Table of Contents
Certification Consultant Program
Application Package and Required Qualifications
Application Package Review and Interview with Certification Consultant Applicant
Certification Consultant Responsibilities
Periodic FAA Assessments to Maintain Web Site Listing Eligibility
Duration and Renewal Criteria
Termination of Agreement

Certification Consultant Program

Welcome to the Certification Consultant Web site. This site provides guidance on the eligibility requirements and application process for becoming a certification consultant to air carrier applicants.

A certification consultant provides services to prepare a prospective air carrier applicant for the Formal Application Meeting. The part 121 certification process is complex, and the success of the process depends on the quality of the applicant’s submissions prior to the Formal Application Meeting. Consequently, a certification consultant should be familiar enough with the certification process to understand that preparation for a Formal Application Meeting involves much more than manual preparation.

Before beginning the certification consultant process, it is important to understand that the FAA does not and will not formally "designate" or "approve" the activities of the consultant group. The agreement signed by the consultant and FAA Flight Standards National Field Office (AFS 900) is considered an "other transaction." It is not intended to be, nor must it be construed as, a designation, partnership, corporation, or other business organization.

Once the application and eligibility requirements are successfully completed, a certification consultant will be listed on the FAA public Web site. A listing on the Web site means the certification consultant organization has demonstrated to the FAA that it is qualified to assist an applicant through the certification process up to the Formal Application Meeting. There is no limitation placed on consulting services beyond Formal Application as long as the air carrier applicant is advised that the FAA-recognized certification consultant service ends at the beginning of the Formal Application Meeting.

No certification consultant may advertise or otherwise offer to perform services using words such as "FAA approved" or "FAA designated" or words of similar meaning. A certification consultant is qualified and found "eligible" to be listed on the Web site. Advertising with words such as "approved" or "designated," are sufficient grounds for termination of the agreement.

Application Package and Required Qualifications

A prospective certification consultant must submit a formal letter of request to AFS 900 accompanied by the documents or statements listed below, which are used to determine eligibility:

  1. Names, titles and signed resumes of the Operations and Airworthiness Employees. Operations personnel should have experience in flight, cabin or dispatch as required by the applicant’s proposed scope of operation. Airworthiness personnel should have experience in maintenance and avionics as required by the applicant’s proposed scope of operation. Resumes should include information that documents:
    • The training and experience in part 121 air carrier operations or equivalent experience that qualifies them to assist air carrier applicants in operations or airworthiness. Technical expertise in each of these areas, as applicable, are necessary to help applicants design and document air carrier safety-critical processes that are eligible for acceptance or approval by the FAA.
    • • Two years experience working with the part 121 certification process.
      The FAA recognizes that the certification process presents unique challenges that many experienced air carrier personnel have never encountered. Individuals have spent their entire careers in air carrier operations and have never been involved in certification activities. It is rare to find air carrier personnel who have experience documenting air carrier processes and developing manual systems. Often, the high level of professionalism and specific experience that air carrier personnel possess is simply not sufficient to understand all the interrelated and complex air carrier systems to adequately design and document air carrier safety-critical processes.
  2. The names and training dates of those who have successfully completed Aviation System Safety course / Aviation Safety Management System training course.
  3. A documented method to design, document and audit safety-critical processes.
    This requirement comprises two very important documents developed for the application package. First, the consultant must have a written process that will capture and document how the applicant intends to accomplish its safety-critical processes. The content of this submission must show a method to document how the people, facilities, hardware, software, etc. of each specific task within each airline system interrelate. The complexity and interrelationships within and between each airline system process must be understood before process design and documentation begins. Refer to the Company Manuals and Programs (PDF) section and the Safety Attribute Inspection (SAI) (PDF) section for additional information. Secondly, documented processes and procedures for effective implementation of a Safety Management System shall be submitted.
  4. A signed statement from the certification consultant applicant that, to the best of its knowledge and belief, the persons serving as management of the organization have not been convicted of, or had a civil or administrative finding rendered against them for any of the following:
    • commission of fraud
    • embezzlement
    • theft
    • forgery
    • bribery
    • falsification
    • destruction of records
    • making false statements
    • receiving stolen property

    A certification consultant manager must provide a signed statement after performing appropriate background checks with no negative findings. This statement may be made in the cover letter of the application package.

Submit the completed application to:
FAA Flight Standards National Field Office
Attn: Certification and Evaluation Program Office / Certification Consultant Agreements
45005 Aviation Drive, Suite 131
Dulles, VA 20166

Application Package Review and Interview with Certification Consultant Applicant

AFS-900 personnel will review the application and required attachments for completeness. Applications with missing or incomplete documentation or information will be returned.

If all eligibility requirements are met, an interview will be scheduled with the applicant. A notification letter will provide information on the location of the interview and the manner in which it will be conducted. During the interview, the consultant group will show FAA personnel the ways the consultants have met eligibility requirements. Personnel listed in the application package are required to attend the interview.

Air carrier applicants must demonstrate their ability to design and document safety-critical processes that comply with the regulations and allow the applicant to identify hazards and manage risk in its operating systems and environment. The certification consultant applicant should be prepared to discuss and demonstrate how its personnel intend to help the applicant understand the FAA’s system safety-based approach to air carrier certification; this is to include the implementation of a Safety Management System (SMS). Air Carriers fulfill their duties to provide service with the highest degree of safety in the public interest by designing their operating systems to manage the hazard-related risk in their operating environment. Certification Consultant applicants should be prepared to discuss the following topics:

  • Describe the company’s organizational structure.
  • Describe how you prepare the air carrier applicant for formal application, including each person’s assigned responsibilities in that process.
  • Describe your knowledge of the FAA’s application of system safety, risk management and SMS. (See 8900.1, Volume 10, Chapter 1).
  • Describe who is responsible to provide service with "highest degree of safety in the public interest" and what that means in the context of air carrier operations (See 8900.1, Volume 10, Chapter 1).
  • Required persons may be asked to describe their knowledge of the FAA’s Certification Process. (See 8900.1, Volume 10, Chapter 6).
  • Required people may be asked to define "process" (See 8900.1, Volume 10, Chapter 1, Section 5 Figure 10-10 Terms and Definitions).
  • Describe your organization’s process for designing and documenting the applicant’s safety- critical processes (See 8900.1, Volume 10, Chapter 1, Section 2, Figures 10-6 and 10-7).
  • Describe how you interact with applicant personnel to design their safety-critical processes.
  • Describe how to use the ATOS Data Collection Tools (DCTs).
  • Describe how the FAA evaluates the design of an applicant’s safety-critical processes (See 8900.1, Volume 10, Chapter 1).
  • Describe how you ensure that all regulatory requirements for a process are met.
  • Describe the method used to audit a process and how audit results are used to improve the process.
  • Describe the method for an air carrier process and manual development and understanding of air carrier systems, processes, and manual design.

The applicant will receive a comprehensive debriefing following the interview. If the interview results are not satisfactory, specific remedial action will be discussed so the applicant can proceed after the unsatisfactory items have been addressed.

If the interview results are satisfactory, the AFS-900 Certification Consultant Seminar will be scheduled. After the seminar is over, arrangements will be made for the certification consultant manager to sign the Agreement. After signing the agreement, the certification consulting group’s name and contact information will be posted on the FAA’s Web site.

Certification Consultant Responsibilities

  1. The certification consultant shall continue to ensure the integrity of its management; i.e., no conviction or civil or administrative finding has been rendered against them for: commission of fraud, embezzlement, theft, forgery, bribery, falsification or destruction of records, making false statements, or receiving stolen property.
  2. The certification consultant shall provide written notification to AFS-900, at the address shown above, within 10 working days if the certification consultant no longer meets the eligibility requirements. For example, the termination of any contractual agreement that results in the consultant group being unable to meet the eligibility requirements may be cause for termination of the agreement.
  3. The certification consultant shall provide written notification to the FAA Certification Project Manager (CPM) and AFS-900 if a disagreement arises between the consultant and the new air carrier applicant that may affect the quality of the certification process or jeopardize the certification consultant’s qualification and eligibility.
  4. The certification consultant shall provide written notification to AFS-900 within 10 working days when terminating any relationship as a Certification Consultant with an air carrier applicant.

Periodic FAA Assessments to Maintain Web Site Listing Eligibility

A certification consultant agrees to initial and recurring assessments by the FAA.

Once qualified and found eligible as a certification consultant, the FAA may periodically evaluate the effectiveness of the certification consultant’s methodology to prepare an air carrier applicant for formal application.

Failure of a certification consultant to adequately prepare the air carrier applicant for formal application could result in an unsatisfactory evaluation.

An unsatisfactory evaluation of a certification consultant may result in termination or non-renewal of this Agreement.

Duration and Renewal Criteria

Unless earlier terminated or renewed, the signed Agreement remains in effect for twenty-four (24) months after the month in which it was signed.

The Parties may terminate this agreement at any time by giving at least thirty (30) days notice in writing to the other party.

Ninety (90) days prior to the renewal date, a certification consultant seeking renewal must submit a written request for renewal to AFS-900. If the manager of AFS-900 approves the request for renewal, the certification consultant will remain on the FAA qualified list.

In addition to the qualifications stated in the agreement, a certification consultant must have been actively engaged in at least one part 121 certification project or its equivalent during the previous twenty-four months.

Beyond the qualifications stated in the agreement, in order to be renewed, a certification consultant must also complete any mandatory and applicable recurrent training scheduled by AFS-900.

Termination of Agreement

The FAA will terminate this Agreement and remove the certification consultant from the FAA-qualified list when any of the following occur:

  1. The consultant receives an unsatisfactory evaluation pursuant to Article VII of the Agreement.
  2. The consultant fails to meet the continuing eligibility requirements stated above.
  3. Advertising with words such as "approved" or "designated" as stated earlier.