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Airworthiness Function Flights

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Article Information
Category: Airworthiness Airworthiness
Content source: SKYbrary About SKYbrary
Content control: EUROCONTROL EUROCONTROL

Description

An Airworthiness Function or Check Flight is a description normally given to a non revenue flight carried out by flight crew for whom normal duties are line flying and which has the sole purpose of testing for the correct airborne function of aircraft systems either:

  • after a single significant rectification maintenance input
  • in association with requirements for the acceptance or handback of an aircraft

The term does not include formal test flights carried out by trained test pilots employed by an aircraft manufacturer or NAA for purposes such as customer acceptance of new aircraft or the renewal of a Certificate of Airworthiness

Hazards

This type of flight, which is also sometimes referred to as a Functional Evaluation Flight or a Functional Check Flight, has been associated with an above average risk of an Accident or Serious Incident. The operation of an aircraft with systems intentionally degraded in order to validate the operational status of an aircraft may occur and on all such flights, a very thorough flight crew pre flight external and internal inspection can help reduce the chances of unexpected malfunctions occurring in flight. Some of the potential issues and mitgations for this risk are examined in the more general article "Mitigating Risk for Non Standard Flights" and examples of Accidents and Serious Incidents can be found at "Accident and Serious Incident Reports: Non-Revenue Flights". A recognition that a specific process is needed for the selection and training of flight crew who are to perform this type of flight is essential, and this aspect is examined further in the article Crew Training for Airworthiness Function Flights

Related Articles

Further Reading

UK CAA

Flight Safety Foundation

  • Functional Check Flight Compendium - This paper deals with the important subject of how to prepare and conduct functional check flights. It includes causes of upsets during check flights and the recovery methods from such upsets are discussed, but the coverage is deliberately limited to the check flight situation and is not intended to be a paper on the whole subject of upset training and recovery.