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3 Answers

When Minimum Equipment List is required?

Asked by: 9656 views Instrument Rating

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3 Answers

  1. Wes Beard on Jun 24, 2012

    Technically speaking, under Part 91, a minimum equipment list is never required.  It is required for all airplanes operated under Part 121 / 135.
    If there is nothing broken on the airplane, then you do not need to comply with 91.213.  However, if the airplane has a broken piece of equipment or it no longer conforms to the type certificate data sheet then you need to follow this section.  To get an MEL for the airplane, it needs to be approved by the FAA.  Once the fAA approves the MEL, along with the letter of authorization will constitute a supplemental type certificate.
    There are some aircraft that can have inoperative equipment and still be legal to fly.  These aircraft  listed in 91.213(d)(1) are 
    (i) Rotorcraft, non-turbine-powered airplane, glider, lighter-than-air aircraft, powered parachute, or weight-shift-control aircraft, for which a master minimum equipment list has not been developed; or (ii) Small rotorcraft, nonturbine-powered small airplane, glider, or lighter-than-air aircraft for which a Master Minimum Equipment List has been developed;
    In the aircraft most people train in fall under one of these aircraft.   Any equipment required by 91.205 or  by the type certificate data sheet cannot be inoperative.  If a piece of equipment does not fall under one of those items, you can deactivate it and mark it inoperative or you can completetly remove the inoperative item.

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  2. Micah on Jun 25, 2012

    Wes’ response is on target, but since the context of the question is not developed, here is some commentary that may also be useful.
    A Master Minimum Equipment List is approved on a per-aircraft, per-operator basis by the FAA. Even without the MMEL, there are still rules regarding the minimum equipment required to fly your airplane. These are found on the Type Certificate Data Sheet and the regulations pertaining to your flight. The equipment required by rules of flight are pretty easy to remember–these are the equipment listed in 91.205 (and 91.207, and…). But what if you’re flying a Cessna 172 and want to remove the back seat(s)? What if you are conducting your preflight and find that the spinner is cracked? Fortunately you’ll find that Cessna includes an equipment list in the POH that helps you understand what equipment is required (newer models only; older models may require some research/phone calls*). You should find that the back seat can be removed prior to flight (provided that the weight and balance is adjusted accordingly) but the spinner is a required item for flight. Given a little thought, the reasons for why may be obvious, but none of this is mentioned in Part 91 (nor does it need to be). 
    So most pllots will not see or use an authorized MMEL, but all pilots need to be familiar with the various “minimum equipment lists” that apply to their specific airplane and rules of flight. And all pilots need to understand 91.213 and the FAA’s logic behind determining how to proceed with flight (or not) when equipment may be inoperative. 
    [*The Type Certificate Data Sheet for the airplane you’re flying may simply reference the POH in many cases. If you’re unfamiliar with the Typer Certificate Data Sheet for your airplane, look it up here: http://rgl.faa.gov/Regulatory_and_Guidance_Library/rgMakeModel.nsf/Frameset?OpenPage%5D

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  3. Kris Kortokrax on Jun 25, 2012

    There is no regulatory requirement for an MEL for 121/135.  There is a practical requirement.
    121.628 & 135.175 merely prohibit takeoff with inoperable equipment without an MEL.  If everything is working, there is no need for an MEL.

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