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NATA Releases

FAA Issues Final Rule Allowing Pilots to Update Naviational Databases

Regulatory Report


November 29, 2012

What’s at Issue
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has published a Final Rule, Pilot Loading of Aeronautical Database Updates, allowing pilots to perform certain database updates.

Why It’s Important
This final rule amends the regulations to allow all pilots, including those in air carrier operations, to perform updates to databases of aircraft avionics under certain conditions.  Current regulations only allow pilots of aircraft operating under Part 91 to perform these updates.  In air carrier environments, authorized maintenance personnel were required to perform these updates.

Major Provisions
The final rule requires that pilot-performed database uploads must be:

  • Initiated from the flight deck
  • Performed without disassembling the avionics unit
  • Performed without the use of tools or specialized equipment
The final rule also requires certificate holders to ensure that written procedures consistent with the manufacturer’s instructions are available to the pilot.  These procedures instruct the pilot on how to perform the database update and to determine the status of the upload.

NATA Position
NATA is pleased with this final rule, and is appreciative of the FAA’s efforts to modernize regulations to reflect advances in technology.  All of the suggestions proposed in NATA’s comments to the original proposal have been addressed by the agency.  NATA encourages all Part 135 operators to review the rule to determine applicability to their operations.

This Final Rule will become effective on January 28, 2013.

Staff Contact: Michael France
Director, Regulatory Affairs