§ 121.163 – Aircraft proving tests.

[Doc. No. 6258, 29 FR 19197, Dec. 31, 1964, as amended by Amdt. 121-42, 33 FR 10330, July 19, 1968; 34 FR 13468, Aug. 21, 1969; Amdt. 121-162, 45 FR 46739, July 10, 1980; Amdt. 121-251, 60 FR 65927, Dec. 20, 1995]

(a) Initial airplane proving tests. No person may operate an airplane not before proven for use in a kind of operation under this part or part 135 of this chapter unless an airplane of that type has had, in addition to the airplane certification tests, at least 100 hours of proving tests acceptable to the Administrator, including a representative number of flights into en route airports. The requirement for at least 100 hours of proving tests may be reduced by the Administrator if the Administrator determines that a satisfactory level of proficiency has been demonstrated to justify the reduction. At least 10 hours of proving flights must be flown at night; these tests are irreducible.

(b) Proving tests for kinds of operations. Unless otherwise authorized by the Administrator, for each type of airplane, a certificate holder must conduct at least 50 hours of proving tests acceptable to the Administrator for each kind of operation it intends to conduct, including a representative number of flights into en route airports.

(c) Proving tests for materially altered airplanes. Unless otherwise authorized by the Administrator, for each type of airplane that is materially altered in design, a certificate holder must conduct at least 50 hours of proving tests acceptable to the Administrator for each kind of operation it intends to conduct with that airplane, including a representative number of flights into en route airports.

(d) Definition of materially altered. For the purposes of paragraph (c) of this section, a type of airplane is considered to be materially altered in design if the alteration includes—

(1) The installation of powerplants other than those of a type similar to those with which it is certificated; or

(2) Alterations to the aircraft or its components that materially affect flight characteristics.

(e) No certificate holder may carry passengers in an aircraft during proving tests, except for those needed to make the test and those designated by the Administrator. However, it may carry mail, express, or other cargo, when approved.