June 10, 2022

The FAA recently published new guidance to streamline certain communications, navigation and surveillance equipment letter of authorization (LOA) applications for Part 91 operators following extensive input from NBAA and other industry stakeholders.

The revised guidance follows NBAA’s participation on a joint FAA/industry working group, co-led by the General Aviation Manufacturers Association and the Flight Technologies and Procedures Divisions, aimed at streamlining the application process for many common LOAs.

The new process “streamlines the review of aircraft capabilities, training compliance and procedures compliance, and bundles a request for multiple common LOAs in a single application,” according to the agency.

Brian Koester, CAM, NBAA director of flight operations and regulations, noted the standardized processes will also resolve disparities in LOA guidance from one FAA office to another, or even between different inspectors.

“This should make what has been an extremely frustrating process for owners of new, technologically advanced aircraft significantly less burdensome, with much greater clarity on the requirements for aircraft, crews and operational procedures,” he said. “We expect these standardized procedures to greatly enhance the efficiency of the LOA application process due to more consistent review and presentation of information.”

In its final report to the FAA in January 2020, the working group made six recommendations to streamline and expedite the LOA process. Extensive collaboration between the agency, working group, aircraft and avionics manufacturers and other industry representatives followed to further refine the LOA application process.

The new processes apply for the 10 most commonly requested LOAs, including for enhanced vision systems, equipment necessary to fly in North Atlantic High Level Airspace and certain other oceanic regions and area navigation and required navigation performance terminal operations.

While the new guidance currently applies exclusively to Part 91 operators purchasing new aircraft directly from the manufacturer, Koester expressed optimism that will change over time. “Basically, we needed to start somewhere,” he said. “As both operators and the FAA gain experience with this new guidance, we should see similar procedures extended to other LOA application scenarios as well.”

View the Updated FAA LOA Guidance: Streamlined Part 91 Operational Approvals (PDF)