  • Stay on top of it. Don't hesitate to call your inspector if you don't here from him (or her). Quite often, due to reasons unknown, phone calls will not be returned so you will have to keep calling until you get what you need.

Required Manuals for Operations

Program Operating Manual (POM)

This manual contains information about your general policies, duties, responsibilities of personnel, operational control policy, and procedures. Part 91, subpart K requires that your manuals include instructions and information that allow your personnel to perform their duties and responsibilities.

ACCG will work closely together with the Program Manager and develop the procedures for your specific operation.

Part 91 Application Process for Part 91 Subchapter K

Below is a summary of the Fractional Program application process. Variations will exist by operator size and complexity. The information is extracted from the latest draft of the the Fractional's certification advisory circular, additional detail may be found at

Notice the "Gates" are back! So far this is how we have seen the FAA inspectors conduct the certification procedures. It has been followed closely.

Most of this information is taken from the applicable AC's and Inspectors Handbook, but we condensed the information down to the more pertinent. If you want the full versions go to the FAA web site:

Certifications using the Gate system

The Gate system is typically used (not always) for Part 91 Sub-K certifications. When used, it provides a logical and chronological order of the events and documents that must take place in each Phase. All the Phases must be complete to proceed to the next gate.


Phase I Pre-Application

1. Initial contact meeting
2. Second meeting/contact
3. Formal transition meeting

Phase II Application

1. Formal application meeting
2. Submit application schedule
3. Submit required documents
4. Submit transition plan


Phase III Document Compliance and review

  • Program operating manual
  • Aircraft checklist
  • Inspection program
  • Flight attendant manual
  • Minimum equipment list
  • Passenger briefing cards
  • Fueling/refueling procedures
  • Weight/balance control procedures
  • Hazardous materials procedures
  • Security procedures
  • Check pilots

Review Training Curriculums:

  • Hazardous materials
  • Maintenance personnel
  • Inspection personnel
  • Ground handling/servicing

Review Contracts/Agreements/Requests:

  • Owner contracts
  • Training contracts
  • Maintenance contracts
  • Servicing contracts
  • Alcohol/Drug Education
  • Exemptions/deviations

Other Items:

  • Final compliance statement
  • Proving test plan
  • Management specifications work sheet
  • Training schedules

Phase IV Demonstration and Proving

  • Proving Tests
  • Validation Tests
  • Table-top demonstrations
  • Passenger handling procedures
  • Monitor Flightcrew Training
  • Flight Crewmember:
    •   Basic indoctrination
    •   Emergency training
    •   91K transition training
    •   Proficiency checks
    •   Line checks
    •   Check pilot transition training
  • Maintenance Training:
    •   Mechanics
    •   Inspection personnel
  • Flight Attendants:
    •   Basic indoctrination
    •   Emergency training
    •   Competency checks
  • Security
    •   Competency check
    •   Operation
    •   Familiarization
  • Aircraft conformity inspections
  • Principal base of operations inspection
  • Maintenance base inspections


Phase V. Documentation

Issue Management Specifications


More reading about the Part 91 FAA Certification Process..

These events are a close approximate as to what will take place during FAA certification. They do differ among different FSDO's and Principle Operations Inspectors.

Phase I - Preapplication.

The applicant should contact the nearest FAA Flight Standards District Office (FSDO) and inform them of the intent to apply for Management Specifications. You will be asked to schedule an appointment to discuss the proposed operation and to meet with an FAA representative.

A. Initial Contact Meeting.

The FAA will use this meeting to make sure that you fully understand the application process by providing detailed explanations of specific requirements. Key management personnel are required to attend this meeting and be prepared to discuss, in general terms, the plans of the proposed operation. Many problems can be avoided by discussing all aspects of the proposed operation and the requirements that must be accomplished before being issued Management Specifications.

  1. At this meeting, FSDO personnel will brief you on the basic information and general application requirements. If you intend to proceed with the application process, the FSDO will give you FAA Worksheet 8400-91K, Statement of Intent (SOI). A sample of this worksheet and instructions for completing it are in Appendix 1. You should complete and sign the SOI and return it to the FSDO.
  2. The FSDO will review the phase/gates concept with you, as described in the Phase I flow chart shown above.
  3. The FSDO will then give you an application package, which will include the following documents (or an Internet web site where the documents can be retrieved):
  • Applicable sections of FAA Orders 8900.10
  • Fractional Ownership rule and preamble
  • Preapplication Statement of Intent (SOI)
  • Parts 91, 119, and 135, as applicable
  • Applicable job aids and checklists
  • Schedule of events that outlines the approval process

Be prepared to discuss, in general terms, the plans of your proposed operation.

B. Second Meeting/Contact.

During the second meeting, you should be prepared to:

  • Identify locations for training, maintenance, and principal base of operations
  • Submit documentation to substantiate a Fractional Ownership Program or Business Plan (including a sample contract depicting the regulatory requirements)
  • Submit the completed SOI
  • Submit proposed application schedule
  • Identify management representatives

Gate and Phase NOTE: Once the FSDO has accepted everything in the pre-application phase, you may begin Phase II.

Phase II – FORMAL Application.

The regulations state that an application for Management Specifications shall be made in a form and manner acceptable to the FAA. You should make a formal application by a letter that includes a request to be issued Management Specifications to conduct operations under part 91, subpart K. The letter should include a mailing address and indicate the full name, title, and address of the designated agent for service, if other than the program manager.

Figure 3-2.

You should submit the formal application a minimum of 90 days before operations are to begin, and preferably as far in advance of the proposed start-up date as possible. When you have fully developed the formal application, forward it to the assigned FSDO.

The applicant will be notified by letter whether the formal application is accepted or rejected. FAA acceptance of a formal application does not constitute approval or acceptance of individual attachments. These documents will be thoroughly evaluated during subsequent phases of the application process. If the formal application is not accepted, it will be returned with a written explanation of the reasons for its return.

SOI Processing

At this time, the FSDO will form an application team and assign an inspector as the project manager. The project manager will be your point of contact at the FSDO for all matters related to your application.

FSDO Team Actions

After you submit your application, the FSDO team will:

  • Review the application package to confirm that it contains the required information and attachments. If there are omissions or errors, the team will return the formal application and all attachments to you with a letter outlining the reasons for its return.
  • Initiate electronic Management Specifications installation and training.

Figure 3-3.

Formal Application Meeting

Once the application team has reviewed your application, they will schedule a formal application meeting. All of your key management personnel should attend the formal application meeting. If you have a comprehensive understanding of the requirements of part 91, subpart K, you should be able to resolve any omissions, deficiencies, or open questions during this meeting. The meeting will focus on the practicality of the schedule of events. The FAA team will fully discuss and explain the subsequent phases of the application process. You should ask for clarification of any item or event that you do not clearly understand. The FAA project manager will not formally accept the application during the meeting which will allow you time to resolve any deficiencies discussed during the meeting. At the formal application meeting, you must:

  • Provide the acceptance letter that you received from the FAA following the submission of the application.
  • Submit all required programs and documents, as follows:


Management Personnel Resumes and Documentation.

Program managers requesting continuous airworthiness maintenance program (CAMP) shall provide a resume outlining the qualifications and experience applicable management personnel. Additionally, personnel authorized to sign MSpecs and designated as a company point of contact should be identified.

Program Operating Manual (POM).

This manual or sections of manuals contain information about your general policies, duties, responsibilities of personnel, operational control policy, and procedures. Part 91, subpart K requires that your manuals include instructions and information that allow your personnel to perform their duties and responsibilities. Section 91.1025 prescribes the content of these manuals. You should provide a draft outline of the major parts of all required manuals before gate II.

Program Operating Manual (POM) GENERAL

The program manager is required by section 91.1023 to prepare and keep current a POM that sets forth procedures and policies acceptable to the Administrator. When applicable, the manual shall contain the contents required by section 91.1025 in enough detail so that the program manager’s flight, ground, and maintenance personnel may properly perform their assigned duties. During the preparation of the POM, a program manager shall ensure that no conflict with the regulations exists that would prevent the FAA’s acceptance of the POM.

The program manager is responsible for developing the policy and procedures contained in the POM. The program manager must also submit it to the Administrator for acceptance and approval, as applicable. The district office will provide guidance to the Program Manager for developing their POM, should time and resources be available. The district office will not draft or otherwise prepare nor accept responsibility for developing the content of the manual. Acceptance of the POM depends upon the program manager’s organizational ability to develop and manage its proposed operation. Refer to the attachments contained in Chapter 5 of this Advisory Circular for a sample program operating manual outline and sample Destination Airport Analysis program.

(1) General Maintenance Manual. For programs that combine both part 91-K and part 135 operations, this manual may be combined with the General Operations Manual for part 135 Operators provided that all the required contents for both manuals are included in the combined document and differences in operations are clearly defined.

(2) Aircraft Maintenance Manuals/Programs.

  • Inspection program
  • Maintenance record keeping
  • Emergency maintenance required records

(3) Weight and Balance Procedures/Program.

(4) Training Program. The training curriculum must be attached to the formal application letter. Training curriculums must include at least the following curriculum segments for each crewmember position:

  • Basic indoctrination training
  • Emergency training
  • Initial aircraft ground training
  • Initial aircraft flight training
  • Any training programs outlined in 8900.10, applicable to part 135 operations

(5) Aircraft Flight Manual.

(6) Aircraft Operations Manual (not required for part 91, subpart K operators who choose to use the manufacturer’s approved Aircraft Flight Manual).

(7) MEL's, if applicable.


The following is a list of additional approved programs, manuals, and material:

  • Configuration Deviation List (CDL), if applicable
  • Cockpit checklist
  • Passenger briefing cards
  • Noise and emission plan, if applicable
  • Airport Runway Analysis program (not required for non-transport category aircraft operations)
  • Exemption and deviation requests (if approved, they must be added to the Management Specifications)
  • Hazardous Materials Recognition Program
  • Security Program (Coordinated with the POI, but issued by TSA)
  • Flight Attendant Manual (required only for aircraft certificated to carry more than 19 passengers or if operator chooses to carry a person performing such duties)
  • Dispatch/flight following/flight locating procedures
  • Management Specifications (operations and airworthiness)
  • Management Specifications worksheets
  • Maintenance Reliability Program (optional)
  • Proving and/or validation test plan\
  • Emergency evacuation demonstration plan, if required
  • Ditching demonstration plan, if required
  • Continuous analysis and surveillance system for aircraft maintained under a Continuous Airworthiness Maintenance Program (CAMP)
  • Compliance statement

NOTE: On this attachment, you must list all part 91, subpart K regulations that are applicable to your proposed operation (i.e., compliance statement). You should identify applicable subparts and relevant sections of the subpart, including a specific reference or a specific reference and brief description, to a manual or other document. The brief description or reference must describe the method of compliance for each regulation listed.

  • Owner acknowledgment/contract requirements
  • Flight Attendant training program curriculum and/or revisions, if applicable
  • Location of principal base of operations
  • List of all DBA's the program manager may operate under
  • List of aircraft
  • Internal audit program
  • Accident notification procedures
  • Pilot safety background checks and procedures
  • Location of the records repository (should be located at principal base of operations)
  • Any deviation requests
  • Other requested authorizations

ACCG Creates Your Manuals & Gets FAA Approval ASAP!

Should you desire for us to make you manuals for you call 561-373-5962 or email for a quote.

Contact Air Carrier Compliance Group



Part 135 Certifications


How ACCG helps you get certified under 14 CFR Part 135.

The Basics

Each operator's certification requirements will vary with the size and complexity of the operation, but at the very least each Part 135 will require an aircraft, a pilot, and a Principle Base of Operations (PBO). Of course this assumes that these assets are supported. Insurance, fuel, maintenance, and the like.

All First Time Applicants

We highly recommend reading the FAA certification documents referenced on this site. This will help you get familiar with the process, terms, and FAA procedures. In addition you must become very familiar with Part 135 of Federal Aviation Regulations, that goes without saying.

Getting Started

If you desire ACCG to help you with your Part 135 certification we will need some information about your proposed operation, type of aircraft, and operating areas. Please go to the Forms page, fill out the applicable form, and send it in to us. We will give you an accurate quotation and get you started right away.

How it works - Typical ACCG and Customer Flow






Part 135 Single Pilot Certification


About the Certification Process for Single Pilot Operators

The Single Pilot Operation is typically just that, one pilot and one airplane. Provisions also allow for Single Pilot in Command Certifications. Those are typically for 2 pilot required aircraft.

This information, together with the the FAA links and resources available here can get the average single pilot operator through the process. If it is your first time plan approximately 150-200 hours by the time you are finished. Regardless of whether you plan to do it on your own or hire ACCG to assist you, all new operators need to review the information contained on this page, including the applicable FAR's, especially Part 135.

How does this work?

The FAA uses different procedures for cert processing. They are all versions of the "Gate" system and that which you read about in the Advisory Circular

I want to get started

Again, a do-able task, but expect about 150-200 hours of your time for a Single Pilot Operator certification. The biggest task for the Single Pilot Operator is the Statement of Compliance. Download the FAA's Certification Information for Operating Under Part 135 and use it as a guide. The links contained in the document have pretty much all the information. We suggest getting a hold of a Schedule of Events also. It is a convenient document to track submissions and dates. Some Inspectors require it.

You should also review the Inspectors Handbook, just the parts regarding the type of certification that you will need.

Tools you will need to fly Part 135

In brief you will need a qualified pilot, a Part 135 ready aircraft, and your Base of Operations or PBO. All sustainable. Meaning the aircraft is 135 insured come time to fly 135, you have enough operating cash to support your operations for at least a few months, and the pilot's heart is beating.

The GATE System


  • Have Application For DOT Economic Authority
  • Facility Selection For Training And Maintenance Completed
  • Have Letters Of Intent For Lease Or Purchase Of Aircraft And Facilities
  • Submission Of Completed PASI Form
  • Submission Of Proposed Schedule Of Events
  • Have Key Management Resumes And Personnel Available


  • Formal Letter Of Application
  • Have Purchased Or Leased Aircraft And Facilities
  • Received "Order To Show Cause" From DOT
  • Submitted All Required Documents


  • All Manuals Reviewed, Discrepancies Corrected, And Approved/Accepted As Required
  • Training Programs Initially Approved And Sufficient Personnel Trained
  • Maintenance Programs Approved And Conformity Checks Completed Satisfactorily
  • Facilities Evaluated And Found Satisfactory
  • Evacuation Demonstrations Satisfactorily Completed
  • Proving Run Schedule Reviewed And Accepted
  • All Other Discrepancies And Open Questions Resolved Satisfactorily

Important Information from the FAA's Advisory Circular 120.49

The information below is a summary, for more detailed information go to Advisory Circular 120-49.


A. This phase consists of the pre-application meeting with the FAA and the applicant (you must attend). The inspector should discuss the certification process in depth. Emphasis should be placed on the expectations of the FAA, what the applicant should expect from the FAA, and the sequence of events.

NOTE: At the end of the meeting, the inspector will give the applicant a certification package. Upon completion of Gate One, FSDO personnel, when available, will advise and counsel the applicant on document preparation for Gate Two.

Gate Three requirements shall be completed prior to commencement of proving tests.

All requirements of each Gate must be completed before proceeding through the certification process to the next Gate.

B. Package of pre-certification Information. The pre-application meeting between the CPM, other certification team members, and the applicant sets the tone for the rest of the certification process. Therefore, it is important to be thoroughly prepared. The CPM should review the PASI and assemble a pre-certification information package to be given to the applicant.

The pre-certification information package shall consist of at least the following:

  • AC 120-49, if not previously provided
  • Applicable certification job aid
  • Sample schedule of events format
  • Applicable sample of operations specifications
  • Other publications or documents the CPM considers appropriate (See figure for a job aid on cabin safety)

C. Briefing of the Applicant. At the pre-application meeting, the applicant and any key personnel attending the meeting should be briefed in as much detail as necessary to ensure that they understand the certification process using the certification job aid and the schedule of events format as guides to facilitate the discussion and to ensure that all elements of the certification process are covered. The applicant should be encouraged to ask questions about any area of the process not clearly understood.

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Formal Application

At the pre-application meeting, the form, content, and documents required for formal application are discussed. The formal application must be submitted to the assigned district office. The applicant is encouraged to submit the application as far in advance as possible of the intended starting date.

The formal application must be in letter format and must contain the following:

(1) The full and official name of the applicant

(2) A statement that the document is a formal application for either an air carrier or an operating certification.

(3) The applicant's mailing address and the physical address of the applicant's intended primary operating location

(4) For an air carrier applicant, the full name and address of the agent (designated person who has signature authority) for service as required by Section 1005(b) of the FA Act of 1958, as amended

(5) The names of key management personnel, such as the General Manager, Director of Operations, Director of Maintenance, Chief Pilot, and Chief Inspector, as applicable

(6) A note added to the formal application letter if a request for deviation from management personnel requirements is anticipated. The request and justification for the deviation, however, shall be made under separate cover.

(7) The signatures of the following as applicable:-

  • The owner when applying as an individual.
  • Each partner when applying as a partnership.
  • An authorized officer when applying as an organization, such as a company or corporation.

Formal Application Attachments

The formal application must be accompanied by the following:

(1) Schedule of Events The Schedule of Events lists documents, activities, and acquisitions required for certification. Each item is accompanied by the applicant's best estimate of the date the item will be submitted, acquired, and/or ready for inspection.

(a) The number and types of events and activities that occur during certification vary according to the operation proposed. The Schedule of Events must list each document to be submitted, activity to be performed, and the item to be inspected. The schedule must provide the FAA a reasonable amount of time for the review and acceptance or approval of each item or event.

(b) The Schedule of Events is intended to encourage an applicant to submit material well in advance of the date operations are proposed to begin. If, however, the application is submitted with only the minimum lead time required by the regulation, complete documents (such as maintenance manuals) may be required at the time of formal application.

(c) If the applicant plans to petition for exemption, processing time must also be considered. FAR Section 11.25 requires that a petition be submitted to AGC-204 at least 120 days before it is needed.

NOTE: Final certification could be delayed if the applicant fails to accomplish an item or event in a satisfactory manner or in accordance with the Schedule of Events. In addition, delays may be caused by the need to correct deficiencies in documents, such as manuals or maintenance/inspection programs.

(2) Company manual. The company manual contains information about the applicant's organization, general policies, duties, responsibilities, operational control policy, and procedures. This attachment may be comprised of one or more manuals or sections of manuals.

NOTE TO: Single Pilot, Single Pilot in Command, and Basic FAR Part 135 Operator air carriers.

a. Because these air carriers are usually limited in size and scope, they may not be required to comply with all regulatory requirements for manuals, training programs, and management positions. These air carriers will normally need less extensive manual and training program material and fewer management positions. However, these types of air carriers will not be permitted a reduction in safety standards due to the limited size and scope of operations.

b. Single Pilot FAR Part 135 Operator. FAR Part 135 does not require a Single Pilot Operator to develop or maintain manuals, training programs, or identify specific management positions. Therefore, Company General Manuals and initial training curriculum attachments are not required to be submitted with the formal application. However, a resume of qualifications and experience of the principal owner and/or company officer who will exercise operational and maintenance/inspection control must be submitted with the formal application.

c. Single Pilot in Command and Basic FAR Part 135 Operators. FAR Part 135 allows for a deviation from the manual, training program, and management requirements. A deviation from these requirements may be granted to an applicant who intends to operate as a Single Pilot in Command or a Basic FAR Part 135 Operator. The applicant should attach a letter to the FAA Form 8400-6 identifying the regulations from which deviation is requested. The letter should provide justification for the proposed deviations and the number of pilots, both pilot in command and second in command, which will be used. If the deviation is to be granted, totally or in part, the applicant will be notified early in the pre-application phase. In this situation, FSDO personnel will specify for the applicant the documents and attachments which must accompany the formal application.

(a) When the formal application is submitted, the manual must show compliance with the applicable paragraphs of FAR Parts 121 and 135.

(b) Team members must ensure all required material is shown on the Schedule of Events and that adequate time is allowed for review.

(c) The applicant should be encouraged to provide a table of contents.

(3) Initial company training curriculums

(a) At the time of formal application, some training program elements may not be fully developed. The projected date of submission for training course curriculums must be in the Schedule of Events. A draft of the initial company training curriculum, as complete as possible, must be attached to the formal application.

(b) The initial company training curriculum must include at least the following segments:

  • Basic indoctrination training
  • Emergency training
  • Initial aircraft ground training
  • Initial aircraft flight training

(c) Curriculums for training maintenance personnel may be included as part of the operator's manual.

(4) Management resumes. This attachment includes resumes showing the qualifications, certificates, ratings, and experience of persons selected for the following, or equivalent,

  • General Manager (where applicable)
  • Director of Operations
  • Director of Maintenance
  • Chief Pilot
  • Chief Inspector (where applicable)

(a) If it appears that a proposed management candidate does not meet the appropriate experience requirements, inform the applicant that a deviation is required to employ that person. If a deviation is requested, the applicant must show equivalent aeronautical experience.

(b) An applicant may request a deviation to use fewer or different personnel. The applicant must prove the ability to perform operations safely under the deviation. The applicant also must show that the proposed personnel can effectively perform the functions associated with the positions in accordance with the Federal Aviation Regulations and the procedures outlined in the proposed manual.

(c) Requests for deviation must be by letter. These requests must be submitted to the district office as soon as possible. Justification for deviations must take into account the size and scope of the operation and the qualifications of the intended personnel. If fewer or different positions are approved, that approval will be made part of the operations specifications.

(d) Normally, full-time employees are expected for Part 135 operations. However, depending on the size, scope, and complexity of the operation, part-time management personnel may be accepted.

(5) Documents of purchase, contracts, and/or letters of intent

(a) These documents and/or letters show the applicant is committed to making arrangements for aircraft and supporting facilities and services necessary for the proposed operation. Proof of formal purchase, lease, or contractual arrangement are acceptable. If formal arrangements have not been completed, letters showing preliminary agreements will suffice until formal contracts are available. However, formal agreements must be finalized in sufficient time for FAA evaluation prior to certification.

(b) If the applicant does not plan to make purchases or develop services until after submitting the formal application, a statement of intent is acceptable. However, such arrangements must be completed sufficiently in advance of certification for FAA evaluation.

(c) The following types of equipment, facilities, and services are to be addressed in these documents, contracts, or letters:

  • Aircraft
  • Station facilities and services
  • Weather and NOTAM-gathering facilities and services (SAWRS stations)
  • Communications facilities and services
  • Maintenance facilities and services
  • Aeronautical charts and related publications
  • Airport analysis and obstruction data
  • Contract training or facilities

(6) Initial compliance statement. The compliance statement ensures that all applicable regulatory aspects are appropriately addressed during the certification process. The compliance statement lists each Part 121 or Part 135 regulation pertinent to the proposed operation. The applicant must describe proposed compliance methods alongside each applicable regulation. A brief narrative or a specific reference to a manual or other document is required. Where necessary, the applicant should indicate that the information will be provided in the final compliance statement.

D. Final Determination of Acceptability. After the formal application meeting, the Certification Project Manager and the certification team make a final determination of acceptability. Generally, if the formal application meeting is concluded without significant disagreements, it should be considered successful and result in an acceptable formal application. However, the team may decide there are sufficient reasons to reject the formal application. These reasons should clearly indicate that to proceed with the certification project would not be productive. Such reasons might include inadequate agreements on appropriate courses of action or evidence that the applicant does not understand the regulatory requirements and/or the certification process.

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Document Compliance

In the document compliance phase, the applicant's manuals and other documents are reviewed and accepted, approved, or rejected. This phase is accomplished in the district office by the certification team. Each document is reviewed in depth to ensure compliance with applicable regulations and conformity to safe operating practices.

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Demonstration & Inspection

A. Observe Demonstrations And Conduct Inspections. The following events may occur in this phase, if applicable:

  • Airman/Flight Attendant training (classroom, simulator, and aircraft training) (airmen, crew members, and dispatchers, as applicable)
  • Station facilities inspected (equipment, procedures, and personnel)
  • Record keeping procedures inspection (documentation of training, flight and duty times, flight papers, etc.)
  • Flight operations (dispatch, flight following, or flight locating capabilities)>
  • Approved maintenance program procedures
  • Maintenance activities (facilities, personnel, technical information, spare parts, etc.)
  • Aircraft inspection (conformity inspection, aircraft maintenance records, etc.)
  • Minimum Equipment List and Configuration
  • Deviation List inspection (compliance with Airplane Owner's Manual/Airplane Flight Manual maintenance procedures, etc.)
  • Weight and balance control (procedures, accuracy, and document control)
  • Emergency evacuation demonstration (aborted takeoff and/or ditching demonstrations)
  • Aircraft proving test (ability of applicant to operate independently, safely, and in compliance with the applicable Federal Aviation Regulations)
  • Any other event appropriate for the type of operation to be conducted

B. Document Deficiencies. If deficiencies are observed during the conduct of activities and events (training, emergency evacuation, etc.) or certain items are found deficient (Minimum Equipment List, records, etc.), recommend appropriate corrective action.

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Certification Phase

An applicant is entitled to a certificate when:

  1. The certification process is completed
  2. Each significant unsatisfactory item has been corrected
  3. The applicant has met all regulatory requirements
  4. It has been determined that the applicant is capable of complying with the Federal Aviation Regulations
  5. The applicant's ability to conduct operations in a safe manner has been demonstrated

NOTE: Before issuing the certificate, non-critical items needing further resolution should be discussed with the applicant and corrective action noted in writing.

Certification Flow Chart (FAA)

Certification flow chart from the Operations Inspectors Handbook.


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Part 145 Repair Station Certification



First time applicants

All applicants should review the certification requirements for obtaining a Repair Station. In summary these should include at least the following:

  • Review the FAA web site ( information about certifications
  • Read and become thoroughly familiar with FAR Part 145
  • Review the 8900.10 Inspectors hand book

For those who have been through the process

Be sure to review FAR Part 145 as it has changed, as well as the submission requirements. All Repair Stations now require a Training Manual. We suggest that you review the same information so you can get up to date with what has changed.

Assistance from ACCG

You can use ACCG to assist you with your Repair Station Certification or other related compliance documents. We provide a variety of services from making forms to complete repair station certification. Additionally, using our experienced staff will save you not just weeks of time, quite often months.

ACCG Certification Service Overview

First we evaluate your operation, typically we use a couple of forms. Once we have an understanding of the type of maintenance you will be performing we will provide you with a list of the minimum requirements and additional suggestions(if any)for your certification.

Once we come to agreement an estimate for the services is provided, of which typically we require 50% down payment. More payment and service information is provided on the Service Order Page.

We will be doing most of the work from that point on. For the next couple of weeks we will be building your Statement of Compliance. This will require contacting you during the period for more information that was not covered on the forms. Email or telephone, whichever is most convenient for you.

After we draft your initial Statement of Compliance we deliver you an electronic copy (pdf) for your review, additions, or edits. Once you have approved the document we proceed with…

The next Step

Your statements in the Statement of Compliance provide us with the information required to build your Repair Station and Quality Control Manuals.

Again we will build the document and then provide an electronic draft copy for your review and approval.



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