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Taking a look at Type Certificate Data Sheets

Airworthiness Flowchart


We have found that people learn in different ways. Some learn better by reading the material themselves, others by watching a video. We have set up this website so that you may choose weather to watch the videos, read the material or both. They both contain all the information some however, demonstrate how to navigate and understand the material contained in the documents on the FAA's website. We feel that they both have their own benefits.

You can choose which way you would like to precede. 

Type Certificate Data Sheet and an Aircraft's Type Design

What Constitutes an Aircraft “Type Design”? By definition the Type Design includes all of the drawings and processes necessary to define the structural integrity of the aircraft, and includes a listing of all design data to define the FAA-approved configuration of the aircraft. In short, Type Design includes every manufacturing production drawing, process specification, such as welding, heat-treating, and material specifications, operating instructions and manuals, maintenance manuals, structural repair manuals, the Type Certificate Data Sheet, and any other data the FAA decides is necessary to either operate maintain, or alter the aircraft. As an example if one were to place all documentation covering the FAA approval for a Cessna 150 aircraft on the floor, it would probably rise to over twenty feet high. To synthesize the data necessary for an IA to adequately accomplish an Annual or Progressive inspection on a Small Aircraft, the FAA issues a Type Certificate Data Sheet for every Type-certificated products, aircraft, engines, and propellers. These data sheets describe the minimum items that an IA must inspect on each product during Annual and Progressive inspections, along of course, with the list of items contained in FAR 43, Appendix D. The aircraft, to continue to be legal and in compliance with its FAA-issued airworthiness certificate as well as any policy of insurance, must always meet its Type Design or properly altered condition.

Now that we have learned about Type Design let us take a look at a real FAA Type Certificate Data Sheet. We will look at the Data Sheet A3SO that covers the Piper Cherokee Six for example.

A3SO Demo

Data Sheet A3SO covering the Piper Cherokee Six, is an FAA Type Certificate Data Sheet. This video explains how to read and better understand it.   

To begin, all Data Sheets are formatted in the same way. At the top you find the application statement, then the revision status, then the name and address of the current holder of the Type Certificate, and on down to each specific model in chronological order which has been approved. After the models are defined, you come to the Certification Basis such as CAR 3 or FAR 23, required equipment, data pertaining to all models, and it culminates in notes that are specified for particular models. The notes mentioned in the body of the Data Sheet paragraphs, and then spelled completely at the end, are of vital importance. 

For example, 

  • What is the Certification Basis of Piper model PA32-260?  
  • What engine can legally be installed in a Piper model PA32-260? 
  • What propeller governor assembly can be installed on a Piper PA32-260?  
  • What flight manual must be available in a Piper PA32-260 with the serial number 32-7300248? 

You should now see how important the Type Certificate Data Sheet is, and why it should be used as a checklist by an IA accomplishing an Annual or Progressive inspection. It is as necessary as the aircraft manufacturer’s checklist and FAR 43, Appendix D. How else can an IA verify that the aircraft meets its Type Design?

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