Gerdes Aviation Services
Common Questions and Answers.
Q: How do I know if my aircraft requires an IFR test?
A: FAR 91.411 states that no person may operate an aircraft in controlled airspace under IFR unless within the preceding 24 calendar months, each static pressure system, each altimeter instrument, and each automatic pressure altitude reporting system has been tested and inspected and found to comply with appendices E and F of part 43 of this chapter.
If you fly your aircraft in IFR conditions in any controlled airspace, you need a 24 month altimeter/static and transponder test.
Q: How do I know if my aircraft requires a VFR test?
A: FAR 91.413 states that no person may use an ATC transponder that is specified in 91.215(a), 121.345(c), or 135.143(c) of this chapter unless, within the preceding 24 calendar months, the ATC transponder has been tested and inspected and found to comply with Appendix F of part 43 of this chapter; and ……
If you fly your aircraft in VFR conditions in any controlled airspace, you need a 24 month transponder test/inspection.
Q: Who can perform the IFR tests on my aircraft?
A: FAR 91.411(b) states that the tests conducted by paragraph (a) of this section must be conducted by:
(1) The manufacturer of the airplane, or helicopter, on which the tests and inspections are to be performed.
(2) A certificated repair station properly equipped to perform those functions and holding-
(i) An instrument rating, Class 1;
(ii) A limited instrument rating appropriate to the make and model of appliance to be tested;
(iii) A limited rating appropriate to the test to be performed;
(iv) An airframe rating appropriate to the airplane, or helicopter, to be tested; or
(3) A certified mechanic with an airframe rating (Static pressure system tests and inspections only.)
The original manufacturer of the aircraft, a certified repair station, or an airframe mechanic can perform the tests. However an airframe mechanic can only test the static/pressure systems, he cannot test the transponder as required by FAR 91.413.
Q: How often must the IFR or VFR tests be completed?
A: The IFR and VFR tests are both 24 month tests. Once your aircraft is tested the next test is due in 24 months by the last calendar day of the month. Example: If you have your aircraft tested on March 16 2013, the next test will be due by March 31 2015.
Q: Is there an exemption for aircraft which do not have a transponder installed?
FAR 91.215 (3) states: Notwithstanding paragraph (b)(2) of this section, any aircraft which was not originally certificated with an engine driven electrical system or which has not subsequently been certified with such a system installed, balloon or glider may conduct operations in the airspace within 30 nautical miles of an airport listed in appendix D, section 1 of this part provided such operations are conducted-
(i) Outside and class A, Class B, or class C airspace area; and
(ii) Below the altitude ceiling of a class B or class C airspace area designated for an airport or 10,000 feet msl; whichever is lower; and …
An aircraft which never had an electrical system or transponder installed can legally fly in uncontrolled airspace and does not require testing. It also may fly into controlled airspace if granted a deviation by ATC.
FAR 91.215 (d) (3) Gives some guidance for ATC Authorized Deviations through controlled airspace and states that Requests for ATC deviations must be made to ATC at least one hour prior to the proposed flight.
Q: How long does it take to complete an IFR or VFR inspection?
A: An IFR certification test generally takes 2 to 2 ½ hours to complete including paperwork.
A VFR certification test is much less involved and will generally take 1 to 1 ½ hours to complete including paperwork.
Q: Do I have to be there at the time the tests are done?
A: No. It is very normal for us to test aircraft without the owner present. You just need to make arrangements for access to the aircraft and payment. We will take care of the rest. You can also coordinate with your maintenance provider to have the tests completed while your aircraft is in for scheduled maintenance or inspections. We work with most shops in Southern California.
Q: Is mobile service available at my location or do I have to fly the aircraft to Gerdes Aviation Services to have the tests completed?
A: Our repair station is certified to perform tests both at our facility and on a mobile basis at any airport in Southern California. Most of our customers take advantage of our mobile service because we do not charge trip fees or mileage fees to come to your location. This saves you both time and money.
Q: Will I have to wait for the paperwork and Logbook signoff to be mailed to me if I take advantage of the mobile service?
A: No. All paperwork and logbook entries are provided to the customer at the end of the tests, regardless of whether the tests are completed at our facility or on a mobile basis at your location.
Q; Will I have to call my mechanic to make the repairs if the tests do not pass?
A: No. Gerdes Aviation Service’s technician is specifically trained in testing and repair of Pitot/Static Pressure, and Transponder systems. Most repairs if required will be completed at the time of the inspection. We stock most parts to make repairs on these systems. This saves the customer time and money by not requiring repairs to be separately scheduled with another shop. You will be quoted on pricing before any repairs are made.
Q: Are you able to test my aircraft if it has a Mode S transponder such as the Garmin GTX-330 or Bendix/King KT-70?
A: Yes. We have specialized equipment for testing Mode S transponders. Please let us know in advance when scheduling your appointment that you have a Mode S transponder as additional fees may apply.