NPFC - MIL-HDBK-516
AIRWORTHINESS CERTIFICATION CRITERIA
|Publication Date:||29 February 2008|
This document establishes the airworthiness certification criteria to be used in the determination of airworthiness of all manned and unmanned, fixed and rotary wing air vehicle systems. It is a foundational document to be used by the system program manager, chief engineer, and contractors to define their air system's airworthiness certification basis.
This handbook is for guidance only. This handbook cannot be cited as a requirement. If it is, the contractor does not have to comply.
These criteria should be tailored and applied at any point throughout the life of an air vehicle system when an airworthiness determination is necessary, especially whenever there is a change to the functional or product baseline.
Rotary wing air vehicle and unmanned aerial vehicle/remotely operated aircraft (UAV/ROA) features demand unique safety-of-flight (SOF) system requirements. Therefore, unique criteria are included for these types of systems to ensure that minimum levels of design for safe operation and maintenance are established. The UAV/ROA operating system can be built into the vehicle or be part of the control station for remotely operated aircraft. The UAV/ROA system comprises the control station, data links, flight control system, communications systems/links, etc., as well as the air vehicle. UAV/ROA vary greatly in size, weight, and complexity. Because they are unmanned, SOF risks associated with loss of aircrew may not apply. However, as with manned air vehicles, SOF risk associated with personnel, damage to equipment, property, and/or environment must be considered. As such, the airworthiness criteria may be tailored for this unique application, including when a UAV/ROA is designed to be "expendable" or where the UAV/ROA will conduct missions with "minimum life expectancy." Consideration should be given to the environment in which the UAV/ROA will be operated (controlled test range, national airspace, fleet usage, including ship based applications), to the airframe life for which the air vehicle is designed, and to the "expendability" of the UAV/ROA in close proximity to the control system, personnel, property, or other equipment.
Similarly, air vehicles intended for use aboard ship have unique requirements in areas such as structural integrity, propulsion system dynamic response and tolerance to steam ingestion, control systems response to approach and landings in high turbulence conditions, electromagnetic environmental effects, deck handling, support and servicing, and pilot field of view. Commercial derivative aircraft (CDA) are initially approved for safety of flight by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and may have an FAA approved Certificate of Airworthiness. Any non-FAA approved alteration to a CDA may render all FAA certifications invalid. While alterations to CDA are covered by rules unique to each branch of service, the operating service always has the responsibility for the airworthiness certification approval under public aircraft rules. Therefore, when planning any alterations to an FAA certified CDA, the modifier should contact the FAA Military Certification Office (MCO) in Wichita, KS at the earliest opportunity. Agreements for reimbursement for military service work performed by the FAA are in place, and in many cases MCO assistance on these alterations may be accomplished without additional cost.
In all instances, complete and accurate documentation of both applicability and system specific measurable criteria values is critical to ensuring consistent, timely, and accurate airworthiness assessments.