NPFC - MIL-HDBK-516
AIRWORTHINESS CERTIFICATION CRITERIA
|Publication Date:||12 December 2014|
This document establishes the airworthiness certification criteria, standards and methods of compliance to be used in the determination of airworthiness of all manned and unmanned, fixed and rotary wing air systems. It is a foundational document to be used by the service airworthiness authority to define an air system's airworthiness certification basis. This handbook is for guidance only and cannot be cited as a requirement.
This handbook should be applied at any point throughout the life-cycle of an air system when an airworthiness determination is necessary, especially whenever there is a change to the functional or product baseline.
Each air system configuration, including but not limited to manned, unmanned, fixed or rotarywing demands unique safety-of-flight (SOF) airworthiness certification 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. For unmanned air vehicles (UAVs), 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. UAVs which carry aircrew or passengers are subject to the same airworthiness certification requirements as manned aircraft. Any aircraft which may carry personnel (for example, passengers, patients, special mission personnel) are subject to certification requirements for passenger aircraft.
An Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) is comprised of individual elements consisting of the UAV, the control station, and any other support elements necessary to enable operation including, but not limited to data links, communications systems/links, and UAS-unique launch and recovery equipment. UAV types vary greatly in size, weight, and complexity. Consideration should be given to the environment in which the UAS will be operated (controlled test range, national airspace, fleet usage, including ship based applications), to the life expectancy of the system for which it is designed, and to the "expendability" of the UAV.
Similarly, air vehicles intended for use aboard ships 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 (that is, Type Certificate). 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, at the earliest opportunity, contact the FAA Military Certification Office (MCO) in Wichita, KS.
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.