Nonessential Equipment and Furnishings

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Aircraft Master Minimum Equipment Lists (MMELs) can now be found on the FAA Flight Standards Information System web site.

Currently, Master Minimum Equipment Lists (MMEL) provide relief only for passenger convenience items located in the cabin, galley, and lavatory areas. Other areas of the aircraft have items installed that are not captured by the MMEL and which are non safety of flight items that must be repaired before further flight if found inoperative. The MMEL Industry Group was tasked to develop a procedure which gave the operator a path to incorporate these relief items into what is now called the Nonessential Equipment and Furnishings (NEF) Program. The NEF relief item will replace the current passenger convenience item and will be incorporated into ATA chapter 25 of the MMEL. However, the NEF Program is generated by the operator and separate from the aircraft Minimum Equipment List (MEL). Depending on what regulation under which the aircraft is operated, the NEF Program may be required to be approved by the FAA Certificate Holding District Office (CHDO).

NEF Definition (as stated in MMEL Global Change GC-138)

Nonessential equipment and furnishings are those items installed on the aircraft as part of the original certification, supplemental type certificate, or engineering order that have no effect on the safe operation of flight and would not be required by the applicable certification rules or operational rules. They are those items that if inoperative, damaged or missing have no effect on the aircraft’s ability to be operated safely under all operational conditions. These nonessential items may be installed in areas including, but not limited to, the passenger compartment, flight deck area, service areas, cargo areas, crew rest areas, lavatories, and galley areas. NEF items are not items already identified in the Configuration Deviation List (CDL) or MEL of the applicable aircraft. They do not include items that are functionally required to meet the certification rule or for compliance with any operational rule. An operator’s NEF process shall not provide for deferral of items within serviceable limits identified in the manufacture’s maintenance manual or operator’s approved maintenance program such as wear limits, fuel/hydraulic leak rates, oil consumption, etc. Cosmetic items that are fully serviceable but worn or soiled may be deferred under an operators NEF process.

NEF Program

There are two types of NEF Programs:

  • Part 91 Operation – NEF Program is not approved by FAA
  • Part 91K/135 Operation – NEF Program is approved by the FAA Certificate Holding District Office (CHDO)

Although, there is a difference on NEF Program approvals, the basic programs are the same. The program consists of the following items:

  1. The NEF Item evaluation process will include the following items:
    • Is the item required for the operational rules in which the aircraft is operated?
    • Does it create the potential for fire/smoke or other hazardous conditions?
    • Could it have an adverse effect on other required systems or components?
    • Does its condition potentially affect the safety of crew, passengers, or service personnel?
    • Could it have a negative impact on emergency or abnormal procedures?
    • Does it create additional workload for the crew at critical times of flight or flight preparation?
  2. Development of a NEF List (not required but recommended).
  3. Development of procedures for a NEF Item:
    • Maintenance (M) Procedures
    • Operation (O) Procedures
    • Placarding (P) Procedures
  4. Development of repair and/or replacement intervals of items listed in the NEF List.
  5. Determination “Where” NEF List and Program will be located in the aircraft (i.e. located in the back of the aircraft specific MEL).
  6. Determination on “How” a NEF Item will be tracked (i.e. Deferred Maintenance Log).
  7. Incorporate the MEL NEF relief item in ATA chapter 25 as required by GC-138.
  8. FAA CHDO approval to operate with a NEF Program, if necessary.
  9. Development of a procedure to incorporate a relief item not found in a current CDL, MEL, or NEF List into the aircraft specific NEF List:
    • Part 91 – no FAA approval required
    • Part 91K/135 – FAA CHDO approval required
      • Define process acceptable to the operator and CHDO
      • Define interval of reporting new item to CHDO

Conclusion

The requirement to remove MMEL relief item Passenger Convenience Item to the new NEF relief item is the next MMEL revision after April 30, 2008. At that time, all MMELs going through revision will be required to switch over to the new standard. An operator may add the NEF MEL requirement at anytime based on Global Change GC-138.

Examples of Generic NEF Lists and Programs have been generated for both 91 and 91K/135 operators.

FAA Documentation: