An Airworthiness Certificate is issued by a representative of the FAA after the aircraft has been inspected, is found to meet the requirements of 14 CFR part 21, and is in condition for safe operation. The Airworthiness Certificate must be displayed in the aircraft so it is legible to the passengers and crew whenever it is operated. The Airworthiness Certificate is transferred with the aircraft except when it is sold to a foreign purchaser.
A Standard Airworthiness Certificate is issued for aircraft type certificated in the normal, utility, acrobatic, commuter, transport categories, and manned free balloons. Figure 8-9 illustrates a Standard Airworthiness Certificate, and an explanation of each item in the certificate follows.
- Nationality and Registration Marks. The “N” indicates the aircraft is registered in the United States. Registration marks consist of a series of up to five numbers or numbers and letters. In this case, N2631A is the registration number assigned to this airplane.
- Manufacturer and Model. Indicates the manufacturer, make, and model of the aircraft.
- Aircraft Serial Number. Indicates the manufacturer’s serial number assigned to the aircraft, as noted on the aircraft data plate.
- Category. Indicates the category in which the aircraft must be operated. In this case, it must be operated in accordance with the limitations specified for the “NORMAL” category.
- Authority and Basis for Issuance. Indicates the aircraft conforms to its type certificate and is considered in condition for safe operation at the time of inspection and issuance of the certificate. Any exemptions from the applicable airworthiness standards are briefly noted here and the exemption number given. The word “NONE” is entered if no exemption exists.
- Terms and Conditions. Indicates the Airworthiness Certificate is in effect indefinitely if the aircraft is maintained in accordance with 14 CFR parts 21, 43, and 91, and the aircraft is registered in the United States.
Also included are the date the certificate was issued and the signature and office identification of the FAA representative.
A Standard Airworthiness Certificate remains in effect if the aircraft receives the required maintenance and is properly registered in the United States. Flight safety relies in part on the condition of the aircraft, which is determined by inspections performed by mechanics, approved repair stations, or manufacturers that meet specific requirements of 14 CFR part 43.
A Special Airworthiness Certificate is issued for all aircraft certificated in other than the Standard classifications, such as Experimental, Restricted, Limited, Provisional, and LSA. LSA receive a pink special airworthiness certificate. There are exceptions. For example, the Piper Cub is in the new LSA category, but it was certificated as a normal aircraft during its manufacture. When purchasing an aircraft classified as other than Standard, it is recommended that the local FSDO be contacted for an explanation of the pertinent airworthiness requirements and the limitations of such a certificate.