a. Applicant Flight testing precedes issuance of the TIA. The FAA will >review the applicants flight test reports and repeat some or all of the >tests as necessary. These repeated tests will be identified and performed >per the FAA issued TIA.
b. FAA will perform flight tests for modifications which could affect the >aircraft's performance, flight characteristics, powerplant operation, >and/or overall handling qualities. Changes to systems, equipment, >instrumentation, and flight manuals may also require flight tests. Any >modification which may affect the noise signature and/or navigation of the >aircraft (including performance changes) will usually require fight >testing. The FAA project engineer can provide general information on the >types of tests which may be required.
NOTE: Successful completion of the TIA tests by the FAA is one of the final >steps to STC issuance.
c. Applicant testing.
(1) Research and development flight tests are to ensure the design changes >are in compliance with the applicable 14 CFR's. The FAA will not >participate in or witness these tests. However, the FAA will discuss and >provide general guidance in order that such tests can be made meaningful >and safe. Alternatively, a Flight Test Pilot DER may be utilized to perform >such tests.
(2) Flight test proposals are based on the knowledge of the modification >and development tests. The proposal should be based on the certification basis and include recommended tests, instrumentation to be used, necessary safety equipment, data acquisition, and reduction methods. Upon approval of the test proposal, descriptive and compliance data, and conformity established with the data, the FAA will issue a TIA. FAA flight test personnel should then be contacted to assure that potential hazards are recognized, the required test methods and criteria are understood, and for concurrence.
NOTE: An applicant's flight test report should be submitted to the FAA for review upon successful completion of the inspection and test requirements equivalent to those required in the TIA.
d. FAA testing may include repeating of tests, partially or in their entirety, to verify compliance to the certification requirements. FAA testing may be accomplished by an FAA pilot or an authorized DER flight test pilot.
e. Installation Conformity inspection of the modified aircraft to be used for flight tests will be performed by the FAA or FAA designee prior to FAA testing. If discrepancies are found, they should be corrected and any test which could have been influenced may be repeated before further tests are performed by the FAA.
f. Aircraft weight and the Center of Gravity (CG) location that is current and accurate is extremely important to assure the modified aircraft can be loaded to the critical weight and CG limits for flight testing. The aircraft to be used for official flight tests should be weighed and witnessed by an FAA representative before testing begins. The resulting weight and balance determination will be carefully checked by the FAA and, when found to be accurate, will be used for all subsequent flight test weight and CG calculations.
g. Ballast necessary for flight testing should be securely restrained in such a manner as to withstand the inertial loads resulting from a survivable emergency landing. The preferred form for ballast is small, solid pieces of a high density metal (lead, cast iron, steel, or depleted uranium) fixed to the structure or in a suitable container that is fixed. Using passengers as ballast is not acceptable.
h. Instrument calibration, when required, should be accomplished by an approved instrument repair inspector prior to the FAA flight test program with calibrated cards provided. Types of instruments to be calibrated may include: altimeters, tachometers, temperature gauges, airspeed indicators, etc. Calibrations should be performed within 3 months of the test. However, on critical items, this requirement may be 30 days.
NOTE: Usually, the entire airspeed system is calibrated before flight testing.
i. Rapid emergency egress provisions will be demonstrated to the FAA inspector and pilot for acceptability prior to FAA flight tests. Parachutes will be provided to the FAA, if required.
j. Experimental Airworthiness Certificates, or special flight permits, are issued before operation for any aircraft which does not have a valid TC, or does not conform to its TC. Although the operations may eventually lead to a TC, they may be conducted only as a matter of research, or to show compliance to the appropriate 14 CFR.
k. Flight manual supplements, or if an FAA approved Aircraft Flight Manual (AFM) does not exist, a supplemental flight manual, if required, will be provided to the pilot as a result of the modification, regardless of the method used on the original aircraft. A draft flight manual should be provided to the FAA prior to any flight tests. After FAA flight testing, the draft manual should be finalized and submitted for FAA review and approval. A guide for the format and preparing of a supplemental flight manual is provided in appendix 5 of AC 23-8A, AC 27-1, and AC 29-28.
NOTE: The aircraft TCDS should be checked for identification of the FAA approved Aircraft Flight Manual, if appropriate. TCDS of many older aircraft state placards and markings are required (in lieu of a flight manual). Manufacturer owners' manuals may not be FAA approved.