Aircraft Minimum Equipment List
Aviation Info Tech will create your Aircrafts Operation Manual including a bespoke Minimum Equipment List (MEL) to help meet your aircrafts requirements
The MEL (minimum equipment list) provides the operation of aircraft, subject to specific conditions, with particular equipment inoperative prepared by an operator in conformity with, or more restrictive, the MEL established for the aircraft type
The minimum equipment list is governed and approved by the operator’s national airworthiness authorities
To obtain an Approval for an MEL:
- The MEL must follow the applicable Master MEL; Transport Canada’s for aeroplanes with a TC Type Certificate, EASA for an EASA TC and FAA for an FAA TC. The easiest way to determine which MMEL is relevant is to verify what is listed on the valid Certificate of Airworthiness.
- Where an MMEL item in the Exceptions or Remarks columns contains an entry such as “in accordance with regulations” or “in accordance with FARs” the interpretation of the regulation must first be based upon the rules of the regulatory agency on whose register the aeroplane is registered: FARs for N-reg, the AN(OT)O for VP-B and –C registered.
- The MEL must contain suitable MEL Definitions and Preamble, using the appropriate MMEL as the source. The Definitions and Preamble must be customized for each operator as appropriate for their individual operating policy and procedures.
- It must include a List of Effective Pages or Control Pages.
- It must state the name and revision number of the MMEL on which it is based. This information must be amended each time the MEL is reviewed after a MMEL revision.
- The operator’s MEL must reflect the actual airplane configuration where the available relief differs depending upon modification status, service bulletin accomplishment, aircraft model/series or serial number applicability. The relief must either be included in the MEL if applicable or not mentioned if not applicable.
- Dashes in the MMEL’s “Numbers Installed” and “Numbers Required for Dispatch” must be converted to the actual quantity. If the MEL covers more than one aeroplane of the same type and Number Installed differ, the aeroplane’s registrations must be entered alongside the applicable quantities.
- The *** symbol for optional equipment must be not present in the MEL. The MEL must be tailored. Optional equipment must either be included in the MEL if present or not mentioned if not present.
- The MMEL’s ATA alphanumeric numbering scheme should be used, even if the resulting list is not continuous. For example, if the MMEL contains ATA Items XX-1, XX-2, XX-3 and XX-4 and the operator does not have items XX-2 and XX-3, the second item in the MEL should still use the number XX-4. The rule applies similarly to sub-items a), b) etc.
- Operator’s may use customized MEL item numbering schemes provided they adhere to the basic ATA chapter assignment (i.e., ATA 21 – Air Conditioning, ATA 22 – Auto Flight, etc) and a unique number is assigned to MEL items and sub-items.
Dispatch Deviation Guides, such as produced by Boeing, Bombardier, Gulfstream and others, may not be used as a standalone unedited documents as a substitute for including (O) and (M) information in the MEL. The manufacturer’s procedures (DDG, DDPG, DDPM, MPM, MOPP etc) should be used as a guide to produce appropriate (M) and (O) procedures in the operators MEL.
- Operating and Maintenance procedures must be included in the operator’s MEL. DDG entries such as “in accordance with regulations” and “a procedure must be in place” and “alternate procedures must be established and used” must be fully explained or if covered in another manual carried on the aeroplane be fully referenced. The BDCA’s MEL reviewer will require sight of the reference document.
- The practice of writing a separate (O) and (M) procedures document is not recommended. If this method is used, the MEL must include instructions as to where the required (M) and (O) procedures may be found.
- TCCA MMEL’s use a (M#) symbol to highlight those items that can only be accomplished by a certified Aircraft Technician. These type items should carry over to the operators MEL in some format.
- The manufacturer’s (O)s and (M)s are not necessarily exhaustive. The operator must add its own procedures if the manufacturer’s are vague or incomplete. For example, with an inoperative Anti-Skid system an entry such as “Airplane Flight Manual corrections must be made” is of little use if the crew has no access to the AFM’s performance graphs. An acceptable entry in the Operational Procedures column would be “Anti skid inoperative runaway analysis must be obtained from the performance provider” or “Use FCOM Vol 1 Take-off – Performance Inflight (PI) section – Antiskid Inoperative.”
- Ops Spec/Navigation Approvals usually require that the MEL contain the relevant dispatch conditions. The appropriate entry must be written in the Number Installed, Number Required and the Remarks or Exceptions column.
- If you operate a UK Overseas Territories or Isle of Man registered aeroplane from a UK base, and you are following the despatch requirements of a non-EASA MMEL (e.g. FAA or TC) , don’t forget that you must ensure that that the MEL is no less restrictive than its EASA equivalent. The same goes when interpreting “in accordance with regs/FARs etc – EASA Part NCC’s requirements take precedent over OTAR’s and the IOMAR’s rules. To make life easier for the MEL reviewer, I recommend that you use italic font to show where you have elected to use the more restrictive source.
Above all, the MEL must be clear, concise and correct
The above list is not exhaustive.