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Continuing a flight with a discrepancy

IFLYHI

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OK, so here is the scenario - A/C has departed on a 5 hour flight, and one hour into the flight, a discrepancy is noticed. What would you do if:

1. The discrepancy is a grounding item, but not a major safety of flight issue. Could you legally continue to the destination? Would you continue?

2. The discrepancy is deferrable via the part 91 MEL, but requires that the aircraft be operated at a lower altitude. Are you legally obligated to comply with the MEL limitations on the remainder of the flight? Would you comply with them even if you don’t consider it a major safety of flight issue?

Does anyone know of any FAA legal opinions regarding this issue?

Thanks
 

ALIMBO

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Fly the plane at the required lower altitude per the MEL. I believe the aircraft is not airworthy at that required altitude per the discrepancy but... since the MEL states you can still fly it but at a lower altitude, and no safety issues would ensue from continuing the flight then go ahead but at the required altitude. Keep in mind that there might not be facilities at your destination to fix the discrepancy so if you need to divert due to maintenance do it, albeit find one close to your destination so that the passengers can still make it to there destination.
 

ProFracPilot

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Duplicate post.
 
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ProFracPilot

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You've not provided enough information to properly answer your questions.

Is the discrepancy addressed in the Emer / Abnormal checklist? Does the checklist instruct you to descend to a lower altitude? Does it say to land at the nearest suitable airport?

If the MEL (O) procedure indicates that safety can only be assured at a lower altitude, do YOU want to answer the questions if something else happens and it was determined that you didn't take the proper action? 91.3 is the catch-all for the possible violation if you didn't do everything you could to assure the safety of flight.

Is it legal to continue oprerations? Is it safe to continue operations? And is it smart to continue operations? Sometimes the last question is the hardest to answer.
 
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mike1mc

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From a legal standpoint - Land. From a practical standpoint - continue if safety of flight is not an issue. Also, is it a hard failure or intermittent problem?

The MEL technically gets thrown out the window after you block out for departure. After that, its up to whats in the AFM and checklist (which is where all the grounding items come from anyway). I'm sure many will disagree, but this is stated in either the MEL Preamble or FAA Inspector Handbook. Its a good idea to reference the MEL to see what is deferrable, review (M) and (O) procedures, etc. but you don't MEL an item while airborne. It would be a good idea to designate an alternate with mx facilities.

I would review your company's procedures and/or Ops Manual to determine further action.
 

snow-back

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This a simplified response as there are numerous scenarios to be considered. My response is based on having no other abnormal or extenuating circumstances.

1.
The discrepancy is a grounding item, but not a major safety of flight issue. Could you legally continue to the destination? Would you continue?

Yes and maybe.

You operate as directed by the QRH. If it directs you to land as soon as practical, then do so. Otherwise, continue to your destination and address the mx issue there. The MEL is designed to legally "dispatch" with inop equipment. If something that isn't covered in the MEL goes T/U enroute, you're not obligated to land immediately
.

2. The discrepancy is deferrable via the part 91 MEL, but requires that the aircraft be operated at a lower altitude. Are you legally obligated to comply with the MEL limitations on the remainder of the flight? Would you comply with them even if you don’t consider it a major safety of flight issue?

No and maybe.

No one has signed anything in the maintenance log referencing the MEL until the aircraft gets on the ground. Again, you should obtain guidance from the QRH, but consider what the MEL has to say.
 

IFLYHI

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You've not provided enough information to properly answer your questions.

Is the discrepancy addressed in the Emer / Abnormal checklist? Does the checklist instruct you to descend to a lower altitude? Does it say to land at the nearest suitable airport?

Lets assume that it is not addressed in either the Emergency or Abnormal checklist.
 

moonlight

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I don't know about anyone else, but virtually every one of my "discrepancies" occurred either during the inbound flight to my home base, or on the flight to the service center. I swear!;):)
 

NCherches

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Wierd... things never break on my airplane until I land at my home base.
 

sleepy

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The MMEL is for things that happen before an aircraft blocks out. Once you blocked out you should refer to the QRH. If an item is listed in the MMEL and not the QRH then use the MMEL M and O procedures.

If you use the MMEL you must comply with any M and O procedures. If you can safely continue the flight with the operatinal limitations (fly at a lower atlitude for example) imposed by the MMEL then you can continue the flight. If you cannot comply with the limitations and continue the flight you must come up with another plan.

If you have a problem in flight then you run the QRH and comply with any operational limitations it may impose (fly at a lower attitude for example). The QRH will tell you if you need to land as soon as practical or land as soon as possible. If the QRH does not tell you to land then it is up to your judgement whether to continue the flight or make a new plan.

Once you land after using the QRH then you will either have to have the equipment repaired or deferred per the MMEL.
 

moonlight

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Weird ... I wonder why so many professional pilots think that corporate pilots are hacks.

Yeah...'cause airline pilots, military pilots, and palm pilots NEVER cut a corner, NEVER have deviations from SOPs, NEVER have screw ups. I like the fact that you differentiate "professional" pilots from "corporate" pilots. I'm certainly not advocating that there aren't more inherent risks associated with being a corporate pilot, there are. But drawing a line in the sand as if those of us that choose flying avocations other than the airlines are somehow a step below you "professional" guys makes you sound like, well, an airline pilot.
 

G100driver

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Yeah...'cause airline pilots, military pilots, and palm pilots NEVER cut a corner, NEVER have deviations from SOPs, NEVER have screw ups. I like the fact that you differentiate "professional" pilots from "corporate" pilots. I'm certainly not advocating that there aren't more inherent risks associated with being a corporate pilot, there are. But drawing a line in the sand as if those of us that choose flying avocations other than the airlines are somehow a step below you "professional" guys makes you sound like, well, an airline pilot.
Yawn ... I is a corp pilot.
 

moonlight

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I gathered that. I'm saying that your post makes you SOUND like an airline pilot.
 

G100driver

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When I stop seeing guys fly broken airplanes (non MELable items) I will stop believing that there a bunch of hacks in this business.

We have all seen the guys at FSI that are dumber than sack of rocks that hav no business flying an airplane. But because they are "clients" they are treated with kid gloves.

Now I have seens some excellent corp pilots. The types that create and follow SOP's and use MEL's. But I have seen some exceptionally stupid ones as well. The types who make up there own rules and disregard the AFM's, MEL's ect because they are burdonsome.

If it was not but for excellent equiptment and the inherient safety of aviation they would be dead.
 

moonlight

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I don't disagree with what you've posted, my point (and ONLY point) is that there are weak pilots found in nearly every facet of aviation. I've flown with corporate pilots that I consider to be great sticks, I've flown with corporate pilots that I wouldn't want to live under the flight path of, let alone fly with. I've also flown with a 767 captain that quite literally couldn't file a flight plan, and I trained a 777 captain in the T-bird that was a true pleasure to fly with, and someone that I learned a great deal from. Professionalism is an individual attitude, and if you know how to bottle that and market it, let me know where to buy stock.
 

NCherches

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Well its easy to be so professional when you don't do anything (ie: airline pilots)...

It's very, very rare to find an airline pilot that can keep up with the corporate pilot routine. If you don't believe me ask some of the other flight departments that do not hire airline pilots.

Surely this will stir up enough to keep the posts coming
 
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