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How likely is a SAFA check?

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How likely is a SAFA check?

Old 21st Sep 2012, 12:39
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How likely is a SAFA check?

I fly an N-reg (FAR 91) and make one to two trips per year from US to Europe. During the trip prep I always dig out the SAFA Ramp Inspection Report (French version) to be sure I've got all the necessary documents just in case.

After a several years of this I have never been checked however.

How often do these checks occur? Is a SAFA ramp check more likely to occur in certain countries or at certain airports? I will be in EGL.. and EDD.. next week.

Thanks.
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Old 21st Sep 2012, 12:45
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Sod`s Law suggests that ,the day you don`t prepare,it`ll happen....
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Old 21st Sep 2012, 12:55
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We got done going into Stansted from Bordeaux in a non EU reg jet last year and a good friend of mine was done in Biggin coming from the US I believe also in a non EU reg machine.

On both occasions they said they were specifically waiting for the arrival. Make your own mind up what that means but we did have the a SAFA check list and it made the process relatively simple..... relatively

Either way it does happen, but how often who knows. I know of one guy done in Le Bouget but he got done for cabotage when the french were on that war path a few years back.
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Old 21st Sep 2012, 13:01
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Yes...of course.

I hear about nasty "gotchas" such as the inspector checking to ensure aircraft O2 level well below 100% to confirm crew use of masks required per FARs, and the like....

Are these urban legends or do the inspectors actually keep digging until they come up with something? I would like to think they are reasonable but have no idea.
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Old 21st Sep 2012, 14:54
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Exclamation

Hello!

Are these urban legends or do the inspectors actually keep digging until they come up with something? I would like to think they are reasonable but have no idea.
They always try hard to find something... Never heard about that oxygen thing through (under EU-OPS there is no requirement to use oxygen masks anyway).
I fly on 150 to 180 days every year and get a SAFA inspection maybe once per year. Don't argue or discuss with them - it's useless. It is best to wait until you get a copy of the inspection report a few weeks later through your aviation authority and then comment on all the findings. Usually most of them will go away that way.
Last time they complained about a bare-metal transponder antenna on the belly of our aircraft: "this will corrode quickly and stop working" the inspector told me. I took a close-up photo of the antenna (including the "do not paint" label) and attached it to my comments of the report.

Happy landings
Max
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Old 21st Sep 2012, 15:13
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I took a close-up photo of the antenna (including the "do not paint" label) and attached it to my comments of the report.
Thats a real classic... any comments by the authority on that ?

I do know of an occasion when the SAFA dudes went ballistic cause on of the oxygen bottles of a Sovereign was empty. The other one was filled and working and the second bottle is just an option, so the airplane is certified also with only one bottle installed. This created a lot of paperwork I was told...

Can these guys actually enforce FARs ? Genuine question...
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Old 21st Sep 2012, 15:31
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Thats a real classic... any comments by the authority on that ?
No, unfortunately not. But I think I may have heard some laughter from 500km away (one of them once told me privately how fed-up he is with all that useless crappy stupid paperwork he gets by French SAFA inspectors - but probably the French CAA says the same about German SAFA people).

But one small thing comes to mind to really look after: If you use loose pieces of paper in the cockpit, like the usual tables with climb and cruise power settings copied from the aircraft manual, then make sure that you copy the entire manual page. With header and footer line showing clearly which manual it was copied from. Otherwise that's an easy finding for them that you won't be able to discuss away.
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Old 21st Sep 2012, 15:58
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Happened for real, landed in Munchen with a corporate jet registered in Europe.
The sticker on the emergency door handle was worn out.
I pointed out that above this same handle there were 2 fluorscent shields pointing out the very same door......

He fell big time over the worn out sticker.

And he got excited that we didn't have a cargo net in the bagage space compartment of our modest LJ60.
After pointing out that with 2 suitcases (or so) the "cargo" is stuck anyways in place and the bagage compartment is seperated from the cabin and help from his more realistic partner the sticker was the only big violation...

Well, if that was the worst thing they coould find, I think we did great.

Just illustrating that some inspectors are searching for anything.

Take care CK
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Old 21st Sep 2012, 16:26
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How about "prove to us that you are going to burn ALL your taxi fuel and not exceed the takeoff weight"....

Or if you are operating with two licences, FAA and JAA (Or whatever), then only show them the one associated with the aircraft registration, especially if one is imperial and the other metric. Finding, flight crew may get confused between 100 kgs and 220 lbs.

As for the O2 usage, we always heard that about FAA ramp inspections, not European.


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Old 21st Sep 2012, 18:14
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We had one of these types break into an exited, predatory sweat when he noted how 'bent' the winglet was. When we politely pointed out to him that the other winglet was 'bent' the exact same way, one could smell his disappointment. LFMN, of course. Tread lightly in Le Bourget and Chambery, too. Vienna a close second.
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Old 21st Sep 2012, 18:42
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Thanks all for the replies. Very informative. I will be ready for them.

The FAA used to do ramp checks years ago but I don't hear of them any more. Perhaps they determined what we all knew from the outset...it is a waste of resources and doesn't accomplish much.

In my 30 years at this I have yet to be inspected...touch wood.
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Old 21st Sep 2012, 22:57
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Happened for real, landed in Munchen with a corporate jet registered in Europe.
The sticker on the emergency door handle was worn out.
I pointed out that above this same handle there were 2 fluorscent shields pointing out the very same door......

He fell big time over the worn out sticker.

And he got excited that we didn't have a cargo net in the bagage space compartment of our modest LJ60.
After pointing out that with 2 suitcases (or so) the "cargo" is stuck anyways in place and the bagage compartment is seperated from the cabin and help from his more realistic partner the sticker was the only big violation...

Well, if that was the worst thing they could find, I think we did great.

Just illustrating that some inspectors are searching for anything.

Take care CK
Those 2 guys in Munich are obsessed with the cargo net, happened to me last year as well as a colleague on his CJ1. Worst case is Nice, that woman inspector is really a pain.

Last edited by transilvana; 21st Sep 2012 at 22:57.
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Old 22nd Sep 2012, 13:55
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I had my great time when saw those excited eyes of guys in Slovakia trying to solve the mistery of my black rubber dot on the RH leading edge of the wing of LJ60 !

So many questions about what did we hit and where is this paperwork...

Long time passed after i showed the correct page in POH saying what is it for and why it was there since the plane left the factory...

BTW the woman inspector in Nice ? The old-not-speaking-english-quite-well checking every notam one by one ? If yes, then... Huh, she travels all over the France.

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Old 22nd Sep 2012, 14:17
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Met her in Lille and she is an utter bitch.

Huge arguments when she wanted to see the TCAS and EGPWS working.

Sorry love no can do on battery power that bus isn't powered.

No I am not paying for a GPU.

No I am not starting an engine just for you to watch two buttons being pushed.

We got written up because there was no checklist for testing the autopilot, I think well something to do with the autopilot, which was her final flurish of paperwork.

Pity there was no autopilot fitted.

She was also the one in France that got it into her head that a Brit license on year five didn't have a valid English tick in the box because there wasn't a date on it so she presumed it was an ICAO 4.

Last edited by mad_jock; 22nd Sep 2012 at 14:20.
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Old 22nd Sep 2012, 15:16
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A real favourite on the bigger jets (BBJ / ACJ) is two way communication with someone on the ground when refuelling. It does not have to be a headset! As long as there is someone outside to "bang on the nose " to attract attention of one in the flight deck, or some pre-arranged comm method, that should suffice.

Also, I recommend accompanying them while they are inspecting. It's much easier to resolve a dumb query there and then, than to have a finding revoked!

Any 'uncontrolled docs' are a gift. So be wary of that old folder with manual excerpts, or loose pages of Perf!
Cheers
Stig
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Old 22nd Sep 2012, 16:24
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I had a SAFA in Zurich. Lot of questions. Showing W&B in iPad, FPL, OFP, all a/c and my documents, complete walkaround. Also battery in flashlight did work, so we finished successfully after about 1 hour.
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Old 22nd Sep 2012, 23:15
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Do a Google search for "SAFA checklist", you'll find all you need. Download the document, and prepare a SAFA binder with copies of all documents, and a document control page, showing expiration dates for insurance etc.

My belief is that SAFA inspectors are professional, and have a specific plan when they show up to your aircraft. As long as you can produce the items on the checklist, they are easy to work with.

My two cents is that much of the banter you hear and read about difficult inspectors is not based in fact, but imagination.

FR
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Old 23rd Sep 2012, 06:07
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Not in the case of the French lady.

But to be fair the F reg guys don't like her either so at least she is consistant.
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Old 23rd Sep 2012, 07:47
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This doc has the EASA-SAFA Checklist in it:

http://www.austrocontrol.at/jart/prj...A_SAFA_001.pdf

Pages 23 to 165...

List of national SAFA Contacts:

http://www.easa.europa.eu/approvals-....Operators.pdf

42 States are doing SAFAs...

The 42 Member States engaged in the EC SAFA Programme are: Albania, Armenia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Moldova, Monaco, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Georgia, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Turkey, United Kingdom, Ukraine.

And the general EASA site for this stuff:

EASA - Safety Assessment Of Foreign Aircraft (EC SAFA Programme)

Last edited by His dudeness; 23rd Sep 2012 at 07:48.
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Old 23rd Sep 2012, 09:23
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In theory, accordind to ICAO doc 8335, checks should be carried out on commercial aircraft only.

1.1.1 The State regulations and procedure for the approval, surveilance and resolution of safety issues, associated with commercial air transport operations by an operator from another State(herein after referred to as "foreign operator") shold be in conformity with annexes to the Convenction. It is of particular importance to recognize that the primary role in the safety oversight of any operator is that of the State of the Operator which issued the air operator certificate(AOC)

Also the SAFA handbook is clear about check to be carried out on commercial aircraft, see heading on page 23.

International Commercial Air Transport.

In practice they do as they please and is probably easier to get checked than try to argue.

In UK they even check M registered aircraft, despite the fact that they are private and the UK and Isle of Man are under a single signatory of the convention, so not really "foreign"
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