What is Conformity for Part 135 Operators & Why It Matters


con·form·i·ty, noun

  1. Compliance with standards, rules, or laws. “Conformity to regulations.”
  2. The painstaking and time-consuming process the FAA requires aircraft operators to complete for current Part 91 aircraft to be properly configured to a Part 135 on-demand charter certificate.

On-demand is in-demand.

If you have even a tertiary interest in private aviation, you know that the last 18 months or so have seen unprecedented increases in on-demand charter and fractional operations. For any of several reasons, anyone who can fly privately is.

That means on-demand Part 135 charter operators are rushing to onboard “new” aircraft onto their existing Air Carrier certificates. But there’s a lot more to putting a Part 91 business airplane into revenue service than adding it to an operator’s website.

The FAA requires any aircraft “conform” to a long, long list of requirements before it can be deemed safe for use in revenue (i.e., charter) service. There’s no doubt that the conformity requirements are necessary, but it also creates a bottleneck in an industry segment trying to keep pace with ever-increasing demand.

FAA conformity is key to charter operations.

When it comes to the FAA Part 135 Operator Aircraft Configuration Inspection (conformity checklist), it’s not just about pilot training or aircraft condition. Yes, those are key factors, but the process goes much deeper into the finest details of the airplane’s history.

For example, did you know you have to verify that the aircraft’s seat covers, carpeting, wood panels, etc. all must meet the stringent flammability requirements of CFR 14, Part 25.853?  Or that the aircraft’s oxygen bottles (if so equipped) must also meet specific regulations?

Don’t feel bad. Many aircraft owners have no idea what is required to “conform” their aircraft.

As you might assume, it takes a lot of time, effort, and money to check all the boxes required to conform a privately owned and operated Part 91 B&GA (business and general aviation aircraft) and add it to an operator’s Part 135 charter certificate.

Another fun fact is that even if an aircraft is currently compliant on a carrier’s 135 certificate if for whatever reason you want to move it to another operator’s certificate, you must repeat all of the compliance due diligence.

And whether it’s the first or 10th time, the conformity task is even more daunting when you’re looking to add an older aircraft onto the said certificate. Why? Well, there are just so many more years of maintenance and operational records you must go through to prove that the aircraft is indeed properly configured, maintained, and airworthy for charter and fractional operators.

It’s a deep dive that can seem so intimidating that some Part 91 aircraft owners are reluctant to even put their airplanes or helicopters up for charter.

Or, at least, it was until Bluetail came along with its rapidly expanding array of aircraft records and maintenance logbook digitization services. Once your aircraft’s back-to-birth records are safely and securely digitized, every item needed for conformity – or routine maintenance tasks, for that matter – is instantly searchable and shareable by any authorized user anywhere in the world.

If you’re looking to put your aircraft into Part 135 operations and want to greatly reduce the FAA conformity roadblocks and get your airplane into revenue-generation operations sooner, check out what Bluetail can do for you. Visit: https://bluetail.aero

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