Pilot's tip of the week

Ramp Check

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Subscriber question:

"If I am subject to a FAA ramp check, what will the inspector be looking for? Does the answer change between a rented aircraft vs an owned aircraft?"
- Tom P.

Bob:

“Ramp checks are one of the many things that put way too much fear into the minds of pilots! They seldom occur and should be approached WITHOUT fear and anxiety. Yes, no one likes the FAA in their face, but it is a part of the FAA Inspector’s job responsibilities.

They will typically look at the pilot’s and the aircraft’s paperwork to ensure compliance. No big deal right?

For the aircraft, they will want to see:

  • The airworthiness certificate
  • The aircraft registration
  • The operating handbook
  • The weight and balance information
  • The minimum equipment list (if applicable)
  • Aeronautical charts (if applicable)
  • The general airworthiness of the aircraft
  • The ELT battery
  • A VOR check
  • The seats/safety belts

If it is a rented aircraft, you as the pilot in command should have ensured prior to accepting the aircraft that its paperwork was in order.

They will also want to see your pilot certificate and current medical certificate. Make sure you carry them with you at all times.

So, what’s the big deal?

The FAA Inspectors are not looking to ruin your day with a ramp inspection, but to ensure the integrity of the aviation system. Only if irregularities occur with the ramp inspection will it get beyond the simple review of required paperwork. If obvious safety concerns are found with the aircraft, the Inspector will likely conduct a further inspection of the aircraft and follow­ up as needed. This could be to your benefit.”

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